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Matthew Kennard February 8, 2022

The Future of Professional Learning is Connected: Introducing BL Connect

Matthew Kennard

BetterLesson Chief Executive Officer

BetterLesson’s mission has always been to provide professional development that supports every educator in developing the next generation of resourceful, compassionate, and resilient learners. But the landscape of adult professional development is grappling with the lack of results in the way things have always been done. Traditional PD as a one-size-fits-some single-day program does not recognize how adults learn. It is not responsive to teachers’ daily challenges; it can’t drill down into the specific programs, grade levels, or lessons teachers need to succeed in reaching students. But with educators pressed for time and resources, finding time for professional development is more difficult than ever.

To make quality professional development available and affordable to support an entire district, we have to move beyond a single-day seminar into a student-centered professional learning system that recognizes the unique skills and challenges of each teacher.

With that goal in mind, we are excited to announce BL Connect. 

Beginning in July 2022, educators will have access to an online, ever-expanding library of courses that supports them on their professional learning path. Through BL Connect, teachers can explore a wide array of critical teaching concepts asynchronously, accessing what they need to know when they need to know it. With topics like student-centered math and literacy programs, core curriculum support, and critical skills like social-emotional learning and trauma-informed teaching, teachers can use interactive and micro-learning experiences to grow awareness of new concepts and take ownership of their own learning.

Since our very beginning, BetterLesson’s goal has been to get as close as possible to where teachers are doing the work of teaching. When we first launched in 2008, we were an online library of lesson plans to help teachers make an impact on their students. But one of the things that research has shown is that a key to adult learning is action, experiences, and personalization.

We realized teachers need more: They need individualized learning and a space to try new things. In 2016, we pioneered one-to-one executive-style coaching for teachers, creating job-embedded, customized support to help them take their lessons to the next level. We are proud of the impact our coaches have made in helping teachers try, measure, learn, and enhance their practice.

But to really support teachers, we need to continue to grow and meet educators where they are through the modalities and timing that works for them. By providing resources that can scale and meet the varying needs of teachers and school districts, teachers for whom one-on-one coaching is not an option can still access the resources they need to grow as educators. Self-directed learning is the natural evolution of what BetterLesson has always done: helping teachers make an impact on students.

BL Connect takes the best of all BetterLesson’s experiences and resources to create an online learning platform that honors educators’ time, provides content that is accessible on their schedule, and gives access to a customizable library of courses tailored to the needs of the teacher. And each course is led by a master coach voice, contributing practical strategies, videos of real classrooms, downloadable resources, and a space to discuss ideas and outcomes with other teachers.

Teachers are facing more pressure now than ever to be experts in a wide array of topics from formative assessment to hybrid and virtual learning. BL Connect gives educators a way to explore topics that they previously might not have had the time and space to learn about. Ranging from launching an EL Education curriculum and launching a problem-based math curriculum to competency-based learning and setting up station rotations, the BL Connect course library helps teachers find what they need when they need it.

The challenges teachers and students face in September are not the same ones they face in March—staffing changes, curriculum adoption, and student growth all impact what students and teachers need. That’s why BL Connect offers support that is available all year, so teachers can grow their skills as time allows, addressing urgent needs as soon as they arise. And because the way we teach is always evolving, BL Connect is always evolving too. With BL Connect, our library of courses will always be growing and updating to reflect best practices and current teacher needs.

All BetterLesson offerings from Coaching and Workshops to BL Connect are linked by set outcomes that enable educators to build their knowledge from awareness to understanding and ownership. BL Connect is the missing piece of the puzzle, helping teachers develop a baseline understanding they can then bring into their classroom and coaching sessions to further develop their practice.

Research shows that the best lever we can pull to help students succeed is to provide well-prepared, confident, and supported teachers. By connecting educators with personalized self-directed learning experiences, BetterLesson empowers teachers to take charge of their own learning and drive measurable outcomes for students. Learn more about BL Connect.