A Quantitative Look at the Perceived Effectiveness of Online Professional Development in English Language Teaching Open Access
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At the turn of the 21st century, researchers quickly recognized the lack of online professional development (OPD) research in English language teaching (ELT) and started asking for more inquiry into the effectiveness of online professional learning. This study adds quantitative data analysis to the body of research regarding OPD and strengthens the claim that proper use of OPD in the ELT community mirrors traditional face-to-face professional development effectiveness in classroom instruction and teacher confidence. This study examines ELT educators' perceived effectiveness of professional development, identifies their preference between online and face-to-face professional development, and explores the possible differences that exist in perceived effectiveness and preferred professional development modality choice. A variety of statistical tests will be used to answer the research questions including exploratory factor analysis using a polychoric correlation matrix, logistic regression, independent-sample t-test, and two- and four-way analysis of variance. Although this study includes both online and face-to-face professional development data, the main focus was on the effectiveness and use of OPD. The results of this study enhance Desimone's (2009) core competence framework and Bandura's (1977) self-efficacy theory by: (a) reaffirming past research that professional development does positively influence classroom instruction and teaching confidence; (b) claiming that geographic location is the best predictor of professional development modality preference while age still has its place as a viable predictor, but is just not as strong; and (c) upholding the findings that there are no statistically significant differences when perceived effectiveness is compared to OPD and face-to-face professional development models.With the continuing reach of the World Wide Web and the growing number of people wanting to learn English, OPD has become a necessary training tool for the ELT professional. This study strengthens the literature addressing the similarities between online and face-to-face professional development, reinforces the belief that OPD improves classroom instruction and teacher confidence, and supports national and international policies that call for the use of OPD in English language teacher education.