Why is CPD history is important for later stages of careers?

Author: Rory Stewart

Do we know how much our CPD plans are going to be important to us as we get older?

How will you want to be assessed when you are staring at retirement? What does retirement look like and will it be different in a few years?
What metrics, business or otherwise, are valuable to you as an individual later in life?

Later life challenge

We are all going to face or are facing the challenge of what to do with our later lives to generally get a sense of value and achievement. A facilitation of ‘passing on the baton’ to others younger or less experienced than ourselves, or perhaps still creating greater and greater aspects within our lives.

The majority of us would no doubt like to believe that we are ‘useful’ especially in a business sense of the word. We should be continually engaged in our development and those of others I would argue. Without this means of development how are we as individuals able to ‘pass on the baton’ for others.

And without engaging with our CPD plans and potentially assessing of other CPD plans how can we achieve this growth in ourselves, others and businesses in general?

How do I best keep my Continuous Professional Development (CPD) record up to date?

Author: Graham Borley

How do I ensure I am up to date with my periodic CPD plan?
It is primarily my responsibility as an individual to ensure that my own CPD plan is up to date and to chase up possible mentors/assessors for feedback and remind them to accept, deny or query any of my plan entries. However, there is also secondary responsibility held with your professional body to ensure their members are up to date and you should liaise with them for guidance and mentoring.

Professional Body?

Does my professional body employ a tool and/or application that allow me to have oversight on my own CPD plan progress in the simplest way?
I can check with my institution to see if this is available otherwise I can research products that are fit for purpose and recommend these.
At the top of that list should be PwrLearning as its product has all the required functionality out-of-the-box.

Updates?

Can I receive reminders and advise from more knowledgeable subject matter experts?
I need an application that provides me with automated email updates as well as in-the-browser notifications whenever an action-oriented task is targeted or completed.
Subject matter experts / assessors can also be part of this automated notification service within the PwrLearning application.

What options do I have to re-instate my CPD status with PwrLearning?
PwrLearning allows for individuals to re-instate their previous CPD record into their history.

Can I evidence my CPD activities using PwrLearning?
Absolutely, the application allows for any electronic file (size dependent) to be uploaded by the individual for evidence-based recording of activities.

Why Curation & CPD are intertwinning

Author: Rory Stewart

Technology is allowing for individuals to be more connected and more able to collaborate and offer knowledge value through a multitude of self-curation tools and services.
There is the xAPI Learning Record Store (LRS) that is leading the change towards a more self-focused yet hugely collaborative medium of learning interchange. The ability to link this functionality to a CPD Plan where individual ideas can be shared and expanded upon will definitely revolutionise the concept of learning and tracking of one’s career path.

Content Curation

Let’s look at the 10 current reasons for content curation:
  1. Preserving instructional time
  2. More effective resource utilisation
  3. Promoting equity amongst contributors
  4. Supporting online safety
  5. Saving money & resources
  6. Nurturing a sense of community
  7. Ensuring content quality
  8. Encouraging innovation
  9. Protecting digital rights
  10. Providing greater access to content
Now add one more:
11. Providing a direct link between an individual’s professional career progression & assessment and the wider contributor network.
We believe that assessment of knowledge within a CPD Plan and linked with social curation (including videos, snippet information, etc) will transform individuals and businesses in the coming century.
Are there other aspects we are missing here?
Are we right?

 

How will Brexit Impact on CPD?

Author: Rory Stewart

There are a number of factors to consider for continuous professional development when Brexit happens later this year (allegedly) and paramount is going to be the importance of keeping your CPD record up to date and valid.

Brain drain?

There are strong opinions that some early data from last year showed a brain drain of EU nationals leaving the UK which did put pressure on the economy to find the right personnel to fill those positions.
https://www.cipd.co.uk/news-views/brexit-hub/workforce-trends.
Others see the potential of new talent being brought into the workplace to ‘fill this gap’.

Post-covid uncertainty

There is still uncertainty for sure, however, people within professional bodies will be encouraged to populate & maintain their annual and periodic assessments to better enable their future employment and compete with those that are already doing so.

The competition is mounting!

If you feel like road-testing our CPD platform please do let us know at info@pwrlearning.com.

