Identifying needs

Planning for effective professional learning that addresses the Six Principles is essential. Planning will occur at many levels: individual, workplace or cluster and will be varied to suit the individual situation.

Identifying a learning need is the first stage in planning for PL. This learning need may be one that is linked to a DET initiative; is based on collected data on student learning or is in response to client feedback. It may have been identified through a needs analysis or through the Performance Review process. Defining and describing this learning need is an essential pre-requisite to articulating clear and concise professional learning goals. Professional learning that is explicitly aligned to your business (Principle 2) and appropriate (Principle 4) can be described in terms of student learning or client service.

Key questions to ask when defining a learning need may include:

  • What current DET priorities or education initiatives are impacting on our workplace?
  • What new knowledge and skills are required to address these initiatives?
  • What does the data/evidence tell me about my student's learning needs or client service requirements?
  • Which of these needs have priority at this time?
  • What areas do I need to develop in order to help students/clients achieve improved outcomes?

Tools to help identify professional learning needs can be accessed from the Resources page. These are suggestions only. Your school might choose to reproduce these as a wall chart or on a whiteboard for easy display.

These include:

  • Planning for change - identify what your workplace wants to shift from... and to... and how you can get there.
  • Aligning Professional Learning - use this to identify priorities by working from DET priorities down to individual priorities. This is a first step.
  • Needs assessment: student learning goals - use this tool to focus on student learning goals and expand on the priorities identified above.
  • Needs assessment: teacher competency - this tool helps identify strengths and gaps and strengths in teacher knowledge and skills linked to student learning goals.

Once a learning need has been identified, further refine this using planning tools.

Related links