I have had to alter my original plan for this presentation, because at the moment CILIP has not given a date when it plans to implement its CPD scheme, so my aims for this session are to: discuss what CPD means, give you some ideas as to what counts as a CPD activity or experience, and how to follow it up. Incidentally, Alan Brine has published an excellent book on the subject of CPD, however I have simplified and reduced the number of stages in the CPD process to three, in line with the proposed CILIP scheme Finally I shall briefly talk about what the CILIP CPD scheme could look like when it is rolled out, based on my involvement with the Task and Finish Group.
In the ideal world we should all be balancing our careers, social lives, and home commitments, not to mention a few hours of voluntary work in the local community … eating healthily and exercising four times a week … and our employers would be willingly and proactively seeking meaningful CPD activities for us, on a regular basis… but of course for most of us that really is an ideal world and nothing like our reality. The reality is that we are often too busy, too tired or too stressed to even think about CPD and why it is so important, never mind about making a decision to be proactive about it … I hope this presentation will help you to consider at least a couple of things that you could realistically do that would contribute to your CPD.
Continuing Professional Development means just that – regardless of whether you are a qualified librarian or not, and whether you have been working in the field for twenty years or only just started, you should always be thinking about which CPD opportunities would benefit you. Your employer will probably arrange for you to have different kinds of training from time to time, and certainly you need to work in partnership with your employer to meet your training needs, but the responsibility for your CPD and its direction lies primarily with you… after all, it’s your career! The CPD Institute’s definition states that: Continuing professional development is the systematic maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence, and the enhancement of learning, undertaken by an individual throughout his or her working life For me, what is really important is not just the skills and knowledge that you acquire, it is how you apply them and put them into practice, in the real world (which might not be the same as the theories and concepts that you learnt in library school) For example, You’ve learned about Dewey at library school but does that system really work in a small library in a women’s prison, or a specialist engineering library? How can you find out what would work better, can you negotiate the case for change with your line manager, and are you confident enough to manage the transition?
In the Real World… you will know that there can be issues or obstacles with organising your CPD activities: Particularly if you have recently graduated, or are new to the profession, you might not be sure what is involved, what you need to do, or what counts as meaningful CPD – there is an overwhelming choice of activities and opportunities, so you will have to be selective! You might really want to get involved in some activities but have met resistance, such as: Being a Solo librarian or solo worker, you may not have colleagues who can run the service in your absence if a CPD activity means time away from work, e.g. in a school library you may be the only member of staff who knows the role, as everyone else is in teaching Family commitments or child care issues may mean you can’t attend full day courses or events that are some distance away, without planning ahead well in advance Your family, partner, or boss may not be very supportive and resent you spending time away from home or work Courses can often be expensive, a significant number are based in London which – for those of us based elsewhere - will mean added travel and possibly accommodation costs unless your employer has a generous training budget, which in many sectors is less likely these days BUT… the good news is that CPD is not just about attending courses, so there may be options that you can consider…
Firstly the obvious ones: courses, workshops and conferences: These can be expensive, but therefore ‘should’ be an intensive and high quality course However many can be relatively inexpensive: e.g. look for local colleges that may offer management skills training days on Saturdays. Check the Career Development Group website to find out what is on in your region. Many courses and workshops can be very cheap (less than £50), but good value and the standard is high: a half day course organised by one of CILIP’s Special Interest Groups might be all you need to fill in a skills or knowledge gap Can be free e.g. the LIS show in Birmingham, which has free seminars, and some NIACE events are inexpensive or free Can be informative but can be very passive experiences so if possible, try to seek a range of experiences that include presentations, hands-on workshops, group discussions etc
