The purpose of the research was to explore the experiences of a group of 3 ELA teachers as they participated in online professional development using a social learning network. Utilizing case study methodology, the researcher examined how an online social learning network could be used to impact instructional practices amongst ELA teachers participating in hybrid professional development during implementation of a writing curriculum. Employing social constructivism as the dominant framework for analysis, the researcher explored the extent to which professional development delivered online combined with face-to-face supports impacted teacher instructional practices in the classroom. The researcher examined teachers’ actual online behaviors by using data captured by the online social network and compared this to teachers’ self reports of impact and use, concluding that online professional development, delivered through a social learning network was effective in impacting teachers’ classroom instruction. Findings indicate that in order to be effective, professional learning should emphasize the learning of content and pedagogy and how technology can enhance instructional practices. Features of the online social learning network utilized more frequently were those that enhanced teachers’ goals around writing instruction. The online social learning network was also found to include several aspects of Community of Practice, resulting in the sustained use and integration of the online social learning network for instructional purposes. Factors such as convenience, flexibility and ubiquitous access to resources and peers were cited as benefits to participating in hybrid professional development models.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Learning technologies; Teachers -- In-service training; Professional learning communities; Online social networks; Career development -- Computer-assisted instruction

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Polin, Linda;