Wednesday 14 January 2015

There's more to C in CPD

CPD is an acronym for continuing professional (or personal) development. CIPD (which is the professional body for HR and people development), offer competence and competency frameworks which look at the skills requirements of a job, however whilst each employee may have met a skills set to get the job, these need to be reviewed. This can be done through ongoing or continuing personal and professional development, which could include the development of both both hard and soft skills. CIPD define CPD as a means of building confidence and credibility.
The benefits of CPD aren't felt just when you’re going for promotion; you can see your progression by tracking your learning. CIPD
For many CPD is a way of maintaining the knowledge and skills that relate to our professional life. The learning we need to undertake can be formal and structured or informal and self-directed. say that CPD
refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It's a record of what you experience, learn and then apply.
CPD therefore is not just what we learn, but how we apply this to develop our approaches to work, learning or research. Every individual's needs are different and the confidence each has in the various aspects of their working lives is unique. Only you can decide what additional CPD would be of benefit to you.
The Power of Positivity offers the 3 Cs of Life (as represented in the graphic at the head of this post):
  • Choices
  • Chances
  • Changes
As a starting point for CPD we have the choice to take ownership of our own CPD. There are many opportunities or chances to engage in informal learning online, in addition to those offered formally by your place of work or study. Many are free and offer a wide choice of development areas that extend beyond your immediate development needs for undertaking the job you do. CPD can help you look at making changes to the way you approach daily tasks, the way you communicate or provide development of new skills opening opportunities to perhaps change your job or career.
Professor Norman Jackson looks at the ecology of development and the components of an individuals' learning ecologies. He suggests the components include our capability (everything I know and can do or I am capable of doing) and contexts (the spaces, places and situations we inhabit). Learning happens everywhere both within the workplace and throughout our daily lives. Jackson's book Learning for a Complex World: A Lifewide Concept of Learning, Education and Personal Development helps us to understand the value of lifewide learning integrating formal learning, informal learning, and life (which is often complex) beyond the campus. The concept of lifewide learning includes using social media in the social age of learning we now live in.

Douglas Thomas and John Seeley Brown have written a book titled 'A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change'. They argue that learning (and this can apply to CPD) is changing as we move from the industrialised model of formal education to new and innovative ways of social and informal education. Technology is a driver for this kind of learning and therefore our approach to CPD is constantly changing and evolving.
My colleague Chrissi Nerantzi and myself have developed a social and informal short 5 day open learning course called Bring Your Own Device for Learning which offers an inquiry based learning approach to discovering how we can use our smart devices for learning, teaching and research as a CPD activity. Within this we use our 5 Cs Framework which provides a focus for the daily activities. The 5 Cs focus on how we can make more of the mobile devices many of us carry in our pockets to connect and communicate with others; how we can collaborate and curate when learning, and the value of being creative in this process.
  • Connecting
  • Communicating
  • Curating
  • Collaborating
  • Curating
MindTools offer 'The 7 Cs of Communication' which through open discussion has been extended to the 9 Cs of Communication. Both professionally and socially communication is part of all aspects of our daily lives. As individuals we need to develop the skills of communicating with others and the nine examples below are aspects to consider. Communication now extends beyond face to face and takes place in a wide range of digital forums including email and social media. We should seek to ensure our communication is:
  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Concrete
  • Correct
  • Coherent
  • Complete
  • Courteous
  • and these are further additions (thank you David Eddy)
  • Credible
  • Contextualised
An essential part of our CPD is developing our digital literacy capabilities.
Digital literacy defines those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society. 
(Helen Beetham)
Beetham says that defining a particular set of capabilities as a 'literacy' means that:
  • they are a pre-requisite or foundation for other capabilities;
  • they are critical to an individual's life chances;
  • they are essential to the making and sharing of culturally significant meanings;
  • as a result, there is or should be a society-wide entitlement to these capabilities at some level.
To add to this critical thinking, cultural awareness and cultural capital are also essential aspects to consider. We should not take everything at face value and critique what we find throughout our learning journey. It is important to respect that others we work or learn with and from may have different cultures, values and attitudes.
Cultural capital (Bourdieu) is simply defined by About Education:
Cultural capital is the ideas and knowledge that people draw upon as they participate in social life. Everything from rules of etiquette to being able to speak and write effectively can be considered cultural capital.
Routledge offer that: "According to Bourdieu, cultural capital comes in three forms - embodied, objectified, and institutionalized. One’s accent or dialect is an example of embodied cultural capital, while a luxury car or record collection are examples of cultural capital in its objectified state. In its institutionalized form, cultural capital refers to credentials and qualifications such as degrees or titles that symbolize cultural competence and authority."
We can therefore increase our cultural capital for example by undertaking and recording CPD activity which may lead to formal qualifications.
Doug Belshaw wrote his PhD thesis on digital literacies and argues that
We need to always talk about literacies in their plurality and that there are broadly eight essential elements to digital literacies.
Belshaw has written a book on the essential elements of digital literacies. He states that the definitions of these need to be co-created to have power. The 8 essential elements are:
  • Cultural
  • Cognitive
  • Constructive
  • Communicative
  • Confident
  • Creative
  • Critical
  • Civic
From my own perspective I have used social media channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter to develop a personal and professional learning network. Through engaging in discussions and conversations I have found a wealth of CPD and informal learning activities. You can find me on Twitter as @suebecks.
I hope this post offers sources of further reading for you to explore. I'd welcome any additional examples of other Cs that expand our understanding of CPD in the comments below.
This was blog post also posted on LinkedIn profile

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