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Success Story: Supporting Improved Delivery and Assessment of Professional Development

Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) leaders requested the Region 5 Comprehensive Center’s (R5CC) support to create a framework, reflecting best practices, that can be used to plan and implement professional learning experiences consistently statewide. Although there was a shift from in-person to virtual work and schooling due to the pandemic, TDOE’s goal was to create an evidence-based framework that would be used to create high-quality learning experiences, regardless of where or how the learning took place.


The R5CC team worked closely with TDOE professional learning leaders to create the Adult Learning Framework (ALF), a step-by-step process that is grounded in adult learning theory and helps trainers develop and implement high-quality learning experiences. The framework includes tools and resources that support development and implementation of the learning experience from beginning (e.g., guidance for outlining the goals for the training in a form to be submitted to TDOE for approval) to end (e.g., post-training surveys). As TDOE began training other state staff on the toolkit, additional resource needs emerged that would further support development and continuous improvement of high-quality learning experiences. For example, the R5CC team developed resources to help trainers create engaging learning experiences, design effective asynchronous learning experiences, and monitor post-training survey results


After all the tools and resources were developed, the TDOE and R5CC creators faced their next challenge: how would they gain buy-in from others at TDOE? This was the main hurdle for the project. One strategy for overcoming this obstacle was to find champions who could push the work forward. The TDOE leaders who partnered with the R5CC team communicated their vision and mission for the work clearly and frequently with other TDOE staff. They convened groups of colleagues in phases to engage in a dialogue about the framework and expectations for its use. Next, they strategized about how to make key information readily available to staff in a digestible, on-demand format. The product of those discussions was a web-based training module on the ALF, which will help TDOE sustain this important work.