5a. Design Professional Learning

Design professional learning based on needs assessments and frameworks for working with adults to support their cultural, socio-emotional and learning needs.

ISTE Standards for coaches 2019

So when I began to dig into this indicator I honestly had no idea there were so many different frameworks for adult learning. Through my exploration I have come to understand more how important it is to design with the learner in mind. While I feel like I am still learning and growing in the standard there are something with this indicator in particular that I feel I have grown in. For example I have come to understand the importance of a needs assessment when designing professional learning experiences. I can’t just assume that I know what participants want to learn. So I have started incorporating this into my planning. For example our district is developing professional development for this summer and as a team we have already talked about the fact that we need to send out a survey to determine what topics folks might want to learn about. I have also used surveys like this before when planning for staff learning in a particular school so that we could develop breakout sessions or mini lessons on some of the different topics. I’ve used a lot of surveys in the past and I would like to think about additional ways of gathering a needs assessment. Along with a needs assessment though I’ve also realized it is important to think about the different ways that adults might want to engage in the learning. I’ve appreciated being able to learn about the various forms of adult learning theories and found that some of them were things that I was already incorporating and didn’t even know it such as self-directed learning. When developing professional development lately I have been working to incorporate things like choice into the learning, providing educators choice in not only what they learn about but also how they learn. In our TIS meeting lately we have been running it similar to an EdCamp so that participants get to decide on the breakout room that they want to join based on the topic. Then from there they have choice in how they choose to engage and participate. For me the end goal is all about making the learning stick, so how am I activating their learning and making it relevant to their situation. My blog post, Rethinking the Design of Professional Learning specifically highlights some various professional learning models and the need to innovate professional learning so that it can meet the needs of the learner.

Next Steps

As I continue to learn more about what it means to be a professional learning facilitator I am also continuing to learn about my own needs as a learning and how this applies to my work. I would like to continue to look at using a needs assessment before a professional learning session but I would also like to think about how I might use a needs assessment during professional learning too. It feels almost like a form of formative assessment and something that could be used in the moment to determine next steps in the learning. I also plan to continue learning about the different adult learning theories and using them intentionally when planning professional learning. I would like to think about how my district might incorporate more self-directed learning and even Project-based learning into our summer learning opportunities.


ISTE Standards for Coaches (2019). Retrieved from: https://www.iste.org/standards/for-coaches