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The effectiveness of remote and blended teacher education

Published: Oct 8, 2020 2 min read

STEM learning

University of Birmingham and CUREE explore the evidence 

By Nick Howarth Pulleyn

STEM Learning delivers high-impact continuing professional development (CPD) and introduced intensive (synchronous) remote delivery in response to COVID-19.

We commissioned a rapid review to assess the academic evidence on the effectiveness of remote and blended delivery of teacher education, compared with purely face-to-face delivery. The review team found only a small number of rigorous studies on this subject and so widened its literature review, screening over 7,000 papers and studying over 60 in depth.

It concluded that remote delivery has advantages and navigable challenges compared with face-to-face delivery. It needs to be carefully designed and skilfully executed. If this is achieved, remote delivery can usefully complement face-to-face delivery, as seen in the growth of blended programmes. If necessary, as seen in lockdown situations, it can provide an adequate substitute.

Remote and blended delivery are growing in usage and are likely to cement permanent places in the toolkit of teacher education, alongside tried and tested face-to-face delivery. They can deliver effective learning design principles and support learning outcomes, including pedagogy.

A few of the many detailed findings were:

  • Technology can be applied thoughtfully to support practice, learning, collaboration and reflection
  • Video technology may offer new value-added opportunities to explore and study classroom interaction
  • The flexibility of timing in remote delivery helps teachers fit their CPD around their professional commitments
  • High-quality collaboration is important in CPD and needs careful consideration in remote settings, with online community elements and effective moderation proving helpful
  • Coaching and mentoring interventions are effective in delivering improved teacher learning outcomes through remote and blended approaches
  • School leaders retain a key enabling role in creating good conditions for teacher learning, whatever the delivery medium

Read the full paper here

STEM Learning, October 2020