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Lead your learners to CPD, but can you make them think?

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Topics: RG146 CPD
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Contextualising Continuing Professional Development

CPD is no longer tick a box. A 3-4 page article is not sufficient. That is equivalent to reading the financial press and should be expected of every financial services professionals each week.

Continually developing a professional requires more. And it has to start with appropriate segmentation of financial services learners.  Different roles in financial services require different development pathways.  Each group deserves CPD modules designed specifically for their requirements.

If the materials learners are presented with are not immediately understood to be valuable, then you’ve lost them already. It should be clear up front why it will be valuable to them in their role as an employee and as a professional.

Understandably, institutional dealers and brokers will likely baulk at a CPD module clearly contextualised for a financial planner.

Relevance is key. And you’ll find that choosing CPD which is aligned to adviser activity will inherently be compliant with regulatory and designation requirements.

Treating learners as professionals

Some of the training needs to be detailed and specific, enhancing underpinning knowledge and skills or fostering new ones. But big picture modules are just as important to provide global context and nurture awareness of future trends.

Modules don’t need to have all the bells and whistles or be built using the latest elearning authoring software. That can be distracting and sometimes distils the learning so much that little of substance is left.

Other items you’ll want to look for include specifically mandated elements, such as learning that:

  • draws on multiple methodologies
  • is delivered at the appropriate level.

You’ll also want learning that motivates interaction with the material. And no, that doesn’t mean an easily forgotten drag and drop activity or repeated zombie-like clicking of the NEXT button. It involves completing reflective, critical thinking activities, workplace-focused follow-up actions, and insightful analysis.

Investing in your people

Direct your learners to CPD, but you can’t make them think. Or can you?

Modules should inspire learners to:

  • Think
  • View information from different perspectives
  • Weigh up ideas and issues for themselves
  • Form an opinion.

You will not get that from content pushers who are writing with a particular agenda.

You’ll want to explore not just completion records, but also qualitative feedback on how individual learners are finding the material from both content and experience perspectives.

And communicate. In our experience, taking up CPD or changing provider is well received when learners aren’t surprised with it. Set the scene effectively and it’ll go a long way to helping your people:

  • understand the purpose of the learning you have nominated for them
  • be more receptive to the learning itself.

Additionally, identify forums through which your people can discuss what they’ve learned or complete activities together.

Equally critical is ensuring your learning partners have ongoing dialogue with you so you can relay feedback and collaborate with them on potential refinements or future topics.

At Financial Education Professionals we believe CPD should deliver the right blend of technical, communication and strategic thinking skills at regular intervals throughout the year, supported by discussion and debate in workplace forums such as team meetings.

If a learner asks one question, we believe we have done our job.

Don’t just lead your people to CPD and expect them to drink. Only when it’s seen as meaningful, valuable and rewarding will they honestly and gladly admit it’s quenching their thirst.

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