Frequently Asked Questions About CPD

CPD is a very important activity that professionals and working people must carry out to improve their knowledge and skills. In this article, we will outline what CPD is and answer several frequently asked questions about CPD.

What does CPD stand for?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development.

What is CPD? 

CPD is the term used to describe the process of continuous learning and development professionals use to expand their skills and knowledge. It is designed to support conscious and proactive learning, which is very important in a wide range of roles and industries.

CPD logo

There are a number of different learning methodologies that are supported by CPD, which we will look at in more detail in an upcoming section.

Why is CPD important?

CPD is important because it helps professionals demonstrate that they are aware of any relevant new standards and information, and provides them with the confidence that they need to use them within their work.

Ongoing CPD is also an important part of many professional bodies, including the General Medical Council, Royal College of Nursing, and the Royal Institute of British Architects, which require it in order to maintain membership.

What is the benefit of CPD?

CPD has a range of benefits for individuals and businesses alike. Specifically, it can help individuals to:

  • Develop their personal skills, as well as identify and resolve any gaps in their knowledge.
  • Ensure that their academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete.
  • Demonstrate their transferrable skills and commitment to learning, which can help them with career development and allow them to meet their career goals.
  • Develop their self-motivation skills and ability to work well independently.
  • Make them better able to adapt to new situations and roles.
  • Develop their learning skills, and understand which learning approaches best suit them.

It also has several benefits for businesses:

  • Up-skilling staff can improve their productivity and efficiency.
  • It makes a business better able to react to new industry trends.
  • CPD can raise a business’s standards, as well as their reputation among clients and job applicants.
  • Supporting an employee’s learning can make them feel valued and improve employee retention.
  • A person’s CPD record can be used as a benchmark during reviews and appraisals.

What is a CPD plan? 

A Continuing Professional Development plan is a learning plan that can be created personally, or is set out by your professional membership organisation.

It should outline how much CPD you must complete over a period of time and, where required, outline the knowledge and skills that this training must cover. This will allow you to continue being able to deliver high quality service, satisfy customer expectations and meet the requirements of your profession.

If you are creating your own CPD or personal development plan, you should think about how it will help you to meet your long and short term goals, and stay informed of changes in legislation, best practices and methods. You should also take the time to record every time you complete some relevant reading, learning or acquire a new relevant skill and, when you do, review your plan to make sure that it is helping you to reach your targets.

What are the types of CPD learning?

The CPD Certification Service outlines three different forms of CPD or learning that a person can undergo to develop their professional knowledge and skills.

Structured CPD/Active learning

This includes any participatory learning and interactive development activities, including:

  • Training courses.
  • E-learning courses.
  • Workshops.
  • Seminars.
  • Conferences.

Reflective CPD/Passive learning

This is any learning that does not involve participation-based interaction, such as:

  • Reading relevant news articles.
  • Listening to relevant podcasts.
  • Reviewing industry updates.

Self-directed CPD/Unstructured learning

This includes all unaccompanied learning activities, including:

  • Reading articles in industry journals.
  • Reading books published by leading experts.

Is CPD a recognised qualification in the UK?

No, CPD is not a qualification in the UK because it is not a single course or syllabus. It is the process of continuously developing your professional skills and knowledge to ensure that they are up to date, and recording your learning to demonstrate this.

What are CPD points?

Most of the time, CPD activities must be planned and recorded so that you can demonstrate to your employer, or a professional body, that you have met their requirements.

CPD points are awarded once a personal learning activity, such as a course or seminar, has been completed. Generally speaking, 1 CPD point is awarded per hour of active learning that has taken place.

These points make it easier to plan and record your CPD activities. For example, your employer may require you to achieve a goal of 20 CPD points a year, but allow you to choose the methods you use to achieve these points yourself.

All Commodious Online Training courses have CPD points associated with them, and can be incorporated into your personal CPD plan.

What does CPD mean? 

Continuing Professional Development refers to the process of developing and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you need to improve your work.

This documentation can be done in a number of ways, but is usually a physical folder, data file or portfolio that outlines your development and lists the CPD points you have gained from your professional training.

How do I improve my CPD?

While professional bodies will typically outline what CPD needs to be completed to maintain membership, personal CPD plans are much more flexible.

The steps required to improve a personal CPD plan depend on your long term goals and what you have set out to achieve. For example, if your plan is to develop several skills that are relevant to your role, you could improve it by being more specific about the skills you want to develop. You could do this by evaluating your current skills to find deficiencies, and by comparing your plan to similar ones created by professional bodies.

What is CPD accreditation?

The CPD Certification Service is an accreditation organisation that certifies a range of learning activities, including training courses, events, conferences, workshops and seminars. CPD certification is a sign of quality, and demonstrates that a learning activity meets their high standards.

All of our training courses are CPD certified, which means that they are of the highest quality and can be used as part of your personal CPD plan.

How do I calculate CPD points?

Usually, 1 CPD point is issued per hour of active learning. This means that a plan that requires someone to achieve 20 CPD points will typically require them to undertake 20 hours of learning.

Any activities that provide CPD points will typically show this on a certificate or other document of attendance. If not, you should be able to contact the activity’s organiser who will be able to provide you with this information.

Can I do CPD online?

Yes, many CPD activities can be carried out online including webinars, virtual conferences and online courses. Online CPD is actively encouraged by many organisations because it is flexible and efficient, while often being more effective than in-person training.

Commodious is a member of the CPD Certification Scheme and offers a wide range of online courses that award CPD points. You can also create your own specific learning bundles that may fit your personal plan.