Category Archives: Policies and Strategies

Mindmap of policies and resources

The TaccleCPD Mindmap attempts to organise the policies, tools and resources for CPD in teacher training in ICT. This is still a work in progress as we are continually adding new resources as we find them. This page will be updated in the new year and will eventually be replaced with an interactive html version with clickable links.

Download the pdf here TACCLE 4 CPD mindmap pdf


Overview of current projects alongside TACCLE4-CPD; Interim Conclusions

For the TACCLE4-CPD project it is worthwhile to consider, what educational sectors are covered by these parallel projects and in what ways our project can cooperate with its neighbours. Here some key points:

  • The Inclusive Digital Media project DMI pointed out to be an alliance of several R&D projects. It works with ‘thematic concepts’ that are based on shared pedagogic principles. In this way the DMI seeks to enhance subject-based and interdisciplinary learning units with digital media and creative shaping. For the work of TACCLE4-CPD in general education these thematic concepts are of major interest.
  • The projects DieDa and NABUS are mostly involved with pedagogy of adult education – and on the real implementation of ‘self-organised learning’ in vocational end work-related adult learning provisions.
  • The projects RISE and STRIDE have very specific R&D approaches to enhance project-based learning in vocational schools. Here it is interesting to exchange experiences on the multiple roles of researchers.
  • The subsequent projects INTAGT, MeMoApp and LiKa 4.0 have very specific VET and workplace-related learning contexts and very customised software ecologies to work with. Here it is of interest to find out, if Learning Toolbox could be linked to their work.
  • The project DigiProB is partly a successor project of the Learning Layers’ Construction pilot. However, it is working with different web tools and addresses different trainers with an aim shape integrative learning projects for adult learners. In the final phase there is an effort to create a functioning interaction between the trainers’ web platform and the learners’ toolset (the Learning Toolbox).
  • The project BROFESSIO is of major interest due to the development and implementation of the ‘Agile learning’ concept for workplace-based team-based learning and training. In many pilot contexts such approaches to promote peer tutoring and peer learning are vital for the consolidation of the learning results and for the transfer of innovation.

TACCLE1 and TACCLE2 projects – promoting teachers’ capability to create digital contents and use web resources

The first TACCLE project developed a generic handbook for teachers (in general) to familiarise themselves with digital media and web tools of that time (2007-2009). The choice to produce a hard copy handbook was not self-evident, but turned out to be the right one. Teachers preferred to have a book that they could explore – rather than searching through the websites of that time. Also, the texts were written in the style of teachers (from the users’ point of view) rather than in the style of technical experts or researchers. Now, many years after the project has been completed, the project website has been reshaped to inform of the TACCLE books and of the TACCLE courses that continue the work,

The second TACCLE project worked as a web-based project. It focused on different subject areas or teacher groups, such as STEM (in German MINT), Humanities, Creative and performing arts, Core skills and Primary education. The project worked with teachers from the participating countries and produced handbooks to be downloaded from the web. And as was the case with the first project, the second one was accompanied by TACCLE courses that made it possible for other teachers to benefit from the ongoing work. The project is documented on the website that also has active news sections:

The third TACCLE project is working with primary education teachers that are teaching computing, coding and programming for children between 4 and 14 years. The project is using a single website that supports multiple languages:

Digital Media, Web Tools & Training of Trainers – Overview of current projects alongside TACCLE4-CPD

This overview is an interim product of the EU-funded project TACCLE4-CPD “Strategies, Models and Tools for Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in e-Learning”. The acronym TACCLE stands for “Teachers’ aids for creating content for learning environments”. TACCLE4 is already a fourth European project in the TACCLE project family. The abbreviation ‘CPD’ stands for different forms of continuing professional development. And the expression e-Learning should be understood as an inclusive concept – taking into account multimedia learning, blended learning, online learning, mobile learning in different variations. (Below the first main section will give insights into the development of the TACCLE projects.)

