What we’re learning | What we’re reading: Teacher Continuous Professional Development: How can technology be used to enhance teacher effectiveness through in-service professional development and structured pedagogy?

Credit Aleem Zahid Khan /

This is Part 6 of a six-part blog series inspired by discussions with partners working in the EdTech space who recognise they do not have the information they need to make informed decisions and recommendations. So, we have put together a series summarising what we have learned so far in each of our focus areas: Data for Decisions, Digital Personalised Learning (DPL), Girls’ Education & Technology, Participation & Messaging, and Teacher Continuous Professional Development. We provide some key lessons, an outline of our ongoing work, and some additional resources (written by our partners and by us) for readers who want to delve deeper. You can read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Teacher quality is the most important determinant of learning outcomes at the school level. A breadth of evidence suggests that interventions focusing on Teacher Continuous Professional Development (TCPD) are associated with positive effects on primary school learning outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, limited and inconsistent provision of support for teachers through training and professional development opportunities means teacher quality remains a significant challenge across LMICs. Technology has the potential to address issues of scale, equity, and quality in TCPD. It can facilitate the scaled provision of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) to teachers (e.g., through a MOOC), it can aid teaching in the classroom (e.g., through communicative technologies allowing teachers to share lesson plans and resources), and it can help improve teachers’ reflective practice (e.g., through video recording classroom practice and giving and receiving feedback on this). 

Our goal is to improve learning for 100 million children through teacher professional development. School-based ‘Community of Learning’ approaches to teacher professional development have been shown to work at small scale and create improvements in pedagogy, teacher subject knowledge, and teaching efficacy. Scaling up this practice could improve learning outcomes for 100 million children in LMICs.

We are working towards this goal through research, the production of global goods, and provision of advice. Some of our ongoing efforts include:

  • Working with Open University to research using digital tools and resources to develop teachers’ professional knowledge and practice in Bangladesh. 
  • Working with the Teaching Service Commission and World Bank in Sierra Leone to apply the Hub’s sandbox methodology to test and adapt a tech-supported school- and cluster-based teacher professional development programme for improved foundational learning outcomes. 
  • Supporting the Government of Tanzania with Aga Khan University and the Aga Khan Foundation to develop, test, and implement a national-scale TPD programme and conducting research to understand the impact of this technology-supported, school-based decentralised TPD model on primary learning outcomes. 

What are some of the lessons from our work?

  • Ensure technology-enabled TPD is linked to tangible impacts on teaching practices and student learning; measure these systematically.
  • Consider how technology can catalyse teacher reflection and peer learning, provide resources or lesson plans for classroom experimentation, and/or support coaches and mentors.
  • Use blended models to optimally support critically important human relationships; include face-to-face contact between teachers and mentors/coaches/trainers, district officials, and school leaders.
  • Work with teachers to design TPD that is relevant, contextualised, and aligned with teachers’ / students’ diverse needs. In particular, work and test with a wide range of users to understand how to effectively use technology to support TPD for marginalised teachers and learners.
  • For sustainability and scalability, consider the wider TPD ecosystem and coordinate / manage partners closely; understand structural and cultural influences on technology-mediated TPD operating at the classroom, school, district, regional, and national levels.

What should you read next?

  1. Technology Use for Teacher Professional Development in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A systematic review (see accompanying policy brief for decision-makers here) (EdTech Hub)
  2. T4 Insights Report World’s largest teacher survey post-Covid-19 (T4 Education, with EdTech Hub)
  3. A Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for Blended Learning: Pakistan Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (EdTech Hub)
  4. Dialing up Learning: Testing the Impact of Delivering Educational Content via Interactive Voice Response to Students and Teachers in Ghana (Rising Academy Network with EdTech Hub)
  5. Using evidence to strengthen tech-supported teacher professional development in Madagascar (EdTech Hub blog)
  6. Sierra Leone series: Plan International and the importance of community support for distance teacher professional development programmes (EdTech Hub blog)
  7. How can education systems enhance and scale teacher professional development through the integration of tech-based solutions? (EdTech Hub)
  8. Characteristics of effective teacher education in low- and middle-income countries: What are they and what role can EdTech play? (EdTech Hub)
  9. Curated Tools for Teacher Continuous Professional Development (EdTech Hub)
  10. Tech-Supported Structured Pedagogy Guide (EdTech Hub)
  11. Effective Teacher Education in Low-Connectivity Settings: A curated resource list (EdTech Hub)
  12. Background paper prepared for the 2023 Global Education Monitoring Report, Technology and education: Technology in education (Mary Burns, Global Education Monitoring Report Team) 

Find more in our Evidence Library.

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