Educational professional development is a global concern. It is often characterised by event‐delivery methods, though there are signs that other approaches are gaining favour. The authors stress the significance of non‐formal learning, and the ways in which it can be promoted and enhanced within the activity systems within which teachers in higher education work. Their argument is complemented by findings from a study of 2401 part‐time teachers, and online responses from 248 full‐time staff, in the UK Open University. Twelve implications for international practice are identified.