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Key Elements of a Professional Learning Network (PLN)

Key Elements for Professional Development

Below are some key elements of successful professional development. Yes, I swiped these from Kaplan's web site, The Principles of Effective Professional Development. They have a great summary of some of the research reports I reference below. Ok, here's the excerpt...

Professional development needs to:

  1. Be an ongoing experience for educators that provide extended learning opportunities help them master new skills and instructional methods. These have a better chance at positively impacting student learning. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  2. Be job embedded as much as possible so that what is learned can be applied in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  3. Provide support for teachers during the implementation stage of using a new instructional method in the classroom. (Gulamhussein).
  4. Offer content that is specific (e.g. goal, discipline, grade level, developmental stage) instead of generic. (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  5. Be engaging and use varied approaches to support learning for both groups and individuals.(Gulamhussein).
  6. Include modeling because it helps educators understand new instructional methods (Gulamhussein; Darling-Hammond et al.)
  7. Promote collaboration among teachers because it leads to better teaching and instruction, helping educators solve problems they are dealing with in the classroom. (DeMonte; Darling-Hammond et al.)

Simply put, professional development needs to be ongoing, job-embedded, specific, as well as model and support implementation in the classroom via various group/individual strategies. PD should also support collaboration among teachers, something which they have little time for during the day.

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