CPD is the holistic commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers.
So, what is CPD? Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive.
CPD combines different methodologies to learning, such as training workshops, conferences and events, e-learning programs, best practice techniques and ideas sharing, all focused for an individual to improve and have effective professional development. There are over 1000 institutes & professional bodies across the UK, a number that is forecast to increase.
Accompanied by such growth is the acceptance that academic qualifications must offer more vocational and skills-based or ‘practical’ learning. A structured, practical and methodical approach to learning helps employers across industries to keep key staff and develop the skills & knowledge in their organisations to maintain a sustainable and competitive advantage.
Engaging in Continuing Professional Development ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level.
CPD Learning Types
Types of CPD learning vary significantly, depending on the requirements for your business, or if you’re learning as an individual.
Structured CPD / Active Learning
Structured CPD / active learning involves interactive and participation-based study. It is typically proactive and can include attending a training course, conference, workshop, seminar, lecture, e-learning course or CPD certified event. CPD active learning also applies to when professionals take career orientated exams and assessments (the study and revision would be considered self-directed learning, see Self-Directed CPD).
Reflective CPD / Passive Learning
Reflective learning involves no participant-based interaction, so this form of CPD is much more passive and one directional. Examples of this include reading relevant news articles, podcasts & case studies and industry updates. Some informal meetings can be applicable to CPD reflective learning, but the learning objectives of these meetings must be made clear in an individual’s overall CPD plan.
Self-Directed CPD / Unstructured Learning
Self-directed learning involves all unaccompanied CPD activities. It covers the reading of documents, articles and publications; either in print or online. Reading relevant publications, books by leading experts, industry journals and trade magazines are all types of self-directed CPD. You could also include industry-specific news feeds or research into relevant fields.
What is accredited CPD Training?
‘What is CPD’ and ‘How to become CPD accredited’ are common queries discussed across the varying industries. Accredited CPD training means the learning activity has reached the required Continuing Professional Development standards and benchmarks. The learning value has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality. The CPD Certification Service provides recognised independent CPD accreditation compatible with global CPD requirements.How to accredit your training & events
What are the benefits of CPD?
Continuing Professional Development is essential in helping individuals, organisations or entire industries to keep skills and knowledge up to date. Providing CPD enables organisations to become a knowledge bank to key stakeholders of your organisation. CPD accredited training courses, workshops and events allow professionals to use the learning time towards individual CPD requirements.
Continuing Professional Development helps individuals to regularly focus on how they can become a more competent and effective professional. Training and learning increase confidence and overall capability, and compliments career aspirations.
CPD enables individuals to adapt positively to changes in work/industry requirements. Planning CPD helps to be more efficient with time, and recording CPD properly provides evidence of professional development (this can be useful for supervision and appraisals).
CPD shows a clear commitment to self-development and professionalism. CPD provides an opportunity for an individual to identify knowledge gaps and to resolve these in a recognisable approach to improvement.
Accredited CPD Providers should make available to individuals a Certificate of Attendance to attach to their CPD log as evidence of development once training is complete or the desired standards of learning have been met.
Providing CPD accredited learning benefits your organisation through recognition and increased brand perception. Internal use of Continuing Professional Development encourages and promotes a healthy learning culture for your organisation, leading to a more fulfilled workforce and retaining valuable staff.
Many organisations have staff with CPD obligations as members of professional bodies. In circumstances where internal CPD training resources are low, organisations use outsourced CPD training providers to meet staff requirements.
Outsourced CPD providers are typically training companies, online learning resources, events & conference organisers. They are experts in their field and provide practical learning opportunities through CPD events, seminars and accredited CPD courses. Some CPD courses are just 1 or 2 hours long, delivered in a seminar or classroom-style environment. Other accredited CPD courses can be a full 6-10 weeks program, split into structured bite-size modules.
More Info on CPD
Allocating time for CPD is the individual’s responsibility. They need to understand the Continuing Professional Development requirements for their organisation/industry to understand how their CPD training and learning should be recorded and what number of hours are required. Most institutes provide their members with Continuing Professional Development requirements generally as a minimum annual number of hours. These targets are defined by the accrual of CPD hours through training, seminars & workshops, events & conferences as well as other structured forms of CPD learning. These CPD hours are sometimes converted to points, units or credits. The majority of institutions allow members to choose subjects of relevance to them as individuals, a minority also require their members to seek CPD on a range of core subjects.
An individual must keep a track of their annual Continuing Professional Development activities on a CPD record form and must ensure it is correct, up to date and meets the requirements of their professional body or association. The CPD activity is recorded in terms of learning outcomes and practical application of the knowledge obtained. Accredited CPD Providers are able to provide guidance to individuals as to how many CPD hours or points are achievable from the completion of any certified CPD activity, such as a conference, training course or seminar. This will help any individual delegate record the correct or most appropriate level of CPD hours for their professional body.
Continuing Professional Development undertaken is recorded by a CPD Certificate of Attendance, CPD Self-Assessment forms and personal CPD Record Cards. Once a CPD certified activity has been delivered, the attendee can update their CPD record sheet and attach the associated certificate. It is not necessary for the accredited CPD Provider to keep an ongoing learning record for each of their delegates. However, it is advisable to provide at least a certificate of participation to individuals once an activity has been completed.
Keeping accurate CPD record sheets helps reflect on personal progress over time. It is important that individuals keep CPD record sheets up-to-date as they will often need to submit evidence of annual Continuing Professional Development activities to their governing professional bodies or employers.
Download the Quick CPD Guide
Learn more about Continuing Professional Development, the benefits of CPD, and how to get your organisations’ courses & events accredited.Download