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Face-to-Face and Online Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers: A Comparative Study

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Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks Volume 13, Number 2, ISSN 1939-5256


The study compared the effects of a professional development course delivered in an online and a face-to-face format. The effects examined included changes in teachers' pedagogical beliefs, instructional practices, and understanding of teaching number-sense and related mathematical concepts. The study randomly assigned participants to either the online or the face-to-face format and employed the same instructors, reading material, and instructional activities for both formats of the course. Both formats of the course were also delivered over the same eight-week period and required participants to invest approximately the same amount of time each week engaging in learning activities. Both formats of the course showed significant impacts on teachers' mathematical understanding, pedagogical beliefs, and instructional practices. Consistent with prior research on online versus face-to-face instruction, the positive outcomes were comparable across both formats. Interestingly, teachers who participated in the online course reported that they were more willing to take courses in the future online than did teachers in the face-to-face condition. Further research is needed to determine whether this finding is limited to self-selected teachers, the specifics of this course, or other factors that limit generalizability. (Contains 5 tables.)


Russell, M., Carey, R., Kleiman, G. & Venable, J.D. (2009). Face-to-Face and Online Professional Development for Mathematics Teachers: A Comparative Study. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(2), 71-87. Retrieved February 26, 2021 from .

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