Continuing Professional Development
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) includes activities which increases knowledge, experience and understanding and thereby improves performance of a professional. CPD can be classified in different ways for different reasons, and there are several models that explore the ways in which knowledge is acquired for professional development.
These models are divided into three categories according to their purpose, regarding professional autonomy and transformative practice, which are: the transmissional models: training, award-bearing, deficit, cascade ; the transitional models: standards-based, coaching/mentoring, community of practice model, which are considered so because they unite agendas compatible with the other two purposes; and the transformative models: action research, and transformative.
In this article we will focus on analyzing four specific models: training, award-bearing, standards-based, and coaching/mentoring.
The Training model supports a skill-based, technocratic view of CPD. It’s generally delivered by an expert, with an agenda determined to deliverer, and the participant stays on a passive role. The model is considering a effective means of introducing new knowledge, but is target of much criticism because the model is based on a high degree of central control focus on coherence and standardisation, and fail to create an impact on the manner which the new knowledge is used in practice, and can also enable dominant stakeholders to limit and control the agenda.
The Award-bearing model emphasises the completion of award-bearing studies programmes normally, but not necessarily, in universities. This external validation is viewed as mark of quality assurance, but also as a control exercise by validation bodies. However, the model has a theoretical basis, and and this makes him in the middle of the dilemma between "academic" and "practice", and for many, academic learning does not allow better development of a practical knowledge.
This model is based on the implementation of standards, and thus creates a common language to be followed by the professionals of an organization to dialogue their professional practices. On the other hand, the basis of this model limits the opportunities to consider alternative CPD models, because it is a more closed model, which makes it difficult to implement measures beyond those of the standards. It also depends on a behavioral perspective of learning, which focuses on individual competence and the resulting rewards rather than collaborative learning. And another criticism is that the model sets clear expectations about the degree to which one should take responsibility for one's own professional learning to the point that one creates a dependence on central direction, even for self-assessment.
The main feature of this model is the importance of a one-to-one relationship within the organization. Both coaching and mentoring share this characteristic, Most attempts to distinguish the two suggest, as Rhodes & Beneicke say: “coaching is more skills based and mentoring involves an element of ‘counselling and professional friendship”, and as said by Clutterbuck (1991): “mentoring also often implies a relationship where one partner is novice and the other more experienced”. Even though this training can be done in pairs, the most common is that it is done in a hierarchical way. In this way a novice employee is trained by a more experienced employee in a less hierarchically threatening relationship, allowing for a better transmission of knowledge. For this model to be successful, good interpersonal relationships need to be good, but often this requirement is not considered when choosing a "supporter".