In the TACCLE4 project other partners from Wales, Belgium and Romania will work with the theme ‘continuing professional development’ focusing on teachers in general schools or adult education. The task of ITB is to cover the field of vocational education and training (VET) – taking into account teachers and trainers. (Below, one of the subsections will give insights into the plans of ITB.)

In this phase it is interesting that there are already several European and national projects in which ITB researchers work with the themes “Digital media, Web tools & Training of trainers”. Therefore, it is worthwhile to map a situation and to provide an overview of the project environment in which the TACCLE4-CPD is the newest actor. By producing this overview we try to facilitate mutual exchanges and learning from each other.

Below, the first main section gives insights into the previous TACCLE projects and into the plans for the current one. The following main sections will present a group picture of the neighbouring projects with reference to their contexts, target groups and research & development challenges.

Notes on Strategies and Models for Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in e-Learning

  1.    Models of delivery

Trying to map the different models of delivery and the range of activities which constitute CPD is not straightforward due to the highly varied pattern of provision.

In order to make sense of the range of provision which exists, Vogel (2010) suggested a framework based on Land’s (2001) work.  She suggested that different delivery models of ICT CPD could be located somewhere along the following axes

  •      Technology-centred – pedagogy-centred
  •      Learner-centred – institution-centred
  •      Centralised – local
  •      Extrinsic –  intrinsic motivation
  •      Formal – informal
  •      Situated – generalised
  •      Support – development ethos
  •      Voluntary – compulsory

The traditional model of sending staff on courses is general seen as ineffective in failing to provide opportunities for practice and failing to involve colleagues to support new initiatives (IfL, 2010). Furthermore, courses are decontextualised from work cultures, constraints and practices.

However, the dichotomy is probably painted too starkly.  CPD may be delivered in house by outside ‘experts’ or external CPD programmes may be delivered through on-line courses, be heavily contextualised and use a problem centred approach.

Whilst there are limited studies of the effectiveness of CPD as a whole there are numerous small scale case studies. These include:

  •      A Professional Engagement Group (PEG) model as a community-based alternative in a school within an institution’s Faculty of Education with small groups convening, sometimes only briefly, round a given problem and facilitated by academics (Hanrahan at al, 2001)
  •      A structured, rapid and iterative problem-based group activity to introduce academics in the departments to Web 2.0 technologies focusing on bridging the gap from knowledge and skills to practice in the classroom
  •      E-mentoring in which a buddy system was set up between a lecturer who was inexperienced with technologies and a learner who was confident with them.

Several universities run professional development courses on line. For example, Glyndŵr University offers the Postgraduate Certificate in E-learning, delivered entirely on line and aiming to increase the knowledge and skills needed to apply technology effectively to support teaching and learning across a range of educational and training contexts.

The University of Greenwich runs a professional development programme leading to a Certificate in e-Learning, Teaching and Training (CeLTT) to help staff understand both technology and pedagogy. The course is offered fully online or as a blended programme.

Camel Stoke College has ‘Holy Hours’ set aside for staff development whereby all tutors have two hours per week for ICT CPD. This was in response to a skills audit, which revealed that many middle and senior managers are embarrassed by their lack of IT skills. Staff are asked to identify their own priorities and skills deficits. Since introducing the scheme they have been overwhelmed by requests for one-to-one training.

There are increasing opportunities to use on line resources for personalised CPD. However the IfL (2010) )report that “although there is a large variety of media and technologies through which members can gain new skills or develop their practice, as part of CPD, in general more members either had not used or heard of ‘new’ technologies, than had.”

However, there is a substantial take up of e-Portfolio tools for professional development.The major barriers to using such tools were lack of time, low confidence in how to use different tools, difficulties with technology and that their employer required them to submit their CPD records by different systems.

It is also notable that technology can be used to support CPD outside the area of teaching and learning. For instance, technology can be used to scaffold CPD for management issues or for career progression, using social networking, recording and reflecting learning to help reinforce the message of the effectiveness of technology for learning.

