Australia’s national education evidence body

How we’re contributing to professional learning research

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Professional learning is an important pathway to improving use of evidence-based practices in schools and early childhood services and enhancing learning outcomes for children and young people. But there are gaps in our knowledge about how to deliver effective and accessible professional learning to support increased use of evidence-based practices within an Australian education context.

AERO’s professional learning research began with these pressing questions:

  • How can professional learning best support teachers and educators to implement what they have learned in a practical and sustainable way? 
  • How can effective professional learning be delivered so that greater numbers of teachers and educators across more educational settings can be offered opportunities to improve their practice?

AERO is partnering with education systems and sectors, as well as professional learning providers, to develop and deliver studies that will help answer these questions.

Professional learning collaborations

Our first collaboration is with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF). ALNF’s professional learning includes the evidence-based Early Language and Literacy (EL&L) program as well as training and guidance in using the Early Language and Literacy Development Index (ELLDI) formative assessment tool. Participating teachers and educators learn about evidence-based early language and literacy practices and receive support to implement their new skills and knowledge into practice.

We will examine a new, more accessible, delivery approach where ALNF will provide their professional learning to a portion of early childhood teachers and educators within a service, instead of most staff. Two groups will be compared:

  • The educational leader and one other teacher/educator with a service
  • The educational leader and three other teachers/educators within a service

These participants will then be guided to share their newly acquired knowledge and skills with their colleagues through peer mentoring and collaboration.

AERO will examine how varying the number of teachers/educators enrolled in ALNF’s professional learning affects other teachers’ and educators’ knowledge and use of evidence-based practices. We will also explore how these variables in turn impact learning outcomes for children. In addition, AERO will investigate the role of the educational leader and how they can lead collaboration and sharing of knowledge and skills within a service.

This study will contribute to professional learning research by allowing us to evaluate whether the trialled delivery approach is an effective way to upskill teachers and educators in early childhood services. Findings will inform practical guidance on the design and delivery of professional learning programs so that professional learning can be delivered in way that enables more early childhood educators and teachers to participate and develop their evidence-based practices.

AERO and ALNF will conduct this study at early childhood services in Western Sydney during 2023 and report on findings in 2024. If you would like information about participating in the research, please contact [email protected] or visit the ECEC services study expression of interest page.

Collaborating with us

AERO is working to establish research collaborations with other education systems and sectors as well as professional learning providers. We will announce these on this page as they are finalised. 

If you would like to contact us about a potential research collaboration please email [email protected].

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