Development of an Evidence-based Professional Learning Program Informed by Online Teachers' Self-efficacy and Threshold Concepts

Kevin P Gosselin, Maria Northcote, Daniel Reynaud, Peter Kilgour, Malcolm Anderson, Chris Boddey


As online education continues to expand across varied educational sectors, so does the demand for professional development programs to guide academic teaching staff through the processes of developing their capacities to design and teach online courses. To meet these challenges at one higher education institution, a mixed methods research study was implemented to identify the professional learning needs of academic teaching staff for the purposes of developing a tailor-made professional development program. The principles of self-efficacy and threshold concepts were used to inform the design of the study. Data were systematically gathered from the participants to determine self-efficacy, concerns, and questions and experiences of academic teaching staff with online teaching. Findings revealed that academic staff held threshold concepts, skills and attitudes about online teaching. Three groups of staff were identified, all with varying forms of professional development requirements. This case study account demonstrates how an evidence-based project provided the basis for a research-informed institutional professional development program that is currently guiding academic staff through their development as online course designers and teachers.


Professional development; online education; case study

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