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Professional Development for Online and Mobile Learning: Promoting Teachers’ Pedagogical Inquiry

  • Evrim BaranEmail author
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Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)

Abstract

Teachers’ successful transformation to online and mobile teaching requires a reexamination of their traditional pedagogies, the content they teach, the student profiles, and the context of learning. Professional development that promotes teachers’ pedagogical inquiry is a key to such transformation. Creating online and mobile spaces to enhance professional learning, recent models implement situated, on-demand, anytime, and customized learning opportunities for teachers. This chapter examines how professional development can be delivered effectively by looking at strategies to support teachers’ effective online and mobile teaching. The following models are illustrated in this chapter with their focus on teacher transformation and teacher change in professional development programs for online and mobile learning: Mentoring, professional learning communities, and design-based learning. Several recommendations are presented to enhance teacher professional development programs for mobile and online learning.

Keywords

Professional development Mobile learning Online learning Pedagogical inquiry 

Introduction

The rapid diffusion of technologies in society has created a need to transform the educational landscape (Johnson et al. 2016). Formal and informal education environments are increasingly adopting emerging technologies that encourage re-conceptualization of teaching and learning at all levels. Within the widespread adoption of web-based and mobile tools in society, educators are now looking for ways to provide more flexible learning opportunities to the learners in various contexts. Meanwhile, the advances in learning sciences research provide educators new tools and approaches to foster, sustain, transfer, and measure learning with mobile and online technologies (Bransford et al. 2004). It is now widely accepted that for a change to occur in online and mobile learning environments, teachers’ ability to implement reformed practices should be improved (Dede et al. 2009; Kearney and Maher 2013). This effort requires the study of the ways to support teachers’ transformation for online and mobile teaching, and the development of necessary evidence-based professional development programs.

Teachers experience changes in their pedagogies as they transition from traditional teaching to mobile and online teaching. Their successful transformation from face-to-face teaching to online and mobile teaching requires a reexamination of their traditional pedagogies, the content they teach, the student profiles, and the context of learning. For example, they need to know the affordances of online and mobile technologies to be able to design learning experiences using these platforms (Kearney and Maher 2013). Adopting student-centered approaches, teachers need to give learners more control in their actions (e.g., promoting learner reflections, self-directed learning) in online and mobile learning environments (Means et al. 2009). Most importantly, they need to hold positive attitudes and beliefs towards teaching in online and mobile learning environments. Professional development is key to successful transformation. While earlier forms of professional development focused heavily on stand-alone courses and workshops, recent research suggests creating online and mobile spaces to enhance teachers’ professional learning (Prestridge and Tondeur 2015). Professional development programs that utilize the affordances of mobile and online platforms can enhance teachers’ situated, on-demand, anytime, and customized learning (Prestridge and Tondeur 2015). This chapter examines how such professional development can be delivered effectively by looking at strategies to support teachers’ effective online and mobile teaching.

Supporting Teachers’ Transformation for Online Teaching

The growing interest in online learning challenges educational institutions to rethink their cultural, academic, organizational, and pedagogical structures in adapting to a new culture of teaching and learning (Howell et al. 2004). While educators and organizations around the world are more involved in online learning, growth in teacher involvement and acceptance has been slow, accompanied by limited change in pedagogies (Natriello 2005). Research has identified several reasons why there is still limited understanding about fostering higher-order thinking in online classrooms. The most important reason is the tendency to carry traditional educational practices to the online environment (Kreber and Kanuka 2006). Teachers often rely on their traditional pedagogical approaches formed over the years of developing expertise in the face-to-face classrooms (Kreber and Kanuka 2006). Having little (if any) prior experience of teaching in online environments, teachers tend to transfer traditional approaches to these classrooms and continue ineffective approaches that are already present in traditional classrooms (Roy and Boboc 2016). Most importantly, when technology integration is present, it is still implemented at a low-level with teacher-centered practices rather than high-level use with student-centered activities, such as problem solving and inquiry-based learning (Ertmer 2005). Research calls for a need to shift from teacher-centered to learner-centered pedagogy in online learning environments as teachers coordinate and regulate students’ active learning (Baran and Correia 2009). Professional development programs for online teaching should integrate models for student-centered pedagogies in online learning environments so that online teachers design and implement such pedagogies in their teaching.

