Study Published in International Professional Development Association Journal

ETR Associates' Professional and Organizational Development staff recently published a study in the Professional Development in Education Journal, the official journal of the International Professional Development Association (IPDA). Titled The Impact of Short-Term Professional Development on Participant Outcomes: A Review of the Literature, the study identified critical design features found in effective short-term, face-to-face professional development events. The study was authored by Patricia Lauer, PhD, Research Consultant at ETR Associates, and Debra Christopher, MS, ETR Associates Director of Professional and Organizational Development. Co-authors were Regina Firpo-Triplett, ETR Associates Program Manager, and Francisco Buchting, PhD.

Selected for review were twenty-three studies describing design elements of professional development events with durations of 30 hours or less that involved participants in the fields of education and human-service-related professions. The article identified features associated with positive impact of short-term professional development. Those features included sufficient time based on the complexity of the topic; the use of measurable learning objectives; alignment of content and skills with learner needs; pre-work or homework; active learning techniques that result in cognitive engagement, including practice with feedback; a participant-centered learning environment; and follow-up support to promote the transfer of learning. The study also highlights three important yet often overlooked considerations when designing short-term professional development: needs assessment, training transfer and implementation, and cognitive processing.

The design features identified in this literature review serve as a framework for ETR Associates' learning systems, including training, technical assistance, organizational development, coaching and consultation. The agency's professional development staff now offer training and technical assistance on the effective delivery of these elements.

For more information on this study please visit:

For more information about ETR Associates' Professional and Organizational Development programs, please contact Angela Ward, ETR Associates Training Coordinator, at

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