Introducing Our PD Model

Quality learning and staff development takes time! Professional development should never be sporadic, one-and-done, or “spray-and-pray.” That's why the Click2Science professional development model supports an ongoing cycle of professional development. We recommend a continuous cycle of needs assessments, targeted training and/or coaching interventions, and evaluations to truly improve program quality.

In order to ensure OST staff receive quality professional learning, follow these easy steps from our professional development model.

Pick a focus.

We have 16 specific skills you or your staff can work on through targeted activities and plans. Your focus can be determined by a needs assessment or formal evaluation tool that focuses on program quality, your own observations, or staff feedback. The purpose and objectives for each skill will help you determine where to start.

Execute Professional Development.

  1. Complete a self-directed web lesson. Choose a Self-Directed Web Lesson that corresponds to the skill you are working to improve. For example, if you've identified Encouraging Collaboration as the skill that staff need the most support in, staff would complete the corresponding lesson title It Takes Two! Encouraging Collaborative STEM Work.
  2. Attend a training. Build upon the self-directed learning experience with a hands-on, in-person training. Staff should reflect upon the skill, experience what it looks like in practice, and learn how to use it during STEM experiences. Trainings should be in-depth, hands-on learning experiences with discussions.
  3. Practice the skill. Staff should practice using the skill while leading STEM learning experiences with youth.
  4. Engage in a meeting. Reinforce the skill with a shorter piece of professional development. Staff and volunteers should dig deeper into the skill and discuss strategies as a group. This meeting can be in-person or virtual, and should meet the needs of social, experiential, and visual learners.
  5. Practice the skill. Again, staff should practice using the skill while leading STEM learning experiences with youth.
  6. Get some coaching. Develop additional strategies for using the skill and set improvement goals . Reflect on the skill by reviewing real-practice videos or staff in practice.
  7. Practice the skill. Again, staff should practice using the skill while leading STEM learning experiences with youth. Put your strategies for using the skill into action.

Evaluate the Impact.

Measure the impact of your professional development efforts. You can use formal program quality evaluation tools like DoS, or use Click2Science self-confidence instruments to measure your staff's confidence levels. Once you have evaluated your efforts, you may choose to continue to develop the skill or begin the model with a new Click2SciencePD skill.

Does this model really work? In order to evaluate the Click2Science professional development model, we completed a triangulated research study with promising findings:

Twelve frontline staff were observed using the Dimensions of Success (DoS) observation tool before receiving any STEM professional development. Then, site leaders delivered professional development to staff using our professional development model at their sites (including, but not limited to these 12 staff members). The 12 staff were observed after completing the professional development cycle and, on average, their DoS scores increased or stayed the same on all 12 dimensions! To see the full evaluation report, download it on the Research and Evaluation page.

Interested in learning more about our model? Contact us at click2sciencepd@unl.edu.