What is the purpose of a CPD workshop?

What is the purpose of a CPD workshop?

17 Feb 2022

CPD News Team

News & updates from CPD News Team

View Profile

A workshop is typically a practical learning activity that provides attendees with hands on experience in a particular subject matter. This article helps to explain what a CPD workshop is, how to plan and run a workshop and the benefits of attending workshops as part of an individual’s Continuing Professional Development requirements.

What is a CPD workshop?

A CPD workshop is often an interactive educational group session designed to introduce new topics and ideas. CPD workshops can also be used to explore a particular subject in greater detail. The length of a workshop is often short and can vary between typically between half a day to 3 days of learning.

What is the purpose of a CPD workshop?

CPD workshops are a great way to teach hands-on practical skills as participants can try out new methods in a controlled environment which then can be applied to their profession.

As CPD workshops are run in a group setting, individuals have the opportunity to discuss best practice, share ideas and views, as well as build upon new and existing professional relationships with others within the group. Workshops usually involve a trainer who will plan and prepare presentations and activities to ensure the workshop leads to the desired result.

What is the difference between workshops and seminars?

Workshops and seminars are similar as both allow professionals to further enhance their knowledge, but there are a few key differences.


CPD workshops tend to offer more of a hands-on approach to learning which may include practical exercises, breakout sessions and role plays. Attending a seminar is often more of a one-directional training method, which will include a presentation, possibly handouts and case studies for the delegates to review. Both CPD workshops and seminars will often allow the learners to ask questions and discuss any topic-related ideas in further detail within the time restraints of the learning activity.

Primary purpose or goal

CPD workshops can often provide learners with the chance to choose what subject matters and activities they would like to take part in throughout the day, as there could be a multiple of different options available. CPD workshops will often provide attendees with exercises and further reading to take away from the session. Comparatively the purpose of a seminar is often more theory-based and it is likely that a seminar will be one specific discussion topic without too much deviation, so that attendees can apply the knowledge from the session immediately.

Interaction between tutor and learner

The primary difference between a CPD workshop and a seminar is the communication style. Seminars are typically larger in attendee numbers compared to CPD workshops, and although discussions do take place in seminars, the style of a workshop enables a more two-way interactive communication between the learner and the trainer.

As workshops are often run in smaller groups with less people attending, this can allow for the tutor and the learners to build much stronger relationships and to explore a particular topic in a higher level of detail.

Planning a CPD workshop

How to plan and deliver an effective CPD workshop?

Planning and conducting a CPD workshop requires a basic level of planning beforehand to ensure the learning activity is beneficial for the attendees. An ideal CPD workshop will often have at least one key learning objective and will provide opportunities for delegates to participate and to learn actively. The three main phases when conducting a CPD workshop is planning, preparation and delivery.


Once a topic has been chosen, you will need to devise a suitable plan on how you will guide participants through the CPD workshop and what you hope they may learn from it. You will also want to consider the target audience attending your CPD workshop and what they may already know about the topic before the workshop is delivered.

A few more points to consider when planning a CPD workshop is the minimum and maximum size of group attendance to be an effective learning session, the available time to cover the subject matter and how many relevant activities could be included.


Once the planning has been completed, the CPD workshop now needs to be prepared to be delivered. If any equipment is required, ensure this is arranged in advance. Another point when preparing a good CPD workshop is to keep the amount of additional materials under control. For instance, too much information can be information-overload. Participants may get confused and potentially lose interest in the topic being spoken about, or the important points may get lost. Keep your additional materials focused on the key learning objectives and outcomes of the CPD workshop.


The delivery of a CPD workshop is important and ideally should always be introduced in a positive tone, as this will allow participants to engage and feel more comfortable. It is also a good idea to allow everybody the chance to introduce themselves, as workshops tend to involve group activities which will go better if people are more familiar with one another from the start.

When closing a CPD workshop and bringing your learning activity to an end, it is helpful to provide an overall summary on the key learning points of the day and what elements to take away from the session to put into practice.

Benefits of attending a workshop

Advantages and disadvantages of CPD workshops

Advantages of a workshop

CPD workshops have a number of advantages to them which is why they remain a popular training method. For instance, workshops are often more affordable than attending a full length training course.

Another advantage of a workshop is they will often provide the chance to takeaway additional reading to study a particular point further, as well as the potential to attend follow-up workshops to build upon and enhance the learner’s knowledge and skills.

As CPD workshops are primarily activity and exercise based in their delivery style, it gives the group a chance to apply the theoretical knowledge into context, as well as making the learning enjoyable. 

Disadvantages of a workshop

Although workshops are a great way to learn, they do have a few disadvantages. For instance, if participants have a specific work schedule that they need to keep to, it can be difficult to find suitable training times that can cater for everyone. As CPD workshops are more activity based it is important to find a training room that provides the necessary space and equipment to be effective.

Benefits of attending workshops

The benefits of attending workshops is that they are a fun way of learning with a hands-on approach to enhancing your professional skills and knowledge, which can help to open up new career and promotion opportunities. CPD workshops help you to meet and to learn with people who come from similar professions, pick up on new ideas that could help you in your role and your current organisation. 

How to find CPD workshops

There are thousands of training courses, workshops, seminars and events available on the website. If you are looking for CPD workshops relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements please go to the CPD Courses Catalogue.

CPD accreditation for workshops, seminars and events

We hope this article was helpful. The CPD Certification Service is the leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you provide workshops and are considering becoming a CPD accredited training provider, please contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Related Articles

CPD News Team

For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Want to learn more?

View Profile

Get industry-related content straight to your inbox

By signing up to our site you are agreeing to our privacy policy