Have you participated in pedagogical training?

26. lokakuun 2023

Key findings of the Developing Digital Pedagogies research project

Keeping professional development continuous for university teachers is a necessity, not a luxury. For example, upon the abrupt shift to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, university teachers found themselves obliged to adapt to the new normal, re-think their lesson planning, teaching and assessment methods, and undergo key changes in their practices. Pedagogical training is seen as one of the main formal channels for enhancing the quality of university teaching. However, to what extent does pedagogical training help teachers keep up with quality teaching and develop themselves further?

This question was one of the central aims of a two-year research project run at Tampere University. The Developing Digital Pedagogies research project conducted studies to examine pedagogical education and its effect on university teachers’ pedagogical competencies and experiences of teaching during COVID-19. The project also investigated how university teachers develop their expertise in the online teaching domain. In the following chapters, I will briefly introduce findings from four scientific articles:

Your path to activating student [1]

Based on data collected from a sample of 378 teachers working at Tampere Universities via a self-reported questionnaire, we found that pedagogical training boosts teachers’ ability to regulate their learning and to take responsibility for their development. The higher a teacher possesses regulation skills, the more likely his/her learning is oriented towards the meaning approach (i.e., the tendency to understand and think about the reasons behind how, for example, a teaching method works in such a way). The teacher’s tendency to grasp “why” things are what they are is positively connected to activating students’ learning.

Being an innovator is not enough [2]

The same study also explored how pedagogical training is related to the extent to which university teachers adapt their teaching in response to COVID-19. The study revealed that teachers who had previous pedagogical training were more likely to be active (i.e., they implemented multiple changes to their teaching), while teachers with no previous pedagogical training were more likely to be less active (i.e., they changed their practices as little as possible to respond to COVID-19). Interestingly, this result is stable even if we take the teacher’s behavioural innovativeness into account (adoption of versatile digital tools in teaching already before COVID-19). This result indicates that the pedagogical training helped innovative teachers to embrace multiple changes in their teaching practices during COVID-19 time. Although pedagogical training does not necessarily include specific guidelines on how to deal with emergencies, they however may help in developing teachers’ adaptive expertise and unlock their potential to act courageously.

Not all experiences about COVID-19 are negative [3]

The same data was also used to probe teachers’ experiences with the sudden shift to online teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight categories were found as a result of content analysis of open-ended questions. The most worrying experiences were changes in communication with students, changes in the planning of teaching and evaluation, and time management. In contrast, technological changes were experienced more positively. Thus, the teachers appeared to have good technological readiness to cope with sudden changes, but their pedagogical readiness to interact with students in this new situation was not very good. Despite negative experiences, teachers also reported that they had found new ways of teaching and intended to use them in the future as well.

Reflection is your secret ingredient [4]

In another study, we employed a longitudinal design to track university teachers’ expertise development over time in an authentic situation (while planning and/or implementing online teaching). A total of 25 teachers from Tampere universities participated in the study where we asked them to answer specific questions through a mobile phone application right before and after engaging in planning or teaching online sessions. A key finding that emerged from the study is that being a reflective teacher by nature and showing positive emotions while teaching online seems to have a favourable impact on developing one’s expertise. Moreover, mastering digital skills needed specifically to implement online teaching sessions helps in developing expertise.

All in all, research findings across the above studies indicate that pedagogical training seems to leave a positive imprint on teachers’ beliefs, practices and readiness to face unexpected challenges.

Tahani Aldahdouh, PhD., Tampere University, Post Doc Research, Faculty of Education and Culture, Education


[1] Murtonen, M., Aldahdouh, T. Z., Nguyen, T., Riekkinen, J., Vilppu, H., & Vermunt, J. (In press). Importance of regulation and the quality of teacher learning in student-centred teaching. Teacher Development Journal.

[2] Aldahdouh, T. Z., Murtonen, M., Riekkinen, J., Vilppu, H., Nguyen, T., & Nokelainen, P. (2023). University Teachers’ Profiles Based on Digital Innovativeness and Instructional Adaptation to COVID-19: Association with Learning Patterns and Teacher Demographics. Education and Information Technologies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-023-11748-y.

[3] Riekkinen, J., Murtonen, M., Aldahdouh, T. Z., & Nokelainen, P. (2022). Korkeakouluopettajien hätäetäopetukseen liittyvät negatiiviset ja positiiviset kokemukset COVID-19-pandemian aikana. Yliopistopedagogiikka, 29(2). https://lehti.yliopistopedagogiikka.fi/2022/12/22/korkeakouluopettajien-hataetaopetukseen-liittyvat-negatiiviset-ja-positiiviset-kokemukset-covid-19-pandemian-aikana/

[4] Aldahdouh, T. Z., & Nokelainen, P. (2022). Development of online teaching expertise: An experience sampling study among university teachers​. Paper presented at EARLI SIG14 conference, Paderborn, Germany, 17-19 August.