Moving from face-to-face to an online teaching environment, teachers experience changes in the way they structure and plan their courses, organize course management, establish teacher presence, monitor student learning, and connect to their students (Baran et al. 2013). These changes require the development of unique online pedagogies for online teaching (Kreber and Kanuka 2006; Natriello 2005). Effective online teachers have common characteristics that guide the implementation of these pedagogies. They create the course content with their extensive knowledge base about the subject matter, design and structure the online courses carefully, work on knowing and understanding their students’ profiles and needs, use measures to enhance student-student and student-teacher relationships, guide and scaffold student learning using online tools, evaluate students’ learning and progress, and establish teacher presence using various tools (Baran et al. 2013). Effective online teachers have a more “extensive, complex, and flexible repertoire of concepts of teaching effectiveness, they hold more developed concepts of self-efficacy, they use wider range of criteria for self-evaluation, and they draw upon almost twice as many strategies for enhancing student learning” (Hativa et al. 2001, p. 700). Professional development programs for online teachers should integrate these effective practices to teachers’ learning and address teacher transformation as well as teachers’ shifting roles in online and mobile learning environments.

Professional development approaches need to address teachers’ transformational learning for effective online teaching, while empowering them, promoting their critical reflection, and integrating technology into pedagogical inquiry (Baran et al. 2011). Professional development approaches can integrate teacher collaboration, content creation, sharing, and networked learning into online teacher learning platforms (Prestridge 2016). Other models may include action research projects that teachers carry in online platforms where they investigate an online learning problem, reflect on it, and engage in constructive dialogue with their colleagues (Prestridge and Tondeur 2015). Teachers’ learning activities can involve critical reflection on their examination of personal beliefs and assumptions towards online learning, and support programs can help teachers engage in a dialogue about solving problems and making decisions regarding the design and implementation of online courses. Because several actors play critical roles in online course design, professional development programs can connect instructional designers, administrators, and technology experts with online teachers and help sustain communities of practices around successful online teaching (Holmes and Kozlowski 2015).

Professional Development for Mobile Learning

Mobile technologies have become more pervasive, affordable, and available among a wide range of age groups (Traxler and Kukulska-Hulme 2016). Their affordances for learning have been widely acknowledged and include mobility, access, immediacy, situativity, ubiquity, convenience, and contextuality (Kearney et al. 2012; Kukulska-Hulme et al. 2009; Sharples et al. 2009). Mobile learning has the potential to transform students’ learning across multiple physical, conceptual, and social spaces. Teacher support and training regarding its effective use plays a critical role in mobile tools’ integration into today’s learning environments. Teachers need training and support regarding the advantages, challenges, and exemplary practices of mobile learning to make informed decisions in their teaching settings (Kukulska-Hulme et al. 2009; Schuck et al. 2013).

The definitions of mobile learning include common characterizations such as portability, authenticity, contextuality, social interactivity, and personalization (Kearney et al. 2012; Sharples et al. 2009; Stanton and Ophoff 2013; Traxler 2007). These concepts can be integrated into teacher professional development programs to promote teachers’ meaningful learning with mobile tools. For example, the portability feature would allow teachers to receive and send information from different places, rather than a fixed professional development location. Teacher professional development programs could also take advantage of the authenticity feature by supporting teachers’ authentic learning across contexts. Real time teacher observation and reflection activities can be conducted with mobile tools’ different features such as tagging, video recording, collecting, sharing, and processing multiple forms of data (Çelik et al. 2018). Another feature, social interactivity, could help the formation of teacher networks and connect teachers with experts, mentors, peers, and their students. With advances in mobile tools’ social features (e.g., social networking), teachers could engage in constructive and social learning processes (Traxler 2016). Finally, the personalization feature would help customize scaffolding based on teachers’ learning paths (Klopfer et al. 2002). Teachers can control the pace and time of their learning and their learning activities can be tailored to their needs and environment with mobile devices’ context-awareness features (Kearney et al. 2012).

Several strategies can be integrated into the professional development programs on mobile teaching, including: hands-on explorations of mobile technologies, developing mobile lesson plans, microteaching mobile lessons, enacting mobile lessons in classrooms, reflecting on mobile lessons, planning mobilized curriculum, and attending to communities of practice (e.g., Ekanayake and Wishart 2015; Mahruf et al. 2010). Professional development strategies can use mobile learning pedagogies to promote teacher collaboration and peer-feedback, allow reflection on teaching, help share classroom practice, and assess performance (Baran 2014). Teachers’ understanding of the affordances of mobile learning can also be enhanced by modeling such pedagogies in professional development programs, helping teachers explore their content areas with mobile tools, connecting teachers with communities of practice through mobile tools, creating personalized learning experiences, integrating alternative assessment techniques to the professional development programs, and designing learning experiences using mobile tools for collaboration and teamwork (Baran 2014; Cushing 2011; Husbye and Elsener 2013; Kearney and Maher 2013; Kommers 2009; Shotsberger 2003).

