What Makes Online Professional Development Effective For Educators?
According to a recent survey, 81% of teachers plan on seeking more training this summer to prepare for the unknowns of the upcoming school year, which may continue to offer virtual or hybrid educational models.
Curriculum and instruction wasn't the only aspect of education that found a new presence online. Virtual professional development sessions have also become the norm.
School districts already know the benefits of PD. Educators must obtain a certain amount of professional development hours per year as they hone their professional skills, learn new instructional strategies, and refine their pedagogy.
How Can Schools Use eLearning To Build Their Staff?
When planning virtual professional learning for your staff or faculty, it's essential to ensure that your session is viewed as helpful and beneficial. Otherwise, educators will feel like it was just a distraction from the mountains of work they need to do.
These ideas will ensure your professional development program is meaningful and well-received:
Meet Educators Where They Are: Vary your content to account for different levels of technology comfort.
Don't Over Plan: Outline and execute your education courses.
Use Attendee Experiences: Your best resources are right in your building. Ask participants to share their experiences, pitfalls, and ideas.
Celebrate Teachers: Educators have been put through the wringer. Many feel dejected, so make sure to take the time to celebrate their accomplishments and lessons learned.
Incorporate Fun: Of course, learning can be enjoyable, even for adults. Incorporate gamification, trivia, and even giveaways to boost spirits.
Incorporating these strategies into your professional development planning will offer tools and ideas that teachers can turn around and implement in their classrooms to build confidence and engage their students in a meaningful and effective way.
Let's take a look at five things you can do to make your professional development helpful and empowering today!
1. Find The Best Virtual Format
When organizing virtual PD, you need to look at different delivery methods and select the one that meets your session goals. You need to consider your virtual format and what features you want to offer:
Whole Group Or Small Group Discussion?
Video Chat Or Live Chatbox?
Real-Time Collaboration Or File Sharing?
Virtual PD Hour Certificates Or No Record Of Attendance?
Upload Session Materials To Virtual Platform or Have Attendees Take Notes?
It would help if you were intentional about providing practical learning opportunities. That means choosing a virtual learning platform that offers to learn management solutions that will provide all the features to make your virtual professional development session meaningful, engaging, and accessible.
2. Communicate Roles, Objectives, And Goals
Much like planning a face-to-face session, you have to identify your PD's goals and how you will measure the session's success.
Facilitators must think about their audience's needs and what they need to know and accomplish at the end of the professional learning session.
Your sessions' goals should align with the organization’s vision. Whether the focus is on crafting lesson plans, time management, or implementing project-based learning, every choice you make should support the division's mission statement.
You may find it challenging to manage all the moving parts that come with running a virtual professional development opportunity. Designate tasks to supporting roles when planning your PD to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Ensure your virtual learning platform offers enrollment tracking, live tech support, and hosts course materials that staff members can access at the attendee's own pace, allowing teachers to be present and participate without furiously taking notes.
3. Get Creative
Online learning can be overwhelming for new teachers and veteran educators alike, especially when they are the students themselves. This is why your online professional development courses need to be focused on clear goals and engaging content that helps event attendees know when they have reached competency in the skill you are developing.
But that doesn't mean the fun is off the table.
Incorporate interactive tools and gamification to make learning fun. Go above and beyond the traditional professional development topics to offer innovative content.
For example, if leading a PD on classroom management, enlist participants to act out typical classroom behavior issues and ask others to offer strategies to mitigate these distractions.
4. Get Comfortable With Technology
Technical glitches and issues happen all the time, and these types of missteps can be devastating to the success of any online event. To avoid them during your online professional development, double-check to ensure all devices, such as cameras, headsets, and microphones, are correctly working before your event's start time.
Your participants should be familiar with the different features offered by the online learning platform to minimize the chances of technology disrupting the flow of your virtual professional development event. Facilitators need to communicate how participants will:
Find Enrollment Information
Receive PD Points
Access Coursework Materials
Log Education Credits
Communicate With Facilitator And Other Participants
Much like a mic check during an in-person professional learning session, checking your technology and becoming acclimated with the features makes the whole experience more effective. So test-drive the chat boxes and get to know what the online professional development platform offers.
5. Ask For Feedback… And Deliver
When planning professional development for teachers, there is no better way to figure out what is most effective than to ask educators themselves what new skills they want to learn.
Administer a survey to determine which online PD is most sought after so you can cater to the needs of attendees in future events. Also, ask what your staff's preferred online PD structure is.
When your staff feels like their voices are heard, your professional development efforts become more meaningful and effective.
Offer Online Professional Development For Educators Today
There are plenty of ways to make PD effective and empowering in a virtual setting. Professional development helps teachers do a better job of meeting their students' needs and excel in their careers.
Partner with BeaconLive to ensure your online professional development meets all the prerequisites set by the state, which will save you hours spent on tracking and administrative tasks.
BeaconLive offers a learning management system that operates with no plug-ins, accreditation, and certificate services, as well as integrated technology support that is there when you need it, whether your staff development is live-streamed or prerecorded.