If expense and time away are issues for you or your boss, you can achieve a lot at work – for free! You can learn a lot from others, so ask if you can visit another service point, to have a chat with the staff there to find out more about what they do, e.g. your head of service, bibliographical services manager, the manager of the mobile library service. This can help you find out more about the organisation and its ethics, how it works (including what works well and where it is failing), where you fit into it, and how you may be able to work in partnership with others. Secondment opportunities may not arise very often but I know of people who have progressed very well in their careers through a secondment – especially if you are feeling bored or stifled in your current role, a sideways step can revitalise your career and motivation, and eventually lead to an upwards step. CPD can be achieved through giving training as well as receiving it – whenever I plan a new course or revise an old one, it is a great opportunity to refresh my knowledge and check up on a subject. Carol Brooks will be going into more detail about Mentoring in her presentation, which follows this one. Volunteer to get involved in working groups: don’t be put off if it’s not something that you know very much about – see it as an opportunity to learn more! Try to contribute to discussion, using your experience to inform your judgment. Sometimes it may add a different perspective to the group, sometimes your suggestion or idea may not be taken up, but don’t lose heart. If you haven't got all the skills you need, read up on them, or ring experienced colleagues and ask them how they would tackle this. Carrying out and receiving staff reviews can be a great learning opportunity but if it’s your first time it can be daunting and you may feel you need support. If you have to give negative feedback to a member of your team and you are not sure how best to do it, discuss it with your manager, or even consider role playing the scene with a trusted friend. It will never be an easy thing to do, but you will feel more confident the more you practice in advance, and so you are more likely to handle the situation better.
If you don’t have many resources on the site where you work, see if you can have access to your local university library, via your public library membership – many cities and counties now have an agreement for their residents, even if it is only for access to the library, but no borrowing. Spend an afternoon in the information science or management section (take a notepad and pen, and collect leaflets while you are there – userguides for students can often inspire you to revise your own customer user guides) Journal subscriptions can be too expensive for an individual but remember that with your CILIP membership you can access some for free via the CILIP website, under Member Resources. See : www.cilip.org.uk The internet has of course opened up a whole range of new resources which can help you access information for free , at a time and place that suits you… ideal for CPD ! If you are really struggling to find time for CPD activities, the web might be the answer – but you will have to be selective! Websites: choose a few favourites and check them from time to time, or set up an RSS feed. American libraries are often ahead of the UK in terms of their activities such as using Web 2.0 applications to market their services so they are worth looking at Phil Bradley is a well respected author who writes for Update, and is really on the ball with the latest Web 2.0 developments
Learn about the web, and how the way that we access information is changing: lots of new applications have emerged over the past 5-6 years, so we need to keep up to date with new ways in which information can be created and accessed e.g. Does Wikipedia have any merit ? have you used it? what do you think about wikis? What could you create a wiki for? If you were asked to help revise the staff manual, would you suggest creating a wiki for it? Is VideoJug just for entertainment or could you use it for more serious purposes such as staff training? How about YouTube? Join FaceBook – why do you think it has appealed to so many millions of people across the world? I love it and in some ways think it is more flexible than email, but some of my friends refuse to get to grips with it. Would you use it with distance learners to help them to feel integrated with the tutors and other students on the course, or choose another application? Have a couple of web-based emails – do you prefer Yahoo, Hotmail, or GMX? Which one would you recommend to a customer or colleague who was new to emailing, and why?
