Teaching can be isolating. While some school districts have a robust and supportive program for professional growth, some lack the resources for individualized learning and opportunities for collaboration outside of school walls.

The people behind this Chapel Hill, NC-based company started Participate within a larger organization as an online learning platform to award digital badges for these educators looking to learn in a new way. This was one step in the right direction, but they were missing a social aspect to encourage community-based learning. They recognized early on that bringing educators together in one space had the potential to create meaningful impact: a force multiplier for educator development.

That’s where Participate online Communities of Practice (CoPs) were born. The developers behind it are “not here to tell you we created the idea of CoPs—we’ll leave that to Wenger-Trayner—but we can tell you we saw potential in CoPs to empower educators and improve their learning opportunities beyond traditional, mandatory in-person sessions.”

In January 2019, they branched off as their own company, Participate, Inc., and shifted their platform to become a network of social learning communities. These communities, each focused on a particular domain and around a shared practice, give educators the opportunity to follow personalized pathways of growth and participate in meaningful, blended learning.

Today, their platform is home to more than 30,000 educators and has awarded more than 1,000 micro-credentials for educator achievements. They support almost 100 partners in providing personalized, blended experiences for their educators through discussion threads, online courses, time-bound learning experiences and more. With a new approach to social learning, Participate was named a Finalist for “Best Professional Development Learning Solution” and Winner of The EdTech Trendsetter Award as part of The EdTech Awards 2020 from EdTech Digest. Learn more


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