Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Rous


Principals need to understand best practices and research-based strategies that foster student success and that align to their instructional expectations and professional goals. Some of those practices include applied learning strategies such as integrated learning, student-driven learning, and authentic applications. Unfortunately, little professional learning, specifically for principals, is made available on the topic of instructional leadership, current strategies, or applied learning in general. As a result, school leaders continue to follow a traditional instructional model that includes teacher-directed instruction, student recall of information, and standardized tests as measures of content mastery.

This dissertation was a mixed-methods action research study. The purpose of this MMAR study was to identify and employ professional learning resources for principals that increased their perceived knowledge of applied learning and impacted their instructional leadership plans for classroom expectations and professional goals. The intended outcome was to build principals’ confidence in leading applied learning implementation in their local schools.

Findings indicated that professional learning designed specifically for principals increased their knowledge of applied learning strategies through training, observations, and collaboration. The results further showed that the professional learning impacted principals’ inclusion of applied learning in their expectations and goals and indicated that principals’ confidence to lead applied learning implementation in their schools increased after participating in the professional learning.

These findings suggest that principals benefit from professional learning that strengthens their instructional leadership capacity to implement research-based strategies such as applied learning. By building principals’ knowledge in understanding, recognizing, and leading applied learning, school districts can influence instructional changes at the school and classroom level.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)