As technology improves, online professional development opportunities have become varied, efficient, and cost effective. The major concern for online learning is how it compares to traditional face-to-face learning.
According to the US Department of Education (2010), students who participated in online learning performed better than students learning identical material through traditional face-to-face instruction. When instruction is well designed, instruction works whether real time/real place or virtual.
Online learning opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Here is a snapshot:
- Webinars – live (synchronous) or recorded/archived (asynchronous)
- Video tutorials –from two minute, just-in-time training ranging to two hours of sit, get, and try it.
- Communities of Practice – usually in the form of interactive wikis and virtual discussion
- Blended Learning – can combine face-to-face facilitation with computer-mediated instruction and/or discovery learning opportunities
Application and Resources
TTAC online(http://ttaconline.org)-Online webshops, videos, and tutorials
Assistive Technology Industry Association ATIA ( http://www.atia.org)- Select webinars from the menu for a current list of offerings
Atomic Learning ( http://atomiclearning.com)- Offers a library of video tutorials on assistive technology
Virtual Tecknowledgy Conference (http://ttaconline.org)
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development. (2010, September). Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/eval/tech/evidence-based-practices/finalreport.pdf.