This section features blog posts around issues relating to professional learning. If you are interested in contributing a book review/blog please contact Dr Ewan Ingleby ( and read the guidance for contributors for full details.

I feel like Sisyphus when I'm doing my PhD on technology, SEN (Special Educational Needs) and professional development in Nigeria!

I am passionate about teaching and I am also keen to make an impact in the world of academia, especially with SEN in rural areas of Nigeria. It is this zeal that led to my quest for higher education degrees abroad, with the hope of reflecting on the challenges of...Read More »

Market forces and professional development

While recent media attention has been focussed on Toby Young, perhaps people have overlooked the real nature of the new ‘Office For Students’?  This organisation has been set up to regulate higher education as ‘a market’. The office sees students as consumers, as does the House of Commons Education Committee...Read More »

It’s not all black and white: reflections on a workshop about research impact

I was delighted to be asked to facilitate a workshop on research impact at the NINE (Northern Ireland North East) ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) Autumn conference in November 2017. The conference was held at St James’s Park, the home of Newcastle United. I arrived at the venue on...Read More »

My first examination

It could be argued that The Irish Christian Brothers have at times been in breach of The Trade Descriptions Act. This is because there do appear to be examples when the evidence of their Christianity is questioned. An Irish accountant I knew made reference to the ability of ‘the brothers’...Read More »

In political education all are teachers and all are learners: A proposal for successful professional development.

For me political education does not mean pouring approved knowledge into human receptacles and then measuring the rate of regurgitation. It is an interactive human activity in which teachers are learners and learners are teachers. In 1971 the now defunct Politics Association was formed in order to stimulate political education. From...Read More »

Feeding back, feeding forward, winning a prize and developing as a professional

The report of the ‘Task Group on Assessment and Testing’ (TGAT), December 1988, introduced me to the term ‘feed forward’. It is not a particularly elegant term but it serves to remind us that when tutors comment on students’ work, the process involves more than delivering a judgement and more than...Read More »

What hope for professional development when we have ‘froth instead of beer’?

Professional development in England is shaped by policymakers. What is the true meaning behind the political vocabulary of England in 2017? In this blog I argue that the politics that is shaping professional development in England in 2017 is more like ‘froth’ than ‘beer’. The nature of politics in 2017 ‘Politics’ ought...Read More »

PhDs, Precarity & Me: A Tale of Arrested Professional Development

“If it is very important to you how clean your house is, you will not make it through this course” the tutor announced. This massive news, delivered a quarter of the way through my Access to Higher Education course, was fairly derailing to me. While producing a good piece of...Read More »

Professional Development And Email: Three Stories Set In Motion At The Same Time

The appeal of Flann O’Brien’s novel ‘At-Swim-Two-Birds’ rests within its oblique interpretation of the world.  The literature student in the book disagrees with one beginning and one ending in a novel. So we get three stories set in motion at the same time. This makes me think of communicating about...Read More »

Professional development in pedagogy with technology in higher education: A brave new world?

The IPDA (International Professional Development Association) conference at the University of Stirling in 2016 witnessed a number of highlights. One highlight that led to much post-keynote discussion was Jan Vermunt’s recommendation for us to explore the hidden themes within education. In education there are any number of such themes. One...Read More »

2015 IPDA Prize winner Lorna Anderson writes about Master’s work with English as an additional Language (EAL) Learners

The IPDA prize is intended to acknowledge outstanding work undertaken by post graduate students in the field of professional learning. IPDA is reviewing the criteria for the prize and further details will be published later in the year. Here, one of the winners of the 2015 prize, Lorna Anderson writes...Read More »

Professional Learning, Performance and ‘Emerging’ Education Systems

One of the key purposes of the IPDA blog is to allow contributors to send opinion pieces which hopefully stimulate, challenge and invite debate. I’m new to blogging but I assume that bloggers should be ready for their views to be contested and for alternative views to be posted. My...Read More »

It's only words....

The IPDA International Committee had an exchange of emails recently. The term ‘Professional Development and Learning’ (PDL) was used and I responded (reacted?) by saying that I preferred ‘Professional Learning and Development’ (PLD). Although both are correct, I felt that IPDA should use one term consistently and justify its use,...Read More »

Thinking beyond the toolkit; Using video for professional learning and development

Recently I overheard an animated conversation about the functions of a power tool used for a DIY task. Talking about the job or even the tool itself was insufficient; the item was removed from its box, the attachments scrutinised and the prospect of more DIY projects discussed with enthusiasm. A...Read More »

Developing teacher leadership and its impact in schools

Leadership of teachers is considered as one of the key factors for innovation and quality improvement in schools. However, as leadership qualities are not a standard element in initial teacher education programs, arrangements for post-initial professional development of teachers in schools needs to address the development of teacher leadership qualities. In...Read More »

The question that goes before ‘What works?’ in education research

This article was originally written in March 2013 in response to a speech by Ben Goldacre and the publication of a UK government report on educational research. 18 months on and the ‘what works ‘ agenda is becoming more embedded in English school culture and has impacted on the practice...Read More »

Collaborative research opportunity

Colleagues will note my interest in members working in collaboration to research and develop CPD.  I have been sent the following information (thanks to Cliff Jones and James Noble at UCET), and 1 wondered if several of us might be interested in working on this – maybe under the ipda...Read More »

Following up on a very successful ipda International Conference

The recent IPDA conference provided plenty of food for thought. The keynote speakers gave a view on the need for leadership in the field of professional learning. Some spoke of the need to take context and local culture into account. The success of models of CPD do for many need...Read More »