Effective professional learning design requires a clear understanding of the participants, their learning needs and behaviours and the type of learning environment that will resonate with them.
Learning design decisions should consider the learning needs unique to adults, including personal learning preferences, active involvement of participants, application of knowledge and expertise, and broader concepts of professionalism.
Understanding the unique conditions of the environment in which learning will take place is paramount. The wider operating context will determine which elements need to be prioritised in different contexts. Examples of the immediate operating factors that can affect learning are: support from leadership; access to required resources; prior knowledge; student data; composition of the learning group; and workload constraints.
Transference is concerned with aspects of the learning design that directly support the application of learning in practice.
Transference may be expressly supported through tailored materials such as templates, guides or outlines. Alternately, transference may occur through the combination of elements within the learning design itself, for example a series of learning experiences that encourage participants to reflect on the implications of a new concept as part of a broader inquiry.
A flexible learning design will support educators to link their learning to changes in the classroom or school and implement new learnings; perhaps even in a different way to what was originally intended.
Flexible learning designs will support participants to reflect, review and reassess their own learning and encourage a sustained, ongoing view of the learning experience(s).
Structure involves practical arrangements of learning such as the duration, location, sequence or order of events.
An accessible learning design will apply strategies that enable the user to participate without difficulty. This is seen in a website’s intuitive layout or in timing and facilitation of a face-to-face activity.
Aesthetics refers to sensory responses to learning design including visual themes of websites or designs for slideshow presentations in face-to-face settings.
Content relates to the knowledge, attitudes, skills, aspirations and behaviours (Killion, 2008) that educators will work on through professional learning.
Features are the practices associated with the delivery of, or mode of participation in, professional learning including face-to-face, online, self-directed, facilitated etc.
Tools such as templates, proformas, schematics, surveys, forms, questions or polls are used to enhance knowledge transfer, deepen engagement and support understanding of content aims.
The assessment of quality indicates how closely the example is perceived to align with the key areas outlined in the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders and in the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework. It is important to note that the aspect of improved student outcomes was retained to review the numerous education-based examples, therefore it was impossible for any examples beyond education to score 'full marks' in this category.
The “definition” of innovation was informed by two sources – Design Principles for 21st Century Learning and the Radical Efficiency Framework (Global trends). In this context, innovation was demonstrated by the extent to which an example:
Evidence takes into account the impact of the Professional Learning (PL) and Performance & Development (P&D) practice, and the extent to which the practice demonstrates the characteristics of effective PL and P&D which are well rehearsed and widely agreed in the research evidence base. A low score on evidence does not suggest low-impact, but indicates a practice that has not yet been extensively evaluated.
Participants join groups of their peers in ways that are engineered for or arise from the practice
Participants take part alone
Participants meet together in the same physical space with one another and/or with the facilitator
Participants engage online and/or over the phone
Participants are expected to take part in some form of professional learning and performance and development as part of their professional practice
Participants see professional learning and performance and development as an opportunity or entitlement
Participants decide the focus, the pace and the outcomes of the professional learning and performance and development and monitor and evaluate their own progress and achievement
The focus, pace and outcomes are agreed between the participant and another and the participant is supported to monitor and evaluate progress and achievement
The professional learning and performance and development is located within and geared to the organisation and its goals
The professional learning and performance and development focuses on the individual needs of the participant
The professional learning and performance and development takes place in short bursts, often away from the day to day environments of participants
The professional learning and performance and development is continuing and takes place over a prolonged period of time
There is a programmatic engagement with set goals and explicit and pre-existing expectations of participants and providers
There is no program; any goals or expectations of learners and/or providers are provisional and mutually agreed
The professional learning and performance and development result in a credit or qualification that has extrinsic value
The professional learning and performance and development is recognised and is valued within the culture of the organisation