Source: Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, Vol. 28 No. 1, p. 4-15. Fall, 2011.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
The researcher was interested to evaluate the design, implementation and effectiveness of
incorporating an online learning community as part of a new-teacher induction program.
The researcher focused on the conceptual framework and receptiveness of the implementation of the framework in a new-teacher induction program.
The researcher created an online learning community model based on the results of a comprehensive review of literature and a previous year’s pilot study.
The researcher implemented an online learning community in the form of a wiki.
Methods and Participants
The participants in the online learning community were new teachers entering as
full-time employees, and contributors (administrators, veteran teachers, and professors from school of education).
The researcher collected data from both the new teachers and contributors.
The program evaluation took place in a school district with approximately 4,500 students in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Data were collected through pre- and post-surveys, questionnaires, and focus-group sessions.
The findings reveal that all participants, both teachers and contributors, agreed or strongly agreed that the tool was helpful for aiding instruction, seeking out support, and facilitating reflection.
Furthermore, it was found that the design of the study called for a hybrid approach for effective new-teacher induction.
As a result, school systems are charged with developing the necessary infrastructures and training from the start of the teachers’ teaching experience.
In addition, the results of this program evaluation indicate that the online learning community helped counter the isolation that teachers often encounter.
The participants' responses strongly indicate that the school district should continue the use of the online learning community.
The new-teacher induction online learning community framework enhanced and expanded the experience of both the new teachers and contributors.
The format creates an anytime, anywhere professional development opportunity for educators in the school district to share ideas, instructional materials, and guidance through the discussion component.
Finally, the strong positive results from this study call for expanded research in the area on a grander scale involving a larger sample of schools with varying characteristics.