When some in the tech world are ready to bring a product or website to market, they may consider releasing a minimal viable product. The idea behind the MVP is releasing a product with just enough features to satisfy customers, with the opportunity for considerable feedback from early adopters. The feedback is then utilized to continue to develop the product.
If we apply this concept to professional development, we can allow educators to provide voice in professional learning design. Professional development needs to be constructed to provide significant “features” to educators, but also allow feedback to guide further development.
Below are some strategies for incorporating feedback into the professional development process:
PD Surveys. Have colleagues complete a survey on PD. What is working? What is not working? What topics/formats would educators like to see? Utilize Google forms to capture the survey data easily and be sure to share out with those who took the survey. If you are seeking truly honest data, have educators take the survey anonymously.
Meta PD. PD about PD. Take 20 minutes at your next staff meeting to discuss/plan professional learning opportunities. Ask how educators best learn, and what can be done to improve professional learning in your setting. What can be done to ensure that PD is meaningful and relevant for everyone involved? Take time to find out, and show that the emphasis is on providing a learning environment for educators.
Post PD Reflection. Usually we ask teachers what they learned after a professional development session. Instead, focus on application. Change your reflection question to ask, “How will you apply this learning with your students or in your classroom?” Ask adult learners to take pictures of the application of the learning and share out with colleagues.
Work out the kinks first. Trying new strategies or methods of instruction? Let certain teachers try out first and figure out the pros and cons before passing on to all teachers. Perfect the methods in a controlled environment before implementing the methods with everyone. Share the feedback from piloting teachers with other colleagues. Let others know what has been tried, what has been successful, and what has not been successful.
Utilize feedback to make actual PD improvements. One of the worst things an educator can do is ask for feedback, then never use it. Gather feedback in whatever format is easiest for you, reflect on it, and make changes that improve the product. Professional Development should be constantly evolving into a more perfect product as part of a feedback loop.
Professional learning needs to be guided by ongoing discussion and dialogue. By including the opportunity for feedback in the process, we can improve what PD looks and feels like, as well as outcomes. How do you include feedback in the professional development process? Share your answers on Twitter at #4OCF or using our PD Flipgrid.