Personalizing professional learning

Bringing personalized learning to life: Designing a micro-credential pilot in Wake Co., NC
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Wake Co. Public School System spent years exploring micro-credentials as a way to personalize professional learning and leverage educators' expertise. But a range of other challenges - including COVID closures - made it hard to get a pilot planned and off the ground.


Wake County Public School System


January – June 2020


Raleigh, NC


Designing a micro-credential pilot for teachers and instructional assistants

The challenge

Micro-credentials had been on the minds of Wake County leaders for years as a strategy for competency-based and personalized professional learning. But while district staff had achieved consensus on the approach, they needed a way to turn ideas into action.

Macro goals. Micro-credentials.

Personalized professional learning systems start by breaking down big challenges into achievable steps. Use CTQ’s readiness survey to find your district’s starting point.

The strategy

The pilot leadership team identified several groups of educators that regularly faced challenges with accessing traditional, in-person professional learning and were primed to try something new. The design team made these instructional staff the focus of a pilot, identifying specific learning targets aligned with district goals and priorities.

Our team knew a lot about micro-credentials and what we wanted to accomplish. But CTQ’s facilitation and expertise was still helpful. Just having a partnership that structured our work made a difference.

Sonya Stephens, Senior Director of Data, Research, and Accountability, WCPSS

The process

CTQ facilitated a series of virtual design sessions that laid essential groundwork for the pilot: specifying a clear theory of action, naming meaningful metrics for learning and success, and framing clear language to communicate about the pilot. The design team met with a group of teachers and other district stakeholders at the midpoint of its process and incorporated feedback into the final action plan.


As a result of this work, Wake Co. has an actionable plan to turn years of exploration into its first pilot in fall 2020. Pilot plans allow the district to meet long term goals for personalized professional learning while meeting educators’ immediate needs during remote and hybrid learning during COVID.

Micro-credentials help educators show what they know.

CTQ has supported more than 200 teams of educators and district leaders to explore, design, and pilot personalized professional learning systems. Micro-credentials are one strategy to make that learning accessible and show ROI on the $18 billion investment that districts make in professional learning each year.