Learning point 3 – educators leading their own learning

This is the third post in a series by the CPD Team outlining some of our thinking in preparation for the new Glow platform. As a result, a small number of the links below point to examples on Glow, so apologies in advance if you are not a Glow user!

Much has been written on the topic of educators being responsible for, and leading, their own CPD. Most recently I came across this blog post by Laura Varlas, an ACSD contributor in United States, who talks about how “schools in Sweden have moved from prescribed teacher training models defined by the central education ministry to teacher-designed projects focused on meeting real challenges in teachers’ own classrooms”

Of course, one of the big successes of the work of the National CPD Team in Scotland (in conjunction with SCSSA) was the development of the Learning Rounds model of CPD. In this model, educators do lead their own learning by observing each other in a non-judgemental way and discussing the learning. We are even seeing this being piloted as an initial teacher training model according to this BBC news story.

In this video, on one of our CPDLead communities on Glow, Denny the head teacher from Mossneuk Primary in South Lanarkshire explains how circumstances forced the school to look inward for its CPD and is all the better for it!

So what does this mean for an online environment like the new Glow and how might it encourage educators to take responsibility for their own learning? The answer is very probably to provide some tools and templates and then get out of the way!

There are many examples of Scottish educators taking part in DIY-CPD online through;

So, here are some ideas to support the reality of educators leading their own learning on the next generation of Glow.

  • Support the Scottish educators mentioned above to come together as an outward-facing and forward-facing community.
  • make it easier to host TeachMeets online
  • open an online, CPD Conference Centre where educators can do their own stuff with the web-conferencing tool whatever that may be (see the Conference Centre on Glow currently)
  • expand the CPDRequest service to be more of a ‘swap-shop’ where educators can do deals to support each other in their learning
  • start and support a CPD ‘dating agency’ for peer mentoring (there’s a nascent one on CPDStepin at the moment)
  • above all, continue to promote curiosity and rigour by providing tools to encouraging online reflection and sharing.

Let’s make our professional learning visible (to borrow a phrase from John Hattie)! Please feel free to add to the ideas mentioned above, or chuck stuff at them, in the comments section! 😉

Learning point 2 – Learn locally, share nationally

This post continues our discussion on key learning points from online CPD communities on Glow. It contains links to Glow but you can also click on the images to see expanded screenshots.

Here’s a thing we have learned! We can set up community pages for local events and programmes which ‘feed’ into CPD communities at a national level.

Here are some examples of this…

When the HWB team at Education Scotland led an event for NQTs, we worked together on a mini-community for the event which, in turn, fed into the national hwb-cpd community.

South Lanarkshire has a local version of the Outdoor Learning community. It sits within the “affiliated “ Outdoor Learning community in CPDCentral, and anything shared in that community can also be shared at national level, on the same principle outlined above.

Several authorities have local communities for their CPDLeaders which sit within CPDLead, which, in turn, is part of CPDCentral. Whatever is learned locally in these communities can be shared at a national level.

All of the above examples are local versions of national CPD communities. How about if all local communities shared at a national level? National communities wouldn’t have to come first. National communities would then be amalgams / curated versions of local communities.

Examples of this too are beginning to emerge on Glow…

MLPSNet (a community for primary languages practitioners in Stirling Council) share almost all of its activity nationally through the collegiate tools on CPDCentral. There are also links to existing authority areas on Glow to allow privacy where required.

Extending your Potential is an online, early leadership programme led by Rodger Hill of Dumfries & Galloway. The eyp-cpd community, however, is built at a national level so that the sharing can be seen by all on CPDCentral.

So here’s a thought. In the next iteration of Glow, instead of building ‘national’ CPD communities why not build a partnership with colleagues from local authorities to build communities that meet their local needs? The trick would be that each of these communities also shares at a national level, and possibly international level.

So why not have Stirling Council support modern languages for primary teachers across Scotland? And why not have an early leadership area of the proposed Virtual College for School Leadership (Teaching Scotland’s Future, recommendation 50) led by Dumfries & Galloway? And a coaching community led by Shetland folk, and an NQT community led by Aberdeenshire colleagues, and so on?

As always, your comments will be much appreciated

Catriona Oates and Con Morris

Learning point 1 – Share once, see many

With the forthcoming changes to Glow which we will know more about in the coming months, we thought it might be helpful if we outline a few of the features on our CPD communities thus far. Although we don’t know as yet know what Glow will look like in the new session, we can share here some of the key learning points from our work on CPD communities so far.

Note to illustrate these points we make several links to Glow communities below.

Learning point 1 – Share once, see many

We started a couple of years ago with CPDCentral – a hub where you could find other educators and share your ideas and practice?

From CPDCentral, you could then find links to CPD communities that might interest you, eg CPD leaders and Health & Wellbeing. The problem we hit quite quickly was that if you had the same thing to share, or say, in more than one community, you had to add it several times.

So we flattened the hierarchy for sharing and did away with many of the sub-groups. You’ll see now that CPDCentral has spawned a lot of mini-communities, and although they are nested within CPDCentral, they have their own identity and hashtag. The beauty of this system is that you can share and interact in more than one community at a time.

So, to take the example, CPDLead is the online community for leaders and co-ordinators of CPD. A member of CPDLead sharing some CPD practice on Health & Wellbeing can tag the item with #cpdlead and #hwb and share simultaneously across both communities.

Many other CPDCentral communities operate in this way: Outdoor Learning; CPD Consolarium; Gaelic; CPDStepin; Global Citizenship to name but a few.

The icons for these communities are shown here.

In addition, as an individual educator you can also see all your own community activities to date on the CPDMe page This might come in handy at PRD time!

In the new Glow, we would like to see this Share once, see many idea extended to the CPD work done by individuals, establishments, local authorities and national organisations.


  • the option to share items directly with colleagues from your online profile without double entry. A piece of evidence of impact could be shared in the profile, but also appear as part of a school contribution to LA improvement planning and a contribution to a CPD community
  • you profile yourself once and those details are made available to all your school, authority and national communities
  • a local authority CPD community can share a learning and teaching policy (and with the judicious use of tags) make it available to all its own educators but also to supply teachers, probationer teachers, leaders throughout Scotland as it sees fit

In the next post, Con Morris and I will be reflecting on our next (and related!) learning point – Learn locally, share nationally

Your comments would be very much appreciated below!

Catriona Oates