The Next Wave in Statewide Literacy Professional Development: eLearning

One important goal of the Ohio Department of Education is to deliver the highest quality literacy professional development possible to all Ohio teachers. Beginning in fiscal year 2008, SIRI First R and SIRI Diagnostic courses were replaced by eLearning modules. These courses are available to all K-5 teachers across the state, although state funds are directed toward Tier 1 schools that consequently demonstrate the greatest need. These eLearning modules and course content have been externally reviewed and pilot implementations of the eLearning method have shown an increase in participant knowledge in content areas. By linking professional development to data and offering customized professional development opportunities, ODE strives to deliver the most meaningful and appropriate courses for teachers.

Why eLearning?

  • eLearning is an effective way to disseminate professional development statewide and to meet literacy learning objectives.
  • eLearning provides real-time, on-going and job-embedded support to teachers.
  • eLearning focuses on scientifically based reading research content and guarantees that a consistent message is being delivered to all Ohio teachers.
  • eLearning content is a powerful, video-rich resource that draws on the expertise of local and national subject matter experts.
  • eLearning can fit within a teacher’s busy schedule by giving access to self-paced content. With an Internet connection, teachers can access learning content at any time and at any place; eLearning helps teachers deal with their time constraints.
  • eLearning can accommodate different learning styles and preferences and can be customized to fit the particular needs of a district, school or teacher.

How do eLearning courses work?

Courses combine a variety of instructional elements to create either traditional self-directed online courses or blended learning courses. Blended courses include online learning modules, instructor-led classroom events, peer-to-peer interactions through online discussion boards and building-level meetings. These elements offer participants multiple experiences with the content as well as opportunities for community building at the site level.

How are eLearning courses customized?

ODE worked in conjunction with its contractor, eRead Ohio, which offers a menu of online modules that can be customized to fit a school’s or district’s needs. An eLearning course can be composed of all or some of the instructional elements and module facilitators can determine course sequence and length.

The most successful eLearning courses are those that are developed based on school or district needs as determined by available data. For example, data may indicate that teachers in a particular school may benefit from vocabulary or comprehension professional development, or OAT scores may indicate a need for professional development in all five components of reading instruction. Courses can then be tailored to meet the specific professional development needs of that school.

To learn more about eLearning in Ohio, please visit the Reading First-Ohio Center website at www.readingfirstohio.org/.

Last Modified: 5/8/2013 1:59:02 PM