Re-inventing PLD: Ensuring relevance and building resilience


  • Hazel Owen Ethos Consultancy NZ



Professional Learning and Development, E-Learning, personalised learning, virtual learning, online communities of practice, professional change, online communities,


Innovation may best be considered as reinvention rather than invention. This observation is supported by a gradually accelerating change in how professional learning and development (PLD) for education practitioners and leaders is being offered, designed, facilitated, and evaluated. The reinvention of PLD includes shifts towards contextualised, personalised, selfpaced learning that build resilience because they are underpinned by the development of a professional social identity within an online community of practice—shifts that arguably
challenge notions of what actually comprises PLD provision.

However, what might such reinvented PLD ‘look like’? And what are the implications for professional practice and student learning in terms of building resilience, ensuring relevance, and driving reform? This paper provides an insight into the features of, and findings from, the Virtual Professional Learning and Development (VPLD) programme initiated by the New Zealand Ministry of Education in 2010. The providers have worked mainly with primary and secondary school leaders and teachers, although one tertiary teacher has participated. The VPLD has been designed to exploit a range of affordances that in turn provide flexibility of choice, time, and approach for participants, enabling them to build and shape their knowledge and skills, all within the framework of mentoring and an online community of practice (CoP).

This paper illustrates some of the dynamics and possible results of the VPLD programme by presenting two vignettes (in part drawn from the associated research study), along with other illustrative data. The vignettes and following discussion clearly indicate the value of the VPLD model by demonstrating changes in the practitioners’ roles which have resulted in, for example, increases in the development of students’ metacognitive skills. There is also anecdotal evidence of improvements in student achievement of learning outcomes.

Author Biography

Hazel Owen, Ethos Consultancy NZ

Director - Ethos Consultancy NZ