The Missing Piece in Professional Development

PD options and content overwhelms one's ability to keep it together. The big question is how do you know who needs what kind of learning in the first place?

We expect teachers to differentiate learning for their students, but they rarely get learning targeted to their professional needs. The result can be a feeling of resentment about PD in general. “Treats them like children” is among the most common complaints about training. A report by Teach Plus estimates that 56 percent of teachers do not see positive impact from the professional development offered by their school or district.

As districts complete investments in devices and infrastructure, leadership often sees firsthand how their teachers get frustrated with "upgrading" their pedagogy skills. According to EdSurge, "90 percent of teachers believe that technology is essential to the success of their classrooms, but nearly two-thirds do not believe they’ve received adequate training to equip their classrooms."

As the sheer volume of PD options and content overwhelms one's ability to keep it together, the big question is how do you know who needs what kind of learning in the first place? Consider these 5 personalization ideas:


  1. Provide opportunity for teachers to reflect about their professional practice. Data about perceived and actual competency can be very valuable in shaping learning communities and personalized learning paths.

  2. Offer teachers choice in learning based on their skills readiness. Use data to re-enforce personal agency over professional learning.

  3. Identify internal skill leaders and match with teachers who need support (e.g., mentorship, teacher induction programs)

  4. Provide time for teachers to practice and master new skills.

  5. Turn professional learning into a continuous activity with PD credits.


Some of these ideas are easier to implement than others. Perhaps a starting point is to recognize that teachers, like other learners, excel in some areas and need support in other areas. Therefore, the process has to start with every teacher rather than the content of their PD.

One way to accomplish this more effectively is through a competency-based learning system that utilizes technology to maximize investment in teacher training. Platform such as 2gnoMe, for example, simplify the job for education leadership in supporting teachers with personalized learning, at scale, across their professional development systems. 



Teachers deserve data-driven learning, too. Student outcomes depend on it.

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