Different strokes for different folks: scaling a blended model of teacher professional learning

Deirdre Butler (Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Margaret Leahy (Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)
Michael Hallissy (H2 Learning, Dublin, Ireland)
Mark Brown (National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 18 September 2017



The purpose of this paper is to describe an innovative model of teacher professional learning that has evolved over a decade (2006 to 2016).


Working in a range of different school contexts, in conjunction with an ongoing engagement with the research literature, has enabled the development over three phases of a robust yet flexible framework that meets teachers’ expressed needs. At the same time, the framework helps to shift teachers’ pedagogical orientations, as the learning design supports school-focused, job-embedded teacher professional learning, which challenges more traditional instructional environments by infusing digital technologies and other elements of twenty-first century skills into teaching and learning.


Building on the experiences of the first two phases, the paper reports the most recent phase which expands on the emergence of a fourth wave of online learning to design and develop a massive open online course (MOOC) that potentially enables the massive scaling up of access to this already validated model of teacher professional development. The importance of maintaining key elements, threshold concepts and signature pedagogies in the design of MOOCs for teacher professional learning are discussed, and the paper concludes with early lessons from this latest work in progress.


Challenges are identified relating to the design of the social supports within the MOOC structure to sustain the collaboration, dialogue and ongoing reflection observed across Phases 1 and 2 that are necessary for the changes in pedagogical orientation and classroom practices.



Butler, D., Leahy, M., Hallissy, M. and Brown, M. (2017), "Different strokes for different folks: scaling a blended model of teacher professional learning", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 230-245. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITSE-01-2017-0011

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