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PD Online or In-Person: the Benefits Are the Same
posted by: Cindy Omlin | July 11, 2013, 07:14 PM   

More and more teachers are looking to online professional development courses as a way to keep abreast of current trends, hone skills, and fit their PD needs into an already cramped teacher schedule. The increase of offerings of online professional development is rapidly replacing older methods of having an expert come to your school, or attending workshops of a various topics. The shift can be seen on AAE's own Professional Development Calendar, where online offerings vastly outnumber in-person workshops or classes. Online professional development is cheaper, easier to fit into a teacher's schedule, and has the ability to be personalized to an individual teacher's need.

While the benefits to teachers for conducting their professional development online are immediately apparent, many have questioned whether online professional development is of the same quality as in-person courses, conferences, and workshops. Fortunately for teachers who are embracing this shift, Education Week is reporting that a new study has found online professional development is as good as, if not better than, in-person forms of professional development.

One of the main reasons for this, according to Education Week, is that teachers are not just watching videos on YouTube or participating in "sit-and-get" sessions that have been migrated online. Contrary to popular belief, online professional development provides the opportunity for teachers to work at their own pace, connect with their peers and experts both in real time and asynchronously, and engage with the material. These innovations allow teachers to have a truly customizable experience; meaning that teachers who need more time to understand, and that they are less likely to zone out than in a workshop that may be dwelling on a topic they have already mastered.

Still, many administrators may be reluctant to embrace online professional development for their teachers, says Education Week. While moving professional development online can be more cost-effective for administrators, it also means that administrators need to put more trust in their teachers to participate in the professional development on their own. Many administrators are still reluctant to accept that online learning can be as productive as learning done in a workshop as well. Hopefully, this new study will help to change minds and provide teachers with the rich opportunities that online professional development provides.


Originally posted by Melissa at AAE.

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