HOPE (HOBY Organizational Professional Engagement)

Links to Concept Pages

Background of HOPE

I have now decided to create a new acronym for the HOBY organization. It is HOPE, or HOBY Organization Professional Engagement. In this page, I would like us to take a look at the past, present, and future about where HOBY’s professional learning is going. If you recall, our course began with a plea for alternatives to traditional professional learning. In our case, the most prominent professional learning initiative that we have embarked on is the Volunteer Training Institute.

HOBY uses the Active Collab program to allow different seminar sites to communicate with the national office about where they are in relation to their seminar planning. The Training Institute is a convention held every summer in a different city where volunteers can come for training on Active Collab and other programs that would benefit their seminar site. It is a great way to foster collaboration between volunteers, but the training ends after the seminar. In my professional learning plan, I want us to continue this training by making the students (volunteers) more engaged in what they are doing. The first part of this professional learning plan is a plea to the administrators of HOBY on the need for alternatives for their professional learning.


Five Principles of Professional Learning

The present and future parts of this professional learning program involves extending the training received at the Training Institute into a full course of study. The course could begin at the seminar, then meetings could take place by conference call and virtually by distance. We now have to first take a look at the five principles of professional learning. In the instance of HOBY, we might want to look at these ideas in the instance of providing a framework for the lesson being taught as an extension of the Training Institute. Here they are:

  • Duration-We will have a professional learning program that will begin at the Training Institute and will continue with monthly meetings for one seminar year
  • Support– Our staff will have a chance to collaborate and communicate with each other through the question and answer period at the Training Institute and through discussion boards and conference calls with monthly meetings
  • Engage– The training institute will provide the new framework as to how our staff training will be different; this is our chance to “set the tone” for the course after the training
  • Modeling– HOBY seminar staff will serve as students as the instructor gives an “example lesson” at the training institute
  • Being Specific– This professional learning will be specific for HOBY administrative staff at all of our local seminar sites


The next question that we will have to answer as an organization is: who is our audience? Our main audience is:

  • Our seminar administrators from all of our sites
  • Active Collab coordinators
  • Senior officials from each seminar site that may want to be cross-trained on Active Collab

With respect to the student’s needs, we must realize that:

  1. All HOBY staff will need support for their roles, regardless of how big or small they are.
  2. It will be critically important the we encourage our staff and keep them centered on their goals with a “growth mindset” that allows them to engage in the professional learning process.
  3. By allowing our learners to “keep their head in the game,” we can eliminate the possibility of our staff becoming overwhelmed in the training process.

From here, we will need to address the question of fostering collaboration between all of our staff. How can we do it? I have thought of a few ideas and suggestions, and they are listed below:

  1. All meetings will have a “go and show” model that will follow an engaging sequence
  2. Use “active engagement” to guide our staff through our course strategies, such as “walk and talk,” open discussions, “mixer brainstorming,” “standing-up-to-share-ideas,” and reflection
  3. All seminar sites will be given the responsibility of delegating tasks to key seminar staff so that no one becomes overwhelmed with responsibilities
  4. Monthly meetings either virtually or on campus will have “mixer brainstorming” sessions where two instructors will be appointed from each seminar site to share ideas about how their seminar site has used Active Collab effectively and how it could be put into practice immediately
  5. At each meeting, the students will be asked by their instructors to listen to the meeting or see the meeting and work through the assignments in collaboration with someone they do not know from a separate seminar site — hence, “mixer brainstorming”
  6. Blackboard and Active Collab will be used to tie all of the assignments together with discussion boards and tasks for completion
  7. Voxer, Twitter, and Facebook chats will be used as an easy way to foster collaboration through a communication and media format

Two-Track System

For this next part, I want to take you through more steps we will take in the HOPE plan to achieve our finished results. To continue, we might also take a look at what I describe as two tracks for learning. For everyone involved, all of our HOBY volunteers should decide early on what pathway they want to embark on. I have decided to align this professional learning plan into a two-track system that allows all of our seminar staff to choose their preferred speed of learning. The features of these two tracks can be described here:

  • Fast track
    • Begins at the Training Institute
    • Course complete in just six meetings
    • Content changes after fourth meeting
    • Learners can switch tracks after the fourth meeting
  • Slow track
    • Begins at the Training Institute
    • Course complete in 12 months
    • Content changes after fourth meeting
    • Learners can switch tracks after fourth meeting, but at a slower pace

The picture below illustrates these two tracks in action.


