Professional Development Needs of Instructional Designers and Online Learning Support Staff at Florida’s Colleges and Universities

Concurrent Session 3

Brief Abstract

To help meet expanding demands on instructional design and online learning staff in colleges and universities, the Florida Virtual Campus conducted a statewide survey of them to identify their most pressing professional development needs. This presentation reviews the findings of that survey and provides recommendations for immediate and ongoing professional development.
 

Additional Authors

Robbie Sparrow has served in training and development roles for over 5 years, with previous experience at both Walt Disney World and Florida Hospital. Now as an Instructional Designer for Seminole State eLearning, Robbie brings his passion for training and customer service to the College to serve the needs of both faculty and students. In addition to helping faculty create engaging online courses, he also works with textbook and software vendors to develop solutions that make online learning at Seminole State a more seamless experience. Robbie holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Purdue University, a master’s degree in hospitality management from Kansas State University, and is currently working on a second master’s in instructional design from the University of Florida.

Extended Abstract

Distance learning continues to grow rapidly in higher education. Colleges and universities continue to experience increasing online course enrollments, even in the face of declining enrollments. The number of college students taking online courses has continued to increase yearly since 2012, with over six million students (about one-third) taking at least one online course per year.

This continually increasing demand for online learning is creating huge demand by faculty for instructional design and online learning support. This growing demand, coupled with continually evolving technologies and practices (e.g., blended learning, adaptive learning, mobile learning, ‘next gen’ learning management systems, universal design, use of open resources), is significantly expanding the role that instructional support staff play and creating a need for their ongoing professional development.

To help meet that need, the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) has conducted a statewide survey of college and university instructional design and online learning support staff to gain a clearer understanding of their expanding roles and to identify their most pressing professional development needs. This presentation reviews the findings of that survey and provides recommendations for professional development at both the enterprise and the institutional levels.

Upon completion of this session, participants will be aware of the:

  1. role that FLVC plays in helping Florida’s public colleges and universities meet the challenges they all commonly face in the cost-effective delivery of online courses.

  2. top three professional development needs identified by instructional design and online learning support staff in Florida’s public colleges and universities.

  3. jobs that instructional design and online course development support staff most commonly perform at their institutions.