In this article we will take a look at some great ways to improve professionally, and how to go from average to superb. A structured approach to CPD will lead to incremental improvements in your career success as well as taking the ambiguity out of completing required and voluntary evidence. 

Firstly…

Why should you care about doing your professional development to a high standard?

Because every hour spent doing CPD pays you back several times over. Whether through increased recognition, professional prestige, personal authority and usually increased compensation: the benefits of quality CPD are numerous. Taking an active approach to continuing professional development is certainly worth it.  More comprehensively recorded CPD is proven to assist in accelerated career progression. Here is the CPD cycle that we usually follow: Learn : Evaluate : Assess : Plan

CPD cycle LEAP

 

The next 5 words are the beginning of the steps and summarise the process perfectly:

  1. Plan
  2. Do
  3. Record
  4. Reflect
  5. Submit

So let us begin …

Step 1 – “Fail to plan and you plan to fail”

Planning your CPD starts by assessing your current situation thoroughly and then determining your own professional development goals for both the current year and over a medium timeframe. Because the needs of everyone will vary, there is no universal process. It is up to you to recognise your own requirements and opportunities within the workplace and to take advantage of relevant experiences that will help you to reach your own targets regarding your development.

It is useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I want to achieve?
  • What do I need to learn?
  • How will I learn it?
  • How will current trends e.g technology affect my role?
  • How should I position myself to ensure not only career progression, also to career-proof my skills in the face of rapid change?
  • Where do I see myself regarding my career in 3 years time?
  • How can I demonstrate improved skills over the last few months?
  • What work do I do that is superb? How can I demonstrate my expertise?

The next step is to create a plan of action to achieve these goals.

Step 2- “Just do it”

Once you have planned your CPD, it is time to go out and start developing!

This will require an excellent roster of skills. Chiefly, time management and a good level of motivation. Valuable returns will result from keeping connected to the wider community in your industry. As educational psychologists say, you learn more by networking than by attending a course. Everybody knows that networking is king in this social age that we all live in.

Please remember to take the time to reflect while you are working. It is then easier to remember the key moments, the ones that often result in improvements in your work and personal methods.

Step 3- “Good writing is clear thinking made visible”

Contact us for a demonstration of the LEAP Online CPD tool  as it is a superb way of recording your CPD efficiently, effectively and securely.

Now that you will have attended activities and events, you must show the CPD that you have done.

Monitor and record your progress against your plan (step 1), including recording items that you may not have planned, such as incidental learning and experiences which have contributed to your professional development. Having said that CPD is all about quality of the learning rather than quantity of the activities performed. CPD-recording should not be input focused, also consider what outputs have been achieved. 

Be mindful when considering an activity which is part of your normal working day routine as in most instances it doesn’t qualify as development separately.

Step 4- “Reflection is key to excelling”

Create a perfect image of success and success will reflect back into your real life quicker than you could ever imagine.

Reflection is the most important part of CPD reporting since it requires you to think of the value of your work for all stakeholders. If reflection is missing, then CPD becomes dramatically less beneficial and meaningful as a tool, as reflection increases self-awareness and confidence.

It is beneficial to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What did I take from this?
  • What have I learned?
  • How did I learn it?
  • Can I improve my learning methods to learn quicker in future?
  • How do I apply it in practice and is it applicable to other work that I am involved with?
  • What changes can be observed?
  • Does this flag up any additional development which would be helpful for you to undertake?
  • What benefits will it have for your clients and/or your service?
  • How does this help to prepare for a new role?
  • Are the benefits and content of my CPD activities relevant to current trends?

This is the time for you to harness the value of what you have learned by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Getting this section of CPD writing correct is a key element of professionalism and successful career management. In short, allowing you to leap further and quicker than you ever thought was possible. If a professional approach to continuing professional development is new to you and you commit to doing it properly, be prepared to be surprised.

Professionals who regularly record CPD and are superb at reflecting what they have learned tend to become professionals who continuously push for development and bring in new ideas. This benefits not only themselves, also most importantly colleagues, their company and their industry overall.

Step 5Submit”

If you are part of a CPD-scheme, you must be prepared to send your CPD-report for annual assessment. When you are at the submission stage and you have achieved quality CPD, you will feel more engaged with your learning and satisfied that you have not only reported your hours/points also you have reflected and applied your learning.

 

Thanks for engaging and please do leave us a comment or any questions you may have.

 

To find out more about REFLECTION in particular as a skill and why it is important, read this short article on Reflective Practice.

Or connect to our Reflection As A Skill blog post here.

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