Although this study took place over a short period of time, I think what this confirms is what we know... teachers who regularly engage in effective professional development benefit. Having said that, let me clarify... teachers who regularly engage in ongoing professional development with the opportunity for support and follow up benefit the most. The expectation that effective professional development yields effective professional learning is what makes a difference in the classroom.
Professional learning occurs after the professional development has been provided and teachers have an opportunity to engage in professional conversations about what they learned. They need time to talk with one another and discuss what they think students need to know and how they will engage students in that process. Teachers need time to talk to their colleagues about instruction. If the professional development is online, every effort must be made to support that learning by having face-to-face conversations, both one-on-one and in small groups, to ensure that the content is understood, the goals are met, and learning is differentiated and can be adjusted to meet the needs of all involved.
Sounds easier said than done but one thing is certain…instructional coaching is the vehicle to build effective instructional practices, skills, and knowledge so that all students are in classrooms with highly effective teachers.