How MOOCs Can Develop Teacher Cognition: The Case of in-Service English Language Teachers

Shahrzad Ardavani 1
  • 1 Aberdeen University, MacRobert Building School of Education University of Aberdeen Kings College, AB24 5UA


Research reveals a rapid expansion of Open Educational Resources (OER) supporting global access to higher education for continued professional development (CPD) for in-service teachers. This offers interactive opportunities for participation and reflection to support the development of teacher cognition through a globally-oriented online community.

This paper will indicate whether the OER MOOCs designed for CPD of in-service English language teachers (ELT) have a role in developing teacher cognition. It also examines the in-service teacher experience of MOOC participants and proposes that teacher cognition and evaluation of cognitive change remain central to understanding teachers’ experience of learning on MOOCs.

Brookfield’s (1995) critical incident questionnaire (CIQ) captured the weekly experience of six in-service ELTs undertaking a CPD MOOC over four weeks. Thematic analysis and descriptive statistics were applied to CIQ data to examine changes in participant cognition. Teachers reflected on how MOOC developed their own knowledge, their learners’ knowledge, and to a lesser extent, their colleagues’ knowledge. The findings cast new light on the influence of MOOC which primarily shows that in terms of their own knowledge, teachers have a strong tendency to view MOOC participation as a pathway to their own development.

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