14 Archambault and Larson “Pioneering the digital age of instruction: Learning from and about K–12 online teachers”


Archambault, L., & Larson, J. (2015). Pioneering the digital age of instruction: Learning from and about K–12 online teachers. Journal of Online Learning Research, 1(1), 49–83. https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/149852/.


A web-based survey distributed to 325 K–12 teachers was used to determine what attributes were most important to be a K–12 online teacher and the training that is provided to be such a teacher. These teachers shared that the attributes necessary are similar to a teacher in a traditional school. In addition, they thought that an understanding of the technology is really important when deciding to teach online. Many of the teachers from this survey also had some kind of training for online teaching, however this was most common after graduation and in the field. Although teachers did have access to trainings, mentors, etc. a limited number of these address aspects of methods or techniques to teach online. Further research will need to be continued to conclude what these are and programs will need to be developed to prepare K–12 online teachers.  With the ongoing development of K–12 online learning, it is imperative that those teaching the course feel comfortable using technology, and can engage, monitor, and motivate from a distance.

Key points

  • Areas for continued research:
    • Methods for creating, modifying, and individualizing effective online lessons
    • Methods for managing and communicating with students effectively at a distance
    • Defining best practices for creating structure and efficient organization of an online classroom with large number of students attending at the same time


Although there are trainings in place to prepare teachers to teach online, the lack of research to back up those trainings is not there. It is important for there to be a development of programs for online teachers so they are using best practices to meet the needs of their students in an online platform. However, this should only be done after further research to ensure the content and practices within these programs are of high quality.

Discussion questions

  1. What attributes of K–12 online teachers do you feel would be of most importance?
  2. How will this continued growth in K–12 online education be affected by these research areas?
  3. What are the negative effects of the continued growth in K–12 online learning?

Additional resources

  • Luo, T., Hibbard, L., Franklin, T., & Moore, D. (2017). Preparing teacher candidates for virtual field placements via an exposure to K–12 online teaching. Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, 16, 001–014. https://doi.org/10.28945/3626.


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