A Program-Effects Case Study on Internal Training and Development

Concurrent Session 3
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

The need for internally developed, employee focused online training and development is essential to ensure employees are equipped and empowered. The purpose of this qualitative, program-effects case study was to understand instructors’ perceptions, determine the effects of institutional online training and development, and understand current program successes and failures.


Natalie Pelham, Director of Training and Development at American College of Education, develops quality, online professional development, ensures authentic training experiences and encourages cross-functional collaboration for all faculty and staff. Natalie has been awarded the Governor's Shine Award for outstanding contributions to STEM education from Governor Rick Scott, recognized as one of the Top 15 educators in Duval County, highlighted by Wells Fargo in an Excellence in Teaching series, and was a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Natalie received her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Digital Learning and Teaching from American College of Education and is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Leadership .

Extended Abstract

As online learning continues to rise within higher education institutions, the need for internally developed, faculty focused training and development is essential to ensure employees are equipped and empowered. Professional training and development are highly valued, ranking as one of the top nonfinancial motivators for employees. Over 58% of employees, more specifically 62% of millennials, shared professional development contributed to overall job satisfaction (CompTIA, 2018; Woolf, 2016). Faculty in higher education are often used to brick-and-mortar practices, lecture delivery formats and freedom through self-determined learning practices for students (Ellis, 2018). With a transition into online learning, faculty are often ill prepared and ill equipped to use the technologies associated with teaching virtually (Espinoza & Neal, 2018). The way to bridge the learning gap between digital immigrant instructors and the ever-changing online learning environment, is through ongoing training and development. As more institutions and organizations look to streamline the online training process, studying current best practices helps establish the foundation for future training and program opportunities (Ganza, 2012).

Over the past three years, over sixty internal, online, self-paced training courses (over 30 specifically for faculty) were designed and built within our institution for our remote faculty and staff. Incorporating training and development within an organization is paramount as instructional practices, technologies and internal practices are continuously evolving (Darling-Hammond, Hyler, & Gardner, 2017). Based on the increase in online student learning within higher education and the need for remote faculty who are effective and efficient in online instruction, a program effects case study on online professional development in higher education was examined.

The conducted research filled a literature gap and examined faculty perceptions of online, internal training and the perceived impact on students. Additionally, the study also addressed the successes and failures of current training programs within the institution- from virtual onboarding to online internal, continuing education course.  Understanding faculty perceptions and internal training successes and failures allowed for institutional improvements in knowledge acquisition and skill development thus increasing faculty best practices and student impact. This program effects case study identified many themes and faculty perceptions regarding internal, online training and the impact at the personal, professional and institutional level. Building an effective and efficient online training and development program within a higher education institution does not have to break the budget to be impactful. Discussing the effects, successes and failures of an online, internal training and development program within a remote higher education setting, can potentially assist others as they begin the internal training journey as well.

This presentation, even though it is listed as an education session, will be highly interactive. Specifically, the presenter will engage and gather insights and input from participants in various ways throughout the session by using interactive polling and open-ended responses with PollEverywhere. Additionally, participants will be encouraged to share their experiences with internal, online training and development programs. Finally, the participants will be asked to reflect and share takeaways from the session.

We will discuss the following points within this session:

  • Recognizing the impact and effects of internal training and development
  • Understanding the best approach to empower leaders, faculty, staff and students
  • Based off a recent study, what is working well regarding internal, online training?
  • Conversely, what needs to be adjusted internally



CompTIA. (2018). Research on managing a multigenerational workforce

Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development.

Ellis, L. (2018). What is academic freedom? Statement that alarmed professors at the University of Texas sets off debate. The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Espinoza, B. D., & Neal, M. (2018). Incorporating contextual knowledge in faculty professional development for online teaching. 

Ganza, W. J. (2012). The impact of online professional development on online teaching in higher education (Doctoral dissertation).

Woolf, S. (2016). 5 surprising employee development statistics you don’t know.