professional development teacher training

How to Design and Implement Successful Teacher Training Programs

As in any sector, professionals need to continue upgrading themselves to keep pace with the changing needs of the trade. This rule also applies to the world of teaching. 

The growing presence of technology has changed the role of teachers significantly. For instance, with the rising need and popularity of virtual education, teachers must develop skills to communicate and share knowledge via video conferencing and other tools. 

To keep pace with the needs of the contemporary world, teachers must have access to high-quality training. Educational institutions across all levels and verticals must prioritize and invest in teacher training to derive better results in terms of learning effectiveness and impact.

The use of tech-enabled training delivery interfaces such as KITABOO further powers the seamless creation and dissemination of training resources cost-effectively.

Let’s understand how organizations can design and implement high-impact professional development teacher training, a stepping stone to achieving their larger goals.

Table Of Contents

I. What is Professional Development Teacher Training?

II. Key Gaps Impacting Teachers Today

  1. Lack of Digital Skills
  2. Challenges in Adapting to Virtual Learning
  3. Lack of Understanding of Accessible Education
  4. Outdated Domain Knowledge
  5. Outdated Teaching Techniques

III. 6 Pillars of Effective Teacher Training Programs

  1. Reviewing Key Gaps in Teacher Skills
  2. Setting Objectives for Training Outcomes
  3. Building the Tech Stack
  4. Personalized Learning Approach
  5. Build in Assessment and Coaching Mechanisms
  6. Leverage Data-Driven Insights

IV. The Takeaway

What is Professional Development Teacher Training?

Professional development teacher training is a structured approach to upskilling educators to help them enhance teaching practices and drive learning effectiveness. An important aspect is that it comprises continued training, as opposed to one-off/ ad hoc sessions.

Regular development and deployment of training must happen on an ongoing basis, with continuous upgrading of training outcomes.  

The key benefits of structured teacher training are as follows: 

  • Continuous enhancement of professional knowledge
  • Boosting knowledge in their domain area
  • Upskill in effective teaching techniques
  • Enhance teaching effectiveness and boost learner outcomes 
  • Boosts organizational, management, and admin skills 
  • A deeper understanding of learner needs 
  • Enhancement engagement with other stakeholders, such as parents 
  • Build technological skills to excel in a virtual/ hybrid learning context

Key Gaps Impacting Teachers Today

Teachers today face some universal challenges, as well as some individual ones. Let’s delve briefly into the most common ones:

Lack of Digital Skills

Technology plays a key role in bridging education gaps. However, many teachers lack the skills to leverage technology to enhance teaching effectiveness.

For instance, teachers may not know how to use tools such as effective video conferencing, learning management systems, virtual reality in learning concepts, and interactive eBooks.

Challenges in Adapting to Virtual Learning

There is a spurt in the popularity of virtual education, where the entire mode of teaching is online. This has led to many teachers not meeting learners face to face.

Hence, teachers need to build skills and the mindset to shift from the physical lecture mode to virtual learning.

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Lack of Understanding of Accessible Education

The thrust on making education accessible is growing around the world due to advances in education policy, awareness of accessibility needs, and technological advancement.

However, many teachers lack the awareness, skills, and mindset to make these shifts.

Outdated Domain Knowledge

With advances across all subjects, from Math to geography, teachers must continue to upgrade their domain knowledge. They will need to stay abreast of changes in the curriculum and new subject matter.

Outdated Teaching Techniques

Learning is shifting towards more interactive, engaging experiences. However, university programs may not have kept pace with these changes.

Hence, professional teacher training programs will need to step in and equip teachers with contemporary training techniques.

6 Pillars of Effective Teacher Training Programs

A brief guide to effective design and implementation of professional development teacher training programs:

Reviewing Key Gaps in Teacher Skills

The first step is to do a needs assessment to understand where the gaps lie. It is important to understand that a teacher’s needs will also vary based on the teaching context.

The needs of primary class teachers in a remote village will vary extensively from the needs of language teachers delivering classes for a virtual learning platform. 

The teaching cohort’s specific training needs must be evaluated based on the level of experience, domain knowledge, and tech savviness. A mix of classroom reviews, one-on-one conversations, and surveys can paint a thorough picture of the gaps.

Setting Objectives for Training Outcomes

It is important to define the outcomes when designing a program clearly. For instance, the upgradation of digital skills or learning how to conduct flip classroom sessions are examples of outcomes.

The second aspect is to state how the success of outcomes will be measured clearly. For instance, learning effectiveness in terms of grades could be one such measure. 

The program must also state how it will ensure ongoing development opportunities so that training is a continuous intervention via refresher programs and access to on-demand learning resources.

Building the Tech Stack

Access to technology plays an important role in the successful deployment and engagement of teacher development training programs.

For instance, teachers must be able to leverage a single, unified platform to access learning resources, attend virtual video lectures, participate in assessments, and other modes of engagement.

Leveraging multiple apps, messaging platforms, and email makes it confusing to keep track of lessons and find learning resources. 

Hence, identifying the right tech stack is important. For instance, KITABOO’s training delivery platform enables school and university administrators to develop, manage, and disseminate learning resources seamlessly and securely. Access to such a cloud-based interface to scale and bring sustainability to teacher training models.

Personalized Learning Approach

The one-size-fits-all approach to training is not as effective as a personalized learning approach. This is because teachers have diverse needs, as is the case with any learner. They may prioritize learning in different ways and may struggle with different challenges. 

Hence, the pedagogy can include a mix of formats such as:

  • Online sessions
  • Interactive offline workshops
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • Community-based learning
  • Practical training

Self-learning through a library of on-demand learning resources

Build in Assessment and Coaching Mechanisms

Continuous assessment is an important aspect of gauging training effectiveness. A mix of written, oral, virtual, and interactive assessments enables administrators to gauge the progress of teachers through the training.

One-on-one coaching sessions can be instituted to help teachers work on specific areas. 

It is also important to build mechanisms where teachers can share feedback on the training approaches and program structure. Programs can be strengthened based on personal feedback.

Leverage Data-Driven Insights

The use of a cloud-based, automated, Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled automated training delivery platform powered by a tech specialist offers predictive insights on all training content and engagement.

Hence, education management is in a position to dive deep into the effectiveness of their learning content and engagement methodologies based on real-time data and make superior decisions.

The Takeaway

Well-conceptualized, designed, and disseminated professional development teacher training programs are a must in a fast-paced, tech-dominated world. Teachers must have access to training on an ongoing basis and not as a one-off event. Scalability of programs requires investment in the right technology. 

Education publishers and providers can leverage state-of-the-art cloud-based platforms, such as KITABOO, to distribute, publish, market, and boost their solutions to their audiences across the world.  

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Vishal Dani

Vishal Dani

Vishal is the Senior Vice President and Head - Cloud Platforms & Technology at HurixDigital. He leads the product development group and technology solutions.