Supporting the Lone Ranger

Author: Graham Borley

Global Lockdown

Now more than ever, the nature of work has changed for many people and increasing numbers are now at least part time home or remote workers.
Not least because of the global pandemic we have and potentially will all continue to experience.
Increasingly growing numbers are having to work remotely with full consent of employers taking advantage of technological advances that are facilitating disparate workforces with more options for home and remote working.

American Time Use Survey 2018

This trend has been building naturally before the pandemic and in the most recent American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57% of workers in 2018 had a flexible schedule.
While working from home sounds great in theory, it provides ultimate flexibility and the commute is great, it’s important to understand that there are some cons to working alone. A fact reflected in the Robert Half survey where 81% of workers admit there are downsides to work-from-home jobs.
One negative point is that it is easy to feel out of the loop. You are likely to miss out on the casual conversations that help people to get an understanding of acceptable and best practices as well as understanding influences within the business. It is often underestimated just how powerful this type informal learning can be.
Another downside for remote workers is that they miss the opportunity to bounce ideas and share experiences with colleagues.  Talking through decisions before taking action with like-minded individuals is essential for building confidence and avoiding pitfalls.
Remote workers also often miss the feedback and the chance to critique or socialise projects that they get from managers and colleagues.

Maintaining professional competence issues

Some remote workers become so focussed on work outcomes that they forget to schedule the time for their Continuous Professional Development to happen.  When they do complete learning it is frequently an individual activity like online learning which is not always the best medium and provides no opportunity for the learner to ask questions, test theory or discuss application with other learners or a tutor.
Smarter organisations frequently utilise new technologies supporting remote workers with a variety of forums, bulletin boards and chat rooms.  These are useful but cannot replace the coffee machine gossip or a chat over a canteen lunch with colleagues, for keeping you in touch and they lack proper development opportunities.

Coaching & Mentoring

For some remote workers coaching and mentoring could be part of the solution. These two words are sometimes mistaken to mean the same thing but they are subtly different. Coaching is about the development of a new skill or knowledge element and is best supported by a coach with insight into the specific topic. Mentoring is more about the application of skills or knowledge in a specific work environment. The mentor should be more experienced at the organisation and would usually be at a more senior level so that they can offer a different perspective.
Good coaches can be found who can support an individual’s development.  They do not have to work for the same company or have a detailed understanding about how the organisation does things. The coach’ role is about helping the individual to achieve their learning objective. They might also. following a training session, enhance the learning experience by checking understanding, discuss application and make suggestions for ongoing development.
A well matched mentor can provide the sounding board that the individual is missing. The mentor will provide the opportunity to discuss, review and critique plans/projects. Helping the individual to avoid pitfalls and be more successful.
The issue for businesses is do they have the internal support to provide the mentoring and coaching networks required?  Many will employ professional coaches from outside the organisation.  However, mentors need the be recruited, trained and managed from within the company and because the best people to act as mentors are frequently the most important/productive it can be difficult to find time for them to complete the mentoring role as well as their day job.
Another problem can be that the organisation’s systems do not easily facilitate a coaching and mentoring relationships. People who don’t have face to face sessions with their coach or mentor using disparate systems can find that information can become fragmented (e.g. spread across meeting, VOI and social media, etc) and may allow key information to slip between the cracks)? It is important that coaches and mentors share information about the individual’s development but this is very difficult with disparate systems and is often overlooked.

CPD Recording

Keeping records on individual development over a period of time is important for the individual and organisation but it is not straight forward for remote coaching and mentoring. Another issue for professional workers who need to prove their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to maintain status is that this type of development is almost impossible to document in an acceptable format.
These areas are largely supported for individuals who work in larger organisations who have dedicated support for remote workers. However, where can individuals whose organisations aren’t as understanding or are too small to provide real support turn for support?
Members of professional institutions may turn to them for support and many do provide this.
For others one possible solutions could well be a strongly matched independents who can complete both roles.  They need to have a deep understanding of the subject and a real experience of the same industry.  However, the coach would also need to have an understanding of what remote working is about and the flexibility to be able to provide support when needed rather than at scheduled meetings.
The important thing for all parties to remember is that the Lone Rangers do need support.  Out of sight should not mean out of mind.  Some key pointers include,
  • Ensure that remote workers have access to social/informal information channels with in your organisation, even if this means creating new ones for this purpose
  • Promote a mentoring/big brother culture where this role is seen as important
  • Look at your systems to ensure that you have an easy way for Coaching and Mentoring to thrive.
    Please do contact us at info@pwrlearning.com for more information.

