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Online Professional Development Through Virtual Learning Communities - Book Cover Look Inside

Online Professional Development Through Virtual Learning Communities

By: Sonja Hollins-Alexander


Based on the experiences of a large, urban district, this guide shows how to build an effective online professional development program that incorporates peer-to-peer learning.
Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452276663
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2013
  • Page Count: 120
  • Publication date: May 16, 2013

Price: $24.95

Price: $24.95
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Powerful collaborative learning—anytime, anyplace!

Online learning seems like a perfect solution for cost-conscious districts and busy teachers, but can these programs also deliver high-caliber professional learning? Using one district’s success story as a model, this timely book shows you how to combine well-designed online instruction with the energy of peer-to-peer collaboration. At the heart of this book is a model that supports powerful professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for every student.

Sonja Hollins-Alexander writes from her own experience building a successful online professional development (PD) program for a large urban district. Readers will find

  • Research-based support for online PD and the author’s original Learner-Learner model
  • A thorough planning guide and ten action steps for program development
  • Best practices for managing staffing and resources
  • Strategies for establishing a true community of learners online

Discover how to create a sustainable online PD program that promotes collaboration and growth!

“This book provides district and school leaders with a practical guide to shifting professional learning from more traditional ‘sit and get’ models to technology-enhanced models that foster collaboration and co-creation.”
—Catherine Huber, Principal
Northwood Elementary, West Seneca, NY

Watch Sonja Hollins-Alexander's webinar, Professional Learning Through Virtual Communities, hosted by Learning Forward

Key features

  • Provides a cost-effective alternative to face-to-face professional learning that is much-needed at a time when PD budgets are tight and districts continue to increase in size.
  • A practical, hands-on guide to creating and sustaining Virtual Learning Communities that lead to enhanced teacher effectiveness and increased levels of student achievement.
  • Reality-based: tells the story of a successful initiative that was enacted across a large, complex urban school district.
  • Grounded in a social-constructivist framework for professional learning -- the Learner - Learner Model.
  • Includes an indispensable planning guide for use by districts as they begin to undertake similar initiatives.


Sonja Hollins-Alexander photo

Sonja Hollins-Alexander

Dr. Sonja Hollins-Alexander is the Director of Professional Learning for Corwin Publishing. She has been in the field of education for 24 years with 18 of those being in educational leadership at the school, district and higher education levels. During this time, she has served as a school social worker, teacher, assistant principal, principal, coordinator, assistant director and director of professional learning, and chief of staff in two Metro Atlanta, GA school districts. She has served on numerous United Way non-profit boards in the community and most recently served as the affiliate board president for Learning Forward, GA. She currently serves on the National Affiliate Leadership Council for Learning Forward.

Through her professional journey she has had experiences in Strategic Planning, Organizational Improvement, Policy Development, Stakeholder Communication and Engagement, Grant Writing, Instructional Design, Curriculum Development and Implementation, Facilitation of Adult Learning, Leadership Coaching, Conference Facilitation and Design, and served as a Quality Assurance Team Member for AdvancED. She is fully engaged in the development and use of Online Collaborative/Instructional Software. She is the author of Online Professional Development through Virtual Learning Communities, Corwin Press (2013).”

As the Director of Professional Learning for Corwin, Sonja is committed to partner engagement and the design and implementation of professional learning services that positively impact teaching and learning.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface: The Evolution of a Design


About the Author

About the Contributors

1. The Learner-Learner Model

2. Getting It Started: A Planning Guide

3. 10 Action Steps to an Online Virtual Learning Community

4. The Process: Transitioning a Face-to-Face Professional Learning Community to an Online Virtual Learning Community

5. Getting It Done: What Structures Support the Implementation of a Virtual Learning Community?

6. Building Capacity and Sustainability: School-Based Virtual Learning Cohorts

7. Pitfalls Don't Hold You Back

8. Summary: My Reflections





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