PD = Professional Learning or Professional Training? #edchat



Picture from Laurie Sullivan via Flickr.

I have noticed a continuing conversation ensuing on Twitter in relation to the definition of Professional Development (PD). Should Professional Development be labeled something else? Professional Learning, perhaps? I would argue, it depends on the intent.

Professional LEARNING…

When it comes to Professional Learning, I like to focus on just the learning part. Learning has occurred before formal education all the way back to cavemen days. I often think about what learning looked like for cavemen, and why does it look so differently for us now? But in reality, the fundamental process hasn’t changed. I use this image as an example to set up my Vox. Listen to the Vox while you observe the image and you will see the connection to what I believe we want Professional Learning to look like.



A model showing ancient cavemen stands inside the National Museum of Mongolian History in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Aug. 12, 2009. The museum preserves the Mongolian cultural heritage. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan McCord/Released)

In almost a similar fashion to the cavemen, Sugata Mitra proved that kids go through the same process to learn in his Hole-in-the-Wall experiment that he spoke about in his TED Talk.

Professional TRAINING…

In my opinion, training is the stuff we have to do (state mandates primarily). These are things we know we cannot avoid, and we are held accountable for. The training is usually regimented in order to be as short as possible, AND participants operate passively in the process. This is significantly different than learning, where we want to be actively participating.

So if learning is different than training, then why do we lump the two into what we call Professional Development? Should we keep the two separate? Should they have separate designated times during the school year?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Jarod Bormann
#EdTech Rocks


One response to “PD = Professional Learning or Professional Training? #edchat

  1. Jerod- I love your thoughts on Professional Learning. Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council-NSDC) has 7 standards that address professional learning. As a member of Nebraska Learning Forward and serving on the Board, professional learning is near and dear to my heart. We must work together to make professional learning something that our educators embrace not abhor. Personalized professional learning–that which assists our educators in improving their own practice- should be the focus.


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