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Professional development for academic staff in e-learning is currently a priority for higher education institutions in the Republic of Ireland as lecturers in Irish Higher Education are experiencing increasing demands to incorporate e-learning into their teaching practice. This chapter reports on the design and implementation of a blended module in e-learning for the continuous professional development of such lecturers. In this chapter we evaluate the effectiveness of exposing our lecturers as online students so they can experience first-hand the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. Further, we show how improvement in both teaching practice and student learning can be achieved through a constructivist, collaborative interaction that provides the scaffolding for lecturers’ future journeys into e-learning and into constructivist practices within their own teaching. The blended approach is still in its infancy but important outcomes were achieved in terms of influencing lecturers’ thinking and approaches to both their own and their students’ learning. The chapter will thus highlight the need for social interaction and its provision online, and review participant response to this e-learning approach.
Donnelly, R., & O'Farrell, C. (2006) Constructivist E-Learning for Continuous Professional Development of Academic Staff. In J O'Donoghue (Ed.) Technology Supported Learning and Teaching : A Staff Perspective (pp.146-159). Hershey, PA : Information Science Publishing.