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Professional Growth

Talk Data to Me: Professional Development Format Trends

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In this installment of the Talk Data Series, we’ll be analyzing types of activities that teachers are choosing to complete and how they’ve changed over the past few years using data from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute and Frontline Professional Growth.
Before we dive in, let’s revisit one of the very first Talk Data to Me blog posts from the middle of 2020, which was right after the pandemic started.

At the time, COVID was changing the types of activities that teachers were completing. This chart displays the number of completed activities via Google Classroom, Zoom, remote learning, virtual learning and distance learning in 2019. They were all almost zero.

In 2020, there were thousands of activities were being completed on those topics. Teachers were completing more activities than usual as they grappled with transitioning their classroom to a pandemic virtual classroom. It was very clear at the time that the pandemic was completely changing professional development.
Now that we’ve been in a state of normalcy for well over a year, we took a look to see if there were any lasting effects to the types of professional development that teachers were completing.


Professional Development Formats

  • Action research and independent studies
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Curriculum and lesson development projects
  • External conferences
  • Graduate and college courses
  • Internal meetings and committee work
  • Other peer observation and visits
  • PLCs
  • Data analysis and team learning meetings
  • Workshop activities and courses

A vast majority of completed activities typically fall into the workshop activity course format bucket about 60% each school year, give or take. That has remained pretty consistent over the years. But there has been some shifts in the proportion of activities each year that fit into three formats.

Shifts in Completed Activities (2019 vs. 2023)

  • The proportion of completed activities in 2023 that were in the format of action research or independent study has grown 127% compared to 2019.
  • The proportion of completed activities that were for coaching or mentoring are up 85% in 2023 compared to 2019.
  • The proportion of completed activities in the form of external conferences has dropped 35%.



The Takeaway

It appears that teachers may be opting for more personal and closer to home professional development rather than larger conferences.
It’s important to understand that this data is from a national data set of over 17 million completed professional development activities from teachers in over 1,000 districts nationwide over the past five years now, just because trends like this show up in a national data set does not mean that they accurately reflect what might be happening in your district.
But understanding shifts like this and professional development in your district is very important to ensure that your faculty and staff’s needs are being met.
Frontline Human Capital Analytics helps school districts do just that by making professional development data available, digestible, filterable, insightful, and most importantly, actionable for more information on human capital analytics.
Ready to maximize the efficacy of your district’s professional development?