Continuing Professional Development – Old

CPD – Continuing Professional Development may be a term you dread.

  • “I had to go on this course as I was told to by my line manager”
  • “I had to pick a course to do this year as part of my PDR. It seemed the best option …”
  • “None of the courses are run at convenient times”
  • “I have to fill in my CPD log for professional recognition.”

For a definition and purpose of CPD – see here.

There are many issues regarding both delivery and implementation of CPD from the staff member’s perspective. If you are a member of a professional body which requires an annual return of your CPD activity, you may be frustrated that the approaches used by that body and your employer duplicate or worse still differ substantially. However, “effective CPD focuses on improving teaching and evaluates its impact on learning” (, accessed September 2 2016).

CPD isn’t just about attending a course. CPD (or sometime CPL – Continual Professional Learning) can take a variety of approaches depending on its “formality” (See

CPD Contiuum

At one end of the formality continuum are organised activities, e.g. accredited course or programmes leading to a formal qualifications (PhD, MA, PG Certificate in learning and teaching fall in this category). Moving along, there are seminars and workshops, conferences, conducting research, delivering teaching to peers, external examiner duties, committee contribution and participation leading to the ultimate in informality in ‘teacher’ contact – self-directed reading and learning. (Students themselves are encouraged to undertake CPD or PDP – Personal Development Planning – at Swansea they can complete the Swansea Employability Award and often in professionally accredited programmes, reflection is critical.)

Evidencing the informal CPD can be difficult, but open digital badges which SALT will be piloting can be one means of doing that.

Whatever CPD you choose to undertake to support your development in supporting learning in higher education, it’s probably good to have a variety. However, the most important feature of your CPD is that you are reflective about what issues have arisen for your own improvement, whether what you attended/did/read has influenced that, and what you will do about it in the future. Put simply:


(Borton, 1970)

There is a substantial body of literature on reflective practice and reflective writing, with some selected readings on the SALT website. However, for a short explanation, this website offers a good start about this important key life skill.

Key to this is keeping a Reflective portfolio of what you did and learnt. You can do this in a written journal, in a spreadsheet with your notes against the CPD that you’ve done, or in electronic means through creating your own blog, in software such as Pebble+ or other means such as PADLET. Just ensure that you fill in the key questions and provide evidence for whether you know that it works. You should keep a link (or print out if maintaining a paper portfolio) to the material that you read/activity you undertook wherever possible.

This reflective approach is fundamental to your continual development as a teacher (and a researcher too – reflect on what you’ve learnt through that process), provide a foundation for an application for Fellowship of the HEA or demonstrate that you remain in good standing.

We’d be pleased to help you in your reflection.

Often held monthly and over lunchtime you can listen while you eat– you just need headphones. You don’t need to necessarily contribute. The sessions are often recorded and additional resources made available, even if you can’t watch live. Particularly if not run at convenient GMT.

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Note: pay close attention to the times of scheduled webinars in relation to GMT.

Twitter / Google Communities/Google Collections
At one end of the “formality continuum” you could introduce the possibilities of use of “bitesize” CPD afforded by Twitter, tweet chats, and other communities cultivating your Personal Learning Network.Twitter and Google Communities/Collections are social media tools in which you can post and/or gain information about key topics or individuals who maybe leading in your subject or in teaching. You can ‘follow’ people or organisations in Twitter and at specific times, some groups host a ‘Twitter Chat’ on a particular topic. If you want to find out what a Twitter Chat is, read this blog: you can’t join in/lurk live, then software (e.g. Storify) is used to collect all the tweets in which the hashtag used by the Twitter Chat is mentioned so that you can read over the questions and answers at a later time.

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Follow a number of academic developers or relevant Tweeters, e.g. @TimesHighered, @HEAcademy and look for @HEA_Research, @HEA_Wales, @STEM, @HEA_SocSci, @HEAHealthSocial, @HEASTEM for example. If you’re interested in student engagement and partnership, why not follow @HEA_SaP – Students as Partners?

Participate in #SU7DOT:

Here’s a blogpost about how one person has used participating in a Tweet Chat as evidence of their CPD:

Google Communities/Collections
If you have a Google account, you can join Google+ communities which share similar interests or subscribe to Collections of shared resources.  For more details about this, review the Google website.

#creativeHE is particularly active at present, facilitated by Norman Jackson and Chrissi Nerantzi.

Self-Study/academic practice literature

Organisations (Click to expand / contract)

Journals – for example, available through the University Library (Click to expand / contract)

Other Suggested Reading (Click to expand / contract)

  • SALT website on academic Practice literature
  • Brookfield, S. D., 1995. Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  • Campbell, A. & Norton, L., 2007. Learning, teaching and assessing in higher education: developing reflective practice. Exeter: Learning Matters
  • Jarvis, P., 2006. The theory and practice of teaching. 2nd ed. Abingdon: Routledge
  • Ketteridge, S., Marshall, S. & Fry, H., 2002. The effective academic: a handbook for enhanced academic practice. London: Kogan Page
  • Petty, G., 2009. Teaching today: a practical guide. 4th ed. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes
  • Pritchard, A., 2008. Ways of learning: learning theories and learning styles in the classroom. 2nd ed. London: Routledge
  • Reece, I. & Walker, S., 2007. Teaching, training and learning: a practical guide. 6th rev. ed. Tyne and Wear: Business Education

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Seminars / Workshops

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PG Cert teaching in Higher Education

Information is currently being updated.

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