Mobile tools’ emerging affordances can transform teacher professional development practices with new features that provide mobility and learning across different contexts, experiences in simulated and augmented classroom environments, and connectivity to different communities and audiences (Fritschi and Wolf 2012). With more tech-savvy teachers entering teacher education programs, professional development programs can meet their learning needs by integrating these platforms into professional development environments and modeling good practices. For example, teachers can investigate the use of mobile devices for enhancing classroom practices. These practices include: connecting teachers with mentors and teacher educators via mobile tools to share feedback on their teaching (Cushing 2011), promoting their reflections through microblogging and e-journaling on mobile platforms (Schuck et al. 2013; Shotsberger 2003), providing real-time coaching (Kommers 2009), and implementing self and peer-assessment practices (Chen 2010). When teachers experience mobile tool integration in their professional development programs, they may begin to use such tools in their own teaching practices (Husbye and Elsener 2013). Such exemplary uses can enhance teachers’ self-efficacy and attitudes towards integrating mobile learning pedagogies in their future classrooms (Burton et al. 2011; Price et al. 2014).

With a focus on mobility of learning, learner, and technology, Schuck et al. (2017) used the “third space” metaphor to illustrate learning across diverse contexts that is facilitated by mobile learning. The third space metaphor is useful in rethinking teacher learning that happens in different dimensions, such as formal, informal, virtual, public, asynchronous, global, and local contexts. The emergence of new mobile features holds promise for examining contextualized, authentic, situated, personalized, and collaborative teacher learning environments (Burden and Kearney 2016). Professional learning communities, for example, can be formed via mobile learning platforms to immerse teachers in the pedagogical inquiry while sharing their stories with other group members, giving feedback to each other, sharing expertise, and evaluating teaching practices (Schuck et al. 2013). Such investigations of teacher learning and education would contribute to discussions on future teacher competencies and necessary conditions for teacher preparation. The effective design of professional development settings for mobile learning requires concentrated effort in meeting the challenges, such as limited support, technical difficulties, accessibility issues, limited experience, and lack of curricular connections. To date there is limited literature about strategies for teacher education programs designed specifically with mobile learning pedagogies and theoretical frameworks (Baran 2014). Recent research has emphasized the barriers and challenges teachers face while using mobile tools for teaching and learning (Burden and Hopkins 2017) and developed mobile learning scenarios for teacher education (Burden and Kearney 2016). Future research should investigate professional development models specifically designed for mobile learning.

Professional Development Strategies

Challenges were noted previously in this chapter regarding teachers’ slow transformation of pedagogies with technologies in their classrooms such as lack of time, limited resources and technology infrastructure, and lack of support (Al-Senaidi et al. 2009; Xu and Meyer 2007). Yet, a range of professional development and support programs (e.g., workshops, stand-alone courses) implemented to meet these challenges have had limited impact on teachers’ adoption of online and mobile technologies in their classrooms, because they failed to answer teachers’ unique needs in their authentic contexts with overemphasis on teaching about technology (Koehler et al. 2004). Current trends favor adopting professional development models that address teachers’ unique needs and goals and include peer-learning and learning by doing activities within learning communities (Ertmer 2005; Georgina and Hosford 2009). The following models will be illustrated in this chapter with their focus on teacher transformation and teacher change in professional development programs for online and mobile learning: mentoring, professional learning communities, and design-based learning.

Mentoring

Professional development programs need to target teachers’ individual needs and provide them opportunities to reflect on their existing knowledge, concerns, and practices and immerse them in collaborative learning activities (Ng 2015). As a possible solution, mentoring programs can be integrated into teacher learning practices to provide customized, contextualized, and timely solutions to teachers’ needs regarding the transformation of their pedagogical practices with online and mobile technologies.

