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Virtual benchmarking as professional development: Peer learning in authentic learning environments

Leppisaari, I., Vainio, L. and Herrington, J. (2009) Virtual benchmarking as professional development: Peer learning in authentic learning environments. In: 26th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) , 6-9 December 2009, Auckland, New Zealand pp. 566-576.

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Abstract

The creation of a virtual benchmarking model as a tool for professional development of
teachers is examined in this article. The process employed authentic learning criteria as
reflection and dialogue tools in a peer review of e-courses. The learning space the virtual
benchmarking process provided and its effectiveness in supporting professional
development as experienced by teachers are described. Strengths and development
challenges of the model are discussed. The project itself became an authentic learning
environment in which elements structuring authentic learning promoted peer learning and
collaborative construction of knowledge. Virtual methodologies were tested and developed
with the use of Adobe Connect Pro and Ning. Teachers felt new knowledge could
immediately be transferred to their work and authenticity in e-learning fostered by
increasing collaborative construction of knowledge, strengthening reflection and deploying
interactive social media. While considered useful and a time-saver, further improvements to
the multiphase model should focus on process instructions and role clarification.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Publisher: Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education
Copyright: Copyright © 2009 Irja Leppisaari, Leena Vainio and Jan Herrington
Conference Website: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland09/
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/1909
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