What Do We Need In an Online Teacher Training Course?



There are so many teacher-training courses online and all over the world that I think it’s a good idea to pause and consider the true essentials of professional development.

As an online teacher who learns from others online and who shares my own experiences, I’ve been able to view this from quite a few different perspectives. In the last month, in particular, I’ve been fully focused on this through the experience of setting up a new teacher-training course with Jason R. Levine, finding expert presenters and listing essential topics to be covered.

Journalling & developing:

I decided to use the Linkedin blogging feature to start my professional development story-telling journal.

The journal had three aims:

1) To reflect upon professional development and what we are creating.

2) To take up my own self-imposed 30 minute blogging challenge. I will talk about that during my BTB Online webinar in November.

3) To spread the word about our free teacher training course on Linkedin.

Here are my first five articles with the story of our planning, insights and experiences.

I also want people to realise why we’re doing what we’re doing, how we prioritised our topics, why they are important, and to learn more about our presenters.

To that end I’ve made a presentation of our topics and presenters and I created a video using present.me – a tool that our course participants will learn to use and which I’ll use to create my ‘how-to’ videos for the course creation section of our MOOC.

Here is my talk about the course topics and presenters.

Our presenters were chosen for their tech-savvy skills combined with marketing, planning, communication and social skills.

Based on the above criteria and my own experience, it seems that the bottom line in what we need is a hands-on approach to actually getting teachers to create their own courses in a supportive environment. Yet the hands-on approach needs a wider backdrop of knowledge, learning theories, approaches, psychology and meaningful input beyond the practicalities.

I think that we have managed to combine these naturally, not by trial and error, but because our chosen presenters have got to where they are through the combination of tech-savvy business skills and socially intelligent awareness.

Therefore I believe that business success depends upon building practical skills, ongoing action research,  experimenting, and finally, the glue that holds it all together Рsocial intelligence.



Image credit: Jordi G


I think that it would be interesting for our course participants and the wider teaching community to check out my slideshow of topics and presenters in order to access the links to presenter websites and really get to know their work.

I’ve also started creating a list of dedicated educational technology and online teaching blogs on Listly for our course participants. It’s just the start of my list, so watch it grow and feel free to contribute to this collaborative blogging list. I will also create a reading list of ¬†educational technology books for the course. If you are an author in the elearning space you may find your book on my list. Please comment below with opinions on our course topics and feel to join us on our course starting October 24th.Build Your Teaching Business Online.

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Sylvia Guinan

is an online English teacher, writer and blogger who facilitates professional development online. She uses brain-friendly techniques to help students and teachers around the world. She designs educational materials, develops courses, writes resource papers and publishes ebooks. Her work is the result of much research into the psychology of learning, as well as hands-on experience with multi-media technology.

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