Guide To Promoting Professional Development

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Guide to PromotingProfessionalDevelopment

Suggested CitationCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. Guide to PromotingProfessional Development. Atlanta, GA: Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, US Dept of Health and HumanServices; 2017.This publication can be downloaded ite addresses of nonfederal organizations are provided solelyas a service to readers. Provision of an address does not constitutean endorsement of this organization by CDC or the federalgovernment, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsiblefor the content of other organizations’ Web pages.

ContentsIntroduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Professional Development Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1Professional Development Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3The Four Steps of Promoting Professional Development Services . . . . . . . 4Step 1. Identify the Professional Development Services That Will MatchYour Target Audience’s Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Identify Your Target Audiences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5Conduct a Needs Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6Step 2. Develop a Comprehensive Promotional Plan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Set Your Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8Create Your Promotional Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10Step 3. Implement Your Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Identify Your Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Identify the Elements of Your Outreach Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19Identify Key Messages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23Brand Your Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24Look for Ways to Get Attention . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25Step 4. Collect Evaluation Data to Assess Your Planand Guide Any Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Evaluate Your Efforts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Review Step 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Evaluate Your Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27Choose Your Evaluation Method. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28Share Your Data . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31Guide to Promoting Professional Developmenti

iiGuide to Promoting Professional Development

IntroductionProfessional Development OverviewProfessional development (PD) is a term used to describe a varietyof learning or training opportunities that can help people improvetheir professional knowledge, competence, skill, and effectiveness.PD is designed to provide an active learning environment thatallows participants to master specific learning objectives. It caninclude trainings, workshops, online or distance learning courses,information sessions, and technical assistance.If your agency or organization coordinates or conducts PD servicesfor clients working in education, your goal is to help them increasetheir skill level as a way to improve outcomes. For example, ina school setting, you might offer workshops to teachers to helpthem learn more effective teaching strategies or build their skillin a specific subject or to provide guidance on how to add physicalactivity breaks to their classrooms.This guide provides ideas andbest practices that professionalscan use to get specific audiencesinterested in their professionaldevelopment events andservices. It is not meant to bea marketing plan.The result would be more successful students. At the state level,you might offer technical assistance for creating supportivelearning environments to school superintendents, with the goalof raising student test scores.However, before you can improve the skills of your targetaudience, you must get them to attend and participate in yourPD events. Many people who offer PD services think, “If I provideit, they will come.” But this approach doesn’t often work. It canbe hard to get people to take advantage of PD opportunities.Busy professionals may not notice what you have to offer, or theydon’t see the value of your services. Or they may not committo attending your PD events, which makes planning difficult.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) SchoolHealth Branch created this revised Guide to Promoting ProfessionalDevelopment to help agencies and organizations that offer PDbetter promote their services. This guide is based on a previousversion, called Step-by-Step: Marketing Professional DevelopmentServices, which was created for CDC by RMC Health. It can beused by a variety of PD providers, including state departmentsof health, state departments of education, partners and contractorsworking in these fields, and nongovernmental organizations.1

By learning to promote your services more effectively, you canreach the professionals who can most benefit from your PD events,resources, and technical assistance. Specifically, this guideprovides information, resources, and examples to help you: Identify appropriate audiences for your PD services. Reach these audiences with relevant and well-definedservices that are based on best practices. Design and share appealing materials that will increaseinterest, investment, and participation from these audiences.ObjectivesThis guide:2 Identifies the four stepsfor promoting professionaldevelopment. Helps you develop apromotional plan thatmeets the needs of yourtarget audiences.Guide to Promoting Professional Development

Professional Development PracticesThe ultimate goal of PD is to teach skills and strategies that, whenused, will have a positive effect on outcomes. CDC developeda set of recommended Professional Development Practices thatare based on research and best practices. Using these practiceswill create ideal conditions for new skills to be applied. Thesepractices can be used to deliver PD in group settings like work shops, presentations, and webinars. They can also be usedin one-on-one settings—for example, through technical assistanceor coaching.These practices are as follows: Sustain a Professional Development InfrastructureSet a high standard of practice for your PD efforts.Provide leadership and skilled staff who can implementa results-based plan. Design Professional Development OfferingsDesign trainings and technical assistance programsthat are ideal in length and based on learning theoryand best practices. Promote Professional Development ServicesUse promotional strategies that capture the attention of yourtarget audiences and get them to request your PD services. Deliver Professional DevelopmentUse trainings and technical assistance designs that will havea positive effect on learning and create change. Provide Follow-Up SupportStrengthen the knowledge and skill level of your participantsthrough continued and targeted follow-up support. Evaluate Professional Development ProcessesCollect usable data throughout the PD process and use thesedata to guide your practices and report your successes.More detailed information about these practices is availableon CDC’s Professional Development and Training website.Guide to Promoting Professional Development3

