Some interesting events have unfolded which have forced me to take stock and ask some pretty pointed questions when it comes to the delivery of professional development. How do we as educators prefer to receive professional development? There seems to be a growing perception that society (in general) is looking for more alternative means of professional development opportunities (i.e. on-line and/or hybrid course offerings). When this discussion comes up, I am quick to ask how do you know what the educators want in terms of the delivery of professional development?
Oddly enough, I was reading over the October 11, 2012, ASCD SMART BRIEF and noticed that there was a survey in the EdPulse section which was asking educators how they preferred to receive professional development. The choices up for vote included: Print materials (i.e. books, newsletters, magazines), Online materials (i.e. e-books, digital newsletters and magazines), Streaming video/DVDs, Webinars/podcasts, Off-site conferences and institutes, Online courses, Job-embedded learning (i.e. coaching, PLCs, study groups). The results posted on October 18, 2012, from the poll may surprise some of us! The survey says:
- 32. 67% prefer off-site conferences and institutes
- 32.30% prefer job-embedded learning
- 12.38% prefer print materials
- 7.18% prefer on-line materials
- 6.93% prefer webinars/podcasts
- 4.95% prefer streaming videos/DVDs
- 3.59% prefer online courses
It is no surprise to me that educators still prefer a venue to come together face-to-face with their colleagues to network and share ideas. I am surprised that online learning appeared to come in dead last on this poll. Some take aways from this data….I will remain a firm believer in knowing my clientele and basing my course offerings on their demands. It would be interesting to survey the educators in my local school division to gauge their preferences. Hopefully this can be incorporated in part of the work of our steering committee as we revamp our county-wide professional development plan.