To be able to manage your continuing professional development you need to identify and understand your development needs and increased self-awareness to build an effective and productive plan.

Inglis (1994) identifies a critical perspective of self that he calls an ‘extraordinarily realistic self-image’ (ERSI). This is required to ensure that all aspects of your self are considered; dreams, goals and plans.

Identifying Development Needs

Approaches have gradually changed over the years, following a pattern of long-term problem-solving.  This pattern starts with a problem to which a solution is found and had a very task or job focus.  Currently the main emphasis is people and individuals taking responsibility for their own learning and development needs. It is a continual holistic process.

The opportunities in the 21st century with the introduction of web 2.0 technology has given us instant access and results and increased expectations. This has resulted in a lot of knowledge conversations in the virtual environment, which some organisations harness to encourage networking and professional practice. We almost have too much choice and as a result have to be selective and clear about our required outcomes.


Modes of Learning

Shallow learning calls largely on memory and replicating information. For example, memorising vocabulary when learning a language is a useful skill but does not necessarily mean the learner understands the language.

Deep learning moves beyond this and towards greater reflection and understanding.

Learners are more actively involved in creating their own knowledge and understanding, interpreting, contextualising and applying this knowledge. Crucially, deep learning moves the learner into higher order thinking, where they take greater active control of the cognitive processes involved in learning (eg planning, monitoring comprehension and evaluating progress).

Profound learning builds on shallow and deep learning and takes it to a different level altogether.


The importance and depth of reflection cannot be under estimated, you should value this aspect of learning and look for opportunities to practice.  It is a crucial skill required for CPD and if you allow yourself to reflect you will identify a fresh perspective when considering your development needs.

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