What is this research about?
To better understand the opportunities and challenges of blended learning uptake in LINC programs, the LearnIT2teach project conducted two surveys of LINC administrators and instructors (2012 and 2016-17) focused on the implementation of learning technologies in LINC programs undertaken in Ontario and across Canada.
What did the researchers find?
High level findings include:
- satisfaction rates above 90% by teachers who have participated in the training
- The biggest obstacles to blended learning uptake continue to be lack of paid release time for teacher training, or higher compensation for teachers who implement blended or online learning, and the lack of local technology infrastructure locally in many SPOs responsible for frontline program delivery
- Sector professionals have been surveyed several times by the LearnIT2teach Project and have reported the following, with implications for the project (Fahy, Sturm, McBride, & Edgar, 2016):
- More teachers would take PD training if their time in PD was paid.
- Unionized teachers tend to be reluctant to engage in unpaid PD. Most of the interviewees who use LearnIT2teach courseware are not unionized.
- Systems are going backwards financially, with more and more demands on teachers. Teachers are willing to move with the times, but it’s hard when there are obstacles at every turn.
- The reality of being a teacher in other systems is that effort is recognized with moving up a pay scale. For language teachers, there often is no recognition.
- Initial input of time to create course material is large. Instructors lack free time.
- There were also the familiar reports about lack of working equipment, support, and resources for PD and innovation. These reports concerned language labs (which were often shared among a large number of classes) and in-classroom computers (which were often not properly supported, were not working, did not have broadband access, or were too few in number to have an impact).