In the education industry, the use of online sources of professional development represents a significant shift. Whereas many other industries have used online sources of continuing education and professional practices for many years, traditionally educators have turned solely to internal professional development departments, local education agencies (LEAs), and local colleges and universities to acquire the necessary education to meet the required hours/units for renewal of their state teaching-licenses.
“A series of online professional development courses that focus on specific content and target student learning needs can have positive effects on teacher knowledge and instructional practices,”
“The studies also show that teacher participation in online professional development can translate into improvements in targeted student outcomes.”
Is it to organize and manage what people learn?
By designing, creating and delivering content (training/instruction/courses) then tracking and measuring success in terms of learning activity metrics (e.g. course completions, page accesses, quiz tests)
Or is it to enable and support how people learn best?
by understanding where individuals have the most valuable learning experiences (other than top-down, organised/managed instruction)
then enhancing and supporting these other self-organised and self-managed approaches (e.g. as a part of work team collaboration, or independent professional learning and development), and helping them to measure success in terms of performance metrics (i.e. how it is helping them to do their job or do it better).
This type of research-based and outcomes-focused study has lent credibility to the idea that online professional development can and will serve an important role in supporting the educational goals of the Education.