Researching education: Five further readings on online professional development

Welcome to this month's edition of Researching education: Five further readings. In this series, we take a look at some further readings available on a particular topic, including open access research papers from various online databases, and Teacher archive content you might not have come across yet.

Living and working during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen teachers across the world work remotely for lengthy periods. At Teacher magazine, we’ve shared how teachers have effectively taught and assessed throughout school closures, and recently, how they are engaging with educational research in online communities.

In this edition of five further readings, we are sharing five resources looking at online professional development.

  1. Remote professional development: Rapid Evidence Assessment. This rapid review conducted by Evidence for Learning analysed the evidence available on the effectiveness of remote professional development approaches when compared to face-to-face and blended approaches. The review was conducted to support school leaders during periods of remote working due to COVID-19, and also looked into the role of remote mentoring, use of video, and use of interactive content.
  2. Online communities of teachers to support situational knowledge: A design-based study. To assess whether an online community of teachers can support the development of situational knowledge, and more broadly to support beginning teachers in their transition from University to in-service teaching, researchers from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) designed an online platform along with academics from eight other universities, which was implemented over three years. In this report, they outline the design of the online platform, how it was used by teachers involved in the study and its overall effectiveness. ‘The prevalence of pragmatic support within the platform suggests that it is useful for teachers to share declarative knowledge,’ the researchers concluded. Note that teachers can join the TeachConnect platform discussed in this article at:

  3. Towards a thriving digital resource ecology with teachers. In this report released in March 2020, researchers assess four digital platforms developed by the Victorian Department of Education and Training for use by educators (FUSE, eduSTAR, Digital Learning News and DIGIPUBS) to see whether a more innovative model for digital resources is needed. The report’s authors conducted a review of other online educational digital hubs and made recommendations for best practice when designing a digital hub.

  4. Online Continuous Professional Learning: A Model for Improving Reading Outcomes in Regional and Remote Schools? This article by Main & Slater from Edith Cowan University describes a research project delivering online professional learning in reading instruction. The model included instructional coaching and use of an existing learning management system (LMS) to host professional learning materials and to share examples of videos of participants. The data collected in the project appeared to show efficacy in online professional learning in terms of the engagement of participants, changes in classroom practice, and student outcomes.

  5. Online Initial Teacher Education students’ perceptions of using web conferences to support professional conversations. Academics from the University of Tasmania in this study analysed the effect of weekly web conferences on the professional conversation opportunities for initial teacher education students. ‘The study revealed that initial teacher education students perceived that the web conferences prompted a deeper level of engagement, satisfaction and sense of achievement than alternative activities, including face-to-face tutorials,’ the authors write.

Some of the resources featured in this article can be found through Cunningham Library Catalogue and EdResearch Online. At the links below, you can search for more resources on the topic of online professional development in these two online databases.

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