What's Happening to CPD? How Continuing Professional Development Is Being Reinvigorated by Changing Expectations and Advances in Technology

By Roberts, Tim | Journal of Banking and Financial Services, October-November 2004 | Go to article overview

What's Happening to CPD? How Continuing Professional Development Is Being Reinvigorated by Changing Expectations and Advances in Technology


Roberts, Tim, Journal of Banking and Financial Services


A number of significant developments are currently reshaping and reinvigorating the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) field, including:

* A general shift in the community's view that education should be a continuous lifetime process rather than just a qualification derived from a single event or course;

* An increasing number of industries and professional bodies are mandating minimum numbers of CPD hours or points; and

* The Internet and associated technology applications are offering new modes of delivery.

The traditional delivery channels for CPD are being hard pressed to meet the increasing demand for high quality accessible training. The travel time, inflexibility, variable quality and cost of running and attending these forms of training mean that professionals and training providers are looking for more effective alternatives.

E-learning or on-line training now provides additional options and often complements traditional CPD activities. However, there remain a number of issues and challenges associated with the development and delivery of effective on-line CPD, such as:

* Who will develop and maintain the on-line CPD?

* Who will administer it?

* Who will bear the initial investment to develop it?

* How will the costs of developing on-line training be recovered?

CPD defined

There are a number of definitions of Continuing Professional Development, including:

* Career or lifelong development of a type that goes beyond 'training' (which implies bringing oneself up to a given competence to perform a task). (1)

* A formal procedure by which a professional body ensures that its members keep their expertise up to date with current developments. (2)

CPD activities are developed and delivered by professional associations, individuals and private training organisations. Professional associations generally oversee and manage a register of accredited CPD activities. Individuals or training organisations wishing to deliver an accredited CPD activity must apply to the professional association for accreditation. This often incurs a fee to cover the cost of accreditation and subsequent marketing of the activity.

The sorts of topics generally covered by CPD include:

* Introduction of new standards;

* New legislation or industry codes;

* New best practices and procedures;

* New technology, equipment and tools; and

* Generic business skills.

Mandatory CPD

The legal and medical professions, through their professional bodies or colleges, have long maintained minimum requirements of CPD. The Royal Australian Institute of Architects is in the process of introducing mandatory CPD. In these cases, members must complete and record their CPD activities to remain certified, accredited or registered and active within their field.

In the financial industry, the Financial Services Reform Act 2001 has provided legislative back-up to the maintenance of minimum CPD. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission's (ASIC) Policy Statement 146 (3) (PS146) 'sets out minimum training standards for people who provide financial product advice to retail clients'. These are enforced through a licensing arrangement under the Financial Services Reform Act.

ASIC publishes a list of accredited courses on their Training Register (4) that are provided by professional associations and private training organisations. This means that there are two levels of compliance, both to the professional associations and legislative bodies.

Delivering CPD

The modes for delivering CPD activities have changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The lists below indicate the sorts of activities traditionally provided by through and a number of new CPD activities that are becoming available.

Traditional CPD activities include:

* Presentations (often with a meal i.

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