When the pandemic struck, the Netflix model of DPC was quickly mobilized and released into homes and workplaces, allowing people to work on what they wanted, when they wanted.
The benefits of this approach have been enormous and should clearly continue to be part of our professional learning culture in the future. Here’s why:
The Benefits of Online Teacher CPD
It increases accessibility
The “on demand” approach to professional development allows colleagues to better manage their time and therefore engage with ideas in meaningful ways.
Providing autonomy to access quality CPD also supports membership (in a market that can be cursed by discredited pseudoscience and the cynicism that comes with it).
Schools’ CPD programs should include quality pre-recorded content that is accessible where practical and supported by crucial thinking time to ensure it can be assimilated into the learning culture of staff.
There are also opportunities for professional development colleagues to use recording technologies such as Loom and Microsoft Teams to streamline their own workload; by creating a catalog of ‘tailor-made for the environment’ sessions that can be referred to support recruitment, coaching and improvement of the whole school – while ensuring that these opportunities remain timely and impactful .
It offers more choice and clearer messaging
It is important that this does not come down to a form of edutainment and that the goal remains the same. But the effects can actually be better.
The use of distance CPD has huge advantages not only in terms of school budget, working time and teachers’ workload, but also the possibility of directly accessing experts in the field, which would otherwise be impossible. It also has the potential to generate real interest in additional CPD.
Going straight to the source in this way reduces the risk of losing fundamental truths and fundamental concepts as they are interpreted and redistributed up the chain of command. Key messages and drivers are preserved, avoiding misconceptions and loss of impact (which is a key factor in the type of downsizing professional development that causes more harm than good).
It gives leaders more time to think
Leveraging the wealth of remote and pre-recorded support material also gives us, as leaders, time to think about improving our CPD programs. We can explore what the staff are exploring and think about what we need to do more and better.
Lisa Lockley is Deputy Principal of John Willmott School in the West Midlands