Professional Development Learning Design

[N.B. The web page this entry was originally referencing is no longer live on the web]

After reading a blog post today titled "New Paradigm for Professional Development" by Mark Brumley it made me realise we at PLANE have not yet blogged about a whole heap of stuff about the methodology and philosophy of our project that people out there are obviously interested in and will find useful.

Mark Brumley's post discusses how he introduces teachers on a Professional Development path to social media through a non-threatening process that builds their confidence through several steps (Consume, Curate, Create) till they become comfortable tweeting, blogging and able to establish  their own school social networks (using Ning, Yammer,, etc). It's a good post, and worth the read.

Phillipa Cordingly comments on Mark's blog that in addition to the above process Collaborate is another crucial element within Professional Development – and indeed that is how we feel at PLANE.

Our own approach to the professional learning design embedded within PLANE has been informed by research and analysis of what has and hasn't worked in the online learning space, and is most influenced by the  approach outlined by Helen Timperley, Aaron Wilson, Heather Barrar, and Irene Fung in their paper Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (2007).

Timperley et all identified that the best professional learning and development involved:

  • Learning over an extended time
  • Access to external experts
  • Engaging teachers in learning
  • Challenging ideas about learning
  • Teachers talking to other teachers about teaching
  • Leadership support

This has resulted in a learning design for PLANE that responds directly to the needs of the educators it serves. PLANE is an acronym for "Pathways for Learning Anywhere, anytime; a Network for Educators" – albeit it's a mouthful, and not an exact acronym, however we are clearly addressing the points identified as best practices for educator professional learning and development.

Teachers will be able to access PLANE anytime that suits them; that's access to experts, resources and courses; innovative techniques like gamification and multiple pathways engage people in learning; we're challenging the old ideas of learning on every level; including social features for teachers to talk to each other; peer coaching; and opportunities for leadership.

Educators will work through the different steps of professional learning and development - interacting with content and one another - at their own pace and comfort level.

This design is applicable to any learning, and we hope that teachers will implement a similar design to their own classrooms. Feel free to use this and share it!

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