The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the community of practice model in providing professional development to improve K-12 teacher’s knowledge, skills, self-efficacy with regard to the implementation of personal learning. The study also examined the extent to which the community created value for individuals and the organization. The study employed two theoretical frameworks: Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy and Wenger’s communities of practice.
The study employed a concurrent mixed methods approach. Eighteen teachers participated in a 9-month blended learning professional development focused on the implementation of personal learning. Participants took pre and post self-efficacy tests. In addition, qualitative data was collected from feedback surveys, online postings, a research journal, and individual interviews.
The teachers demonstrated greater levels of self-efficacy with regard to the implementation of personal learning after their participation in the professional development community. Teachers reported increased confidence with regard to personal learning in the areas of planning, risk-taking, implementation, making modifications for continuous improvement, and sharing their knowledge with others. The teachers also reported learning about themselves, their students and colleagues, as well as gaining knowledge of content related to teaching, and personal learning. Participants reported the development of a variety of skills including design and problem-solving skills, technology skills, and facilitation and PL strategies. They also reported changes in certain dispositions such as flexibility and open-mindedness. The community created value for both the individuals and the organization.
- A personal professional learning cohort cultivating a community of practice to lead school district change