The GROWAR Coaching Model

Author: Graham Borley

Would it be a good idea for a business coach to utilise a coaching model like GROW when they are supporting individual’s development?
One of the benefits of utilising a coaching model is that it provides a structure to the relationship that helps both parties to maintain focus and achieve the planned outcomes.
However, a good coach will also know what the learner needs at each stage of the relationship, so the model has to be flexible enough to encompass this.

GROW coaching model

This is one of the best known and widely used, where Goals, Reality, Opportunities and Will (motivation) issues impact the success of the coaching intervention.
This simple model helps the coach to take the learners from goal setting at the start of the session, through exploring where they are in relation to their goals; exploring options they have to moving forward and concluding with a commitment to action.
However, what this model can miss are the practicalities of what Actions are actually going to take place to facilitate the growth (in almost every situation coaching will be actioned through additional development activities like training, etc) and a Review phase to gauge and record how successful the coaching intervention has been.
PwrLearning has created an online coaching environment which is based on the GROW model but includes two additional stages to encourage and record this.

PwrLearning coaching environment

This has six sections that guide the learner and coach to maximise the effectiveness of their together time:
Goals (Objectives) -What are the objectives for the coaching intervention?
Reality – What is the current reality, likeness of success and obstacles to overcome?
Opportunities – Explore the coachee’s options to achieve their goals.
Will – What is the coachee’s motivation to succeed?
Activities (Actions) – What actions were planned and completed?
Review (Results) – How successful was the coaching?  Were the objectives achieved and what impact did this have?

Multi-device environment

Utilising GROWAR through an online multi-device environment and fosters a positive, productive coaching relationship, and a communication mode maintaining an effective ‘high-touch’ contact between coach and coachee.
Each stage has a separate & simplistic format with the coachee owning the coaching plan and the coach able to view, make comments and provide feedback. Once the coaching plan has been completed the coachee can download or print off the report to use as a part of their CPD evidence. The Review section can be useful for organisational sponsors to gauge a ROI (Return on Investment) from the coaching which is frequently difficult to ascertain.
If you are a coach or a corporate sponsor of coaching and would like a closer look to see how the PwrLearning GROWAR environment could enhance your ability to deliver a positive coaching experience and allow you to more effectively utilise your time contact us at info@pwrlearning.com.
Please also see more at our Youtube page.

How will my CPD plan be assessed by the Professional Institution?

Author: Graham Borley

How do I know what my institution will be looking for in my periodic CPD assessment?
Guidance should ideally be provided by each institution however in the real world this may not be that forthcoming as some institutions may have slight vagueness in their assessment requirements.

We could also assume that this down to ambiguity is the interpretation of stipulated requirements OR that there are different levels of risk associated with each CPD plan.
Both scenarios are available through PwrLearning.

How much information and evidence do I need to prove to the institution?
This again is subject to interpretation by each institution but could be set as generic guidelines within the PwrLearning service.

Will there be anyone monitoring and potentially mentoring me through my CPD plan?
If your institution wants mentors to be made available from a list of subject matter experts and assessors then the PwrLearning service will allow for this as standard both as single point or overall CPD interactions.

These are really important questions to ask especially with so many changes happening in the job market.

What is required for professional workers to call themselves Chartered?

Author: Graham Borley

Chartered bodies have the capacity to enable members who meet certain criteria to use an individual Chartered title. Privy Council policy is that the criteria for individual chartered status must be broadly the same across the professions, Chartered Accountant, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Surveyor, etc.
The chartered title is usually linked to academic qualifications with most chartered bodies requiring a robust professional qualification set as the entrance level. Professionals are also required to prove continued professional competency and development.
The Chartered body has the responsibility to ensure that these requirements are delivered but they have some leeway setting the standards for Continuing Professional Development (CPD).
Within this remit are.
  • Mandates what development activity is acceptable as CPD.  Should the body mandate specific development, or certify specified learning as suitable or should they leave it to the membership to decide?
  • Mandates how much development activity is required. Some bodies mandate a minimum number of hours that need to be spent on CPD each period (e.g. 24 hours in a year is common) others have a more complicated points system that aggregates the number of hours and the type of learning whilst some others leave it entirely to the individual.
  • Sets the frequency at which professionals need to submit their CPD plans for review. (e.g. annual, bi-annual, etc).
  • Defines how CPD is to be recorded. Some have a paper based system that requires individuals to complete and return forms a few others have an online system that allows the individual to complete an online form.  A few allow individuals to produce their own plans freestyle. However, issues with recording and assessment tend to channel the majority towards some sort of fixed process.
  • Sets how CPD is to be assessed and by whom. The Privy Council statement suggests it is the responsibility of the Chartered body to ensure that CPD meets requirements.
  •  Mandates what percentage of the membership should have their CPD assessed. Most Chartered bodies do not have the physical resources to properly review the CPD records of every member every CPD period.  ​Is it necessary to review every member at every CPD period or is random sampling acceptable?

