Pearson Publishing’s CPD Library is exciting because it leads schools towards a radically different model of CPD - but even the most eagerly anticipated changes generally have worries and wonderings attached. The benefits of mobile learning are obvious to a lot of people – flexibility of time and place, personalisation and automatic reporting in addition to cost savings – so I’m not going to talk about those here. Instead I though it might be interesting to discuss three possible concerns that school leaders might have and look at how CPD on mobile devices will compete in areas where face-to-face training might normally have an advantage.
How can we make sure staff are doing it properly?
Just like with pupils, independent learning for staff requires a degree of trust. The nimbl system has automatic tracking so that you can see which courses staff are using and how far they’ve got, but it’s fair to say that you can’t be 100% sure that each staff member has given the courses their full, diligent attention.
However, teachers and other school staff are professionals, and as such it’s right that they should be expected to take responsibility for their own development. We believe that professional freedom is a good thing, and that the vast majority of teachers will enjoy the chance to direct their own learning and choose the courses that they think are most relevant and important.
Also, face-to-face training isn’t exempt from this problem. It’s perfectly possible for some staff to turn up to an INSET session in switched-off mode and not get much out of it. By letting staff study what they want when it suits them, you’re actually likely to minimise the chance of staff tuning out or going through the motions.
This isn’t the problem it might have been a few years ago, since most people have a smartphone or tablet, if not both, if not several of each. Compatibility may be an issue for some systems, but the CPD Library runs on our nimbl app which is fully compatible with most Android and Apple devices. And for people who may not have access to a device, or who might not be comfortable using it, nimbl also works on laptop and desktop computers.
What about the human touch?
Self-directed learning suits some people down to the ground, but others will miss the human element that comes with face-to-face training, even if it is a less efficient and more cost-intensive way of doing things.
There are a few ways that schools might address this problem. One is to use the CPD Library in a coordinated way so that a good number of staff complete the same course around the same time, and encourage them to talk through what they have learnt and share their views on it. Or you could ask staff to recommend courses to colleagues, or become experts and use the material as the basis for internal INSET.
The simplest solution might be to supplement the CPD Library with more traditional face-to-face training. The library is such a cost-effective option that there should be funds left in most schools’ CPD budgets to organise face-to-face sessions as well, and having fewer of them allows you to be choosier and make sure the ones you do run are the best around.
If you'd like to find out more, check out the CPD catalogue on our website, get in touch on 01223 350555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.