Ghent University (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 4813-4819
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.1124
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
The intended outcome of a Professional Development Program (PDP) for academic staff in higher education is the application of what has been learned to improve student learning. Teachers struggle to implement PDP outcomes effectively to consistently apply them in the classroom. The lack of accompaniment, support, content relevance, etc. make up some of the main reasons why teachers do not apply new learning.

Using a literature review focusing on key variables influencing transfer of learning and Self-determination Theory (SDT), we designed a research-based innovative PDP for 30 teachers in a major public university in Ecuador, and examined its impact on their motivation to transfer learning. This PDP, while introducing teachers to innovative strategies, considered their Basic Psychological Needs (BPN) of teachers.

To cope with difficulties to engage professionals in face to face sessions, we opted for a Blended Learning (BL) approach. Using BL, we designed a 3 month PDP program about Interactive Teaching Techniques; each following a 4 phase setup: 1. 2-hour Face-to-face Lecture, 2. Design of a lesson plan, 3. Application of the content, and 4. Reflection on the application. The 2-hour lecture consisted of a face-to-face session with the participants and the facilitators to introduce and discuss an innovative teaching strategy. These sessions took place every 2 weeks. Next, participants were asked to design a lesson plan using a template provided by the facilitator through Blackboard, with supplementary materials such as videos, text, and reading material. Participants then had the opportunity to implement the lesson plan in a real classroom. Finally, they were encouraged to reflect on the experience of the implementation. Throughout the entire PDP, the facilitator and peers provided feedback and encouragement to the work of each participant in a BL environment.

The research design was driven by the following research question: what is the impact of a BL PDP that fosters the satisfaction of the BPN on motivation to transfer learning? To answer this research question, we conducted face-to-face interviews with 15 faculty members. To analyze the impact of the PDP on motivation to transfer, each interview transcript was coded and analyzed using NVIVO11 as to the way it supported the BPN of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.

As to their need for autonomy, we found that teachers responded positively to the possibility of choosing, when and how to implement the new technique. Thus underpinning the potential of the Blended-Learning approach. They also valued positively the freedom to modify the content to suit their needs. In their need for competence, they showed appreciation for the opportunity to implement the new technique in their classroom during the training period. The online materials, the feedback provided and the reflection-focus helped them feel confident to implement the new teaching techniques. As to their need for relatedness, the BL environment provided a sense of support by the facilitator. However, they argued that in this context there is a lack of support from the institution itself in the form of e.g., recognition or incentives.

The present qualitative results support the authors´ claim to provide a BL driven - PDP environment where technology and institutional support are key elements in the transfer of learning. We propose a PDP model based on SDT to assist in future design processes of PDP.
Professional Development, Motivation to Transfer Learning, Self-determination Theory, Higher Education.