Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 77–88 | Cite as

Instruction Via Web-Based Modules in Early Childhood Personnel Preparation: A Mixed-Methods Study of Effectiveness and Learner Perspectives

  • Heidi L. Hollingsworth
  • Chih-Ing Lim


Effective personnel preparation is critical to the development of a high quality early childhood workforce that provides optimal care and education for young children. This mixed-methods study examined the effectiveness of, and learner perspectives on, instruction via web-based modules within face-to-face early childhood personnel preparation courses. The specific modules selected were designed around an evidence-based decision-making framework and focused on evidence-based practices: embedded interventions, assistive technology, and tiered instruction. Nineteen undergraduate students studying early childhood participated in pre- and post-instruction surveys and post-instruction focus groups. Participants’ written module activities provided additional sources of data. Statistical analyses of quantitative survey data and thematic analyses of qualitative survey data and focus groups were conducted. Results found the web-based modules to be effective, as indicated by learners’ knowledge and competence ratings, written explanations of the specific evidence-based practices, and completed assignments. Examination of learner perspectives indicated that learners perceived web-based modules to be effective over and above other instructional methods and preferred web-based modules to traditional instruction, at least to some degree. Learners found videos and realistic practice dilemmas to be the most useful module resources. They reported technology challenges and identified preferred supports, including more in-class discussion. Implications for personnel preparation and further research are discussed.


Teacher education Instructional technology Professional development Early childhood education Inclusion 



The authors wish to acknowledge Marna Winter for assistance with consent forms and focus groups, and Xueyan Yang for assistance with scoring written test of knowledge survey data and coding of focus group data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationElon UniversityElonUSA
  2. 2.FPG Child Development InstituteUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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