This Compendium is a knowledge product resulting from the activities of the TPD@Scale Coalition for the Global South. It offers examples of large-scale or potentially scalable information and communications technology (ICT)-mediated teacher professional development (TPD) programs across low- and middle-income countries. The Compendium describes the key features of each TPD program, their contexts, the needs they seek to meet, how ICT is deployed, and whether and how they strive for equity in making available meaningful professional learning experiences for all  teachers.
The TPD@Scale Coalition uses the working definition of TPD as a long-term, continuous process involving regular opportunities to “develop an individual’s skills, knowledge, expertise and other characteristics as a teacher” (OECD, 2009, p. 49). This may include formal courses, non-formal training activities (such as workshops and seminars), and informal experiences (such as participation in a professional learning community). More importantly, effective TPD is planned systematically and designed to promote growth and development in the profession (Villegas-Reimers, 2003).

The provision of quality TPD at scale is imperative to support movement towards equity in learning for all students across the globe. Developing large-scale, high-quality TPD programs requires consideration of issues of magnitude and variation. In TPD provided on a small scale such as during a pilot, conditions can be chosen or adapted to achieve success, for example by working in schools with better connectivity or supportive school leaders. The same results can rarely be achieved by merely replicating the TPD program more widely with more teachers in more places. Furthermore, resource constraints, such as lack of funding or of skilled experts, often limit effective scaling.

To work effectively at a large scale, program designers need to consider how they manage available resources most effectively. It will not be possible to achieve the same results by merely replicating small-scale programs all over the country.

For example, we know that coaching is an effective form of TPD but it is highly resource intensive and there are often insufficient numbers of skilled coaches across the whole country. The temptation might be to use structured materials instead of coaches. There are indeed situations where structured interactive learning materials can fully replace in-person interactions, such as lectures or workshops, but they are rarely able to provide sustained follow up or support social learning. Designers will need to plan instead how to effectively harness their most valuable resource – the teachers themselves – for peer mentoring and peer assessment, among others.

TPD programs delivered at scale need to make appropriate provisions available across large numbers of different settings that may be highly dispersed. To do so successfully, program designers need to consider variations in teachers’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and existing working patterns and practices as well as variations in school culture, resources, and priorities. All these need to be understood and considered, from the initial design stage through to program implementation and evaluation, using adaptive programming. The examples in this Compendium show how using ICTs can open up new possibilities in the design of large-scale TPD programs. Used in pedagogically sound ways, ICTs can facilitate the creation and delivery of high-quality, affordable TPD that is made available in different forms appropriate to the context and local needs.

However, successful scaled interventions must not only manage issues of magnitude and variation, they should also be sustainable, empowering local communities to own and sustain the reform in an equitable manner (Coburn, 2003). Many of the TPD@Scale programs described here ran for a fixed period but several of them, by working holistically across the system, disrupted existing models of large-scale TPD and prompted system shifts in TPD design, such as the Programa de Actualización Curricular Docente (PACD) in Ecuador (see Profile 16), Technology Enabled Education through Joint Action and Strategic Initiatives (Tejas) in India (see Profile 4), and Information Communication Technology for Rural Education Development (ICT4RED) in South Africa (see Profile 15). This bodes well for sustainability of the TPD@Scale approach and a shift from supply-driven provision to demand-initiated learning opportunities for professionals.

Finally, in studying large-scale ICT-mediated TPD programs in the work of the TPD@Scale Coalition, we utilize the lenses of equity, quality, and efficiency. These are explored in briefing papers on equity (Fletcher-Campbell & Soler, 2022), successful TPD (Boateng & Wolfenden, 2022b), cost-effectiveness (Ndaruhutse, 2022), and assessment in large-scale TPD (Boateng & Wolfenden, 2022a) prepared for the TPD@Scale Coalition and have been referred to here where relevant data is available. “Equity” within TPD is understood as equity in learning for teachers that supports them to respond to the learning needs of all their pupils, which in turn contributes to increased pupil participation and learning gains (Fletcher-Campbell & Soler, 2022). On the other hand, for TPD programs to meet “quality” criteria, they need to draw on established features of effective professional learning, which disciplined inquiry has shown to lead to changes in teaching practice such that pupils learn better (Boateng & Wolfenden, 2022b). “Efficiency,” meanwhile, refers to the use of resources in ways that ensure quality and equity while recognizing that the two exist in a delicate balance, and different contexts and needs may demand compromise or prioritization of one factor over others (Ndaruhutse, 2022).
In selecting the TPD@Scale examples featured here, we have focused on programs that illustrate how design choices, including those around ICTs, have been informed by an understanding of the educational setting as well as teachers’ professional learning needs, and that regard teachers as partners in the education endeavor. The selected examples are all from programs implemented after 2010. We have included summaries and links to evaluation data from programs where these are available.
The Compendium intends to serve as a reference for government actors and other education stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of TPD. It is not intended as a global showcase of large, or potentially scalable, ICT-mediated TPD programs, nor is it a guide on how to scale TPD. Rather, it aims to show how effective TPD mediated by ICTs can take multiple forms depending on the features of the educational setting, purpose of the program, professional learning needs of the teachers, and available resources including ICTs. Through the Compendium, we hope to encourage TPD designers to move away from embedded “cascade models” and to utilize ICTs to enable access to quality professional learning experiences especially for teachers working in underserved communities and with limited access to professional resources.
The Compendium is informed by detailed landscape reviews on ICT-mediated TPD programs conducted for the TPD@Scale Coalition by SAIDE and SUMMA (Laboratory of Education Research and Innovation for Latin America and the Caribbean). These reviews employed analytical frameworks informed by the principles underpinning TPD@Scale (see TPD@Scale Coalition for the Global South, 2021); literature reviews; interactions with key stakeholders at international conferences; email exchanges with relevant program staff, experts and stakeholders; and interviews with program implementers.
Analysis of these reviews by the lead authors identified 17 programs to be profiled. Documentation for these programs was revisited and additional information was collected from program representatives, some of whom were also interviewed to ensure accuracy in the profiling.
This Compendium complements a TPD@Scale Framework working paper (Wolfenden, 2022) from the TPD@Scale Coalition as well as the briefing papers mentioned above.

