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Reflections from a professional learning community for researchers working in research alliances


The purpose of this project was to share the lessons learned about the common challenges that Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest researchers brought to a professional learning community, the strategies they identified to address the challenges, and the tools used to ultimately overcome those shared challenges. The lessons highlighted in this document are observations made by the professional learning community members and senior REL Midwest staff during the 2012-2017 REL contract. Researchers experienced three common challenges: adjusting to changing roles and additional responsibilities; planning for and engaging in consistent, meaningful interactions with practitioner partners; and developing products that speak directly to their intended audience. To overcome these challenges, researchers developed and carried out three strategies: built a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities that they and their practitioner partners’ needed to play; honed communication and facilitation skills; and co-developed plans with their practitioner partners for how to communicate about the partnership and its projects. Several tools were developed to support the implementation of these strategies. These lessons come from one professional learning community’s experience and therefore may not be generalizable to all researchers. However, the intent is to inform others as they work to support researchers’ efforts to engage in authentic collaboration with their practitioner partners.

Publication Type:
What's Happening
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Publication Date:
March 2017