Historically, professional development has been understood as strategic efforts intended to increase educators’ knowledge and skills, improve their teaching, and—ultimately—positively affect student learning. More recent situated, distributed, and social views of learning have encouraged broader conceptions of professional development to include informal learning across multiple contexts (e.g., hallway conversations with colleagues, informal participation in online learning communities). This view of professional development as ongoing and embedded in educators’ lives resonates with current conceptions of learning in out-of-school contexts.

Although research on out-of-school learning has focused more on student learning than on teacher learning, professional development is an essential element of much out-of-school learning with implications for the quality of teaching, mentoring, and, ultimately, youth learning. Professional development is a timely focus for research in out-of-school learning ...

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