In summary, research indicates that the source of CPD provision itself is less important than the learning approach which is adopted. CPD which is designed to be collaborative is reported as effective in a majority of studies whereas CPD designed for and delivered didactically to teachers by a third party is not.

In their review of Continuing Professional Development in ICT for Teachers, Daly, Pachler and Pelletier (2009) concluded: “The core issue to emerge from the review is that teachers need to be at the centre of their own learning if they are to change their deep-seated beliefs and habits regarding the use of technology. Otherwise, surface-level adoption occurs.” (p6)

  1. Constraints and barriers

Amongst the different barriers which have emerged in recent research are the lack of adequate access to technology especially for practising themselves and for embedding in their classroom practice and a lack of intellectual challenge offered by a purely skills-based approach and a focus on de-contextualised skills without reference to any underlying pedagogy.

Teachers were also alienated by what they saw as hard-sell approaches by zealous ‘experts’ and the often insensitive attitudes of people outside the profession who were implicitly or explicitly critical of their current practice. This reflects the point that teachers perceive a credibility gap when taught by non-teachers.

In some institutions, ICT CPD is heavily linked with buying particular products from commercial providers. This may be dictated by purchasing policy, by technical support departments or service level agreements rather than by assessment of learning needs. In addition, vendors are often responsible for the CPD linked to the use of a particular platform or software application.  This may stifle exploration of other available software and act as a barrier to innovation and the adoption of new applications as they become available.

Lack of support from managers may also be a significant barrier. The analysis of the IfL survey of their members (IfL, 2010(b) concluded that “for technology to have a real impact, support for teaching, learning and CPD needs to be central to the organisation. When our members were asked if they felt supported by their employer and managers, 35% of the survey respondents said they felt unsupported and lacked the confidence to explore new methods in the classroom

There appears to be a tension between addressing individual and whole-school development needs. Teachers report that the latter usually dominate the CPD agenda. However, treating teachers as individual learners is important if deep-seated beliefs about learning are to be reviewed and attitudes changed regarding the role of technologies in the classroom.

Policy tensions and imperatives may also deflect from coherent and consistent development of pedagogic approaches to the use of technology for teaching and learning, especially in dictating the use of time and resources.

  1. What are the successes / critical success factors?

A summary of the research reveals the following key factors as critical to effective ICT CPD:

Peer learning / skill sharing

Teachers who have more experience are given structured opportunities to share with those who have less and there are no hierarchical divisions between ‘experts’ and ‘non-experts’. Most importantly, this sharing process is valued and legitimated. This depends on the institution having a strong sense of community and a shared ethos of peer learning. This has to be built rather than imposed.

The Institute for Learning (IfL, 2010(b)) report: that “evidence shows that the CPD most likely to lead to the desired impact is based on learning from others – from shared resources, from peer support and working together and through formal and informal networks.” (p10)

Small group learning

As noted above, there has been a trend away from mass ‘Inset’ sessions towards group work as a valid form of CPD activity. Groups may be based around skill levels, different software interests, subject specialities or different target groups (e.g. Women returners, Special Educational Needs etc). There were many positive reports on the effectiveness of this approach as a vehicle for discussing practice and planning new approaches.

Informal learning

Informal learning may be more important than formal courses.

“Informal conversations are vital, as is dedicated time to allow teachers to talk together and plan for new approaches in terms of their use of ICT in learning and teaching.” (Daly, Pachler and Pelletier, 2009)

Informal learning, by definition, cannot be planned but can be facilitated by creating time and space for networking, inclusive leadership styles, democratic staff relationships and the development of staff as a learning community.

Clear links between CPD and practice

The additional benefits of using ICT must be very clear. CPD activities have to be immediately relevant to the individual teacher and applicable in the classroom.

As teachers become more familiar with the technology, there is an increasing demand for subject specialist CPD, an area which is not well developed and frequently not a priority. It is also likely to be one in which there is least in-house expertise available.

