Quality instruction is one of the biggest complaints across a variety of higher education institutions. Highly skilled professionals often have a unique skill set that may not include the ability to pass on information in a traditional learning environment. This challenge is magnified by online learning environments which tend to reduce the amount of one-on-one time between instructors and learners. Creating meaningful learning frameworks for online delivery becomes a seemingly impossible task when faculty brings practical subject knowledge without a commensurate amount of teaching knowledge.
Defining the Scope of the Educational Challenge
The more highly skilled the professional, the more expensive their time. For example, asking a surgeon to attend classes on knowledge delivery and become a certified teacher would exponentially increase the cost of delivering knowledge. At the same time, skilled professionals are already required to continually add to their knowledge base to keep up with new information. If cutting edge information comes through practicing professionals, and these professionals lack experience teaching, how can learning institutions bridge the gap?
Partnering for Better Curriculum Development
With experienced professionals facing the unaccustomed task of curriculum generation, a certain amount of confusion is to be expected in the final product. After all, professionals know their topics, but may not be up to date on the latest learning technologies, information delivery methods and opportunities to blend practical and academic knowledge. By incorporating eLearning in faculty development, teaching organizations have the opportunity to both increase instructional standard and expose potential problems before a curriculum is finalized.
eLearning for Faculty
In a professional development environment, few educational options are better positioned than eLearning platforms. The ability to develop short, module-based classes, allows users to invest minimum time for maximum educational gain. Inexperienced faculty can gain an insiders look at curriculum development and see what works and what doesn’t, first hand. By demystifying the process, faculty can become more engaged in the teaching aspect of their professional careers.
By making instructional support available through a portable and always available platform, educational institutions provide extra support for faculty members new to teaching, and experienced professional teachers that may be new to online delivery. In either case, by including faculty development activities in existing online educational materials, organizations create a more seamless approach to knowledge delivery.
Creating Additional Community Learning Opportunities
With direct interaction one of the hurdles of eLearning, community interaction opportunities are a big part of the missing piece for better online faculty development. However, eLearning options can actually put instructors in touch with a bigger base of teaching professionals, expanding the community and encouraging the sharing of practical skills. Online professional communities grow and engage with their users much more regularly than in-person networks. When made available to faculty members, these professional communities can become an invaluable resource, and one that is tied directly to specific learning challenges.
Like a message board, a small part of the community might be communicating about a recent professional development class. By discussing modules and practical applications, teachers gain a better sense of what the class covered and how to put it to use in the physical or digital classroom.
eLearning Isn’t Just for Students
By giving faculty members a mobile, comprehensive and available method to increase their knowledge surrounding teaching, organizations create an all-in-one learning environment. New faculty can continue to develop their classroom skills, while at the same time delivering high quality instruction on esoteric topics.