Every human being is programmed differently. Each one of us has our own learning potential, and responds in a different way to learning opportunities. This is a critical challenge for teachers, whose students have different learning potential and capacities. Teachers are also human beings who need a customized learning experience. More so than ever before, there are so many different tools available that can optimize and customize the learning experience for professionals.In the past, teachers and educators relied on traditional learning methods to guide their professional development (PD). Sitting in day-long workshops, joining professional learning associations and getting certifications through self-studying were the most common ways that teachers used to further advance their PD. Today, the world is changing at a rapid pace and what was once local has now become global. There are so many ways to acquire learning and information, delivered in a customized way to specifically fit a teacher’s needs. This availability of learning and sharing tools has redesigned modern teacher education.
Challenges, convenience and collaboration
Personalized PD makes it very convenient for teachers to acquire data and information in a specialized niche. In the past, a teacher might have to join a professional learning association to network and advance their professional development, while gaining little due to the high enrollment numbers and lack of personalized learning. Today, with the proliferation of social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, there is no more need to join broad professional learning groups just to acquire networking capacities and professional growth. Sharing resources can be easily done with the click of a mouse, and finding support from expert teachers online has never been easier.
Perhaps one of the biggest things that attract modern educators to professional PD is the ability to take on new challenges that would have been difficult without today’s technology. In the past, a teacher might have to type, print and hand out survey forms to students if they want to gather feedback on their teaching methods. Today, with the help of personalized survey tools, student feedback can easily be gathered online. The ability to not only accomplish traditional tasks faster, but to also learn anytime and anywhere, is a big and positive change for teachers.
With these modern changes in professional development, carving a path that is not only personalized but also relevant and useful to teachers’ needs is a crucial way to save time, money and learning resources. Now, teachers can focus their efforts on other more important tasks by avoiding opportunities that aren’t conducive to their particular needs. In short, personalized PD will help teachers become laser-targeted and efficient in their career development.