Virtual Professional Learning Strategies

October 8, 2020

Before the COVID-19 crisis, many districts and networks scheduled in-person professional learning sessions, but are now faced with the challenge of designing virtual sessions that educators can engage with and develop their skills. Consider these strategies and best practices to ensure professional learning can continue and be effective even in a virtual setting.

  • Gather information to identify a plan for delivering professional learning on virtual teaching by considering these questions to be able to create a backwards plan for implementation: 
    • Is my district/network ready for virtual professional learning?
    • What are the expectations on developing effective lesson plans, delivery, assessment, and communication for virtual learning?
    • How will teachers receive coaching and feedback in a virtual setting?
  • Create interactive learning activities that encourage active participation. 
  • Create a plan for what professional learning looks like for each stakeholder group (teachers, coaches, principals) .
    • Develop a guide for facilitators and instructors like this sample facilitator guide from CompassLearning
    • Build out a professional learning scope & sequence that is communicated out to stakeholders early in the year – what they’ll be learning and why.
    • Go through a test run. Just like practicing and getting feedback on lesson plans, going through a test run to figure out timing, poll administration, and overall logistics for all stakeholders can ease concerns on implementation day.

As schools plan for what the student experience will be in the fall, also focus on building the capacity of educators through virtual professional learning experiences. By planning ahead, you’ll be able to ensure professional learning can continue and be effective even in a virtual setting.