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Online professional development: secondary school teachers' beliefs and influence.

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The current traditional face-to-face professional development (PD) for teachers has proven to be ineffective, being fragmented and not related to their needs. Online professional development (OPD) is an alternative method of providing ongoing PD where teachers can learn at anytime and anywhere, at their own pace, in spite of their busy schedules. Exploring secondary school teachers’ beliefs about OPD, is therefore the purpose of this study. The objectives are to ascertain secondary school teachers’ beliefs about OPD, explore the facilitating and inhibiting factors influencing their beliefs about OPD, analyse how these beliefs are constructed and why teachers have such beliefs. As the current traditional face-to-face teachers’ PD programmes seem to be ineffective and most teachers in Mauritius attend such PD programmes. The model of Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) and model of teacher learning have been used as lenses for exploring teachers’ belief about OPD. An exploratory sequential mixed-methods and case study methodology was used for the gathering of qualitative data then quantitative data to generalise the findings to a larger population. The case study involved three focus groups of five participants each. Three themes emerged from the interpretive analysis: teachers’ experiences with teaching training programmes, online teacher training use behaviour; and challenges of online teacher training. A questionnaire was developed from the qualitative findings to collect data for the quantitative study phase from a sample of 65 teachers and analysing the data using inferential statistics. This study confirms that in the 21st century, teachers need technological pedagogical content knowledge. Therefore, it proposes a shift from traditional face-to-face PD to an online PD (OPD) for secondary school teachers, where they have control over their learning in terms of time, place or speed. This is because the former is too theoretical and offered in one-size-fits all mode, its content does not satisfy teachers’ needs, and they are thus not helped to grow and progress professionally. But teachers need immediate and specific solutions to their classroom problems. Thus, PD is not promoting professional growth and progress. A multiple regression analysis result shows six predictors of online teacher training use behaviour. These are: content and activities, performance expectancy, behavioural intention, facilitating conditions, effort expectancy and evidence of students’ performance. It also shows that social influence is no longer a predictor of behavioural intention nor of online teacher training use behaviour. Finally, this study proposes a model for explaining the participation of secondary teachers in OPD.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.