The courses within VEX Professional Development Plus (PD+) offer a unique solution to the challenges of traditional teacher PD, by giving teachers self-paced, hands-on, engaging training, with the opportunity for personalized learning and sustained support through the PD+ platform. Two types of courses are offered in PD+, Intro Courses, which are free for all PD+ subscribers, and VEX Masterclasses, which are available to PD+ All-Access members.
You will need to have an active subscription to PD+ to enroll in PD+ courses. For more information on activating or obtaining a PD+ subscription, see this article.
What is in a PD+ Course?
Each course is focused on a specific topic or VEX platform, to give targeted course content for all VEX platforms and STEM pedagogy. The courses consist of themed Chapters broken up into smaller Lessons. These video-based Lessons weave together concept knowledge, teacher modeling, and hands-on learning with your own VEX Robotics materials, so that you can have the experience of participating in the kinds of lessons that you will end up teaching to your own students.
The videos are intentionally designed to move slowly, and to build on one another, so that you can move through the course at a pace that best suits your needs and skill level.
Intro Courses vs. VEX Masterclasses
VEX Intro Courses are free, and include introductory Educator Certifications. These courses are available to any PD+ subscriber and provide training on each VEX platform.
Once you become certified in a VEX platform, you gain access to the VEX PD+ Professional Learning Community for that platform.
VEX Masterclasses are available only to All-Access PD+ Members, and offer a variety of opportunities for continued professional learning in robotics and computer science, across all VEX platforms.
Each VEX Masterclass provides targeted, in-depth training on an aspect of teaching with VEX, to allow you to take your learning further.
Features of PD+ Courses
Hands-on learning with your VEX materials
Courses allow you to use your own VEX Kits and materials to complete the activities within each Lesson. Like an in-person workshop, you will be able to build, code, and test your builds and projects to complete a variety of explorations.
The Getting Started VEX Masterclasses are a great place to start if you are new to a VEX platform, and will walk you through a step-by-step process to get you ready to teach with VEX.
Video-based lessons let you learn at your own pace
Each Lesson in a course centers on an instructor-led video, that will walk you through what you need to know to complete the Lesson activity. The on-demand nature of course content means that you can watch videos, and complete Lesson activities anywhere, at any time, based on your own schedule and needs.
Beside the video, Lesson descriptions offer a chapter and lesson level overview so you know what you will be learning about, as well as what materials you will need to complete the Lesson activity. Any resources that are mentioned in the video, or that can be used to extend your learning are also linked on the Lesson page.
Formative assessment helps you monitor your progress
Lessons also have built-in formative assessment, like Check Your Understanding questions or reflection prompts, so that you have a tool to monitor your own progress and learning. For instance, if an answer is unclear to you, you can go back and rewatch part of the video or use the additional resources linked on the page to learn more, before moving on to the next Lesson.
Earn a certificate for each course.
At the end of each course, a certificate that includes the number of training hours completed is available once the Certification Exam at the end of the course has been passed.
Additional resources help you extend your professional learning
Make the most of your professional learning by using the courses in conjunction with other PD+ and VEX resources. Within Lessons, PD+ videos, articles, or educational resources will be linked so you have easy access to next steps, and the tools that can help you take your learning further.
Additionally, each course has reminders about the PD+ Community, enabling you to directly interact with other course participants and the PD+ experts leading the course at any time to ask questions, comment on course content, or spark a discussion based on your learning.
Participating in a PD+ Course
To begin a PD+ course, select the course tile you wish to participate in. There is no 'enrollment' necessary, you can begin a course at any time by opening Chapter 1 Lesson 1 and completing the Lesson. You can then proceed to complete the course at your own pace. This flexibility enables you to engage with training when it is right for you, on your own schedule.
Your progress within a course will be saved, so that you can pick it back up at any time as best meets your needs. From the course main page, you can see an overview of Chapter topics and the Lessons contained within each. It is recommended to move through Lessons sequentially, as each Chapter will build on what was learned previously.