In-Depth PD

Tailor-made professional development to match your context, budget and learning objectives

Our in-depth professional learning processes are at the core of what we do at Challenging Learning. It is these processes that lead to the greatest benefit for staff, students, and community members. 

Since our inception in 2006, we have worked with more than 600 schools, pre-schools, colleges and municipalities/districts in 12 countries on long-term processes that have achieved sustained and proven results. Typical gains include increased staff engagement and satisfaction; improved student motivation, resilience and curiosity; the development of a shared language for learning within and between different sectors; better use of feedback and dialogue to enhance student learning; and a healthier attitude towards challenge, progress and achievement.

No two projects are the same. We understand that whilst most schools, pre-schools, and colleges share common issues, it is the make-up of your structures, staff, culture, history, location, budget, parents and students that make you unique.

Our long-term processes are based around three different models: The Challenging Learning Process (based on our experience of best practice); Visible LearningPlus (based on John Hattie’s synthesis of more than 1400 meta-analyses): and the Learning Challenge Network (based on James Nottingham’s Learning Pit).

You can find out more about each of these below. You are also very welcome to ask us to put you in touch with those currently engaged in our processes so that you can find out about the benefits they are experiencing.


The Challenging Learning Process

The Challenging Learning Process (CLP) begins with identifying your current reality. This is based on a learning walk around your school, pre-school or college. We cross-reference this with the opinions of your students, staff, and community members, as well as inspection reports (where available) and school data to present a report to you of where we think your organisation is currently. Together, our senior consultants and your decision-makers decide on the actions that will best help you achieve the professional and student learning outcomes you are aiming for.

Throughout the process, we work with your leadership team to agree strategy and with your coaches (instructional leaders) to ensure strategy translates into action. We also run workshops for all staff, offer demonstration lessons, and provide teaching resources as well books for on-going professional learning. The themes for these actions generally come from our areas of expertise.

At points during the process, we analyse the gains you have made so far, providing you with written reports for your decision-makers to share with important stakeholders. In some cases, we also collect video evidence for you to share with your community – as the wider teaching profession if that is of interest to you. Many of our schools, pre-schools and colleges have also welcomed study tours that we’ve set up, to share their journey and benefits with colleagues from other countries.

Visible Learningplus

Visible Learningplus  translates Professor John Hattie’s unique Visible Learning research into a process that schools can use to evaluate their impact and track the changes they are making, to ensure long-term sustainable change for student learning.

We are the only company licensed to deliver Visible Learningplus in Scandinavia. If you are outside of this region, then we can whole-heartedly recommend that you contact either Osiris in the UK; Bazalt in the Netherlands; or Corwin for the rest of the world. More details at

Most of our work in Scandinavia has been with kommune-wide projects working on the Collaborative Impact Series. This programme is co-designed and implemented by the Visible Learningplus team with the active involvement of groups and individuals in all parts of the education system, including education policy leaders, school leaders, impact coaches, inspired and passionate teachers, visible learners and their families and local communities.

There are other options within Visible Learningplus  - including the Foundation Series and the Inside Series. The Foundation Series will introduce you to the core concepts of Visible Learning and the research of John Hattie. Through the lens of the Visible Learning evidence, you will be able to focus on what works best. The Inside Series supports deep implementation of Visible Learning strategies throughout your school. The series can be completed as an adjunct to the Foundation Series or be attended as stand-alone professional learning and development days.

The Learning Challenge Networks

The Learning Challenge (often referred to as the Learning Pit) was created by James Nottingham, co-founder and Executive Director of Challenging Learning. It has grown to be one of the most popular and compelling heuristics of the last 20 years.

The Learning Challenge Network is a process for 2 members of staff per school, pre-school or college to train together and to collaborate with others in the network. Members report gains in professional satisfaction and inspiration; their students show improved progress and attitudes; and parents report an ever-improving attitude towards education.

We currently have networks in North East England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.