Year of Publication

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jayson W. Richardson

Abstract

Personalized learning has gained traction in the United States as schools look to improve student learning through means that are less focused on standardized tests and are more focused on individualized student needs (Cavanagh, 2014). To successfully implement a new learning initiative such as personalized learning, high-caliber training must be provided. Research indicates a teacher's expertise and effectiveness account for the most significant difference in student achievement (Ferguson, 2001; Hattie, 2012), and therefore quality teacher professional development is paramount. One way to improve a teacher’s excellence and effectiveness is through sustained, collaborative, and meaningful professional development.

In this study, I used a collaborative network within a K-12 school setting as a means to provide high-quality professional development that enhanced conditions for organizational learning. A community of practice was designed, with stakeholder input, to best meet the needs of both teachers and students. The use of a Community of Practice allowed me to provide teachers with an experiential approach to personalized learning as well as to design and test a professional development structure that could be continued in other contextual settings. Using a mixed-methods action-research design, I examined strategies for professional growth and measured self-efficacy to teach in personalized learning environments. The findings from this study suggest that a Community of Practice is a viable model for professional development to help teachers build self-efficacy and find value in the experience.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/etd.2020.068

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