A Study of Synchronous, Online Professional Development Workshops for Graduate Students and Postdocs Reveals the Value of Reflection and Community Building

Sarah Chobot Hokanson*, Sharisse Grannan, Robin Greenler, Donald L. Gillian-Daniel, Henry Campa, Bennett B. Goldberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Designers of professional development activities and programs within higher education generally believe workshop learning outcomes and learner-created materials are what graduate students and postdoctoral scholars value from participating in these activities. We created a new structure for online synchronous workshops that integrates active learning, participant reflection, and skill development. Our design was informed by the hypothesis that participants value the work that they do and the materials they create during our online workshops. In our evaluations we examined students’ self-reported behavioral and attitudinal changes and perspectives on professional development. We learned that participants considered their sense of community and opportunities for reflection to be valued elements of the workshops. We found that these workshops added to students’ self-reflective practices and skill-building processes. Participants suggested that workshops should integrate active learning and skills application with deliberate reflection and community building to increase the potential for long-term change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInnovative Higher Education
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Graduate students
  • Online synchronous learning
  • Postdocs
  • Professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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