ERIC Number: EJ865407
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 21
Can Teachers "Learn" in an Online Environment?
Clary, Renee M.; Wandersee, James H.
Kappa Delta Pi Record, v46 n1 p34-38 Fall 2009
In June 2009, the U.S. Department of Education released a meta-analysis of online learning studies that detailed strong support for online learning. The authors of this report, however, cautioned that online students' increased interaction--as well as differences in curriculum and pedagogy--did not allow a direct comparison between online and traditional classrooms. Moreover, the positive learning benefits of online education examined in this report applied only to K-12 students. Can online education also provide an effective learning environment for teachers? In this article, the authors sought teachers' opinions on whether online classrooms provided opportunities for successful professional development, especially when the online courses were "science" content courses, and the methods for content delivery included active-learning strategies and informal education sites. Using research literature that documented best practices for content delivery, the authors designed their online science classrooms to include the integration of informal environments and assignments that would provide active learning and inquiry-based learning benefits. In their online courses, the authors sought to discover whether science instruction delivered through an online environment could help close the gap in teachers' knowledge of science. Through multiple semesters of their online science courses, the authors' surveys revealed that teachers enjoyed opportunities that (1) transported them beyond the confines of their computer environment; and (2) facilitated relationships with their online colleagues and local communities. From their research and the survey responses, the authors found that teachers are tremendously positive when discussing the value of the online environment for furthering their content knowledge in the subjects they teach.
Descriptors: Electronic Learning, Informal Education, Elementary Secondary Education, Online Courses, Learning Strategies, Inquiry, Active Learning, Educational Technology, Classrooms, Science Instruction
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A