The best professional learning I do is often in the classroom next door. It’s the pop in when I have a quick question, the sharing of ideas with a person who is pursuing the same goal as you, or the conversation that has you so side tracked you are late to pick up your class. With a group of my peers who come with a variety of expertise and an equally pressing need to master the material. I so often find my learning is deeper and more applicable from a two sided conversation than a one sided presentation.
Yet, that is often not the model of professional learning that is used. I understand all to well why group professional learning needs to happen, it is cost effective and helps support a consistent message and those are all strengths that need to be recognized.
Thou I believe recently we have generated a new kind of professional learning model that takes the best of the previous two models and blends them together. What I am talking about is interactive professional learning. This is something we have been using in our classrooms and are now finally using for adult learning too. “Turn and talk” on steroids. There are many elements that make this model work best for me. The first is the presentation material is not more than 10-15 minutes. Then the rest of the time is spent in conversation working on whatever task is at hand. An additional piece to this puzzle has been the introduction of technology. Things like Google docs allow for the conversation to continue long after the meeting has ended, and made note taking so much simpler. I plan to use this model in any professional learning I plan in the future!