ED Pulse Poll Results: What’s your preferred method of PD?


As part of ASCD’s on-going effort to provide the most effective and supportive professional development for educators worldwide, this past week’s ASCD SmartBrief ED Pulse poll question asked readers about their preferred mode of PD. Without specifically addressing the obvious constraints of finances and time, these readers most preferred methods of receiving PD focused on interactions with other professionals. The two preferred methods were:

  • Off-site conferences/institutes – 33%
  • Job-embedded learning (coaching/PLCs/study groups) – 32%

Following these two types of PD, the next most often mentioned type was the use of Print materials (books, magazines, newsletters), given by far fewer of these educators (13%).

The final four types of professional development listed in this particular question were each selected by less than 10% of the sample as their most preferred method. These four were all digital offerings, specifically:

  • Webinars/podcasts – 7%
  • Online materials (e-books/digital publications) – 7%
  • Streaming video/DVD – 5%
  • Online courses – 4%

This survey question was included in ASCD SmartBrief, a daily education news roundup e-newsletter, which has 217,000 subscribers. Using ED Pulse, the weekly online poll, data was collected from 813 readers, starting on October 11, 2012. 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.


  1. Given education’s antiquated use of technology teachers may not have been exposed to effective technological and digital resources for professional development therefore they may not respond positively to this type presented in part in the survey.

  2. If the purpose of professional development is to improve classroom and leadership practice, then it seems that only the second option offered in the survey would lead to any meaningful change in practice. The others would be interesting for participants (who wouldn’t want to go to a conference when someone else pays?) but, back at the coal face, in the cold light of day, so to speak, most learning from these activities is lost.

    What about in-school workshops, by external facilitators, related to classroom practice, or on-going in-school PD, delivered by peers/school leaders leading to some sort of action research? Effective PD is on-site, on-going and able to be immediately and directly implemented.


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