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New research: What teachers want from online learning

To understand more about teaching professionals, earlier this year, we undertook a large scale piece of research. We received 1,410 responses from our learners across the world who have completed teaching-focused professional development courses. They came from all discipline areas (most however are teachers of English as a Foreign Language), taught in both private and state-owned schools, and many were self-employed as private tutors. 

Looking at the surveyed teachers’ professional experience, we expected that they would be in need of training particularly in the early phases of their career. On the contrary, what we have found was that only 22% of teachers had 5 or less years of experience, and 27% claimed that they have been teachers for more than 20 years. This approach to life-long learning is driven by the constant change in our world, which is reflected not only in the curriculum (eg. leading code clubs or teaching about sustainability), but also in new teaching methods (eg. teaching through Skype or using ICT in the classroom).

The full statistical results of the survey research are below. 

Research methodology and key findings: 


FutureLearn looked at 1410 responses from learners who said they work in teaching & education and have done at least 2 teaching courses on FutureLearn.

Key findings:

Teachers engage with learning continuously, but less so during busy school periods

When asked how often they did CPD training:

  • 57% said ‘continuously, whenever I have the time’
  • 30% said ‘a few times a year’
  • 7% said ‘once a year’
  • 4% said ‘less frequently than once a year’

When asked when they engage in CPD training:

  • 17% said ‘mostly in school holidays, such as Summer or Spring Break’
  • 37% said ‘anytime, except busy periods such as the start and the end of the school year’
  • 43% said ‘anytime, I am not limited by the time of the year’

Teachers mostly fund their professional development themselves

  • 64% said ‘I fund it myself’
  • 18% said ‘costs are shared between me and my employer’
  • 10% said ‘my school/ employer funds all of it’
  • 8% said ‘other’ (most of these respondents find free resources) 

Teachers want practical CPD content with downloadable materials 

When asked what matters for a CPD course:

  • 85% said ‘practical content that I can apply with my students right away’
  • 81% said ‘downloadable materials that I can use continuously’
  • 70% said ‘taught by leading experts in a field’
  • 54% said ‘accredited by a professional body/ academic institution’
  • 53% said ‘a short duration that fits with my schedule’ 
  • 51% said ‘provide a certificate that proves my learning to employer/ students’
  • 49% said ‘provides an opportunity to assess my learning with tests or assignments’
  • 48% said ‘theoretical, helps me understand key concepts’
  • 38% said ‘provided by a prestigious academic institution’
  • 3% said ‘other’
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