Principles of effective professional learning

Syba Academy’s design of professional learning programs has been informed by the research literature, and the pool of evaluation data collected by Syba over the past seven years while conducting professional learning events. As a result we have devised a set of 7 principles to articulate our approach to the design and delivery of effective professional learning programs, as illustrated in Figure 1 (below).

Figure 1: Syba Academy's 7 principles of effective professional learning

The nature and scope of each principles includes:

Content & student focused
Professional learning activities are focused on subject matter content and how students learn that content

Research and evidence-based
Professional learning is informed by the best available research on effective learning and teaching. Evidence needs to be collected regularly at the student, teacher and school level to help focus teacher learning.

Active learning
Teachers have opportunities during professional learning activities to actively engage with new concepts, models, principles and strategies, and receive feedback.

Embedded in practice
Professional learning should be built into the day-to-day work of teaching, where new learning is trialled and reflected upon as part of a teachers’ daily practice.

What teachers learn in any professional development activity should be consistent with other professional development, with their knowledge and beliefs, and with school, district, and state reforms and policies.

Collaborative participation and collective responsibility
Groups of teachers from the same grade, subject, or school should participate in professional development activities together to build an interactive learning community. By working in teams, teachers take collective responsibility for solving the complex problems of teaching and learning and improving student outcomes.

Ongoing, long term and sustained
Professional learning is ongoing, long term and fully integrated into the culture and operations of a team, school or system. Professional development activities should be spread over 6 months and should include 20 hours or more of contact time. (Syba Academy, 2014)

As you complete this course, consider how you can use these principles to inform the design of professional learning activities on digital citizenship for your school community.