Is online teacher training worth the money?

It’s a tough call for schools with limited budgets – whether to allocate funds to teacher CPD, and if so, how to maximise ROI? If you’re a school administrator, read this.

Both money and time are increasingly sparse resources in schools globally, which makes choosing continued professional development (CPD) training with care all the more important. Paying a fortune for a course that has minimal impact is something educators simply cannot afford.

Both money and time are increasingly sparse resources in schools globally, which makes choosing continued professional development (CPD) training with care all the more important. Paying a fortune for a course that has minimal impact is something educators simply cannot afford.

While some schools choose to forego CPD altogether, leaving the responsibility to already overburdened teachers, the evidence shows that this is short-sighted.

A cost-benefit analysis study from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) found that “providing teachers with a right to high-quality training and development would boost pupil attainment and earnings, and may tackle retention problems in the profession”. Data from Teacher Tapp, an app that provides CPD information in return for teachers’ opinions and teaching experiences, found that 93% of teachers believe CPD would make them a better teacher.

There is also compelling research by online hiring resource ClearCompany, which found that “employees who have access to professional development opportunities are 15% more engaged,” retention rates are 34% higher, and 58% said CPD contributes to their job satisfaction.

CPD promotes credibility, improves skills and keeps educators up-to-speed with industry developments.

As British emeritus professor Dylan Williams is often quoted: “Every teacher needs to improve, not because they are not good enough, but because they can be even better.”

But with the overwhelming selection of training options out there, how can CPD administrators choose the right one – one that will ensure maximum return on investment (ROI)?
It’s a tricky equation.

There are models that can track the efficacy of a training course.

One of the most well-known is the Kirkpatrick Model, which outlines four facets of training success:

– Reaction

this speaks to how teachers experienced the training. Did they enjoy it and/or find it helpful? Just like school students, engaged teachers have better education outcomes. This can be measured by collating teacher feedback.

– Learning

Did the training result in increased understanding, knowledge and skills? This can be measured by the test results of the course.

– Behaviour

Did the training lead to adapted behaviour and implementation at the end of the course? This can be ascertained though interviews and observation in the field.

– Results:

Positive results include more engaged teachers as well as improved outcomes for students, which can be evaluated via observation, feedback and, obviously, student academic performance.

Schools would be well-advised to implement this model to track the effectiveness of their CPD programmes.

However, since it is impossible to measure ROI before a course or platform is selected, administrators’ best option is to look at the factors that indicate the training will be of a high quality.
eLearning is becoming an increasingly appealing option for teacher CPD for many reasons, but the most pertinent to administrators is that online training saves both time and money, and is well positioned to provide a higher ROI than in-person training. Not all eLearning platforms are created equal, though. Here’s how to identify one that makes every cent count.

Customisation is key

Paying for a one-size-fits-all training course that a large group of staff can attend may seem like a cost-effective move, but impact may be limited since the course material’s relevance will vary between participants. Training that is tailored to each teacher’s individual needs, makes much more sense. After all – students perform better when they have individual tutors, do they not? An eLearning course that consults with both teachers and administrators to align their training goals is more effective.

Teacher consultation is essential

A ‘top-down’ approach to CDP is disempowering to teachers. When educators are given a sense of agency through consultation in – or, even better, taking responsibility for – identifying their CPD requirements, they are more likely to feel favourable towards, engage with and benefit from the training.

Remember, time is money

A second sign of a quality CPD course is time-efficiency. Teachers are busier than they’ve ever been, so any training that teachers can complete at their own pace is less likely to require time off or detract from daily responsibilities, and also more likely to increase a sense of ownership and engagement. According to ClearCompany, “85% of employees want to choose their own training times and remain in control of their training schedule”.

Prioritise collaboration

Training that incorporates a component of collaboration and consultation between peers has been shown to be more effective. In a review of 13 000 relevant studies, the Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education found that collaborative CPD resulted in “improvements in teachers’ attitudes and beliefs, teaching strategies, students’ attitudes and behaviour, and students’ achievement.”

Sophia for Schools is a globally-accessible cloud based, professional Learning Experience Platform (LXP) that consults with schools and teachers to create cuostomised CPD learning journeys that are adapted to your school’s region. Simply create your school and employee profiles to access our high quality, professional training and networking services. Our strikingly simple, modular pay-as-you-go format means you only spend time and money on what you use.



Copyright MOTI Professional Development Services Limited 2023, All rights reserved. Designed by SNWebdesigns