Collaborative Learning Groups

The LINCS Professional Development (PD) Center’s collaborative learning groups are designed to assist states in implementing the requirements set forth in the Section 223 State Leadership requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Through guided discussion, a cohort of states can engage in deep exploration of challenges and opportunities to build a state PD program.

What is a collaborative learning group?

A collaborative learning group (CLG) is a series of connected activities where a cohort of participants can explore a topic through peer discussion and collaborative problem solving. Each CLG meets virtually via webinar and is conducted by a dedicated facilitator that has expertise in the topic area. Guest speakers will share their strategies and insights to contribute to the group’s discussion.

What is the purpose of a CLG?

The purpose of each CLG is to increase state capacity to establish and operate a high-quality professional development program as defined by Section 223. The topics explored will be broad in nature and examine states’ infrastructure/system-building abilities with the goal of building state capacity in the topic.

Who is eligible to participate?

CLGs are targeted to state-level staff responsible for decision-making and delivery of professional development. States are encouraged to participate as teams, but individual participants are welcome and will benefit from the experience. There is no cost to participate. All participants planning to join must register individually.

What is the time commitment?

Each CLG is planned to last 3 to 6 months depending on the topic. They generally consist of a monthly meeting lasting up to 90 minutes. Background materials are provided prior to each meeting. Participants are expected to:

  • Actively participate in meeting discussions,
  • Complete short pre- and post-reflection activities to make best use of the information and thoughtfully contribute, and
  • Participate in a private online community of practice by sharing topical resources, posting reflections, and responding to others in their group.

Prior Collaborative Learning Groups

Leading and Building a Culture for Change

Facilitator: Jane Meyer

Description: Much attention has been focused on the process of change and change management. This CLG focused on change leadership, a necessary component of implementing and sustaining significant changes. Change leadership is the ability to influence and inspire others using a vision and access to resources to build a foundation for change. Change management often focuses on a set of tools and processes designed to maintain and sustain change.

Participants engaged in thoughtful discussion with colleagues and guest speakers to examine ways to build their state’s capacity for change leadership and help administrators look at themselves as leaders and consider how they lead change within their organization. Ideas and strategies for developing practices and behaviors that help people adapt to change will be shared. After each session participants reflected on how their state operates against each of the aspects of leadership for change discussed, identifying what is in place, needs to be addressed, and possible ideas to explore further or try out within their state. The CLG concluded with states identifying technical assistance (TA) priorities and next steps for building change leadership within programs to effectively implement or strengthen initiatives. 

Kick-off: October 18, 2019

Conclusion: November 22, 2019

Registration: Closed

Providing Ongoing Professional Development for All Adult Educators

Facilitator: Joanie Rethlake

Description: This CLG focused on examining, reflecting, and sharing current strategies to develop and maintain a strong PD program that reaches all adult educators, including those that are part-time, have minimal resources, and are located in remote and/or rural areas. Participants engaged in thoughtful discussion with colleagues and guest speakers to examine ways that they can create ongoing, regular PD opportunities, delivered through multiple modalities, that engage adult education practitioners on high-need topics. Using the research-based components and features of a high-quality PD program outlined in the State Leadership Self-Assessment as a foundational pillar, participants reflected and strategized how they can create/expand ongoing PD opportunities in their state; widen access to and increase participation in those opportunities; and track and evaluate their state’s PD activities to ensure they are responsive to state priorities and impact practitioner needs as well as student outcomes.

Kick-off: June 5th, 2019

Conclusion: September 17, 2019

Registration: Closed

Enriching Professional Development through Blended Learning

Facilitator: Jen Vanek, Ph.D, Director of Digital Learning and Research at the EdTech Center at World Education

Description: State staff responsible for developing and delivering professional development joined this multi-session, online peer group to explore the use of blended learning models (in-person and online delivery methods) and build their skills and confidence in the use of blended learning techniques for enhancing professional development. The CLG employed a learn-and-do model and include five sessions. Participants engaged in discussion using online tools that will help support expanded use of blended learning models in professional development delivery and teaching practices at the program level. Participants from the same states are encouraged to join as teams. The CLG helped develop the skills and confidence of state professional developers in the use of blended learning tools to help states meet WIOA Title II requirements for providing technology-rich quality adult learning opportunities.

Kick-off: March 7, 2019

Conclusion: May 30, 2019

Registration: Closed

Developing and Supporting Instructional Leaders

Facilitators: Alisa Belzer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Rutgers University; Susan Finn Miller, Ph.D., Adult Education Instructor, Lancaster-Lebanon IU13

Description: This CLG used a “train-the-trainer” format. Participants deepened their instructional leadership skills as they developed and supported local instructional leaders in their state. A “learn, do, reflect, learn, do, and reflect” pattern was implemented and modeled during each session. This format allows participants to deepen their learning and skills through practice. Participants were asked to recruit potential instructional leaders from around their state to form an Instructional Leadership Working Group (ILWG). Participants practiced what they learned in the CLG meeting by working with the ILWG in between CLG meetings. They then shared their experiences trying out what they have learned in the subsequent CLG meeting, allowing them to trouble shoot and problem solve before their next meeting with the ILWG. Through this repeated learn, do, and reflect cycle, participants developed their skills as instructional leaders who can also help others grow into this role.

Kick-off: December 13, 2018

Conclusion: June 27, 2019

Registration: Closed

Optimizing Your Limited State Leadership Dollars

Facilitator: Andy Nash, Director, New England Literacy Resource Center

Description: This CLG explored how to optimize State Leadership dollars to meet WIOA Section 223 requirements. Topics include:

  • Ways to build a system of on-going communication and a collaborative vision that integrates needs identified by the field with WIOA requirements.
  • How to track, credit, and evaluate PD activities (online, self-paced, job-embedded), and to use that data for PD planning.
  • Ensuring access to professional development for all practitioners.

Kick-off: March 6, 2018

Conclusion: June 6, 2018

Registration: Closed