ICT-mediated TPD

Technology as a tool to support learning is a core feature of TPD@Scale programs. In particular, ICTs are seen to offer potential to improve equity, quality, and efficiency in TPD programs, specifically those involving large numbers of teachers. When describing the ways in which digital technologies are used, it is important to distinguish between the role played by the technology and the actual device or software used. While the nature and availability of ICTs are influential in what teachers are able and motivated to do at any one point in time or place, the form and availability of ICTs are liable to shift rapidly as infrastructure improves, the cost of devices diminishes, and teachers become more confident and skilled users of technology. For program sustainability, the focus needs to be on transforming TPD experiences through appropriate use of the affordances of ICTs rather than on selecting specific devices or software. 

The programs featured in this Compendium illustrate four areas where ICTs support teachers’ professional learning in programs offered at scale, as shown in Figure 1. These areas are not discrete; for example, online courses often support communities of practitioners. However, this categorization may be helpful in identifying where ICTs might be used in TPD to alleviate some of the challenges of magnitude and variation associated with working at scale and to enhance quality and equity in TPD.

Figure 1. Uses of ICTs in TPD@Scale Programs

Technology enables content (e.g., teacher learning activities, classroom resources, and subject content) to be organized and distributed more easily to large numbers of teachers and hence to substitute for face-to-face teaching when working at scale. Equally important, the use of digital content enables curriculum designers to move towards full inclusion of all teachers through more easily creating different versions and modalities of the content in order to meet diverse learning needs.

The use of open licenses, as demonstrated in Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) (see Profile 2), Teacher Education through School-based Support in India (TESS-India) (see Profile 1), ICT4RED in South Africa, and the IT for Change projects in India, unlocks this adaptation process further by reducing resource demands and facilitating iterative enhancement of materials. The Zambian Education School-based Training (ZEST) program (see Profile 13), for instance, draws on TESSA open educational resources (OER) while the ICT4RED OER have been taken up by a range of subsequent programs. The use of OER enables teachers and other educators to exercise agency in adapting content for different linguistic, cultural, and curriculum contexts and specific professional learning needs (For further discussion on this localizationsee Section 1).

How this learning content is accessed by teachers will depend on factors such as the facilities available to them, their digital skills and identity, and how the content is intended to be used. The programs described in this Compendium utilize a range of modes for content delivery including traditional print, e.g., ZEST; short messaging service or SMS, e.g., the UNESCO Mobile Project (see Profile 12); offline formats, e.g., Early Language, Literacy, and Numeracy Digital (see Profile 17); and fully online courses, e.g., massive open online courses or MOOCs as in the example from the Peking University X-Learning Centre (see Profile 9).

Digital technologies can facilitate the social interactions that are critical to learning and to integrating new approaches into teachers’ professional repertoire. Through participation in groups on social messaging or social media platforms, or
through online course forums, teachers can reflect with peers on how new practices are working and what is being improved;
through support from their peers, they may be encouraged to take risks to make changes in their practice. As yet there is only
limited understanding of how these informal online professional communities can best supply intellectual, social, and material resources for teacher learning. Nevertheless, teachers value participation in these online communities, as evidenced by initiation of these spaces by teachers themselves outside formal program structures. The TESS-India and Peking University MOOC programs provide evidence of this.

Digital technologies increasingly enable teachers who were previously isolated to work with peer or expert mentors in different geographic locations. These connections are critical to their identity as members of a professional community. In the Teachers for Teachers program in Kikuma, Kenya (see Profile 6), for example, teachers working in the difficult conditions of a refugee camp are connected to their peers within the camp and to mentors thousands of miles away through WhatsApp groups. Through these connections, teachers are able to regularly discuss their practice and receive specific, constructive suggestions about how to improve their teaching. In the Brazilian Ceará program (see Profile 7), on the other hand, Skype calls are combined with sharing of classroom videos through a secure site to enable remote mentoring for school-based pedagogical leaders.

Organization of the Compendium

The Compendium is organized into five sections, each illustrating how TPD developers have approached a specific “at scale” design challenge in different, often innovative ways depending on the context, professional learning needs of the teachers, and resources available. Many programs exemplify a number of these challenges and are cross-referenced. The focus throughout is on what can be achieved at scale across different settings while paying attention to features such as quality, equity, and efficiency where data is available.

Section 1

Designing at scale, adapting locally