Define CPD and analyse its role in professional updating and improvement of practice with particular reference to your own approach to CPD
Continuous professional development (CPD) is a framework of learning and development that ensures a professional’s competency, effectiveness, knowledge, skills and practice are continually kept up to date through ‘lifelong learning’ strategies and activities.
There is not a fixed CPD standard or structure and a ‘one size fits all’ process would not work for all professions and individuals who work for companies with diverse objectives and working practices. The various approaches may have common themes and goals such as setting objectives for development and charting progress towards them, or asking questions such as where I want to be, and how I plan to get there. Reflection is also a key element of the process. Just as important is the motivation and responsibility of professionals for keeping their own skills and knowledge up to date.
An early definition of CPD was developed in 1986 by the Construction Industry Council (UK). However, Friedman et al. (2000) found that it was still the most commonly cited definition of CPD among UK professional bodies in 1999.
‘The systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills, and the development of personal qualities necessary for execution of professional and technical duties throughout the individual’s working life’.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggest the following elements of a good and broad CPD structure.
be a documented process
be self-directed: driven by you, not your employer
focus on learning from experience, reflective learning and review help you set development goals and objectives
include both formal and informal learning.
CIPD further suggest the benefits to CPD practitioners
provides an overview of your professional development to date reminds you of your achievements and how far you've progressed directs your career and helps you keep your eye on your goals uncovers gaps in your skills and capabilities
Opens up further development needs
provides examples and scenarios for a CV or interview
demonstrates your professional standing to clients and employers helps you with your career development or a possible career change.
CPD can involve any relevant learning activity, whether formal and structured or informal and self-directed. Good CPD practice will include a variety of learning models that help professionals remain competent and up to date.
Whatever the model or structure the process should highlight the needs of the job, strengths and weaknesses of learners and their future goals so learning gaps can be addressed. Listed below are examples and a short explanation of types of CPD learning and practice.
The training model – often delivered by an expert in a classroom type environment. The award-bearing model – validation achieved via a standard or qualification. The deficit model – weak performance highlighted and measures taken to improve it. The cascade model – one learner cascading their learning down to other colleagues. The standards-based model - meeting standards, often highlighted in observations. The coaching/mentoring model – on the job training that includes shadowing. The community of practice model – secondment or interagency training initiatives. The transformative model – flexible approach involving many of the above models.
My own development is based very much on the transformative model of CPD that involves a range of both formal and informal learning, this provides me with the up to date knowledge and skills I need to do my job competently. Schunk describes learning as,
‘Learning is an enduring change in behaviour or in the capacity to behave in a given fashion which results from practice or other forms of experience’.
Schunk, Learning theories, 5th ed, 2008
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