A sound pedagogic base and reflexivity

There should be a shared of understanding of how learning occurs, how it can be planned and facilitated and what constitutes effective teaching and learning.  This may be stating the obvious but there are criticisms of some commercial providers who were perceived as having a different baseline.

The design of the ICT CPD should incorporate effective use of ICT for learning. That is, it should practice what it preaches. Teachers need to experience and participate in e-learning activities as part of their professional development.

“The incorporation of group work, collaborative problem-solving, independent thinking, articulation of thought and creative presentation of ideas are examples of the ways in which teachers’ CPD might focus on pedagogy, with a view to how technologies can support these processes.”  (Daly, Pachler and Pelletier, 2009).


A clear vision for ICT CPD focused on pedagogy and teacher development was seen as a prime factor by staff and providers.

If the overall objectives and a coherent strategy are in place this can help avoid or overcome operational problems of time and funding.  Effective leaders can build capacity by maximising the range of expertise that staff already have and drawing them together as part of a co-ordinated approach to CPD. This could include, for example, identifying excellent practitioners who use creative approaches in the classroom (using traditional pedagogies), staff with ICT skills, staff with experience of facilitating peer learning groups, staff with staff training and communication skills.

“Organisations with a real interest in developing teaching and learning also identified working in teams, mentoring, and engaging in action research as most likely to lead to brilliant teaching and training.” (IfL, 2010 (a), p10)

Working with newly qualified and trainee teachers

New teachers, particularly younger ones, may be able to make a valuable contribution to the ICT CPD of established staff and this should not be over-looked.

Ownership of equipment:

Teachers and lecturers need to feel that they can ‘play’ with their own kit in order to develop familiarity and confidence, that they can use it for learning outside working hours and that they can customise it in a way which reflects their particular needs (UNESCO, 2006). This was a big issue for teachers but often at odds with institutional policy despite the fact that the preparedness of teachers to use their own time for learning actually saves money!

Time usage

Teachers resented time wasted on a lot of formal CPD, especially if it was not directly related to classroom practice, but valued time they could spend with colleagues to generate ideas and plan activities that could be implemented in the classroom.

“It has been shown that teachers need regular time during the standard working week in order to discuss Teaching and Learning. They need both knowledge of the research base and continuing ‘structured opportunities for new learning, practice, reflection and adjustment’ (Coffield, 2008)

Involvement of non-teaching staff

Senior management felt that this was important but perceived as less so by teachers.

Use of mentors or learning coaches

Apprenticeship and support are very important for in-service teachers in acquiring knowledge and adopting innovatory approaches in their classrooms.

Observation of practice

According to Daly, Pachler and Pelletier (2009), watching colleagues use ICT in the classroom was seen by the majority of teachers as one of the most valuable forms of CPD. However, very few had had the opportunity to do so.  Another strategy which was popular was chance to observe and work with external experts who visit classrooms to teach CPD by working with students.

Networks and communities of practice

Kirsti Ala-Mutka et al (2008) recognise the usefulness of social software in ICT CPD. They argue that establishing and participating in teacher networks and following innovative practice development in the field is a crucial part of effective CPD

“Initial and in-service teacher training should disseminate insights and best practices with new innovative approaches, encouraging teachers to experiment with digital and media technologies and to reflect on the learning impacts of their own teaching practices.”

The use of E-portfolios as a tool in ICT CPD

The OECD (2010) recommends that all teachers develop an e-portfolio to support, record and reflect their CPD. This serves three purposes. Firstly, it encourages teachers to use ICT regularly and systematically to support learning. Secondly, they will understand the potential of using e-portfolios with their students and will have first-hand experiences of the issues, problems and benefits they offer. Thirdly, it will serve as a model to encourage student teachers to use ICT during their ITT.

iCatalyst from MirandaNet are CPD providers. In their publicity they describe key features of the programmes they provide.  Many of these can be transferred and generalised across ICT CPD:

