Systems Approach as Key to Effective Professional Development of Online Educators
Abstract: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, educators in K-12 and higher education have been undergoing transformational changes. These changes have led to a dramatic massive transition from traditional, classroom-based, teacher-led, cohort-organized teaching and learning (T&L) to a new system of home-based, teacher-facilitated, and predominantly independent educational activity conducted online. In view of this transformation, many teachers and administrators face complex and urgent challenges – pedagogical, organizational, financial, technological, social, and psychological. The quality of T&L has become a grave concern because many teachers do not have prior experiences and/or sufficient foundational skills to adequately provide appropriate and effective online experiences to their students. An essential component in the educational process is maintaining quality teacher competencies through effective, comprehensive, and innovative system of continuous professional development (PD). Research shows, however, that current PD procedures are generally unsuccessful. In our opinion, he major reason for this is a lack of a Systems Approach in the establishment and maintenance of PD in secondary and higher education. This paper offers possible solutions towards the development of a cohesive, well-grounded, and dynamic online PD system for educators at every level, which is also holistic, methodical, and sustainable.