All members of AICPT have made a commitment to their continuing professional development (CPD).
AICPT recommends that they approach their CPD using the 4 stage cycle of Reflection, Planning, Action and Evaluation, as shown below:
Sometimes learning can occur unexpectedly through experience, i.e. it may start at the Action stage rather with Reflection, but it is essential that all trainers regularly reflect on how their knowledge and skills need to be updated and plan how they will achieve this.
Things for you to consider at each stage of the cycle
It is always a good idea to set some time aside during which you will not be disturbed to think about your professional skills and knowledge as a trainer and how you might develop these further to improve your effectiveness.
Asking yourself the following questions may help this process:
• What do you do well and what are you less confident or effective in? Have there been any particular incidents over the last twelve months, from which you can learn, or things you wish you had done differently? [Consider doing a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats)]. Remember, there are things to be learnt from both positive and negative experiences and outcomes
• What feedback you have received about your effectiveness as a trainer, either formally, for example through a performance appraisal process, or informally from colleagues or other stakeholders? If necessary, consider seeking out new feedback to inform your thinking
• How are changes in the external environment likely to impact on you and your organisation in the immediate and more distant future? Examples might include regulatory changes in your training sector, introduction of new technologies, etc. [Consider doing a PEST analysis(Political, Economic, Social and Technological)]
• How is your role likely to change or develop? Consider how you would ideally like to develop but also changes that may occur over which you may have no immediate control
• What are your career aspirations? Are there any new skills you want or are likely to need to develop in order to achieve these?
PlanningOnce you have a good idea of what your needs are and what you might like to achieve it is time to prioritise and schedule your next steps towards achieving these.
• Which things are most urgent for your development, and which are most important? (Consider using the Urgent versus Important model). Try to focus on the things that can make the biggest impact
• How can you best schedule time for development activities in your upcoming work plan? For example, a particularly demanding project may require all of your attention for the next 3 months but it may be more realistic to schedule development activities for the following month
• Are there some activities which you would like to undertake that have fixed timings, for example training programmes, courses or events you would like to attend?
• Could any of your colleagues, friends or family be invited to participate in any of the activities you are planning? Learning can often be more effective if it is an experience shared with people you can discuss it with.
There can often be a temptation to set aside planned development activities in the
face of the demands of your role, but wherever possible you should try to stick to
your plan, and reschedule rather than just postpone things that have to be changed.
Try to be realistic when scheduling your development to avoid the need for this.
Remember, there is a wealth of high quality resources that can help support
personal development available to all AICPT members in AICPT e-magazines and newsletters, resources.
ActionOnce you have completed a specific action make sure that you record the fact. Remember that you may find that you have learnt something unexpectedly so it may not be reflected in your plan and will need adding to your records.
EvaluationThere are two key things you should consider when evaluating your CPD activities:
1. What have you learnt?
2. How are you going to apply this new learning so that it has an impact at work?
This is what we mean by focussing on the outputs rather than the inputs of CPD. CPD recording that omits this stage is simply a list of things you have done. There may be activities that you planned that have resulted in you learning nothing new that you can apply in your professional practice. We suggest that you should remove these from your records. However, do not underestimate the importance of learning that is gained unexpectedly or has not been planned.
In some cases there may be clearly measurable benefits arising from the learning gained from particular activities, e.g. cost or time savings, which should be captured here.