Conceptual model for designing a successful online community for teacher professional development
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The purpose of this study was to develop a conceptual model for the design of a successful online community to support teachers’ professional development. First, it identified the critical elements of a successful online community that can support teachers’ professional development. Subsequently, the specific implementation strategies and actual design ideas for each element were sought. Finally, these findings led to the development of a conceptual model for an online community. Specifically, a qualitative Delphi study was used to identify the elements that constitute a successful online community. Four rounds of data collection involving 10 experts were conducted. These 10 experts were categorized into two different groups: the developer group and the user group of teacher online communities. The data collection took approximately five months and a total of 20 interviews were conducted. Following the data collection and analysis, a final model that comprised the relevant elements, strategies, and actual design ideas was developed based on the findings. The final model suggested 12 important elements for consideration in the design of a successful online community for teachers’ professional development. These are: evolving environment, diversity of services, sustainability, multiple layers of incentives, responding to teachers’ immediate needs, ease of usability, direct teacher involvement, sense of membership, professional discussion, facilitative leadership, and social connection. These 12 elements were grouped into three dimensions: (1) supporting an open system, (2) fostering teacher participation, and (3) creating a culture of collaboration based on their characteristics. For each element, experts also suggested the appropriate strategies and possible online community features as actual design ideas.