Recently an administrator said to me that he was going to a "sit and get." Imagine, like most PD experiences, sitting in a room focused on one speaker with a message. No interaction. No activity. No movement. This is passive or sedentary learning. The minutes tick away, dissolve into hours, and learning is negligible.
Discussion on many topics is needed but discussion is not professional development; it's enlightenment. PD is like learning in the classroom; systematic, engaging, real, relevant, down to earth, and assessed. Much of the learning educators engage in is passive offering little in pedagogical clarity or transformation.
What should professional development espouse to do? First it should be life changing. As a result of F2F and online learning educator's practice should alter in some way. The deliberate planning and delivery of instruction shows teachers a new way of thinking, learning, and practicing. Then it should be based on the needs of the educator(s) much like basing instruction on the learning needs of students. Educators also need this kind of choice in learning. Without it, they too feel like their needs are not being met. Third, PD should be engaging by offering a variety of ways to learn. Just as students need visual, aural, and kinesthetic means, so do teachers. Not only should they be learning this way, but products of learning, the artifacts, should be left to the learner giving empowerment. Finally, how learning is credited is essential. Certificates can be meaningless. They get filed away and forgotten about. What if learning could be symbolized using badges that can be displayed most everywhere. Now educators have a real way to show the world their learning.
Getting back to it, the status quo of "sit and get" and discussion as learning will need to change in the future.