This article provides a simple introduction to the CPD Cycle, the stages involved and how it works, as well as the benefits of using the CPD Cycle to manage your Continuing Professional Development.
What is the CPD Cycle?
A commonly asked question in relation to Continuing Professional Development is 'how do I manage my CPD effectively?' We have found that one of the greatest and easiest tools to use is called the CPD Cycle.
Essentially, the CPD Cycle is a very practical tool that helps structure your annual CPD plan, learning objectives and outcomes, so that the training you undertake is suitable and worthwhile for your ongoing Continuing Professional Development requirements. Using the CPD Cycle can help you become a more competent professional, whilst making it easy for you to manage your CPD learning effectively and keep up to date with industry developments.
What are the CPD Cycle stages?
The CPD cycle stages are a simple set of logical and systematic steps to follow. There are five key stages in the CPD Cycle that are important when planning your professional development learning activities for the year.
The CPD Cycle stages are:
- Stage 1 - Identifying Your Needs - The first of the CPD cycle step relates to the process of identifying your skills and knowledge gaps. Complete a simple self-assessment or needs analysis to help you identify current weaknesses and any future areas you can develop that will improve your professional skills and knowledge. This will assist you establishing a general overview of your learning objectives for the year.
- Stage 2 - Planning - Once you have identified your skills shortages and areas that are in need of developing, the next steps are to create a set of specific objectives that help you breakdown and decide which activities and subjects would support your overall development objectives.
- Stage 3 - Acting/Doing - The next steps in the CPD Cycle is to attend various learning activities, such as suitable CPD accredited training, educational events, online courses and webinars that help you achieve the learning objectives outlined in your needs analysis. Remain focussed on training and events that will improve upon your professional development weak areas and cater for the knowledge gaps you have previously identified.
- Stage 4 - Reflecting on your learning - Once any training courses or other types of CPD have been completed, it is important to reflect upon the success of the activity. The reflection stage should help to highlight “What did I learn? How has my knowledge increased? What skills have I learnt? What can I put into practice? How can I make a positive improvement to my existing work activities?” Reflection like this after completing any CPD activity makes it simple to apply a practical solution-based process to ensuring your professional development is successful.
- Stage 5 - Implement your new learning - The final stages of the CPD Cycle is to apply your new knowledge and skills to your existing workplace, completing the full process of the CPD Cycle.