Facilitating professional development for lecturers

Action plan

Lecturers as the center of educational innovation

Making optimal use of the possibilities of IT in higher education requires new knowledge and skills from the most important group that determines the quality of education: the lecturers. It requires a balance between people on the one hand and technology on the other. It is also important that the professional development of lecturers is embedded in all layers of the organisation. The Facilitating professional development for lecturers zone works towards a way in which institutions can check to what extent they effectively facilitate the professional development of their lecturers regarding ​​educational innovation with IT. Institutions can then start working on improving this, based on a collection of effective professional development strategies. Actual acceleration takes place within the institutions.

The purpose of the zone is: all higher education programmes offer lecturers the opportunity to use IT in education so that it leads to an acceleration of educational innovation and thus an improvement in the quality of education. Although our zone focuses on lecturers, the work of the zone must ultimately also affect students. Students benefit from lecturers who improve the quality of their education. Within the zone, we see various opportunities to accelerate the facilitation of professional development for lecturers, both bottom-up and top-down. Therefore, we are working on several themes. In this action plan, we explain what we worked on in 2020, and what the goals and plans are for 2021 and beyond. Our plan is ambitious, but also concrete. We prefer to set the bar high.

Below you find the summary of the action plan of the zone. Do you wish to read the entire action plan? Send an e-mail to communicatie@versnellingsplan.nl.

The plan

Goals for 2021

From development to implementation

By placing the emphasis on that process, they create the necessary acceleration within the institutions. For the coming year, those goals and the associated themes are as follows:

  1. Institutions have access to at least 10 systematically collected good practices of educational innovation with IT, accessible in an easily findable online place;
  2. Institutions have validated competence profiles for lecturers and educational support roles at their disposal with regard to education and educational innovation with IT;
  3. Participating institutions work on improving, renewing or expanding the professionalisation offer for lecturers and support staff using knowledge and instruments from the zone, such as the building blocks, the accompanying toolkit, and the work packages of the testing grounds. Click here for these products;
  4. The use of the integrated motion sensor at the institutions to evaluate the professional development policy and to improve the facilitation of teachers to use IT;
  5. Sector-wide anchoring of the IT competences of lecturers in higher education in existing qualifications for lecturers at research university and university of applied sciences qualifications;
  6. Work towards a central place where expertise, tools and examples of effective professional development activities are (further) developed and available to all institutions and lecturers in higher education.
Working method

Shared ownership

Within the zone, we’ll continue to work on the opportunities to improve and accelerate the facilitation and professionalization of lecturers, both bottom-up and top-down. We continue to work in working groups on the previously identified themes. To this end, we have designed many products and processes over the past two years.
Our zone is large, with a large team: 18 institutions participate, with a total of 21 members, including our two team leaders. Together with the leaders, a supporter, a connector, three researchers, and two project leaders, we work on realising the goals of the zone. One or two working groups led by a working group leader are working on each theme. This way of working has resulted in shared ownership among the zone members.
From now on, we will also focus more on the implementation within the institutions. Similar to the first two years, we work evidence-informed and our zone researchers evaluate and investigate the implementation. Based on this, we continuously improve our processes and products. We do this with the members of the zone and together with experts and external parties from our network. Collaboration with almost every other zone also plays an important role in this. Also, institutions not participating yet, can join our zone.
Preconditions for success

Commitment of institutions

An important condition is and remains the commitment of the institutions and the members. The members of the zone remain important players in realising the plans within their own institution, the action plans of the various institutions form the basis for this action. They indicate it’s necessary to follow two tracks: on the one hand, linking up with current developments within the own institution (‘looking for brackets’) and on the other hand, more visibility and recognisability of the activities and products of the zone and the Acceleration Plan as a whole. We attach great importance to the relationship between our efforts, results, and the products for institutions. That is why we want to visualise this with, for example, an (interactive) infographic.

The individual discussions with the zone members strongly show the need to spend more time exchanging practical experiences. In particular, the exchange of experiences regarding the implementation of the acquired knowledge and skills, but also between the working groups and the other zones. In addition, there is a need to increase visibility within the institutions. By paying more attention to communication, marketing, and disseminating results, we work to make our activities and products known and embedded in non-participating institutions.

We’re increasingly realising we would like to retain ownership of the zone’s theme, but we need to outsource more – under direct supervision – to increase the impact.

Goals for 2023

Accelaration of educational innovation through lecturers

The aim of the zone is ambitious: all higher education programmes offer lecturers the opportunity to use IT in their education so that it leads to an acceleration of educational innovation and thus an improvement in the quality of education. We focus primarily on the institutions in our own zone. Other institutions are of course cordially invited to join. Ultimately, all Dutch institutions should be able to benefit from our work.

By 2023 the participating educational institutions:

  • Have developed an integral policy on professional development for lecturer, in which the motion sensor is used repeatedly to strengthen the policy. At half of the institutions, the motion sensor is part of the quality assurance cycle;
  • Have given all lecturers the opportunity to use IT in their education, so that it leads to more confidence among lecturers and an improvement in the quality of education;
  • Have a flexible and varied range of professional development training developed based on the building blocks of effective lecturer professionalisation and give all lecturers the opportunity to prove – with edubadges – that they have demonstrably worked on their professional development in the field of educational innovation with IT;
  • Have educational innovation with IT anchored in the basic qualification for lecturers.

Kim Schildkamp & Ronald Spruit

“Lecturers are constantly improving their research, but that is far from self-evident for their education, certainly when it comes to the use of IT to improve education. To that end, lecturer professionalisation must be embedded in all layers of the institutions, from HR to management. We have formed four working groups that are committed to this.

We are developing a scan for institutions to determine what they should work on to improve the facilitation of professional development for lecturers. We conduct research into forms of professionalisation suitable for the context of higher education. Everyone knows that it doesn’t take much to have lecturers attend a workshop for one day. But what does work? Worldwide research shows that learning within a professional learning community is a promising approach. You can also use the natural structures within an organisation. During the team meetings in which lecturers design education together, someone from the educational service can come to help improve their education.

In the coming years, many small-scale experiments will be conducted with two or three institutions, starting with digital peer feedback. Based on our research into the experiments, we provide implementation advice for other institutions. We also collect best practices. And we focus on strengthening the role of support staff, such as IT specialists and instructional designers. By including all layers of the organisation, we think we can make a difference. “