A comparison of costs of two forms of educator professional development in Wyoming: Traditional conference vs. project ECHO

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Educator professional development (PD) is essential for improving student outcomes (Guskey, 1986, 2002). However, logistical challenges with traditional in-person conferences can detract from the reach of educator PD (Corcoran, 1995; Johnston, 1994; Shaffer & McNinch, 1997; Stephens, 1991). Project ECHO is a model of PD that utilizes videoconferencing technology to provide training to educators in rural or underserved areas through didactic presentations and case-based learning (Arora et al., 2007; Root-Elledge et al., 2018) while eliminating some of the challenges faced by traditional conferences. However, cost comparisons between ECHO and various forms of PD have not previously been considered. The current study utilizes an in-depth cost comparison to examine PD delivered by ECHO relative to traditional conferences. Findings suggest that ECHO is more affordable for funders and attendees overall. ECHO for Education may, therefore, be a useful tool in delivering PD to educators in rural and remote communities.