Subscribe to some RSS feeds to get the latest news sent to you, and e-bulletins mean that updates and newsletters arrive in your Inbox to keep you informed Join a discussion group: go to JISCMail at www.jiscmail.ac.uk and see what appeals to you. Join lis.cilip.reg if you are a Chartership candidate and contribute to some of the debates, or start a whole new topic! Start a blog or read someone else’s (search Google for library blogs – the US ones are often excellent examples of good practice) – do you think this can be useful as a marketing tool, and if so, why? Do you Twitter? Do you follow anyone else? I can’t comment on this as I haven’t looked at it properly yet – something for my CPD… For me, being a professional is about having up to date skills, knowledge and experience, but it is also about having your own opinions and your own voice . Explore some of the many resources – with an open mind - and then make your own mind up about them
To be totally honest, I have to say that professional involvement can be very time consuming, depending on how deeply you get involved with a project or organisation… but I can also honestly say that it can be one of the most rich and rewarding CPD experiences there is. My time with Career Dev Group was hard work on top of the day job, but those ten years have rewarded me in a way that my day job sometimes failed to! My work on National Council involved travelling and staying over in London several times a year, which was exciting in itself, and I felt that I and the work I did really was valued. Writing articles for the Divisional newsletter and National journal made me feel as though I had something to say, about something important. It is a useful skill to have, to be able to get your message across in only 250 or 500 words, and it is also a great buzz to see your name in print I made some great friends who work in different sectors through meetings and social activities with committees, and also I have found it very useful, for example when preparing for an interview, to be able to ring up and ask others for advice about their sector or workplace I get a great sense of satisfaction from helping others, so it was very rewarding to be able to give support, advice and suggestions to Chartership candidates. It was fantastic to receive an email some months later, thanking me for my support, and telling me that they had passed Committee work can involve contributing to discussion, or offering to help organise something with another member. You can really learn a lot of new skills by taking on a role such as Events co-ordinator, Treasurer or Chair, and your experience in that role may come in useful if your job changes or you apply for a new post. I certainly feel that my involvement with CILIP and Career Development Group has always been looked upon favourably by interview panels.
I hope that this has given you an idea of the kinds of different activities you can get involved in. Choose a few that interest you, and get started on your own learning journey. Reference : JISC (2008) Effective practice with e-portfolios. Bristol: JISC.
The range of activities and experiences that I have mentioned show that CPD is about more than collecting an endless series of certificates for a range of different courses and qualifications. Often these days you get a certificate just for turning up! If someone has been actively involved in a range of CPD activities, then hopefully they should have learned a number of new skills, increased their knowledge, gained a variety of experiences, made some new friends or contacts, and developed a different attitude or approach, as well as increased their confidence and competence, which they might not have been able to do within their role in the workplace However , CPD is more than just completing a series of activities: it is about reflecting on those learning experiences, and that is what gives the learning its value
It’s all very well to say that you have attended courses and meetings, read journals, browsed web pages and visited other workplaces, but … So What ? Does that really make you a better manager, team leader, or employee? After each activity or learning experience, during coffee break, on the train, or when you get back home and have a quick cuppa, take a few minutes to reflect on what you have just done and learned… assuming you feel that you DID learn something… How many times have you been to a training day and thought ‘that was really useful, but... I don’t feel that they met the learning outcomes that were specified in the publicity They didn’t mention xyz and I could really do with knowing more about that in detail, so my learning outcomes were not met My knowledge of abc is a bit rusty so I could do with brushing up a bit on that, then I can go through the speaker’s presentation again and it will make more sense There were too many presentations so I found it hard to take all that information in: it would have been better if there was a hands-on session and some group discussion to break up the day OR… What a waste of time what was that all about? The tutor assumed we all already had some knowledge of xyz but it was all new to me You might have attended a meeting or staff review and felt that it was not very well organised or prepared for, or that the chair was not very effective. You might have been given some documentation for a new procedure and feel that it is not very clear so you are unsure about certain points. Reflect on your learning experience and what you gained from it, and jot some of your thoughts down. Has it made you feel more - or less – competent and confident about your skills and knowledge? If you had to plan and deliver a similar meeting or create a similar document, think about, how you would do it differently?
Reflection enables you to gain insight, by processing the learning so that it makes sense to you in your world, given your experiences. Your learning journey is unique and so is your response to it. Make notes on your agenda or course notes, to remind you how you felt about your learning experience, as well as to highlight anything that you may need to follow up at a later date.
Gibbs, G. Rust, C. Jenkins, A. Jaques, D. 1994, Developing Students’ Transferable Skills. Oxford Centre for Staff Development. Gibbs G (1988) Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods . Further Education Unit. Oxford Polytechnic: Oxford.
