Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

FLOTE-ing and sinking: Teacher participation in online professional development

Jones, Tracey (2012) FLOTE-ing and sinking: Teacher participation in online professional development. Professional Doctorate thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Front Pages
Download (459kB)
PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (2MB)


This study examines the engagement of two groups of teachers, in successive years, with an online professional development program designed to support teachers in facilitating the learning of languages other than English. The study examines the factors that impacted the teachers’ ability to engage with the FLOTE online professional development programme. In particular, the study identifies what aspects of the programme encouraged or supported teachers, and what aspects hindered teachers. It also examines the impact of personal factors on the capacity of teachers to be successful in completing the FLOTE online programme.

A mixed methods approach is used in the study. Quantitative data provide demographic information, as well as information about participant teachers’ initial level of competence with information communication technologies. The online tracking facility, incorporated into the programme, also recorded teachers’ time on task across all programme modules. Qualitative data are used to report on teacher participants as online learners, and to capture their individual lived experiences as they interacted with the FLOTE programme.

Also significant within the study are the lived experiences of the researcher. She occupies multiple roles – co-creator of elements of the programme, programme facilitator, data collector and analyst. The study projects her multiple voices as she engages with the two participant cohorts and this, inturn, adds to the richness of the investigation.

This research is contextualised within the development of the FLOTE online professional development programme. This programme uses a range of nautical themes to encapsulate key programme elements. So too does this study. It draws on a range of nautical analogies and uses these as a framework to present the study, as well as a mechanism to reflect and represent ideas and themes.

The findings of this study identify a number of factors that supported and hindered participants’ engagement with the FLOTE programme. These included ICT competence, experiences and expectations of professional development, as well as personal factors. However, the most critical factor to emerge from the study relates to the capacity for teacher participants to be self-directed and autonomous in their own learning. The study shows that the low level of programme completion reflects the inability of most participants in this study to take responsibility for their own learning.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Supervisor(s): Norris, Lindy and Maor, Dorit
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year