Mentoring has traditionally been considered as a relationship intended to develop the skill and knowledge of others and influence personal and organizational development (de Janasz and Sullivan 2004; Hansford et al. 2004). Mentoring programs aim to provide teachers with one-on-one working opportunities with a mentor to encourage their learning about, and practice of, technology integration. Mentoring approaches have paired students with faculty members, graduate students with online instructors, online faculty members with graduate students, and experienced faculty members with less experienced ones (Baran 2016, Gabriel and Kaufield 2008; Koehler et al. 2004; Larson 2009). The one-on-one working model between a mentor and a mentee revealed several benefits for the participating teachers including increased confidence in using technologies, transformed teaching practices, and enhanced learning communities (Chuang et al. 2003; Gabriel and Kaufield 2008). Academic, professional, pedagogical, and technical benefits were also noted for participating mentors (Baran 2016). Learning community, compatible match, rewards, sustainability, celebration of accomplishments, and technology support are considered as critical elements of technology mentoring programs (Thompson 2008).

Recent research has revealed strategies that are critical to the success of technology mentoring professional development programs: (a) determining needs, (b) exploring technologies’ affordances and limitations, (c) scaffolding, (d) sharing feedback, (e) connecting technology, pedagogy, and content, and (f) evaluating outcomes (Baran 2016). Success factors included motivation, meeting challenges, the nature of the mentoring relationship, communication channels, and support (Baran 2016). Mentoring programs can support the adoption of online and mobile technologies into teacher practice by meeting the challenges of traditional professional development models that are disconnected from teachers’ actual teaching practices. Considering teachers’ needs for immediate support and help, professional development models may target learning new online and mobile technologies, implementing mobile and online pedagogies, sharing best practices, providing mentors to the teachers if needed, and supporting learning communities. Acknowledging the mutual learning process for both mentors and mentees, educational institutions can adopt mentoring programs that promote shared responsibility, mutual benefits, accountability, reciprocal learning, and shared vision that contribute to the success of mentoring experiences.

Professional Learning Communities

Teachers’ technology adoption is a “complex, inherently social, developmental process” (Straub 2009, p. 641). Professional development programs should go beyond show-and-tell models and focus more on the inclusion of peer and community centered learning that is designed around shared expertise, ongoing dialogue, and pedagogical problem solving in learning communities. Learning communities play critical roles in the adoption of mobile and online technologies. For example, research found that “collegial learning groups were strong enabling actors that contributed to experimentations with technology, cross-fertilization of ideas, problem solving and, continuing dialogues on the topic” (Samarawickrema and Stacey 2007, p. 325). Teachers who belong to both formal and organized social networks and collegial learning groups as well as informal groups adapt better to web-based teaching environments (Baran et al. 2013). Creating learning communities with a focus on peer-observation and peer-evaluation may extend and sustain the conversation regarding effective teaching in mobile and online learning environments (Rovai and Downey 2009). Professional learning communities may also help teachers get support on teaching methods and provide psychological and emotional support regarding the problems experienced with mobile and online teaching (Lee 2001).

Learning communities are critical to teachers’ adoption of online and mobile pedagogies in their classrooms as they negotiate practical issues while collaborating and reflecting on their individual work with other teachers and challenge assumptions regarding effective teaching with online and mobile technologies (Zellermayer and Margolin 2005). Teachers’ participation in learning communities can help them socially construct their knowledge through peer-observation, peer-evaluation, and informal networks (Samarawickrema and Stacey 2007). Professional development programs can also include collaborative working teams, communities of practice, group discussions, and collegial learning groups. Teacher support and training programs may immerse teachers into community of practice (CoP) environments or professional learning communities (PLC) to promote their conversation regarding the use of mobile and online learning in different contexts. These environments can help teachers share best practices, exemplary applications, challenges, and solutions. Mentor or support systems can also be integrated into these environments (Herro et al. 2013).

Teachers in online and mobile learning environments need to update their technological pedagogical knowledge constantly to adapt to the changing needs of learners. Professional learning communities designed around sharing innovative and best practices can help teachers follow recent developments in their field. The tools integrated into such environments can include online and mobile tools that support teachers’ collaboration and create knowledge networks around exemplary mobile and online teaching practices (Gunawardena et al. 2009). These tools may include wikis where teachers reflect on their methods, share feedback and professional thoughts, provide specific and immediate feedback to each other, and construct a professional identity while collaborating with other mobile and online teachers who share similar expertise (Albion 2008; Hutchison and Colwell 2012; Samarawickrema et al. 2010). Teachers’ professional learning should be sustained over a period of time (Guskey 2000). Social networking tools can support online and mobile teachers’ continuous learning giving them a space for sustained interaction. These networks may promote the way teachers share their stories and encourage them to initiate teamwork and collaboration with other teachers after the professional development programs.