The reflection on your learning should bring you a deeper understanding, confidence and competence in that particular subject or skill. It should also raise some questions or tasks for you. You might realise that you have gaps in your knowledge or skills which need attending to… or you may simply have been inspired by an activity or experience, and want to learn more. Your employer may not always be willing or able to meet these needs, so sometimes you will need to be prepared to organise the appropriate CPD experiences for yourself, possibly in your own time. At this point you may feel that you would benefit from having a mentor, to help you identify your needs and decide how you will achieve your goals. It can be very helpful to have someone to talk to who will support you through the process, and help you reflect on your learning along the way. Carol will go into this in more detail in the next presentation. Hopefully you will now have more of an idea of how you can get involved in a few CPD activities, that will fit in with your lifestyle and work/life balance, here in the Real World. Also I hope that you can see the value of being proactive in gaining a range of experiences that will develop your professional expertise, for both your present and future roles.
And briefly, to conclude, I will give an overview of the proposed CILIP CPD scheme. Please bear in mind that it may be subject to change! CILIP hopes that a CPD scheme will demonstrate the value and professionalism of its members to employers, and generally raise the status of the profession. In CILIP’s Ethical Principles, it states that one of the characteristics that is expected of an information professional is a: Commitment to maintaining and improving personal professional knowledge, skills and competences. Many other professional organisations already have CPD schemes, and see it as one of the ways in which you can improve your performance (and satisfaction) in your current role and at the same time, enhance your future employability by showing that you are keeping your knowledge and skills up to date. You can never afford to be complacent, as you never know when the next restructure will strike, or when you may end up having to apply for your own job.
Revalidation will cease to exist, simply because it is already a kind of CPD scheme, rather than an actual CILIP qualification, which requires you to complete and submit a learning log each year. However, we don’t yet know when the new scheme will come in, so if you are eligible to revalidate, it is recommended that you do so anyway, because it will stand you in good stead for the CPD scheme The scheme aims to be simple and flexible, and is intended to be a continuous process, but not one which requires huge blocks of time to be given up in order to complete it: CILIP members will normally be expected to submit a simple log using a specific template, to demonstrate that they have met the requirements…
The template may well look something like this: SECTION 1: It gives you space to log your activities, reflect on your learning, and to specify how you have applied that learning. Many employers ask their staff to reflect on their year’s performance and training activities, for their annual reviews, so it should build upon that process. e.g. attending a meeting with a number of other organisations… this may have helped you to learn more about how they work and what they do, and enabled you to see that you have similar aims, and that there is the potential for you to work together on different projects in the future… consequently, you may now feel more able to talk knowledgeably about those organisations, to colleagues back in the workplace who may have a negative view or who may not understand how important that working relationship is, and how they can also get involved. SECTION 2 Asks you to consider your training needs for the year ahead
These are proposed standards and principles… The assessors are not looking for any weighty portfolios or theses! It will purely be a log, with your reflections on your learning activities An electronic format means that it can easily be updated by the candidate, and then submitted each year The completed log will be submitted on an annual basis, and the very first one you submit will be assessed, after that a representative number of candidates will be assessed each year from a sampling pool, for quality control purposes. Assessors will work in pairs to ensure fairness and consistency, and will provide feedback to candidates If the log does not meet the required standard, candidates will be given a period of time, perhaps six months, in which to improve their submission. During this period they must work with a mentor so that they are given the support they need, and the opportunity to succeed when they resubmit
If you feel that you are already actively seeking and participating in a range of CPD activities and experiences you are part way there, but don’t forget the value of reflecting upon, and processing, your learning – ideally as soon as possible after the event! Keep a log: just a few brief sentences about each activity, event or experience will make your learning more meaningful for you – and help you identify what gaps you have identified in your skills or knowledge. Your log will also enable you to quickly update and revitalise your CV next time you see a fantastic job advertised!
The new CPD scheme: will you be ready? Carol Barker MCLIP Career Development Group
‘ It is not sufficient simply to have an experience in order to learn. Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten, or its learning potential lost.
It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated. And it is generalisations that allow new situations to be tackled effectively.’ Gibbs (1988)