• Introduction
  • Types of online learning
  • Where to find quality online learning
  • How to choose online learning
  • Further information


There is an extensive range of online learning options that open opportunities for teachers across the country. They are often free, flexible, and targeted to what the learner wants to learn.

Often online learning counts towards the continuing professional learning many teachers need to undertake in order to maintain teacher registration. This is especially helpful for casual relief teachers (CRTs) who often cannot access school/setting-based professional learning.

Types of online learning

Massive Open Online courses (MOOCs) are an example of free online courses available. Many are online versions of prestigious university courses from around the world. They offer a flexible way to learn from experts in the field. There are paid options if you are seeking some form of accreditation, however the main drawcard of MOOCs is their accessibility to all and the ability to find information and undertake learning without applying for a formal qualification.

Webinars/collaborative seminars tend to be smaller and can facilitate more interaction with colleagues. This is useful for more ‘hands on’ learning like benchmarking and moderation of children’s work.

Lectures/TED talks are excellent for disseminating information and learning from an expert.

There are many formal and informal groups of teachers collaborating online. While these are less formal than other forms of professional learning, they do enable access to expertise from teachers in similar contexts. This can be helpful for CRTs or teachers who are physically isolated.

Where to find quality online learning

Your local jurisdiction, teacher regulatory authority and unions will offer courses, particularly on local initiatives or state/territory-based programs.

Universities often have accredited degrees, diplomas, and short courses online. There may be costs associated with these, especially if there is a qualification attached.

Professional associations offer in-person and online options. Check their website and newsletters to see what is on offer, including professional reading. Look at other states and territories too – location is no barrier to online content!

Ask colleagues what online learning they have undertaken and would recommend.

How to choose online learning

Make sure it is relevant to you and your role. Your online learning should align to the professional goals you have set against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the needs of the learners. The advantage of online learning is that it can be accessed as needed and can be implemented immediately. Quick implementation of online learning can assist teachers in maintaining momentum through longer courses, as the benefits of the professional learning are more visible.

Online learning can relate to pedagogy, communication and other skills, as well as teaching practice. Credible providers should ideally have expertise in the specific area and how it relates to education, and the content of the learning should be research or evidence-based.

Online learning can also complement face to face learning. You do not have to choose one or the other. If you are  focusing on a specific aspect of teaching and learning at your school/setting, online learning could supplement the professional learning offered by your school/setting.