Inquiry into a transformative approach to professional development for online educators

Doctorate other than PhD


Reushle, Shirley. 2005. Inquiry into a transformative approach to professional development for online educators. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

Inquiry into a transformative approach to professional development for online educators

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
Authors
AuthorReushle, Shirley
SupervisorPostle, Glen
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages312
Year2005
Abstract

This study investigates professional development for online educators within a transformative learning framework. A qualitative, action research method was adopted that captured data from interactions between the researcher and participants, and which allowed the generation of theory that could guide future design efforts. The project was conducted online from Australia during 2002 and 2003 with two groups of participants drawn from a Singapore polytechnic. Data were analysed utilising content analysis of transcripts, interviews, and observations, with the researcher being an active participant in the project. The findings which differentiated online from traditional educational contexts, and which therefore are significant in terms of future design considerations were that since interactions were all text-based and visible, participants were careful to provide reasoned, reflective contributions. Furthermore, the archived interactions were available for inspection by all participants, giving rise to more articulate and constructive dialogues while maintaining evidence of the human 'presence'. Other findings related to supporting an online community of adult learners by recognising the individuality of each learner and their specific needs in terms of their experience, need for relevance and flexibility in the learning activity, and valuing the sense of human connectivity. Offering of peer support through a peer learning partnership model was found to be an effective way for learners to support each other in a trusting, respectful, empathetic, non-threatening manner. Findings indicated that the provision of exemplars, or models of good practice, supported situated, authentic activity, and contributed to positive, motivated learners. The dynamic (constantly changing, growing, adapting) nature of the Internet required facilitators to be continually evaluating the learning situation in order to promote and nurture an atmosphere that supported the development of new ideas, the challenging of old, the exploration of alternatives, and support for changes in perspective and action. Evidence suggested that the use of the Internet for learning and teaching could go some way towards addressing the challenges of prejudice, discrimination, and celebrate the notion of difference. From these findings, the literature, and the personal experience of the researcher, ten design principles were formulated and, if considered in light of local contextual characteristics, offer a framework for transformative approaches to professional development for online educators. Further research to address the application of this framework to other discipline areas, and other educational settings, is recommended.

Keywordsprofessional development, education, online, learning, teaching, internet
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390307. Teacher education and professional development of educators
390405. Educational technology and computing
390303. Higher education
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
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