Student teachers’ experiences of online learning

Defis, Nerys and Glover, Alison (2023). Student teachers’ experiences of online learning. Advances in Online Education: A Peer-Reviewed Journal, 2(2) pp. 147–159.

URL: https://hstalks.com/article/8248/student-teachers-...

Abstract

Teacher education is an important element of education reform currently taking place in Wales. Addressing the challenge of recruiting a high-quality teacher workforce is key. To assist in the recruitment of teachers to rural schools and to encourage those to enter the profession who might otherwise not consider teaching as a career, a new flexible and blended online teacher training offer has been available in Wales since 2020. In 2022 the first student teachers graduated from the new programme that offers a two-year part-time or employment-based route into teaching. Using a case study approach, 50 student teachers’ survey responses identified consistently high levels of satisfaction with the programme information and course materials. It is clear, however, that it takes time for students to become familiar with accessing the materials, with differing levels of satisfaction reported. This has implications for the programme’s induction process, which have since been streamlined. Student teachers reported limited engagement with forum posts. Exploring a range of possible actions to support such engagement is underway, including linking the activity to specific seminar tasks. It was also found that some student teachers are reluctant to interact with their peers during breakout room discussions. Again, this is an aspect that is continuing to be addressed. It is important to recognise that embedding new practices to increase engagement and collaboration opportunities for student teachers takes time to succeed. Since the forced online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, many education providers continue to offer this flexibility for learners and this paper contributes to understanding and improving this mode of delivery.

Plain Language Summary

The education sector in Wales is in a period of reform. Teacher education is an important element of this reform currently taking place in Wales. A new flexible and blended online teacher training programme has been available in Wales since 2020 with the aim of assisting the recruitment of teachers. In 2022 the first student teachers graduated from the new programme. Using a case study approach, 50 student teachers’ survey responses were explored in order to better understand their experiences of blended, online Initial Teacher Education. Since the development of forced online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, many education providers continue to offer this flexibility for learners and this paper contributes to understanding and improving this mode of delivery.

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