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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Promoting Learning Paths Rather than Learning Events

As it stands now, many professional developers still propose learning events rather than learning paths. For example, a representative from an education products company will come in and present a tool or kit to a large group of educators. Then the educators are expected to teach the kit. This is an old-time teaching/learning model of professional development.

Instead, I propose that developers create learning paths with educators to best develop the teaching/learning programs.

A learning path related to the purchase of a kit, new resource or strategy may look like this.

Study the Standards Menu
First, educators would be asked to use professional learning time to study the standards. Teachers may receive a number of avenues to complete this task such as watching related videos or reading and studying on their own and with others.

Learn the New Kit, Strategy, or Resource Menu
Next, if kits are purchased with or without teacher input, teachers should be similarly given a number of ways to explore and learn about the kit including listening to the salesperson/trainer or reading and investigating the kit on their own and with others.

Implementation Share/Study Meetings and Threads
After that, there should be an online thread for sharing ideas and information related to the teaching. This could be a twitter-like feed, Google doc or something else that is ongoing in real time. Then there should be opportunities for face-to-face meetings too to forward the teaching and learning of the kit or other information. These meetings should include creative ideas, questions, problem solving, and results.

Analysis and Next Step Discussions
At the end of the school year or a teaching period, there should be an opportunity to analyze and review the effort. That analysis and review should result in an inclusive creation of next steps and the next stage of the learning path.

 Rather than a one-time learning event, the creation of learning paths with multiple choices would better meet the needs and interests of a variety of professional educators, and result in better use and results with new materials.