Flexibility Is Key for Professional Learning in COVID-19 Pandemic

Flexibility Is Key for Professional Learning in COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 crisis had a major impact on the PreK-12 professional learning market in spring 2020, and its ramifications are likely to occur through 2020-2021 and even 2021-2022. In many cases, the pandemic accelerated trends that were already happening, while in others it created entirely new needs, as delineated in the newly published Simba report: PreK-12 Professional Learning Market 2020.

The shutdown of schools across the country caused a brief stoppage of professional learning as schools transitioned to remote learning, followed by a strong need for immediately applicable lessons on how to effectively drive student learning in a remote environment. The coronavirus crisis accelerated some trends that were happening already in both student and professional learning, most notably a move to digital learning.

With the persistent uncertainty about how school districts will handle physical versus remote learning in fall 2020 and an anticipated need for quick pivots to remote learning in periods of COVID-19 flare-ups, PD providers will need to be agile, flexible, and have plans for various disruptive scenarios that may come up.

Besides the accelerated move to digital learning as a result of the need for remote learning, other trends seen by observers and industry providers include:

  • The need for PD on social-emotional learning topics, already advancing, is expected to intensify in the next year or two, due to the pandemic. The crisis caused students to feel fear and uncertainty, and they have been dealing with isolation from their friends and trusted adults at school. Educators are expecting the re-entry process to be challenging.
  • Poor NAEP results in reading have underlined the need for professional development in literacy instruction over the past few years. The move to at-home learning in spring 2020 intensified this need as researchers are predicting significant losses in student progress from the disrupted school term. Foundational literacy topics, as well as foundational math, are likely to be key needs going forward.

Recent growth in the professional learning market has been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis and the recession that likely will follow. Despite need and some demand, Simba Information projects the market will contract by 2%, followed by another projected decrease in 2021-2022 before a turnaround into growth in 2022-2023.

For additional information about professional development in U.S. schools, check out Simba Information’s PreK-12 Professional Learning Market 2020.  For more information or to purchase the report, call 888-297-4622 or e-mail customerservice@simbainformation.com.