Identifying online preferences and needs of early childhood professionals

Daniel J. Weigel, Dana A. Weiser, Diane W. Bales, Kendra J. Moyses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

A growing number of early childhood professionals use the Internet to improve their skills, knowledge, and practice. The Internet may be a practical alternative for providing high-quality, research-based training, information, and resources to these professionals. When designing online materials and Web sites, however, it is important to first assess early childhood professionals' needs so that the materials and experience can be designed to best meet those needs. The current, multistate study was designed to address three questions: (1) How do early childhood professionals currently use the Internet? (2) What features do early childhood professionals most prefer in a Web site designed especially for them? and (3) Do preferences for specific types of features vary depending on characteristics such as age, education, experience, and comfort with the Internet? Eight hundred sixteen early childhood professionals in three regions of the United States (Georgia, Michigan, and Nevada) completed a brief questionnaire regarding their preferences and experiences with online professional development. Respondents were most likely to use the Internet for email and to access it for both professional and personal reasons. Respondents were most interested in being able to download learning activities and curricula, access online training and classes, obtain materials to give to parents, and ask questions of experts. The information from this study should be useful for educators currently involved in providing online educational opportunities, as well as those educators considering offering such resources.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEarly Childhood Research and Practice
Volume14
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012

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