CDC Professional Development Practices

The ultimate goal of professional development (PD) is the effective implementation of skills and strategies that enhance knowledge and transfer of learning. The CDC Professional Development Practices listed here are based on research and best practice and provide the best conditions for implementation to occur. They encompass the delivery of PD in a group setting (trainings, presentations, meetings) and one‐on‐one (general technical assistance, coaching/mentoring).

For more details on the specific types of PD and how they should be developed and implemented, refer to the e-learning course, Professional Development 101.

Sustain, Design, Promote, Deliver, Follow up, and Evaluate

■ Identify a person to provide leadership for PD efforts.

■ Establish procedures and policies that promote timely, research‐based, and responsive PD.

■ Secure financial and human resources to support PD and collaboration.

■ Establish and implement a PD plan that incorporates the PD‐related components found in the cooperative agreement work plan.

■ Ensure continuous learning among program staff.

■ Develop a process for recruitment, development, and assessment of qualified PD providers (may be in‐house). Ensure that PD providers are skilled to:

  • Apply the fundamentals of effective training design and delivery.
  • Are familiar with the specified content.
  • Apply adult learning principles.
  • Use a variety of strategies to meet needs of diverse learners.
  • Create a safe and functional learning environment for constituents.
  • Manage conflict and controversy.

■ Provide ongoing technical support for PD providers.

Group Setting

For each training or presentation offered:

■ Identify the target audience.

■ Conduct a pre‐assessment and review available data to guide the development of SMART (Specific Measureable Achievable Realistic Time‐related) objectives.

■ Develop a comprehensive training design (agenda).

■ Develop and select an action planning template.

■ Develop an evaluation plan.

■ Develop a plan for follow‐up support.

■ Develop, design, and organize materials.

■ Manage, or hire someone to manage, logistics (e.g., registration, site selection, transportation needs, AV/technology).

One-On-One Technical Assistance (TA)

Develop a TA protocol that includes:

■ Response time.

■ Site data review (when available).

■ Topics to be covered.

■ Follow‐up support.

■ Materials to be sent.

■ Data entry process.



■ Determine the PD services that will match target audience needs.

■ Develop a comprehensive promotional plan. As part of the plan

  • Develop SMART objectives that describe the promotional results to be achieved.
  • Develop and pretest messages and materials that will resonate with target audiences.
  • Create a promotional time line.
  • Identify measures of success.
  • Recruit partners who can support and assist in achieving promotional objectives.

■ Implement the promotional plan.

■ Collect evaluation data.

■ Record data in data management system.

■ Monitor and adjust the promotional plan, materials, and messages as appropriate.

■ Provide an environment conducive to learning.

■ Use qualified providers.

■ Execute the training design and technical assistance protocol.

■ Collect participant data.

■ Provide and manage materials.

■ Manage AV and technology when applicable.

■ Collect evaluation data.

■ Record data in data management system.

■ Plan for follow‐up support prior to each event.

■ Choose appropriate follow‐up support strategies.

■ Share follow‐up support expectations prior to and during the event.

■ Schedule follow‐up support, if applicable.

■ Conduct follow‐up support at appropriate intervals.

■ Collect participant data.

■ Collect evaluation data.

■ Record data in data management system.

One-On-One Technical Assistance (TA) to:

■ Plan for follow‐up support, if needed, during the initial provision of technical assistance.

■ Choose appropriate follow‐up strategy.

■ Schedule follow‐up support.

■ Conduct follow‐up support.

■ Record data in data management system.

■ Develop a plan to measure the SMART objectives stated in the cooperative agreement work plan.

■ Identify or develop instruments to collect evaluation data from multiple sources.

■ Assess needs of the target audience, as applicable.

■ Collect process data.

■ Collect outcome data.

■ Maintain evaluation data in an organized data management system.

■ Identify or develop a data entry protocol.

■ Use Evaluation Data to:

  • Revise PD plans.
  • Revise and refine training designs.
  • Revise and refine technical assistance protocol.
  • Inform the design of follow‐up support.
  • Report indicators of success.
  • Inform decision makers and stakeholders.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s School Health Branch, in partnership with RMC Health.