Sanjay was in his tenth year at a multinational IT services organization. While he was excelling at his job and had risen to a managerial role, there were several new technologies he was unfamiliar with that were cropping up again and again in his field. When he discussed this with his manager, she recommended Sanjay find an online training program to develop his skills. The organization paid for the course and Sanjay learned new skills that he used daily to improve his output. 

This is an example of CPD: continuous professional development. The CPD definition is an ongoing process that allows those involved to stay ahead of their peers by keeping up to date with best practices, standards and knowledge.

The importance of CPD holds for any professional, from entry-level staff to managers and even leaders. Not only are there areas for growth for everyone, knowledge and skills also sometimes grow redundant. It can involve regular training sessions in the workplace but can also happen in private time when learners continue to learn by reading books, attending seminars or get one-on-one coaching.

Let’s find out more about the meaning and purpose of CPD.


  1. CPD Definition

  2. Why is CPD important?

  3. Types of CPD

  4. Examples of CPD


CPD Definition

Continuing professional development can take in a whole range of activities designed to improve the knowledge and skills of working professionals. Learning, unlearning and relearning are a constant part of modern work. Just as new knowledge is needed to keep up with changes in society, so too are skills and methods of working. If work requires fresh approaches, training can teach new ways of doing things. It allows people to keep their jobs or advance in their careers rather than become redundant.

Now that we’ve understood the CPD definition, here are some continuous professional development points to keep in mind: 

  • It helps develop new skills and build upon existing knowledge
  • CPD is not something you do once and then forget about it. It’s an ongoing process that happens in small increments
  • It can be done in the workplace or at home during spare time, as small or micro courses
  • Some types of CPD, such as online courses, are useful for those who want to continue to hone their skills on their own time. They can be cost-efficient, too
  • CPD is not just for the good of the individual, but for the organization as well. If the existing workforce can grow and improve their skills, it will benefit it in several ways

CPD is an important part of any professional journey. In some industries, continuing professional development might even be a part of government policy, for instance, within the health, education and social care sectors. Continuous professional development examples in teaching and healthcare are plentiful for this reason.

Why is CPD important?

There are several reasons CPD is a part of human resources development programs. For some organizations, the aim is to make sure they stay ahead of the latest trends. For others, it’s an integral method of remaining competitive. Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Update Knowledge

    Retraining is essential in certain industries where workers can be made redundant by advancing technologies. Imagine if the IT professionals of today worked only with knowledge gained 20 years ago. They would fall behind and eventually be replaced with younger people without additional training.

  2. Reduced Staff Turnover

    Some employers see continuing professional development as a way to increase the quality of their workforce and reduce their staff costs. Staff who are knowledgeable about new techniques and skills can be more productive and better equipped to perform their jobs. They may also be less likely to leave an employer if they feel they can achieve their goals and progress in their career. Employees who seek this type of development opportunity stay with an employer for longer.

  3. Increased Expertise

    By participating in this type of scheme, workers become more skilled and knowledgeable about what they do. They will identify problems and suggest solutions that ultimately lead to improvements in the workplace. This could lead to higher productivity and fewer errors.

  4. Increased Profits

    As training helps organizations deal with change, teams who have gone through CPD may be more efficient and effective at their jobs. They may be more creative and able to respond to pressures better. This will improve performance which may enhance the bottom line.

  5. Increased Sales

    CPD benefits the employees and the organization because it allows workers to gain new skills and expertise. This will ultimately lead to an improvement in customer service. This will mean more consumers will be retained by the organization, which will result in increased sales.

  6. Greater Self-confidence

    Those who take part in this type of training may feel more positive about their work and themselves as a person. They may be happy at the opportunity for personal growth. This can lead to higher morale in the workplace.

If organizations want to improve their standing in any sector, gain a reputation as a good employer and increase profits, professional development is key. For professionals to gain expertise and grow in their careers, CPD is a crucial tool in the toolbox.

Types of CPD

There are many continuing professional development examples. Individuals who are doing CPD can choose how much time they put into it. Some people prefer to spend large chunks of time learning while others need to fit training around their jobs. 

Organizations must assess what type of CPD they will look at and which one will help them become better equipped for the future. The main types of CPD are:

  1. Formal And Structured

    This is when an individual is attending a course that’s been paid for and requires the learner to attend regularly. Maybe they have to take part in written or online assessment which needs to be completed before they can progress onto the next course.

  2. Non-Formal And Structured

    This is when the learner will need to attend sessions for training. They may be expected to complete a written assessment and, if successful, they may proceed to the next level. But this isn’t mandated by the organization or regulatory bodies.

  3. Non-Formal And Self-Directed

    In this continuing professional development example, the learner will benefit from having online access to a course where they can complete assignments in their own time. After this is completed, they may be asked to take part in an oral or written assessment. Sometimes, there may be continuing assessment or no assessment at all.

  4. Coaching

    Not all learning happens in a classroom setting. Sometimes, learning happens best one-on-one. This could be as peer-to-peer coaching or mentorship programs. These can be run within organizations or independently by the employees themselves or even through trade bodies.

Whether formal or non-formal, mandated or voluntary, CPD in education for adult professionals is a valuable tool.

Examples of CPD

CPD is particularly helpful in technical fields such as engineering, construction and manufacturing. These are subject to constant change and new developments, requiring workers to be up to date on the latest technologies. Some examples of CPD include: 

  1. Aerospace Engineering

    All aerospace engineers benefit from CPD because new skills must be learned every day as knowledge and science progress.

  2. Healthcare Workers

    Employees who work in healthcare also need to have CPD to keep their skills up to date. For example, in some countries, nurses are required to have a certain number of hours of CPD every year. Doctors too have to constantly learn about new techniques and treatments.

  3. Manufacturing

    Workers who are engaged in manufacturing will be required to learn new skills or improve existing ones. As automation advances, all the time, the needs of employees have also changed. New management systems can improve profitability and reduce error, many of which call for training and certification for managers.

  4. Construction

    There’s a lot of CPD in the construction sector. Those who work in construction must be able to learn new skills and improve upon existing ones. This is important for machinery, operations and techniques.

  5. Digital Marketing

    As a fast-developing field, CPD in digital marketing has been essential to keep up with the pace of change in this industry.

These are just a few examples of CPD in education for professionals. The importance of continuing professional development is tied to the need for lifelong learning. Almost every industry is undergoing a massive shift thanks to technology, ever-increasing knowledge and changing consumer needs and preferences. That’s where Harappa’s Learning Expertly course can help. Being a self-motivated learner is an essential skill in today’s world. 

The course is full of valuable knowledge and actionable skills. A growth mindset can help us all be agile thinkers. Kolb’s Learning Cycle can teach us to learn, unlearn and relearn. Gibb’s Reflective Cycle helps master the art of constructive self-reflection. We may think of our ability to learn is inherent, but we often stand in our own way, preventing true mastery. Overcome these barriers and transform your teams today with Harappa!


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