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Online Professional-Development Approaches Compared

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Interaction among teachers in online professional-development seminars increases when teachers, rather than expert facilitators, lead their peers in discussions, according to a Brown University study.

Conducted by the Education Alliance at Brown University—a nonprofit organization that conducts education research and offers technical assistance to schools—the study found that peer-to-peer communication increased by 10 percent when teachers led discussions. In addition, the average number of words per online communication rose by 32 percent in the peer-led group over the two facilitator-led groups, and the number of online communications among the peer-led group that included both more-abstract concepts and higher-order thinking skills was double that of the two facilitator-led groups.

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