No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

On the record: CPD for learning professionals


The Institute of Leadership & Management's John Castledine discusses the merits of documenting your CPD journey.

It is widely acknowledged that a good way to really learn something is to teach it to others. Placed ‘in the spotlight’, and subject to challenge and questioning, trainers operate in an environment that provides rich opportunities for CPD. However, the evidence of such CPD is rarely captured. This lack of building a comprehensive record of lifelong learning is no different from most other professions. Does this matter?

To address this question we need to consider the purpose of documenting CPD. In particular, why are others interested in the learning you have undertaken as a training professional? In the current economic climate ‘employability’ has to be high on the list. The economic downturn has created a very competitive and challenging marketplace. Combined with rapid technological changes, new ‘best practices’ and emerging innovations the workplace is in constant flux.

"Combined with rapid technological changes, new ‘best practices’ and emerging innovations the workplace is in constant flux."

Faced with these issues and higher client expectations the documentation of CPD for training professionals has never been more important. Anyone with children who have just completed GCSEs, A-levels or a first degree will know the importance these qualifications convey ‘in the moment’ for career and job prospects. However once established in the workplace, this evidence is often relegated to the bottom of a CV.

While vocational qualifications, with their emphasis on workplace application, may be seen as having a longer ‘shelf-life’, their value also decline over time without continuing CPD.

Tip: if applying for a new role, ensure you have a point of view on the shelf-life of your qualifications. Your most recent formal qualification may not equate to being most important at this point in time, and your informal CPD could be worth more in terms of relevance to the job.

Credibility is vital as a trainer. Just as leaders need to ask themselves the question ‘why should anyone follow me?’ those seeking to build the skills of others need to consider ‘why should anyone invest their time in being taught by me?’ In our increasingly information-rich, time-poor workplace, quickly and effectively conveying the credentials of a trainer is important.

Membership of professional associations, where individuals typically need to sign-up to a code of practice and are supplied with a steady stream of cutting-edge information, may act as a good proxy for more detailed evidence of CPD. What’s your online profile like? Trainers need to understand what information is presented to potential clients if they ‘Google’ your name. If you have a LinkedIn or Facebook profile does it ‘paint a picture’ of a professional who is committed to CPD?

We should not overlook ‘creative swiping’ (a term introduced by Tom Peters, one of the world’s leading management gurus). In other words, understanding the learning journeys of others can inform our own CPD actions. The plethora of books written on leadership and management follow the actions taken by high-flying CEOs.

Reading these biographies we hope to pick up ideas to incorporate into our own learning journey. Tip:To reinforce your own learning after reading a book, contribute your own reflective review. This could be on your own blog, on a professional discussion forum, or on an online book retailer’s website. Here is one I prepared earlier, capturing the evidence. In my experience, many professionals do undertake significant CPD.

"In our increasingly information-rich, time-poor workplace, quickly and effectively conveying the credentials of a trainer is important."

A recent study by the Institute of Leadership & Management highlighted that over 50% of all managers make such a commitment. However, not everyone has the opportunity to publish books that will act as documented evidence of their CPD (although many trainers do). Documenting formal learning is relatively easy. Qualifications (e.g. a Certificate in Training Practice) and accreditations (e.g. British Psychological Society Levels A & B) can easily be capture on a CV. Moreover, with the flexibility of the new Qualifications & Credit Framework (QCF) in England (and related frameworks in other countries), it is possible to easily compare achievements across different qualifications based on both the level and depth of study.

Most learning however is informal and by definition this is harder to record. The ‘read-write’ Web 2.0 is providing some exciting opportunities here. On one level, a blog is no different from a reflective diary. On the other hand it provides a form of ‘double-loop’ learning, akin to that achieved in Action Learning Sets. Through publication, learner reflection is combined with the opportunity for online debate with peers. However, just as with ‘reflective diaries’, it can be challenging to find the time to record CPD in a blog. Hence, micro-blogging, or Twittering, may offer a solution, allowing contributions to be recorded little by little, and while on the move (or in breaks between training sessions).

Tip: if you are a regular user of Twitter, consider creating a separate account to record your CPD activities. For example: my CPD log can be viewed as ‘jcastledine_CPD’ on 'It’s not what you know… but who you know’ goes the old adage. Hence don’t forget that CPD is also about building and maintaining your network of contacts. There are many professional networking opportunities organised specifically for CPD to help professional trainers create mutually beneficial relationships. In conclusion, the knowledge gained through documenting and sharing your CPD will not only help you but also those you train in their own professional development.

John Castledine is the director of learning solutions, Institute of Leadership & Management

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!