From #edcamp to #edchat: A Case Study Exploring Innovative, Self-Directed Educator Professional Learning

Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)


Educational Leadership

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Iván M. Jorrín-Abellán

Committee Chair

Dr. Jo Williamson

Second Committee Member

Dr. Julie Moore


Although there is a plethora of in-depth research regarding effective professional development and best practices for adult learning, there is evidence that suggests traditional professional development for educators neglects to adequately address the needs of these adult learners. Research on adult learning, motivation, and self-directed learning supports the claim that there is a disconnect between research-based best practice and the traditional delivery models that are pervasive throughout much of the district- and school-mandated professional learning. Professional development is evolving, however, and educators are engaging in learning opportunities that challenge the traditional models. The emergence of self-directed professional development among educators is transforming the way in which educators connect with one another and engage in professional growth activities. This case was a large, suburban, K-12 public school district, which has recently offered and endorsed more innovative models of professional learning, such as Twitter chats and edcamps. This case study explores educators’ engagement in these and practices beyond their district, as well as the motivating, enabling, and impeding factors, for participation in such professional development activities. In addition, this study addresses the issue of traditional professional development deficits and the ways in which we can infuse preferred professional learning activities more consistently in schools.

Keywords: professional development, adult learning, self-directed learning, innovative professional learning, Twitter, edcamp