Kit Harris, ASCD Research

ED Pulse Poll Results: What Types of PLCs Are Most Effective?

ASCD continually seeks to provide solutions to the challenges that face educators of all levels. A recent ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll asked readers asked readers to identify which new type of personalized learning communities for educators is most effective.

The growth of the Internet has allowed and encouraged educators to learn from one another in a self-directed and community-based way. Virtual professional learning can be more flexible and personalized than conventional, in-service education. Educators can participate in their professional learning in their own time from any place they have online access. This experience has also encouraged educators to take their professional learning "into their own hands," personalizing and developing new types of in-person or virtual professional learning that best meets their needs. They no longer feel it is necessary to wait for their administration to provide their professional development.

With this in mind, ASCD SmartBrief readers weighed in. There were two types of personalized learning that appealed to about a third of the 468 readers who responded. These were lesson study groups (33 percent) and data teams (30 percent). At a secondary level, they felt that teacher-led "unconferences" were next most effective (20 percent). The other types of learning were selected by less than 10 percent of the sample.

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a free daily e-mail news service that provides summaries and links to major education stories and issues, which has more than 200,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 468 readers, starting on February 6, 2014. Online surveys do not provide a random sample, as participants are self-selected, meaning that a margin of sampling error cannot be calculated or quoted. In addition, the population and sample are limited to those with access to computers and an online network. However, online surveys have been shown to produce results that have proven to be reliable predictors of outcomes, including election results. If you have a question on education that you would like to see addressed in a future ED Pulse poll, feel free to submit it in the comment section below, along with any other comments.

Kit Harris is the marketing research lead at ASCD. The quantitative and qualitative research work done is in support of strategic initiatives in marketing, membership, product/program/service development, and conferences/meetings. Harris started her career in Chicago at a marketing research firm, then moved to D.C. to serve as the research director at advertising agency Earle Palmer Brown & Associates. Prior to coming to ASCD, she ran her own research firm.

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