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Distance Learning Research #13: Teacher Preparation
Nationally, it appears that there is an increased interest in teacher preparation. With this in mind and the increase of distance learning opportunities, it’s time to take a look at the research available on the topic of teacher preparation and distance learning. The research for ABLE is very limited in this area. However, some information may be gleaned from the 2004 research, “The Effects of Distance Education on K-12 Student Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis.”
The article asks:
How will designers and managers of K–12 distance education programs make better decisions in order to design and deliver a more effective program? … One factor warranting special consideration in assessing the effectiveness of virtual schooling is teacher quality. In classrooms, teacher effectiveness is a strong determiner of differences in student learning, far outweighing differences in class size and heterogeneity (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Based on the similarities in student outcomes between distance and classroom learning, there is every reason to expect that teacher preparation is critical in distance education. However, there has been very little formal preparation available addressing the unique nature of online instruction and very little time for teachers to develop their expertise as online instructors. As professional development becomes more common and expertise grows, student success is likely to grow as well.
Cavanaugh, Cathy; Gillan, Kathy Jo; Kromrey, Jeff; Hess, Melinda; Blomeyer, Robert. The Effects of Distance Education on K-12 Student Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis, October 2004, http://www.ncrel.org/tech/distance/k12distance.pdf
From the statement above, the implication is that teacher quality improves with teacher preparation.
How important is teacher preparation in distance learning?
What do teachers need to know about distance learning in order to be successful distance learning instructors?
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