Continuing professional development (CPD) for sport coaches has been defined as all kinds of professional learning that occurs after initial certification (Nelson et al., 2006), and includes both non-formal and informal learning situations. Despite the fact that within the past decade there has been an increasing number of studies on these learning situations, learning communities as a type of CPD have received little attention. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to share initial observations and lessons learned from creating and implementing sport coach learning communities. In addition, this paper extends the dialogue on learning community implementation and assessment. Our learning community efforts were formulated around five key guidelines: (1) Stable settings dedicated to improving instruction and learning, (2) Job-alike teams, (3) Published protocols that guide but do not prescribe, (4) Trained peer facilitators, and (5) Working on student learning goals until there are tangible gains in student learning.
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Ms. Rachael Bertram is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Ottawa in Canada. She is a former Division 1 ice hockey athlete who most recently earned a graduate degree in Sport Psychology from California State University, Fresno. In addition to her research and consulting in coach education, she is an active youth sport coach with Level 3 USA Hockey Coach Certification.
Dr. Wade Gilbert is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno. He has directed applied research partnerships with coaches and athletes in the United States and Canada across a wide range of sports. Currently Dr. Gilbert is co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Sports Coaching, which will provide a comprehensive global overview of sports coaching research.