Best Professional Development Courses Available Online (2021)

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Teachers, schools, districts, and states can all benefit from online teacher professional development (OTPD). According to statements and conversations from a number of workshop participants, the largest potential benefit, as with all types of high-quality professional development, should be improved student learning. 

The following are some of the other potential advantages of online professional development that workshop participants discussed:

  • Versatility and Adaptability
  • Possibility of creating a sense of community among teachers and across groups
  • New avenues for accountability, as well as
  • Teacher retention is improved by allowing instructors to become more directly involved in their own learning and professional development.

Versatility and Adaptability

Online programmes, in contrast to the one-time workshops and face-to-face meetings that characterise most current professional development, can take a wide range of formats, with the added benefits of convenience, scalability, and customization. “You can’t compete with the anytime/anywhere [capabilities] of online professional development,” O’Donnell says.

Teachers’ demands vary depending on a variety of circumstances, including the schools in which they teach, the students in their classes, their career stage, previous experiences, and their personal preferences and learning styles. Online programmes can be adjusted and tailored to fit these different needs if they are correctly constructed. Modern information technologies, for example, allow users to save and categorise large amounts of material so that they can access it in various ways, update it, comment on it, share it, interact with it, and acquire parts to develop their own lesson plans or resources. According to O’Donnell, “there is a real ability to distribute large volumes of content while keeping it up to date and relevant to what teachers are searching for.”

Furthermore, while it may be time-consuming to construct a flexible and dynamic online system, the number of people who can utilise it is virtually limitless once it is completed. As a result, OTPD is extremely scalable, in the sense that the same system that can be used by instructors in a single school may potentially be used by teachers all over the world. “Once you have a course established, multiple people can use it,” Thomas explained.

Creating a Sense of Community

Online technology in general, and some types of online professional teacher development programmes in particular, can aid in the formation of the community that is so frequently lacking in teachers’ daily lives. Teachers can communicate with one another in real time or asynchronously online, giving them time to think about what they’re saying.

Online professional development can also connect schools to schools, districts to districts, districts to other districts, and states to states. It can look for commonality among schools that serve distinct populations of children, benefiting all parties involved. It can also tap into expertise regardless of location, allowing teachers with a specialty or expertise to serve as resources for other teachers.

Accountability

Surprisingly, OTPD may provide more opportunities and scope for participant assessment and accountability than face-to-face professional development.

According to workshop participants who have attended online courses, failure to participate is usually not a serious worry. Participants can communicate in ways that are not possible face to face because they have time to think about an activity or topic and publish comments or responses.

OTPD also provides assessment options that go beyond what is possible with face-to-face programming. When someone is using a computer, the programme can record anything that is typed, clicked, or said through a keyboard, mouse, video camera, or microphone.

Retention

A growing percentage of young individuals pursuing a career as a teacher are likely to have prior knowledge of modern information and communication technologies. They may be more likely to commit to teaching if they regard teaching as a career that makes good use of these technologies.

New teachers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from online technologies. Teachers at all levels of their careers can benefit from the fresh ideas and connections that they provide.

Teachers at various stages of their careers have varying requirements and interests, and some may consider current professional development opportunities to be a waste of time.

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