Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is becoming widely established as the internationally recognised terminology for professional further learning. Many international regions have implemented CPD policies and guidelines as a way of standardising learning practices in key industries and maintaining relevance in a rapidly changing environment. This article provides a simple introduction and overview to international CPD, its growth and importance.
What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?
CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and describes the learning activities professionals engage in to enhance their abilities and knowledge. CPD is a proactive and holistic approach towards the improvement of skills and proficiency throughout a professional’s career. Continuing Professional Development defines a commitment to ongoing lifelong learning and encourages individuals to identify opportunities to learn something new, refresh existing knowledge, improve skills, or simply keep up-to-date with the latest developments in a particular industry. Organisations across all industry sectors can look to actively engage in CPD to grow, develop and stay competitive within their market.
Background and History of CPD - Where did it start?
The concept of Continuing Professional Development originated in the UK and its roots can be broadly traced back to the decades following World War II. At that time, institutional bodies identified a need for more structured further learning post formal qualifications. By the 1980s, Continuing Professional Development became established within leading UK professional bodies. Industry sectors such as healthcare and medical, construction, architecture, engineering, and law took the decisions to implement organisational CPD policies that helped to establish the foundations and frameworks of a proactive learning culture within each profession. Different terminology was sometimes used – such as the Healthcare sector where Continuing Medical Education (CME) was initially common until recent years, when there was a progression towards recognising CME as a component element of overall CPD.
A similar focus on the need for further learning was developing in parallel in regions like North America, Australia and Europe – albeit sometimes using different terminology. By the 2000s, a recognition of the need for professional development had moved beyond traditional professions to all industry sectors, and there was a convergence around CPD as the international terminology.
International CPD and globalisation
Since then, in response to globalisation and the changing technological landscape, Continuing Professional Development has increased in relevance and importance across industries internationally. Both individuals and organisations value CPD as a means of ensuring growth and development – and staying up-to-date in an ever-changing international market.
What are the different types of Continuing Professional Development?
Different types of Continuing Professional Development can include training courses, workshops, seminars, webinars, conferences and events, as well as sharing best practice techniques, thoughts and ideas. These types of CPD are generally categorised into three areas (Structured CPD / Reflective CPD / Self-directed CPD), depending upon the overall format and structure of the learning activity. Often, individuals and organisations will pursue a blended approach to Continuing Professional Development that incorporates a range of different types of CPD. Please find more information on our CPD Explained page.
Growth of international CPD
The CPD Certification Service is an important driving force in the promotion of Continuing Professional Development across the world, with CPD members in over 100 countries and growing. CPD accreditation allows international organisations and training providers the opportunity to create additional value, as well as share knowledge and skills within their industry. CPD accreditation enables many international organisations and training providers to adopt recognised standards of learning – in areas such as healthcare, law, education and finance.
Why is CPD important across the world?
CPD is able to provide a simple and effective system of measurable performance and transparency within the learning environment. The ‘professionalisation’ of industries in response to legislation, consumer needs and general socioeconomic trends highlights an ongoing need for visibility and accountability across sectors. The advancement of industries as a whole and their respective technologies requires professionals to adapt, improve and change more frequently than perhaps was required decades before.
CPD participation becomes an important tool to stay up-to-date with technology and regulations, increase professional value and improve work performance and prospects. Engaging with CPD creates a culture of learning, which can aid employee retention and also potentially making organisations more attractive to employees and other stakeholders.
Recording your CPD
A CPD record can be used to evidence professional development, and helps as a monitoring tool for individuals to manage the learning element of their career. myCPD Portal is an online CPD record tool to help manage, track and record individual Continuing Professional Development. If you are looking for somewhere to keep a Continuing Professional Development training record in one simple place, please go to the myCPD Portal page.