Professional Development in an Online Learning Setting Through Collaborative Dialogue

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Katrin Niewalda, Sophia University

In this study the author looked at the communication processes and patterns on an online learning platform that was used by an informal study group of 6 teachers. The postings from the teachers on the Moodle learning platform were analyzed by using qualitative content analysis. They were categorized along main communicative codes consisting of content, coordination, organization, and socioemotion. The level of processing of the postings and group phases were also analyzed. To some degree, content-related discussion took place, but most of the postings were superficial. Asynchronous communication as well as the lack of face-to-face-meetings made it challenging not to lose sight of the group’s goal, which is why synchronous forms of communication, like Skype meetings, became more important as collaboration developed. Despite the challenges, the teachers saw the benefits of using Moodle, which offered a protected space where they could share ideas.