Design-Based Learning

Design of classroom activities, learning experiences, and assessment strategies are common practices in teachers’ professional lives. Design activities are used in teacher training programs as a way to actively involve teachers in examining the relationships between and among content, pedagogy, and technology (Koehler et al. 2004). Within professional development contexts, teachers explore solutions to online and mobile technology integration problems within design teams (e.g., Jang and Chen 2010; Koehler et al. 2007). Recent research has identified design-based learning principles that can be used in teacher education and professional development programs to facilitate teachers’ understanding of technology integration in action (Baran and Uygun 2016). These principles included brainstorming of design ideas, design of technology-integrated artifacts, examination of design examples, engagement with theoretical knowledge, investigation of information and communication technology (ICT) tools , reflection on design experiences, applying design in authentic settings, and collaboration within design teams (Baran and Uygun 2016). Professional development programs may integrate such design activities into their models and encourage teachers’ engagement within contextual, situated, and authentic learning design experiences regarding the use of mobile and online technologies in their unique contexts. Design-based learning activities give teachers active roles in redefining and solving problems, examining learners’ needs, and exploring the affordances of mobile and online technologies.

When teachers are engaged in design-based learning activities, they present solutions to ill-structured educational situations within online and mobile learning environments. Working on authentic design challenges, teachers can explore the connections between their content, pedagogical approaches, and the affordances of mobile or online technologies. Teachers can work together and develop solutions through their interactions with other design team members. This kind of collaboration helps design team members engage in a joint discourse on effective mobile and online technology integration (Baran and Uygun 2016). Once teachers design these artifacts within teams, they may then apply their design in their authentic contexts and bring their teaching experiences back to the design conversation to participate in a collaborative group reflection process. Reflecting on their mobile and online learning design experiences, teachers can identify difficulties they encountered and conduct self- and peer-assessment of their own learning and development (Angeli and Valanides 2009; Mouza et al. 2014). Professional development programs can use design-based learning to promote teacher agency and dialogue as teachers explore the potentials of emerging pedagogies for mobile and online teaching.

Recommendations

Recent conceptualizations of teacher professional development focus more on the study of teacher learning from the situative perspective (Borko 2004; Cherrington 2017), which examines teacher learning in individual and social learning contexts including teacher practice within classrooms, communities, and professional development courses and programs (Borko 2004). In this respect, four key elements are identified: “(a) The professional development program, (b) teachers as the learners in the system, (c) the facilitators who guide teacher learning, and the (d) professional development context” (Borko 2004, p. 4). Putting teacher change to the center, teacher professional development for online and mobile learning environments can include these elements to help teachers’ transformation for successful online and mobile teaching. A professional development model that focuses on teacher learning and new findings of the learning sciences would be effective in transforming teachers’ online and mobile teaching practices. Several recommendations are presented to enhance teacher professional development programs for mobile and online learning.

Prioritizing Teachers’ Individual Needs

The quality of online and mobile learning environments is strongly correlated with how the professional development approaches respond to teachers’ needs, interests, and beliefs about learning. These needs should be addressed from the orientation phase when teachers are prepared to teach in online and mobile learning environments until the implementation and evaluation phases when they are supported through various channels. Teachers need to be equipped with information about the institutional culture, policies and procedures, online and mobile student characteristics and needs, online and mobile pedagogies that they can employ in their particular teaching contexts, recognition methods for quality work, and ways to develop a sense of collegial spirit among the online and mobile teaching stakeholders (Rovai and Downey 2009). Prioritizing teachers’ individual needs and targeting professional development programs to their concerns, motivations, and contexts would enhance effective adoption of online and mobile technologies into learning environments.

Providing Support at the Teaching, Community, and Organizational Levels

Professional development models should “handle multiple personal aspects – cognitive, affective, and contextual” (Straub 2009, p. 642), as well as organizational aspects such as support at the teaching, community, and organizational levels (Baran and Correia 2014). Professional development models that consider support at these levels are critical to teachers’ acceptance of, and participation in, online and mobile learning environments. Successful teaching in online and mobile learning environments is considered as the result of the complex interplay between personal, pedagogical, contextual, and organizational factors within education institutions. Therefore, by recognizing the importance of supporting teachers for teaching at various levels (e.g., technical, pedagogical, organizational), a holistic professional development approach is recommended (Baran and Correia 2014). In the holistic approach, the relationships between the community, teachers, and the organization would be considered and the support programs would follow an integrated structure to promote effective mobile and online teaching.

