There is so much excitement around blended learning and how technology can enable a better learning experience for students. At the same time, there should also be a sufficient amount of K12 professional development to ensure that “no teacher gets left behind.” In other words, teachers, like their students, deserve every opportunity to benefit from technology. If we want our teachers to embrace new EdTech then it only makes sense to support them with training that aligns learning outcomes to learning paths.
But why would you need an LMS for this?
Providing teachers K12 professional development using the same LMS used by their students, can reveal the system’s full value. When they discover the benefits of online learning firsthand, they will be better prepared to pass on this enthusiasm to their students. And providing more PD time to teachers demonstrates a commitment to this change, which in turn encourages buy-in of the new technology.
Cost savings associated with LMS
Learning Management Systems enable students (and teachers as students) to access course content anywhere and at any time. Because of this, there may be considerable savings in terms of the cost of PD, which has been estimated around $18,000 per teacher, per year. Traditional K12 professional development can incur expenses associated with travel and content distribution, for example. Having all content in an online form can reduce these costs. As well, conditional releases help to reduce the hands-on monitoring required to ensure that learners are progressing through their studies. Alerts (emails) can be triggered for any number of pre-determined circumstances, thereby reducing the amount of worktime required to monitor and respond to learner activities.
K12 professional development tailored to each learner
Using an LMS, teachers can progress at their own rate through material. Instructors can monitor this progress and provide continuous feedback, assign remedial material, and more. Teachers can be assigned unique learning paths, tailored to align with their specific learning outcomes. For example, courses in pedagogy and compliance training can be assigned to individuals based upon their role as teacher, principal, administrator, etc. As well, there are specific LMS tools that can enrich the learning experience, enabling:
- Peer-to-peer tutoring for sharing of resources and ideas
- Continuous communication and feedback from instructors
- Upload and access to content of all types (PDFs, videos, etc.)
With so much expectation placed upon teachers to provide blended learning in the future, then we need to plan for it today. But rather than seeing this as more work for teachers to take on, PD can be optimized to be easier and cost less. Next generation education technology can ensure that every stakeholder achieves their learning outcomes with speed, accuracy and at their convenience.