Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Teaching-Learning Processes

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Charles Granger


Natalie Bolton

Phyllis Balcerzak

Keith Miller


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines are becoming increasingly important in the 21st century workforce, but there is currently a shortage of STEM professionals around the world. Even when students graduate with STEM degrees, many lack basic interpersonal skills such as communication and problem solving that would position them for success in the marketplace. The New York Academy of Science developed the STEM Education Framework to help ensure that STEM curricula teach the Essential Skills that students need in order to thrive in the modern workplace. In order for educators to proficiently utilize the STEM Education Framework, they must receive training on its use through professional development.

STEM Education in the 21st Century is a ten-week online professional development course dedicated to supporting K-12 educators as they apply the STEM Education Framework to improve their STEM instruction. Data were collected from a global sample of STEM educators who completed the course in the fall of 2019. A quantitative descriptive study with a causal-comparative design was used to explore the relationships of participant demographics, self-efficacy, and perceived usefulness and ease of use on STEM instructional design. STEM instructional design was measured using the STEM Education Framework to evaluate course participants’ pre and post STEM instructional design. Self-efficacy was measured by tailoring self-efficacy scales to each of the Essential Skills. Perceived usefulness and ease of use was measured using applicable components of a validated scale for measuring the constructs. While one-way analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) yielded no statistically significant results among demographics, self-efficacy, perceived usefulness and ease of use and STEM instructional design with the exception of nationality and STEM instructional design, change between pre- and post-STEM instructional design scores indicate that participants improved throughout the course.