What they are, why they are important and how to create them

The term professional learning community has become quite commonplace in education circles. The term describes a collegial group who are united in their commitment to an outcome. In the case of education, the commitment would be to student learning. The community engages in a variety of activities including sharing a vision, working and learning collaboratively, visiting and observing other classrooms, and participating in shared decision making. The benefits of professional learning community to educators and students include reduced isolation of teachers, better informed and committed teachers, and academic gains for students. Shirley Hord of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory says, that as an organizational arrangement, the professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff-development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement.1

This site provides an introduction to professional learning communities including research related to best practices of professional learning communities along with sample protocols for discussions.

1. Hord, S. M. (1997). Professional learning communities: What are they and why are they important? [Online]. Available: .

What Are Professional Learning Communities?

Why Are Professional Learning Communities Important?
What Are the Steps to Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities?

What Do Professional Learning Communities Look Like in Schools and Districts?

Sample Protocols for Discussions.

Suggested Reading.