BHAG/Three-Column Table

When we think of these two learning tracks, we have to take a look at our BHAG, or Big, Hairy Audacious Goal for HOBY. In this case:

  • Our learners will learn about and implement a software training program in their seminar sites

We should begin to think about how a two-track system might come into play for everyone who is involved. The three-column table shows what will take place at each meeting and what activities will be used to support the BHAG in the HOPE program. When each learner attends a meeting, they will perform an activity that will support their training program at their seminar site. Here is my three-column table that illustrates the activities we would use to showcase a training program of this type.


Learning Goals Learning Activities Assessment Activities
Introduction/The Beginning (Session 1)—Learners will understand the need for blended learning in seminar operations Discussion and videos about integrating staff training with blended learning

Walk and Talk: constructivism through blended learning at HOBY

Discussion Board online: how can blended learning help our seminar
Blended Learning (Session 2)—Learners will begin to design blended learning systems for their seminar staff training Showcase lesson of staff training and begin writing plan

Discussion: blended learning in staff training

Walk and Talk: designing blended learning systems

Seminar staff will be measured on their design for blended learning
Growth Mindset (Session 3)—Learners will use the growth mindset and discussions to collaborate about their seminar technology training Video: Peter Gray

Presentation: Dr. Carol Dweck

Discussion: Why is having a growth mindset important to HOBY staff training?

Walk and Talk: using a growth mindset in technology training

Create an infographic: How will you foster the growth mindset in your seminar training?
Digital Tools (Session 4)—Learners will use digital tools to create digital lessons for their seminar sites Information about digital tools

Discussion: How to use digital tools at HOBY through staff development

Learners look for the resources that they think will be the most valuable for their site

Walk and Talk: using digital tools in your seminar

Design an activity or lesson that uses a digital tool in a new fashion
Digital Assessments (Session 5)—Learners will design assessments to use in their training programs Video: before and after assessments in a “flipped” classroom with staff training

Discussion: using digital tools in a “flipped” staff training

Learners will design an assessment mechanism for their seminar site using these digital tools

Walk and Talk: designing assessments for training programs

Learners will be assessed on their before and after assessments designed for their seminar staff training
Finishing Touches (Session 6)—Learners will continue to discuss and put finishing touches on the assessment models that they developed



Learners will discuss their final training program plans with their seminar staff

Walk and Talk: using“finishing touches” to make seminar even better

Discussion board: putting together program plans with new training at your site
Best Practices  (Sessions 7 to 12)– Learners will continue to receive support when they need it for putting staff training and programs together


Learners will continue to discuss how “flipped” classroom best practices can be used in an unfamiliar territory


Walk and Talk: seminar best practices

Online chats or in-person meetings: seminar best practices

As you can see, the main goal of this program is very comprehensive, and I want to take it to the next level. Two concepts that are in each session are:

  • “Mixer brainstorming,” will be enriched into the curriculum in each meeting by requiring that each learner participate in activities with someone that they had previously not work with before
  • “Reflecting” by “walking and talking” will get our volunteers to focus on their experiences and how they can make their seminar better

In this section, I would like to give more details about what I want us to cover at each meeting.



Each of these sessions will be lead by an instructor on the training staff of the Training Institute, then, as time goes on, our learners will have the opportunity to take lead roles in the training as they become more advanced in the process. For example:

  • The instructor at TI would start the process, lead the first five meetings,
  • Then appoint another instructor from a seminar site to lead the discussions and activities in meetings six to 12 as a means of sharing ideas with other seminar sites.