The Four Steps of Promoting ProfessionalDevelopment ServicesThe four steps in this guide were adapted from the “PromoteProfessional Development Services” practice, which is one of thePD practices developed by the CDC Healthy Schools program(see previous section).Step 1. Identify the PD services that will match yourtarget audience’s needs.Step 2. Develop a comprehensive promotional plan.As part of this plan:SMART objectives areSpecific,Measurable,Achievable,Realistic, andTime-phased. Develop SMART objectives that describe the resultsto be achieved. Develop and pretest messages and materials thatwill appeal to your target audiences. Create a timeline. Identify measures of success. Recruit partners who can support your plan and help youachieve your objectives.Step 3. Implement your plan.Step 4. Collect evaluation data to assess your planand guide any changes.As part of this process: Record your data in a data management system. Monitor and adjust your plan, materials, and messagesas needed.The following sections of this guide will provide more detailabout each step.4Guide to Promoting Professional Development

Step 1. Identify the Professional DevelopmentServices That Will Match Your TargetAudience’s NeedsIdentify Your Target AudiencesTarget audiences are the select groups of people that you wantto reach with your message. Promotional activities start withknowing what motivates these groups of people. Typically, peoplewho work in marketing will “segment” a population into differentgroups that have similar characteristics, behave in a similar manner,or are part of a particular social or interest group. If marketershave several audience segments, they often develop a differentmarketing plan for each group, or they tailor different elementsof their overall plan for each group.An audience profile is a good place to start as you identify theindividuals or groups you want to reach. This profile providesa snapshot of your target audience and is crucial to your promo tional plan because it gives you insight into how to reach themembers of this audience and how much they may be interestedin your services.The best way to get buy-in from your target audience is to frameyour message in a way that addresses their perspective, needs,and interests. You cannot meet this goal if you don’t know andunderstand your audience.The Four Steps ofPromoting PD ServicesStep 1. Identify the PDservices that willmatch your targetaudience’s needs.Step 2. Develop a comprehen sive promotional plan.Step 3. Implement your plan.Step 4. Collect evaluation datato assess your plan andguide any changes.5

Conduct a Needs AssessmentA needs assessment is a formal process designed to collectinformation on how to effectively reach your target audience.In the business world, members of this audience are called“customers.” It might be helpful to think of your audiencesas customers when you think about promoting your PD services.Success in your efforts—defined as people contacting you forPD services or attending your PD events—is often directly relatedto how customer-centered and customer-focused you are.The needs assessment is often your first chance to createa relationship with your target audience. The better and morelong-term this relationship is, the better you will be able to “sell”what you have to offer.Your needs assessment will help you focus your promotionalefforts. The information gathered can be used to describe andsell the right PD services to the right audiences in a way thatgets noticed.For your needs assessment, you should collect the following typesof information:General Information About the Target AudienceTalk with the people you’retrying to reach. You want yourPD services to meet the needsof your audience. These conver sations can create excitementand anticipation and help you“sell” the right PD servicesto the right audiences.6 The best ways to reach the identified audience—forexample, by phone, e-mail, or mail. Approaches best suited to motivate the audience to act. PD services that are of the most interest. The best “windows” of opportunity for reachingthe audience. Barriers that prevent the audience from participatingin PD events or implementing the skills learned. Motivators that will encourage the audience to participatein PD events. How to tap into the “what’s in it for me” angle.Guide to Promoting Professional Development

Information About Audience’s Interest in PD Services What are their professional goals related to improving thehealth of children and young people? How can you help them reach these goals? What is their level of comfort teaching the content? Can you show them how to use a variety of instructionalapproaches? What are their resource needs? What types of PD or continuing education hoursdo they need?Potential Audiences forPD in School Settings Teachers Other districtand school staff School nurses Public healthemployees Schooladministrators Communitymembers Parents7

Step 2. Develop a Comprehensive Promotional PlanThe Four Steps ofPromoting PD ServicesStep 1. Identify the PDservices that willmatch your targetaudience’s needs.Step 2. Develop a comprehen sive promotionalplan.Step 3. Implement your plan.Step 4. Collect evaluation datato assess your plan andguide any changes.Now that you’ve identified your target audiences, their needs, andthe best ways to communicate with them, you can begin designinga promotional plan to achieve your desired PD outcomes. This planwill include all of the strategies you intend to use to capture yourtarget audiences’ attention and prompt them to act—in this case,to request your PD services or attend your PD events. A writtenplan will keep you focused on how promoting your PD serviceshelps you achieve your program goal(s).Set Your GoalsBefore you get started, you should set specific goals. These goalswill help you set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,Realistic, and Time-phased) objectives. Goal statements help youanswer the question, “How do I know I have motivated my clientsto use my PD services to improve their skills and improve outcomes?”An example of a good goal statement is, “School Wellness Teamswill be aware of and participate in professional developmentservices offered by our agency that are relevant to their needs.”See Figure 1 for an example of a promotional goal set by a statedepartment of education that offers PD workshops for SchoolWellness Teams.Good promotional goals:8 Are decla