At the same time, I am leading my own learning, through the development of my PLN, and following the “traditional” educational model by going through the gauntlet that is a doctoral program. Both forma of learning have been valuable.
Both have their own benefits, drawbacks, and rewards.
Where one is completely self-led and organic, the other is guided by established experts. Where one requires nothing but which I require of myself, the other has assignments, deadlines, and more assignments.
Where one will have a tangible financial reward at a significant price, the other offers only that which can’t be valued.
Where one will lead to me walking across the stage while my name is called and my family cheers, the other is done quietly at my kitchen table at odd hours.
Both forms of learning have value.
There is a growing sentiment that formal degrees are no longer relevant to the educational leader; that “self led PD is the only way modern teachers should learn.” I call them the “Educational Hipsters,” and I don’t think they are right. Formal degree programs are founded on the study of theories, which are critical to the practicing educational leader.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that self-led PD is superficial and fad based. They think the only way to learn is through assigned readings and paper writing. They are wrong, too. Self led PD, especially through the use of Twitter, connects learners from across the globe. It is (relatively) free and opens a world of thought and ideas to be created and shared.
So, in the end, a modern educator and leader should have both formal and informal PD planned. Taking classes or pursuing a degree should be balanced with everyday sharing and learning. The theory and the daily application must both be addressed.