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Partnering with Districts to Shape the Future of PD

Written by Julia Francis

There are so many professional development products and solutions out there today to choose from in education. PD for teachers can mean in-person workshops, all day conferences, online apps, social media, collaborative portals--the list goes on and on!

Feedback & features
So how do you develop a PD experience that delivers what teachers and administrators really need? With Alludo, we start with our customers. Every day, they’re at the core of our organization’s work, shaping and driving our product features and development efforts.

Alludo, our gamified learning platform, is reliant on players (teachers) engaging in the game. Every piece of feedback we get from players lets us know if game is working, and if it’s become a successful support in their professional development. Do they like the game? Are they getting to choose what they want to work on? Does the learning stick, and if so, can it continue to be a resource that teachers can draw from or provide a way in which to collaborate and learn more from peers?  All of these features, and how they are working, matter to us, and inform the future of our platform. Remaining open-minded to feedback has guided us in the way in which we tweak and enhance existing features or consider building new ones.

In the software world, when a client has a feature request, a typical reply is, “Thank you for your input, and we will add that to our backlog.” There could be hundreds of requests in the backlog--changes that would take months or years to implement, and often simply aren’t revisited. Fortunately, that’s not the case with Alludo. While there are features that need to be developed, we prioritize our development work based on the client’s needs. This allows us to remain adaptable, releasing new features as often as weekly. Our game is constantly improving, thanks to to our customers and our symbiotic relationship with them--a constant flow of feedback and feature improvements.

Responding & rebuilding
In less than a year, we’ve introduced several major features: gathering evidence, Google authentication, multiple games, and administration user experience improvements. Our latest release, built on this foundation, enables districts to offer an even better PD experience. Palm Springs Unified, Hemet, San Jacinto, and RIO are just a few districts that sponsored or contributed to our last release. Thanks to PSUSD, we released new authoring and reviewer features. Thanks to Hemet, we have a course catalog under development that will be made accessible to districts to build their own unique pedagogy. These are just a few ideas from districts that make the product we support better for all of our educators and administrators.

Partnerships & PD
As a small company, it’s important to us to listen and understand the needs of the people we serve. When we’re asked if we can make our product do “this,” we rarely say no. Instead, we dive deeper into understanding the district’s needs, and how we can create that experience in a way that meets their vision and supports a good gaming experience. Chances are, if a PD feature is important for one district, it will benefit all of our districts.

We foster collaboration across districts and hope that the collective goals and vision of our clients will help us to continually evolve and provide the best PD platform. Innovating together, we can shape the future of professional development.