Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD is the holistic commitment of professionals towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout their careers
So, what is CPD? CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and 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.
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.
What is a CPD point, unit or credit?
Improving your skills and knowledge through Continuing Professional Development is the responsibility of every professional across all industries. When completing CPD it is important to keep a record of the training completed each year, what learning objectives have been met, and what skills will be put into practice to improve and increase proficiency; you can track these with your CPD points, units or credits. The training record kept by an individual is typically called a CPD portfolio.
What is a CPD portfolio?
A CPD portfolio helps keep a track of progression from year to year. It is an individual’s evidential documentation of their Continuing Professional Development obligations for their professional body or association. Contained within a CPD portfolio would be the register of activities, such as training courses, workshops and educational events attended, as well as a copy of the delegate CPD certificates for each activity. These act as validation that the learning has been completed.
Professional bodies review their members CPD portfolio to ensure they are meeting their annual Continuing Professional Development requirements. A CPD portfolio should demonstrate a range of different methods of learning and the different impacts on future capability. Always ensure that you keep your CPD portfolio up to date, as it is more difficult to record CPD at the end of the year, hoping to remember everything completed over the last 12 months.
CPD points, units and credits explained
One of the most frequent questions about Continuing Professional Development is how CPD is recorded, and specifically the question, “What is a CPD point, unit or credit?” The subsequent question is regularly, “How do CPD points relate to CPD Hours?” With the increasing number of professional bodies in South Africa and their varying annual requirements of Continuing Professional Development, a natural split in common language terms and expression will arise. Different professional bodies use the terms ‘CPD points’, ‘CPD units’ or ‘CPD credits’ diversely depending on preference, typically for historical reasons when initially implementing their CPD policy, rather than from a modern-day strategic perspective.
How do CPD points, units and credits relate to CPD Hours?
It is often found across all industries that CPD points, units and credits all relate to the same thing, CPD Hours? What are CPD Hours? The definition of a CPD Hour is the time spent for a delegate to be in “active learning”. Active learning defines the actual time spent learning something relevant for their Continuing Professional Development objectives. A great example of this would be 1-day accredited CPD training course. If the training starts at 9 am and ends at 5 pm, with a 1-hour break for lunch, the CPD Hours would be 7 CPD Hours.
For added information, it is estimated that 95% of all professional bodies use CPD Hours as their Continuing Professional Development measure and that where the terms CPD points, units or credits are used, these are in a typical 1:1 ratio with CPD Hours. By this, it is meant that typically 1 CPD point equals 1 CPD Hour.
Recording your CPD
A structured and consistent approach to recording your CPD makes it easier to manage throughout the year. This also helps ensure an individual attends training and events relevant to their annual capability improvement objectives, which is more valuable than simply attending courses just for general interest. Recording your CPD allows reflection on what has been gained from the CPD activities and what can be implemented in day-to-day objectives, as well as what skill sets to develop next.
As a general rule, when recording your Continuing Professional Development in a CPD portfolio, it should contain the following information:- Date of CPD activity, Title of CPD activity, Brief description including learning objectives, the method of learning (i.e. training course, workshop, event, eLearning), number of CPD hours, points or credits and the overall learning outcome.
Objectives of Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
It is compulsory for all professional members to maintain their registration in a designation in a manner prescribed by the VDQGBSA. Professional members are required to participate in CPD activities in order to:
- Enhance subject matter competence
- Contribute to their personal development for the public good and retain their professionalism
- Develop deeper and specialised knowledge
- Broaden knowledge over a wider professional spectrum
- Ensure skills growth acceleration and innovation.
- Stay effective and up-to-date in the work place