Research Article

Who benefits and when? Understanding differential treatment effects of an online professional development program

Benjamin L. Bayly 1 * , Michelle Krehbiel 2 , Eileen Wise 3 , Kathleen Lodl 2 , Christine Anthony 3
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1 Penn State University, University Park, PA, USA2 University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA3 Penn State Better Kid Care, State College, PA, USA* Corresponding Author
International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(1), 2024, ep2404,
Published: 25 January 2024
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The quality of educational experiences has a direct impact on children’s development and overall wellbeing. To ensure that children receive high-quality education experiences it is important that educators are trained in current best practices and feel efficacious in the implementation of these practices. Professional development (PD) has shown to be an effective mechanism for addressing educator knowledge and promoting feelings of self-efficacy. However, multiple barriers exist to delivering in-person PD (e.g., time and resource constraints). Online PD represents an attractive alternative for many educators, but the research on the effectiveness of online PD is mixed. The current study evaluates the effectiveness of a series of PD courses designed to promote positive youth development and identifies subgroups of educators who benefitted from the courses more than others. Results indicated improvement in feelings of self-efficacy around the implementation of practices to promote positive youth development, but new teachers in afterschool programs benefitted more than other educators.


Bayly, B. L., Krehbiel, M., Wise, E., Lodl, K., & Anthony, C. (2024). Who benefits and when? Understanding differential treatment effects of an online professional development program. International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(1), ep2404.


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