  •       a mixed-methods or blended learning programme which provides mentoring and resources to scaffold learning about subjects that are relevant to the challenges for teachers in schools
  •       [opportunities for] the learners to negotiate customised programmes based upon their own practice and the vision of their institution (these may be individual or based on small groups).
  •       the use of internet technologies to maximise flexibility of where and when the programme is accessed;
  •       the creation of mature sustainable e-communities of practice where views and knowledge both of teachers and of students, can be shared to the benefit of all.
  •       the development of Knowledge Hubs where all resources developed are made available to the community of practice and where new knowledge and evidence-based theory can be created as a result
  •       leadership development so that participants will eventually become field tutors and run the programme themselves
  •       an approach which is based on co-production of knowledge, a co-determination of meaning, collective problem solving and multiple perspectives among learners
  •      work-based accreditation techniques that motivate participants to continue to learn and contribute to the community of practice.
  1. Issues in the provision of CPD for teachers in the use of technology for e-learning

Diversity of practice, innovation, dissemination and Communities of Practice

Our literature suggested considerable diversity in practice in Continuing Professional Development and a welcome wealth of innovation. However, research is lagging behind in investigating different patterns of practice and all too often innovation is not being effectively disseminated, especially in the Lifelong Learning sector. How can we overcome this ‘research gap’? The use of technology to support the development of distributed Communities of Practice may offer an effective and inclusive solution. However, experience suggests a difficulty in developing Communities of Practice from the top down. How can we facilitate the emergence of Communities of Practice through which teachers can control their own knowledge development and sharing? What should be the role of different agencies and stakeholders in such a process?

Skills training or a focus on pedagogy and changing dispositions?

Although individual teacher’s confidence and competence in using technology is seen as important, evidence suggests an over-emphasis in Continuing Professional Development on skills training in itself at the expense of deep understanding and application of skills to developing learning and teaching. How can we achieve an effective balance between the two approaches? Is it possible to combine a focus on pedagogic processes with individual skills development? How is the development of skills best supported? How can we overcome the tension between individual professional development and whole institution approaches to using technology for teaching and learning and ensure CPD programmes address deep-seated beliefs about learning in order to address attitudes and dispositions regarding the role of technologies in the classroom?

Capacity building

The traditional model of sending staff on courses is general seen as ineffective in failing to provide opportunities for practice and failing to involve colleagues to support new initiatives. Furthermore, courses are often de-contextualised from work cultures, constraints and practices.

Research indicates that the source of CPD provision itself is less important than the learning approach which is adopted. CPD which is designed to be collaborative is reported as effective in a majority of studies whereas CPD designed for and delivered didactically to teachers by a third party is not. Research also suggests barriers to effective CPD include the lack of adequate access to technology especially for practicing themselves and for embedding in their classroom practice and a lack of intellectual challenge offered by a purely skills-based approach and a focus on de-contextualised skills without reference to any underlying pedagogy.

What are effective strategies for developing the capacity of organisations to develop and deliver programmes of CPD? What support is available in planning and evaluating CPD programmes. How can we ensure teachers have adequate opportunities to use their learning within their personal practice?

Co-mentoring and the observation of effective practice

Co-mentoring or buddying appear to be particularly effective models for developing innovative practice in the use of technology for teaching and learning. These approaches are somewhat different to traditional approaches to Continuing Professional Development. Is there a need to re-consider how we define CPD? Despite the potential of using observation as a means to model and demonstrate effective practice, it appears to be little used at present? How can we develop new cultures in sharing ideas and expertise?

Developing and implementing e-Portfolios

The use of e-Portfolios by teachers can encourage them to use ICT regularly and systematically to support learning. Secondly, they will understand the potential of using e-portfolios with their students and will have first hand experiences of the issues, problems and benefits they offer. Thirdly, it will serve as a model to encourage student teachers to use ICT during their ITT. Should the use of e-Portfolios be required as a means of recording personal learning and Continuing Professional Development? Should teachers be allowed work time to develop their e-Portfolio?