The number of meetings you would have would depend on the amount of help needed at the seminar. The original instructor would help in the background if problems arose, but take a lesser role as the appointed seminar instructor would take the lead. This model would foster more collaboration and sharing of ideas among seminar staff and various seminar sites.

Timeline of Plan

As the HOPE plan rolls out, the next dilemma that has to be decided is what the schedule will look like. Each meeting will take place at a location agreed upon by the administration, with the option to tune-in online via Skype. This plan will roll out over an entire seminar year, which means that meetings will begin at TI, and then take place over the succeeding months. The timeline that I have in mind looks like this:

  • August of seminar year—Session 1 (The Beginning)
  • September of seminar year – Session 2 (Blended Learning)
  • October of seminar year – Session 3 (Growth Mindset)
  • November of seminar year – Session 4 (Digital Tools)
  • December of seminar year – Session 5 (Digital Assessments)
  • January of seminar year -Session 6 (Finishing Touches)
  • February to July of seminar year (if necessary) – Sessions 7 to 12 (Best Practices)


So, from here, we next need to decide what resources will be necessary.  Some support may have to come from HOBY’s main office, though. In brief, the resources list looks like this:

  • Physical resources – Laptop computer for instructor, digital projector, tablet for each learner, possible video recorders for seminar group learners, handouts for learners about course concepts
  • Digital resources—Blackboard, ActiveCollab, Voxer, Twitter, Skype, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

Self-Directed Learning

Upon looking at the future, the next challenge becomes getting people onboard to engage with these ideas. I am optimistic for HOBY to have a bright future, and I think that this is a step in the right direction. I plan to foster self-directed learning at HOBY by doing the following:

  • Giving our volunteers all of the support they will need
  • Using the “growth mindset” to foster a continued spirit of collaboration
  • Making sure our staff feel inspired by the success of other volunteers and seminar sites in our organization
  • Making sure our staff take responsibility for their professional engagement

If we follow this plan, our staff will most likely feel more encouraged to blaze a trail along loving the work they do at HOBY. In my case, I am prepared for a hard sell, but this plan is truly something that can bring HOPE to all involved. I also think one of the primary ways we could implement this professional learning plan is to look at the “why” and to revisit the Four Disciplines of Execution as a means of appealing to the hearts of HOBY. If we look toward to the future by looking at the different influencer strategies, we can better understand how this plan might take effect. These strategies could play a big role in getting our volunteers to understand the importance of professional learning.

Conclusion & Vision

Self-directed learning can be the end accomplishment that carries this whole process forward. I am looking forward to the next phase, which is getting everyone to see my vision for our organization. If we all work together, the professional learning process can be as bright and big as the legacy that began our organization. Our organization has one important resource that many businesses probably only dream about: well-dedicated people! It is through this process that we can all realize what we can do when we believe in something. HOPE is a powerful statement to win over the hearts and minds of everyone at HOBY. It is with this powerful wind that I want to embark to get people to see this vision. HOPE is my chance to bring hope to HOBY seminar sites in despair. The big questions to us is: what will we do with the gifts we have been given? The future of HOBY professional learning rests here! We should always remember, “There’s no place like HOPE!



Five Principles of Effective PD. (2013, November). Retrieved from https://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/Snapshots_ND13.pdf

Innovation That Sticks Case Study – OCSB: Collaborative Professional Development. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUusuw-xdr4&feature=youtu.be

Innovation That Sticks Case Study – OCSB: Risk Taking. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAMcjUzdVnE&feature=youtu.be

Managing the risk of innovation: How companies take the leap. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pAgTAZ-TRE

McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals.

Modeling-Based (Flipped) Professional Development at Rutgers University – Dr. Lodge McCammon. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBAmcveOnIM&feature=youtu.be

Peter Gray – Self-Directed Learning Fundamentals. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YoE480mzrk0&feature=youtu.be