The support and recognition at the organization level were stated as the critical motivational factors of teachers’ commitment, sustained interest, and participation in online teaching (Cook et al. 2009). When teachers see online and mobile learning as academically respected, rewarded, accessible, and flexible within their organizational culture, they will be more motivated and confident to teach within online and mobile learning environments. A positive organizational culture towards mobile and online learning would motivate and sustain teachers’ participation.

Promoting Pedagogical Inquiry with Mobile and Online Technologies

Professional development programs that target successful mobile and online teaching need to support teachers’ pedagogical inquiry as they reflect on the affordances of mobile and online technologies, the pedagogical strategies in these platforms, content transformations, and student learning in their authentic teaching contexts. Professional development programs can target the program and support content to each teacher’s individual needs and competencies. Rather than having a solely technological focus, programs can help teachers transform their existing pedagogical methods to these platforms and explore new pedagogical potentials of mobile and online technologies, restructure their content within mobile and online environments, and examine student perspectives and learning within these platforms. Pedagogical inquiry is a key element in professional development and support programs that address teacher transformation. Transformative ICT professional development (Prestridge 2010) is one example that can be used to enhance teachers’ online and mobile learning practices. Putting reflective process at the center, the model includes three professional learning elements: Investigation, reflection, and constructive dialogue (Prestridge 2010). For example, teachers can investigate new online and mobile learning pedagogies, engage in written and verbal reflections individually and within groups, and participate to the constructive dialogue with colleagues or peers as they critically discuss what is happening in online and mobile learning environments, and stimulate new ideas (Prestridge and Tondeur 2015).

Examining Teachers’ Learning with Mobile and Online Technologies

Research on mobile and online learning should investigate teachers’ learning with mobile and online technologies. Online and mobile environments hold potentials for enhancing teachers’ learning with their new affordances of anytime-anywhere learning. Professional development programs can be supported with online and mobile learning that extend teachers’ learning spaces (Burden and Kearney 2016). Mentoring programs, for example, can integrate e-mentoring or mobile-mentoring approaches. Personal learning networks can be established on mobile and online platforms to support knowledge exchange between teachers. Other advantages of mobile and online tools can be integrated into teacher learning environments to extend the time and space for learning (Kearney et al. 2012). For example, recent affordances for mobile tools (e.g., location awareness, augmented reality) can be used to create personalized, situated, contextualized, and authentic teacher learning settings.

Ensuring the Continuity and Sustainability of Teacher Learning

Teachers’ successful transformation to online and mobile learning environments requires a sustained and systematic effort on implementing professional learning models. Professional development programs need to take measures to sustain the continuity of teacher learning (Dede et al. 2009). Establishing collegial learning networks, mentoring programs, and allocating resources to measure and track teacher learning over time would contribute to the long-term impact of these professional development models. Creating communities of practice on mobile and online platforms and supporting teacher interaction with the help of these environments could help teachers share best practices, receive immediate help and feedback, and encourage their sense of belonging to a group of like-minded professionals.

Examining the Impact on Student Learning

Professional development programs for mobile and online teaching can integrate data regarding student learning to the design of content and pedagogies of professional learning activities (Fishman et al. 2003). Collaboration with researchers would help design and implement research needed to measure student and teacher learning, and the effectiveness of teaching with online and mobile technologies in different contexts (Mouza 2009). Individual and contextual factors that impact student and teacher learning could also be investigated to gather evidence of the success or not of these programs. Collaborating with other stakeholders is another important success factor in this process. For example, teachers should be in constant communication with instructional designers, instructional and technology support centers, and other related staff to make informed decisions regarding effective use of mobile and online learning environments.

Conclusion

Professional development is a complex process, which requires the study of teachers’ learning and transformation of their knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes into practice (Avalos 2011). New approaches to professional development for online and mobile learning shifted the focus from stand-alone teacher development programs to customized, anytime-anywhere, on-demand, and collaborative learning models. Such models grounded on teachers’ pedagogical transformation include mentoring, professional learning communities, and design-based learning. Focusing on teachers’ pedagogical inquiry, professional development can engage teachers in reflection, problem solving, and professional dialogue about teaching in online and mobile learning environments (Prestridge 2016). The field of research on professional development for online and mobile learning is relatively young, and literature needs more robust research on the impact of programs on online students’ learning. Programs can benefit from research on newer conceptualizations of teacher knowledge required for effective teaching in mobile and online environments.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationIowa State UniversityAmes/IowaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Peter Albion
    • 1
  • Jo Tondeur
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Teacher Education and Early ChildhoodUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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