Reflections on the relations between European, national and regional policies

In the light of the above-discussed diversity at the level of national and regional policies and the manifold implementation processes it is interesting to see that there are new integrative tendencies at the European level. From this perspective it is appropriate to have a look at the processes around the European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp) and its educational derivation “European Framework for the Digital Competence of Educators” (DigCompEdu). Below a nutshell description is presented of the origins, outline of the educational framework and of the related processes.

Origins of DigComp and DigCompEdu: DigComp was developed by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission as a scientific project, initially on behalf of the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC) and, more recently, on behalf of the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL). In order to produce the framework, an extensive literature review, case study research and stakeholder consultation process were carried out.

The European Digital Competence Framework (DigComp), which was updated in 2016/ 2017, responds to this need, by providing a structure which allows European citizens to better understand what it means to be digitally competent and to assess and further develop their own digital competence. It has been developed as a further project of JRC with the support of a wide range of educational & media experts and stakeholders throughout Europe. The objective of the DigCompEdu framework proposed in [a separate] report is to reflect on existing instruments for educators’ digital competence and to synthesize these into a coherent model that would allow educators at all levels of education to comprehensively assess and develop their pedagogical digital competence.

The DigCompEdu framework is not intended to undermine national, regional and local efforts to capture educators’ digital competence. On the contrary, the diversity of approaches in different Member States contributes to a productive and ongoing debate and is welcomed. The framework aims to provide a common ground for this debate, with a common language and logic as a starting point for developing, comparing and discussing different instruments for developing educators’ digital competence, at national, regional or local levels.


Outline of the DigCompEdu framework: The framework can at best be understood with the help of the following figures:

The two figures illustrate the attempt to promote integrative digital learning processes that link teachers’ and trainers’ professional competences and pedagogic competences to each other in such a way that they facilitate the development of learners’ competences.  From this perspective the framework outlines six areas of competences, related activities and different levels of competences.

Putting the framework into practice: Even with a quick look at the DigCompEdu framework it is possible to note that it has a different character as the European Qualification Framework (EQF) or European Frameworks for Credit Transfer (ECTS and ECVET) or European Quality Assurance mechanisms (EQAR, ENQA, EQAVET). Therefore, it provides a basis for different kinds of framework processes. This framework is not paving the way to intergovernmental agreements with signatory states or to setting institutional boundaries, fixed reference levels and monitoring of the compliance with pre-given quality criteria.

As a contrast, the DigCompEdu can be characterised as an open, flexible and process-oriented framework for integrating the promotion of digital competences to policy development, shaping of teaching/learning processes, shaping of informal learning in working life and for supporting continuous professional development. In this respect it provides toolsets for working in different areas of competence development, addressing different activities and specifying different levels of proficiency. Yet the processes of using the framework – the analyses, developmental measures, assessment procedures and support for continuing professional development – need to be grounded in the education and training context.

Without going into detailed discussion it is possible to note that the DigCompEdu has much in common with the initial ideas of the TACCLE-CPD. However, given that it has been shaped at the European level and for a wider range of education, training and learning contexts, it is obviously more abstract. Yet, when looking more closely at the work plan of the project, it is possible to identify ways to work with the DigCompEdu framework, e.g. by using the toolsets, providing exemplary cases and by extending the use of it. In this respect the TACCLE-CPD project can work with the TACCLE-VET project.

Policies and Strategies in Germany

The attached mapping document provides the German contribution to the IO 1 of the TACCLE4-CPD project. It gives a quick overview on relevant policies/strategies in the regional contexts of the German partners – the city state of Bremen and the neighbouring state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). The mapping is based on short expert interviews with the members of the Local Advisory Group of the Bremen partners. The questions focused on

  1. policies that facilitate (or prevent) active, innovative and broad-based use of digital tools in education/training and learning (and on their impact);
  2. identifying practical problems and obstacles to introducing and using digital tools;

initiatives that encourage teachers and learners to use digital tools in their daily work.

Policy-Mapping for TACCLE4-CPD (IO 1) – Germany