Teacher-Directed Professional Learning

Program Summary

This program is a virtual, teacher-directed professional learning program designed to add flexibility to recertification and state licensure renewals for western North Carolina educators. It will supplement the traditional professional development model of in-seat class time with a micro-credentialing model — one that allows regional educators to learn at their own pace, with the content and resources they choose, and be recognized for their efforts.

Program Components

  • Teacher Needs Assessment
  • Learning Contract and Goal Setting
  • Self-Directed Learning Journey
  • Reflection


  • Middle schools in Western NC
  • NC Department of Public Instruction
  • Digital Promise 
  • Appalachian State University

Program Model

The ETL team supports educators throughout their micro-credential journey and measures the impacts of the professional learning program on teachers, students, and school districts.

1. Teacher Needs Assessment

Teachers complete a self assessment to identify the topics and areas of professional growth that interest them.

Currently, this project is focused on rural, western North Carolina middle school teachers. Our goal is to develop a scalable model so that all North Carolina teachers could participate.

2. Learning Contract/Goals

Teachers create a learning contract to set their own professional learning goals that can be modified throughout the program.

[The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is working to replace CEU currency from time-based to competency-based.]

3. Self-directed Learning Journey

Teachers complete micro-credentials to demonstrate how they have met their professional learning goals.

Digital Promise is the online platform used for completing the micro-credentials. Educators select micro-credentials from the catalogue aligned to personal goals, student needs, or school-wide instructional priorities.

4. Reflection

Teachers reflect on their professional growth and evaluate future professional learning needs.

Appalachian State University provides one-on-one support throughout the program. Our research team will measure impacts and share data with districts.