Teacher-training programs are integral to improving the educational performance of a school district continuously. The traditional model of teacher training now can be supplemented or replaced by online courses. The benefits of online courses are substantial, but they must be appropriate to the needs of the teachers and the subjects that are being taught.
One important way to decide whether training should be converted to the web is to consider the benefits of a web-based program and see if they apply to your situation. Here are some key questions to consider:
- Does your staff need the convenience of the web? Online courses can be taken at times that are convenient for teachers. Does that matter to your staff? What will they gain from taking courses whenever and wherever they choose–and what will they lose? The flexibility of online training allows a teacher to implement the knowledge gained from the course into his or her classroom immediately.
- Are the teachers at vastly different skill levels? Web courses can be taken at the pace that is appropriate for each participant, without embarrassing laggards or boring those with more knowledge or experience. Also, participants who want to pursue a topic in greater depth can use links and additional material provided online.
- What is your training budget? Once developed, online courses tend to be less costly over time. They have few limits on the number of people who can take them, and their costs do not rise as greatly with each additional student. However, the upfront costs can be substantial.