Resources for Providing High Quality Professional Development

Graphic with Professional Development ConnectionsProfessional development (PD) comes in many forms, such as face-to-face workshops and conference sessions, staff in-service trainings, communities of practice, book studies, online learning modules, webinars, etc. These activities may be conducted with small or large groups of learners, or just have a single individual participating, often for the purpose of learning something new or extending current practices. While PD can take many forms, there are certain practices that you can use to help your participants leave the training better prepared to remember and use what they learned – which is the goal of professional development! On this page, you will find resources to help you provide the most effective PD to your staff. You will not find specific content to teach here; instead, you will find guidance on how to structure the PD activity for the best learning outcomes. For information about content-specific topics, be sure to visit EI Topics & Trends in the main menu to explore a variety of early intervention topics and resources.

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Available Resources

Articles & HandoutsGraphic with Professional Development Connections


7 Traits of Expert Facilitators (external website)
The Bob Pike Group
Visit this site to download a free guide that explains 7 traits of great facilitators who can guide and engage learners during training.

DO’s and DON’Ts for Designing a Successful Webinar (external website)
The Bob Pike Group
Visit this site to download a free guide with information about Do’s and Don’ts for using webinars for training, tips to increase engagement, and ways webinars are different from classroom training.

Dunst, C. J. (2015). Improving the design and implementation of in-service professional development in early childhood intervention. (external website) Infants & Young Children, 28(3), 210-219. 
This article describes a model for designing and implementing evidence-based professional development. Key features of this model are described in depth.

Employee Training: Ten Tips for Making It Really Effective (external website)
Vicki Heath
This article offers 10 tips supervisors can use when planning and providing training to build employees knowledge and skills.

Facilitating Reflection: A Manual for Leaders and Educators (external website)
Georgetown University
This guide explains how to facilitate reflection using specific strategies and activities. Leaders can use this information to facilitate reflection with staff on practices during staff development or other professional development opportunities.

Teachers as Learners: Elements of Effective Professional Development (external website)
Kathy A. Dunne
This chapter provides guidance about principles of effective professional development (PD), evaluating and designing PD, and PD strategies.

Tips for Effective Webinars (external website)
Maria H. Anderson
eLearn Magazine
This article provides lots of specific tips for what to do before, during, and after a webinar to make it a success.

Watson, C., & Gatti, S. N. (2012). Professional development through reflective consultation in early intervention. Infants & Young Children, 25(2), 109-121. (external website)
This article describes the use of reflective consultation in a collaborative pilot project that integrates infant mental health approach to supporting ongoing professional development of early interventionists.

What Do We Mean by Professional Development in the Early Childhood Field? (external website)
National Professional Development Center on Inclusion
This document presents a definition and conceptual framework for professional development in early childhood. Defining what is meant by professional development is intended to guide efforts aimed at ensuring that the early childhood workforce is highly qualified and effective in working with young children (birth through 8) and their families.

What Makes an Effective Early Childhood Professional Development Provider?
VA Cross Sector Professional Development Team (VCPD)
This handout can be used as a guide to competencies for early childhood PD providers. Competencies are included for the following categories: knowledge of adult learning principles; professionalism/ethics, cultural competence; instructional design; delivery of professional development; technology; and field/professional experience.

What Works in Professional Development? (external website)
This research synthesis summarizes findings from a review of PD studies and focuses on what was learned from studies that exemplified best practices. Information is provided about workshops, outside experts, time, follow-up, activities, and content.

Audio/Visual Graphic with Professional Development Connections


How to Create an Awesome Slide Presentation (external website)
Pat Flynn – SPI TV
In this video, you’ll learn tips for how to develop slide presentations that wow your audience. The slides used on this video offer a great example of how to use slides to effectively communicate your content.



8 Ideas for Facilitating Impactful Staff Development (YouTube)
VA’s Integrated Training Collaborative | Partnership for People with Disabilities

In this session, staff from the VA Early Intervention Professional Development team provide links and guidance for early intervention supervisors to facilitate staff development using a variety of free resources. This conference session was presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference 2021.

Tools Graphic with Professional Development Connections


Observation Checklist for High-Quality Professional Development Training (external website)
Research Collaboration (April 2015)
The checklist provides a way to determine whether professional development follows adult learning principles. It can also be used to provide ongoing feedback and coaching or as a guidance document when designing or revising professional development. The 22-item tool addresses six domains present in high-quality professional development: Preparation, Introduction, Demonstration, Engagement, Evaluation/Reflection, and Mastery. For more information on this tool including a webinar about its use, visit the Research Collaboration.

Staff Development Planning Guide
Integrated Training Collaborative | Partnership for People with Disabilities

This guide can be used to plan staff development/training that integrates adult learning principles and evidence-informed professional development practices. Using this form, you will identify your most pressing staff development need and the resources you will use to address the need. You will create an activity plan, consider how your plan addresses adult learning, and evaluate the training activity.

Trainer Quality Assurance Observation Form
Project SEED Virginia
This form can be used during an observation of a trainer during training to provide feedback about how the trainer manages the learning environment, prepares for training, uses instructional methods, establishes and maintains credibility, uses a balanced training delivery approach, displays content knowledge, assesses learner development, uses communication and presentation skills, manages group and individual activities, assesses the effectiveness of training, and displays flexibility.

Websites & Programs Graphic with Professional Development Connections


Virginia Cross Sector Professional Development Team (VCPD) (external website)
The VCPD promotes planning, implementation and evaluation of professional development with the intent to ensure coordination of all early childhood PD in Virginia. VCPD team members are committed to working together to build a unified system to support all families and their children (prenatal to age 5) in Virginia. Visit this site for information about PD resources, agencies/organizations, conferences, and regional VCPD activities across the state.

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