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Gap & Goal: Action Research

Gap & Goal: Action Research

CONNECTING PROFESSIONAL LEARNING & STUDENT SUCCESS - LDT SEMINAR 25

Overall learning goal

This second seminar of the year is aimed at further developing members’ plans for their action research projects by exploring Guskey’s model of evaluation and considering the importance of and means to evaluating professional learning for teachers to ensure that it is having an impact on student learning and improving outcomes.

The two overall goals for this seminar are acquire a deeper understanding of Guskey’s evaluation model of Professional Development (PD), and for LDT members to develop or clarify the learning goals of their PD offer, their target clientele and visit the idea of needs analysis.

Synopsis

In 2016-2017, after establishing a knowledge base for accessing research, Lead Data Team (LDT) members took on a year long task of ‘Taking a Critical Look at Educational Research and Its Applications’. Becoming confident consumers of research by developing healthy skepticism and discovering how to adapt finding into practice has led the team into a new phase of professional development.  

The current year of seminars is giving LDT members the opportunity to put their learning into practice. By conducting their own action research project in their respective settings, participants’ new knowledge and skills will come to life. In the first of this year’s seminars, while further developing their rationale for carrying out action research on the impact of Professional Development (PD), participants are able to make a stronger connection between professional learning & student success.

This second seminar of the year is aimed at further developing LDT members’ ideas and plans for their action research projects. Participants also spend time exploring Guskey’s model of evaluation and considering the importance of and means to evaluating the professional learning received by teachers to ensure the ultimate goal is met. That the professional development is having an impact on student learning and improving outcomes.

This is an active one day seminar, spent mostly in various activities both gaining new knowledge and planning next steps.

Instructional design

Introduction

The EBP facilitator outlines the Learning Outcomes (LO) for the second seminar of the year, based on the team’s shared assumption that a change in practice will have a positive impact on student learning. The two overall goals are:

1: Knowledge - Acquire a deeper understanding of Guskey’s evaluation model of PD both generally and with an in depth focus on one of the 5 levels

2: Task driven - Gap and Goal - For LDT members to develop or clarify the learning goals of their PD offer, their target clientele and visit the idea of needs analysis

The facilitator then makes introductions and highlights the day’s agenda. Fundamental to the day’s success will be a review of the norms followed when working in Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and the benefit of working in Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

Warm-up
In a Nutshell:

Participants are asked to prepare a showcase to display the artefacts of their learning and progress to date, in relation to their action

research. This activity helps participants to re-activate prior knowledge, record the current state of their project, and share ideas to help inform others, incorporating prior knowledge (work done on goal-based scenarios, PD development, and the Why Why Why protocol).

Participants are also asked to record personal learning goals for the day.

Development
Learning Outcome 1

LO 1: Participants make the connection between the action research process and Guskey’s five levels of PD evaluation.

The facilitator highlights the contribution of PD in the cause and effect cycle of the team’s assumption that a change in practice will have a positive impact on student learning.The focus on action research as the cause data seeks to determine if teachers change their practice as a results of receiving effective PD. The impact on student learning becomes the effect of the change in practice. PD is defined and what makes effective PD is considered.

The link is then made, between the purpose of the research project and Guskey’s model, in which the cause data corresponds to level 4: Participants’ use of new knowledge or skills. The resulting impact on students corresponds to level 5: Student Learning Outcomes. The previous seminar covered Guskey’s level 3: Organization support and change.
The first two levels are the most common evaluations used.

Before introducing the first activity, the facilitator reviews the norms of PLCs for the new group members.

Activity 1 - Distributed learning: Participants engage in a shared reading task, targeting levels two through 5 of Guskey’s model of evaluating PD. Participants are given a summary of the levels and are then asked to select the level they are interested in and read it individually before joining the others who read the same chapter to discuss.  Participants are asked to prepare and present a three minute mini lesson summarising:

  • The main definition of that level

  • The main ideas covered

  • What’s in it for us

  • Any ah ha moments during the reading

Learning Outcome 2: GAP and Goals

LO 2: GAP and Goals. To identify the learning gaps of the PD intervention and to define the learning goals of the PD intervention.

Some of the key concepts of effective PD are reviewed, such as the instructional design process, training needs analysis and target clientele. Understanding these key elements leads to the task of defining or clarifying the goals.

The four steps of the Instructional Design Process are detailed.They are:

Step 1: Needs Analysis of target clientele - the needs is the gap between the    current and the desired situation

Step 2: Instructional design - addressing the who, how what questions

Step 3: Implementation - including the delivery mode (online, in person)

Step 4: Evaluation of participants’ learning

Needs analysis is defined and explored further as a whole group, through a presentation, before participants are asked to carry out their own needs analysis. Teacher competencies and expertise levels are considered as an important factor.

Activity 2 - Development task: Participants are asked to work in their Special Interest Groups (SIGs) to brainstorm and identify their target clientele, their learning goals and the needs of their audience.

Activity 3 - Your project in 280 characters: a tweet.

The facilitator reviews the day’s learning and solidifies the connection to the big picture of impacting on student outcomes.

Activity 3 - Your project in 280 characters: a tweet. Participants are given five minutes to create an overview of where they are with their project or their next steps in 280 characters or less before sharing it with the group.

Conclusions

Visits in between seminars are scheduled to allow the LDT members to receive follow up support for their projects from the EBP team.

Mid-march is confirmed for the information sharing days.

Looking ahead:

At the next seminar in May, the focus will be on action: How do we know? Looking into the process of evaluation.

Evaluation

Participants are asked to complete and hand in evaluation forms.