Beyond the Clock: How Do We Measure and Define Professional Learning?

Dr. Valeria Brown, Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Learning Director, challenges old ideas of professional learning in the Learning Forward Journal’s August issue. 

In her piece, “Professional Learning Isn’t About Hours”, Dr. Brown raises a critical point about the outdated Carnegie Unit. Originally established in 1906, the credit hour measures student learning based on “seat time” rather than the depth or application of their knowledge. She argues that the same goes for educators’ professional learning, pointing out that due to time constraints, they often prioritize compliance over genuine engagement when authentic learning is rooted in collaboration, continuous reflection, and the application of knowledge over time. 

Dr. Brown ends the article with a list of vital questions “every systems leader can ask to begin to separate professional learning from the traditional notions of time.” A must-read for educators and leaders committed to meaningful growth!