Let’s discuss professional development in education

Jeremy Auger, D2L

9th January 2019

Future education policy will be under the spotlight at The Education World Forum (20–23 January, London), the world’s largest gathering of education ministers.

A topic that we believe is ripe for discussion is continuing professional development (CPD). Important in all professions, CPD helps keep knowledge fresh and up-to-date and supports professionals in getting ahead in their careers and supports employers by building employee retention. In education, CPD is critical to ensuring a strong and professional educator workforce as rising teacher retirement rates, declining new teacher retention rates, and growing student populations is causing a global teacher shortage.

CPD doesn’t start and end with a teacher’s subject of expertise, it extends into skills essential to the teaching role and to a range of competencies that teachers now need if they are to equip their students for the future world of work.

Such pedagogical skills, in today’s digital age, are constantly evolving as new technologies disrupt the workforce. In order to build competence in graduating students, educators must be equipped with best practices in teaching and learning.

CPD at-scale

For ministries putting together CPD for educators that is both cost-effective and efficient, there are a number of challenges. Top of the list is the issue of scale. How do you train hundreds of thousands -or more – educators on new curricula, new subject matter, evolving skills and everything else they need? Face-to-face training, which requires people to travel and be available at the same time, can be costly and tricky to arrange, and inevitably new training is needed even before a programme has completed its rollout.

For the educators themselves, having the time and the means to undertake CPD is also difficult. If busy teaching staff are to factor it into their packed schedules it must be well organised and simple to undertake.

An ideal solution is to utilise the same learning management system (LMS) that teachers and students use for their courses to organise and manage professional learning. The LMS provides an ideal, interactive solution for study and it has the added benefit of giving educators first-hand experience of the platform from the learner perspective.

A one-stop-shop

What’s more, if an all-in-one solution – one that combines the learning platform with off-the-shelf or bespoke professional development content – is used, high quality professional development becomes possible at-scale for upskilling large numbers of educators.

It is just such an all-in-one, flexible, technology-based solution for CPD in education that D2L is looking forward to discussing with attendees at The Education World Forum.

An interactive, flexible and personalised LMS, together with CPD content, can deliver cost-effective and time-efficient large-scale deployments of professional development; CPD that:

  1. Can be accessed from a range of devices – when CPD can be accessed from whichever device/s educators use, it puts scheduling into the hands of the learner and makes it simpler to fit continuous training into work and personal commitments
  2. Supports a range of formats – the advantage of digital-based learning is that it can support a range of formats including video and interactive discussion forums. This is ideal, particularly for visual learners, and opens up training to incorporate peer feedback and collaboration
  3. Encourages an in-depth understanding of the LMS – teaching staff will already be familiar with the LMS they use to deliver course content and provide grading and feedback to students. This makes getting started with CPD easier as the technology is already known, but it also has the added advantage of giving tutors the students’ view, which can help them when it comes to supporting students using the platform
  4. Can be measured – Learners want a one-stop-shop for their ongoing and future training and an LMS can provide this, giving clear insight into what they’ve achieved and what they still have to do. It’s also ideal for administrators and senior staff, providing a centralised view of all employee development within the educational institution for a complete view of current skills levels and progress against training objectives.

D2L is looking forward to discussing the importance of CPD for educators and exploring how a one-stop-shop learning platform can help deliver it at The Education World Forum. If you’re attending, we’d like to discuss any CPD challenges you’re facing – do get in touch to schedule an appointment with the D2L Team.

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