Professional Learning Community

Updated on February 6, 2024
Article byKumar Rahul
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Professional Learning Community (PLC)?

A professional learning community is an association of people striving to enhance their working methods and procedures. It aids in the creation of better strategies and the production of better results. In addition, they work together to bring cutting-edge information and technology during these times.

Professional Learning Community

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It gives its members a place to grow and learn over time. Such groups exist to address these issues. Using common goals as a yardstick, members assess the effectiveness of the community. It might be helpful for managers or members to act as mentors and trainers. They aid one another in honing their coaching and mentoring abilities in person and online.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional learning communities are groups of people constantly seeking to improve their working practices. It helps in the development of better plans of action and the achievement of better outcomes.
  • Essential components of such communities are collaboration, shared goals, action, result-driven processes, and continuous improvements.
  • Employee resistance to change, national and local regulations that impact resources and budgets, and employee turnover, especially at the leadership level, are challenges that lie ahead.

Professional Learning Community Explained

PLCs function by shared objectives, principles, and member-centered missions. This common goal can refresh a professional’s sense of mission and community.

The supervisors or coaches would gather during the procedure to exchange thoughts and brainstorm new strategies. They discuss any problems and difficulties that arise and what is and isn’t working. Instead of competing, they would cooperate to accomplish objectives across teams. Each manager or trainer would evaluate their success in putting a new strategy into practice and their group or coaches’ work or behavior outcomes on a routine basis.

The managers compare the data and report the findings to the community. This contributes to showing that the students are progressing appropriately. If the data indicates they must go in the desired manner, the group may change their strategy.

With a well-thought-out plan in place, each trainer in the community uses a variation of this strategy with their emerging leader students. As a result, they all stand to gain from these professional learning activities, and the learners gain from a more successful strategy for their growth.

Components

Some of the essential components of it are as follows.

  1. Shared goal – Goals of an organization can be achieved through shared resources and vision. Members pool their resources to support one another when they struggle to achieve the goal. The entire professional learning community framework advances in the same manner.
  2. Collaboration – Members can work together to a) exchange information and
  3. ponder fresh concepts, b) achieve goals more successfully, combine them, c) as a result, each member can benefit from the perspectives of other members.
  4. Analyze the current situation and find the best practice – Participants in a PLC gather to exchange expertise and create best practices. This can assist them in enhancing both their teaching techniques and the educational process for their students.
  5. Action-driven – PLC members use the information they have to take rapid action and improve the situation for their teams or pupils. In addition, PLC participants can converse with one another about past experiences and lessons learned.
  6. Continuous improvement – The PLC members are committed to enhancing their coaching and teaching techniques.
  7. Result-oriented – PLC trainers and facilitators alter their approaches to ensure that every learner may achieve. However, each individual in a community must ultimately be responsible for achieving their objectives.

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Examples

Let us understand the concept in the following way.

Let’s imagine that, to develop better future business leaders, a group of senior leadership development trainers in ABC ltd, a tech company, developed a community.

They find that most of their “high-potential” employees have trouble developing their skills. As a result, these young employees need to make more headway in raising their productivity levels.

Before the end of the quarter, they set a joint objective to assist their juniors in creating a strategy to advance their skills. The committee is a variation of this strategy used by every trainer when working with emerging leaders. This activity can help them all, and the employees gain from a more sensible method of fostering their growth.

Importance

The importance of professional learning community strategies can be understood in this manner.

  1. Improves overall performance – Social ties are formed between community members. As a result, they and their new employees may improve and perform better.
  2. Empowering environment – Professionals in professional learning community training frequently review and reassess their working procedures and coaching techniques. They never presume that what they are doing now is the best option.
  3. Develop a reflective practice – A manager or trainer can better understand the functioning and working by practicing reflection with others. New viewpoints and innovative concepts nourish self-reflection.
  4. Updation of knowledge – The ability to stay current and see the potential of new concepts and techniques is made easier for community members. Together, they test novel techniques and technology. This is because they have several learning groups working together.

Professional Learning Community vs Community Of Practice

A community of practice (CoP) is a group of people who regularly interact and share a shared interest. They have the expertise and share a career. As co-workers share knowledge and learn from one another, this is especially pertinent in the workplace.

At the same time, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) refer to a shared vision to which everyone can contribute. Therefore, the staff is encouraged to work together on activities and reflection to improve their employees’ performance continuously.

Basis Community Of PracticeCommunity Of Practice
LeadershipProvided by leadersProvided by managers
Focus on Developing new skillsby Sharing information, documenting projects, and problem-solving solutions
Effectiveness Based on employees’ resultsBased on improving overall performance
Culture Collaborative communityNurtures a relationship based on trust among members.
Members Senior EmployeesPractitioners with a shared passion

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are the disadvantages of the professional learning community?

Some of the disadvantages are improper implementation and lack of time and buy-in. Apart from this, poor infrastructure and a fostering culture are important challenges. Obstacles to be further considered are employee resistance to change, national and local policies that impact resources and budgets, and employee turnover, particularly at the leadership level.

2. How to sustain a professional learning community?

The sustainability of plc can be ensured through understanding goals, aligning with common goals, create a culture of collaboration and growth. Proper and timely support from top-level management can ensure the longevity of such empowering cultures.

3. When were professional learning communities invented?

Researchers initially used the term in the 1960s when they proposed the idea as a substitute for the isolation typical in the United States. The studies started to become more explicit in the late 1980s.

This has been a guide to what is Professional Learning Community. We explain its components, examples, importance, and comparison with community of practice. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

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