About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 444-453
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-0441-1
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain

“THAT'S WHAT PD SHOULD BE ABOUT”: A JOURNEY INTO VIRTUAL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT

H. Owen

Ethos Consultancy (NEW ZEALAND)
Best Evidence Synthesis indicates that regular, lifelong, life-wide Professional Learning and Development (PLD) for educators is essential because of its influence on the quality of teaching, and in turn on high quality outcomes for diverse students. PLD, though, needs to offer flexibility of choice, time and approach, and to value personal theories and experiences. Learning should be accessible (both physically, time and design-wise), cumulative and relevant, and couched within an active Community of Practice.

A pilot to develop a Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD) Model that offered personalised, contextualised PLD was initiated by the Ministry of Education in New Zealand, who also funded the project. Five principle objectives were to:

- Focus on contextualised, personalised learning for educators that could be accessed regardless of location by any educator in New Zealand, in part by using a range of technologies;
- Foster Communities of Learning and Practice, that would encourage collaborative relationships and enable co-teaching and co-construction;
- Develop an approach to PLD underpinned by mentoring;
- Raise student achievement of learning outcomes, partly by ensuring a strong student focus, as well as links to curricula and National Certificates of Educational Achievement; and
- Be sustainable (financially and environmentally) and scaleable.

The VPLD was therefore designed to offer flexibility of choice, time and approach, and in a way that personal teaching theories and experiences were valued. Theory and practice would be inter-connected, while the professional learning was accessible (both physically and design-wise), cumulative and relevant. Encouragement of reflection, trial and practice in a 'safe' environment, sharing of experiences, small group collaboration and trialling new strategies were to be included, which in turn, it was felt would encourage greater engagement, ownership, and confidence. Therefore, after the initial formation of the VPLD CoL, the National Facilitator, assuming the role of a mentor, worked with the ten educators to develop individual learning plans, as well as to discuss details of mutually agreeable expectations of the quality and nature of participation in the VPLD initiative. Learning outcomes were negotiated by the participants, and the skills that they identified as important related directly to the students with whom they were working.

This paper provides an overview of the VPLD pilot (2009–2010) while also a) synthesising main findings from the in-depth evaluation conducted during the pilot, and b) summarising key recommendations.

In brief, results suggest that there are affordances built into the VPLD model that encourage and enable education practitioners to move at their own pace, in a supported, supportive environment, with access to all that they need to scaffold their learning journey. Thus, if it is accepted that student outcomes mirror practitioner performance (although this is a somewhat simplistic relationship), it would therefore follow that if practitioners can be mentored and guided in their own continual development and thinking around learning and teaching, there is a strong potential that the overall learning experience for students can be enhanced. However, it is still incumbent upon the wider education community and structures to act to minimise constraints that discourage, prevent or enforce.
@InProceedings{OWEN2011TH,
author = {Owen, H.},
title = {“THAT'S WHAT PD SHOULD BE ABOUT”: A JOURNEY INTO VIRTUAL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT},
series = {3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN11 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-0441-1},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {4-6 July, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {444-453}}
TY - CONF
AU - H. Owen
TI - “THAT'S WHAT PD SHOULD BE ABOUT”: A JOURNEY INTO VIRTUAL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT
SN - 978-84-615-0441-1/2340-1117
PY - 2011
Y1 - 4-6 July, 2011
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN11 Proceedings
SP - 444
EP - 453
ER -
H. Owen (2011) “THAT'S WHAT PD SHOULD BE ABOUT”: A JOURNEY INTO VIRTUAL PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT, EDULEARN11 Proceedings, pp. 444-453.
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