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Meeting the Needs of Online Teachers: Training and Challenges

Monday, February 8, 2016

1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Central Time

(2:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m. Eastern Time)



REL Midwest and its Virtual Education Research Alliance hosted a webinar designed to explore the alignment of virtual education professional development with the challenges and preferences expressed by teachers.


The webinar featured Dr. Jacqueline Zweig and Erin Stafford from Education Development Center, who presented findings from a survey of Wisconsin Virtual School teachers about professional development timing and topics, top instructional challenges, and perceived needs for additional professional development. Dawn Nordine and Michele Nickels from Wisconsin Virtual School discussed the findings and how they will influence future professional development offerings. Marcel Kielkucki from Kirkwood Community College’s High School Completion Program and Gwen Nagel from Iowa Learning Online, a state virtual education program, shared results and implications from administering the survey within their organizations. Participants gained insights into challenges and preferred professional development formats reported by Wisconsin Virtual School teachers, which can be used to inform practices at their own schools, districts, or states. Participants also were provided with information on how to access a tool to assess needs within their own programs.


Please view the archived PowerPoint presentation slides.



  • Timing and topics of professional development for online teachers
  • Top challenges that online teachers face and preferred professional development formats to address those challenges
  • Strategies to incorporate teacher needs and feedback into professional development offerings


Who Should Attend?


K–12 virtual education program staff and administrators in the Midwest and throughout the country, and state and district administrators involved with administering online learning opportunities to diverse student populations.


Related Resource


Zweig, J., Stafford, E., Clements, M., & Pazzaglia, A. M. (2015). Professional experiences of online teachers in Wisconsin: Results from a survey about training and challenges (REL 2015–110). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Central. Retrieved from