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How important is timing with professional development for teachers? Adult Learning Principle # 4

Think of the adult learning that might take place if you were lucky enough to take a trip to Italy.

  • Perhaps some basic Italian language on Duolingo before the trip to order well in a restaurant.
  • Or, upon returning, a video from YouTube on how to cook the perfect carbonara to keep the vacation vibes going.
  • Or let’s face it, a new online fitness routine with Nike Training Club to work off all that pizza and gelato (totally worth it though, right?).

All this learning is ‘in time’. Engaged with when it needs to be learned. Basic Italian language is only relevant if you are about to go to Italy or have just returned (or have some Italian-speaking people joining your community) but is largely irrelevant if this isn’t on your radar.

Adult learning principles stipulate that adults are more motivated and open to learning when they feel there is a need or relevance for the knowledge or skills being taught. This ‘readiness to learn’ is based on the understanding that adults are goal-oriented and are more likely to engage in the learning process when they can see the practical application or benefit of what they are learning.

Putting the Italian example aside for a moment, think of some adult learning you’ve sought out in the last few years outside of K-12 education. Was it ‘just in time’ where you had a strong need or a desire to learn it? Were you able to find and engage with the learning quite quickly?

Now think of learning that you or your school team wanted to engage with at school or in your education organisation. Would you consider it took place ‘just in time’? Were you able to find and engage with the learning quickly? From what we’ve seen and experienced as teachers and then professional learning providers, the chances are the answers to these two questions for the K-12 sector are, unfortunately, no. This is something we’ve been trying to change with EC Premium, with the goal of providing a rapid solution to meet that ‘readiness to learn’ with an instant opportunity.

Supported by technology, we are in a better position than ever to support this. For years now, we’ve had online shopping websites offering two-hour delivery, music available at the click of a button (rather than a walk to the CD or record store), and books available instantly through our e-readers. Finally, professional learning for education staff has caught up. With EC Premium, we have thousands of courses and learning items available at the click of a button, which schools like Yeronga State High School in the suburbs of Brisbane, Australia have been talking about as revolutionising the way they think about PL:

Of course, if you are a subscriber to EC Premium and have found that there is something that you want in the library right now, that we don’t have, please reach out to us at, and we’ll see if we can source it for you.

If you are not a subscriber yet but are interested, send us an email, and we’d be happy to talk you through how it all works.

Learn on.

The EC team

Aaron Tait

Aaron is a co-founder of EC by Go1 and Vice President of Marketing. Since 2012 Aaron has developed and delivered professional learning programs K-12 education staff across the world. He is the co-author of the books Edupreneur (Wiley) and Dream Team (ASCD).

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