The Pros and Cons of Business Coaching

Author: Graham Borley

It is wise to consider the pros & cons of business coaching before you make the decision to hire a professional business coach. This is especially important if the aim of the assignment is to help you be more successful at the major tasks related to your business.
Balancing out the good and the less desirable outcomes can help you to manage expectations about what makes a realistic and healthy coaching experience and help you come to the right decision.

Pro’s

Insight

A good coach can help individuals to get a different view about situations. They will be able to draw upon a different set of experiences and offer a new set of eyes to your situation.

Feedback

Obtaining feedback from colleagues, employees or customers isn’t always easy. Working with a professional career coach can help you properly manage any confidence and communication issues you may encounter.

Recruitment and Retention

Companies that provide structured development and support like coaching tend to have higher levels of employee engagement and loyalty. This is also frequently one of the differentiators that talented people look for when seeking employment.

Alignment

Good coaching can help individuals to align their development goals with the business goals of their organisation.

Con’s

Realistic expectations

Business coaching isn’t a magic pill, but it should challenge you to address the difficulties and correct the mistakes that will enable you to work harder in smarter, more focused areas of your business.

Coaching credibility

The best outcomes are achieved when the coach and individual are in tune and the individual respects what the coach is saying. Credibility and empathy are essential.

Momentum

Coaching can lose momentum or fail when the only contact is at the scheduled coaching sessions.  Frustrations occur when the individual faces an issue or situation which they need to deal with before the next meeting.

Lack of records or accountability

Because of the confidential nature of the coaching relationship there are frequently no records and it is difficult for organisations to identify a quantifiable improvement that can prove a return on investment.

The Way Forward

The new PwrLearning online coaching module has many features which can negate some of the negative constraints and enhance the Positives. It has been designed to deliver;
  • A confidential platform where individuals and their coaches can communicate and share ideas at any time
  • A battery of structured questions is designed to focus individuals on key situations and allow coaches to have an insight of the situation before the first meeting. This will make subsequent meeting more productive.
  • Sections for development planning and reviewing progress
  • Administrative controls and reporting functionality
The short video found at this link here gives an insight about one way in which the PwrLearning coaching module can be used.  However, there are many other options and configurations possible out of the box.
More information can be found on our website www.pwrlearning.com
Contact us for a demonstration and/or free trial at info@pwrlearning.com

Integrating the Coaching function in an intranet with Member Portal

Author: Mark Boos.

Are you looking to integrate online coaching tools for your professionals at a central member portal intranet, but without high costs for a custom made solution? If the answer is yes, then read this article.

Associations for professionals need to offer their members a wide range of services to develop their professional skills. Organisational Intranets are an important medium that many associations use to communicate, interact, offer e-learning courses and encourage participation in events.

Bespoke Intranet sites can be equipped with many functions like, document management, club membership software, digital newsletters, distribution lists and online learning. New features that some associations are now adding include online coaching and Continuous Professional Development modules.

Central Hub

Integration of these functions provides the members with one central hub for the development of their professional skills by using their personal account on their association’s member portal.

Advanced services like these used to be only be attainable by the larger organisations due to high tailor made costs. But not anymore! Open source content management systems such as Joomla and WordPress enable all associations and organisations to create a complete member portal at relatively low costs.Using open source software to create a member portal has many benefits. including: significant lower cost, continuity, configurable, adding custom functions and security measures.

The member portal based on open source can be even combined with closed source solutions like Microsoft with single sign-on.

Click here to find out more information on an intranet for member portals at My Member Software.