Learning Presence and the Reconceptualization of Language and Literacy Teachers’ Online Professional Development

Faridah Pawan, Rajagopal Sankaranarayanan, Rodney Myers, Xinqing Dorcas Miao


Besides teaching the way they were taught, teachers teach the way they learned (Oleson & Hora, 2014). Thus, if teachers are to be guided to teach online effectively, their learning experiences and the ways they learn online need to be understood. This study focused on second/foreign language and literacy teachers’ (LLTs) Learning Presence (LP) as they engaged online to update their teaching expertise in a formal, doctoral-level professional development program (PD). LP is defined as individuals’ self- and co-regulation of their behaviors in online environments in order to be effective learners (Shea et al., 2014). We undertook a mixed-method study involving a content analysis of 9 weeks of online seminar discussions, a 27-question survey that corresponded to Shea et al.’s (2014) LP framework and interviews with the LLTs. The prevalent patterns in the LLTs’ online engagement that emerged were in the Strategy Use and Monitoring LP categories. They demonstrated the nature of the engagement amongst LLTs, including peer-to-peer and heterarchical learning. The findings also provided evidence that when supported by the affordances of the online medium, the LLTs’ straddled “professionalization and professionalism” goals. In terms of the implications, the findings suggested a reconceptualization of three existing teacher PD models, including that of Darling-Hammond et al.’s (2017). The research’s limitations were also identified, pertaining to the way the study was structured, its instruments and their implementation, as well as the constraints of the LP framework itself. Finally, the study concluded with the next steps in research to address the limitations.


Learning Presence, Online Learning, Online Teaching, Language Teachers, Online Teacher Professional Development

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i4.2888

Copyright (c) 2021 Faridah Pawan, Rajagopal Sankaranarayanan, Rodney Myers, Xinqing Dorcas Miao

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