Developing yourself, your skills and your knowledge is one of the commitments we make to ourselves on a regular basis, or at the start of a new school year. This might be self-directed, but it also may include online training that suits our needs. But how do we know that the training we find is of a decent quality? In this article from CPDUK, ABRSM’s CPD accreditation provider, we find out more about CPD and what to look for.

Every ABRSM course on the Teacher Hub has been accredited by CPD UK. If you haven’t had a chance to browse our courses yet, please log in and visit the dashboard.

What is Continuing Professional Development (CPD)?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and is the term used to describe the learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. CPD is a holistic approach towards the enhancement of personal skills and proficiency throughout a professional’s career. What is CPD?

Continuing Professional Development is a commitment to ongoing lifelong learning. CPD encourages looking forward and identifying opportunities to learn something new, refresh existing knowledge, improve skills, or simply keep up-to-date with the latest developments within a particular profession or industry.In practice, CPD can mean everything from taking a training course or attending an educational event, to studying for new qualifications or learning new aspects of a job.Continuing Professional Development enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. It involves an individual documenting and keeping a record of the increasing skills, knowledge and experience they gain throughout their career.Engaging in CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become outdated or obsolete and allows for individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves regardless of their occupation, age or educational level.Continuing Professional Development is an ongoing process of frequently improving skills and competencies to enhance workplace performance and future career prospects.

Types of CPD

Continuing Professional Development is a powerful learning tool that professionals from across all industries can apply to improving skills and developing their knowledge. The types of CPD vary depending on a range of different learning methods. 

  •  Structured CPD / Active Learning - typically involves interactive and participation-based study. It is often proactive and can include attending training courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, eLearning courses or CPD certified events. CPD active learning can also apply to professionals taking career-orientated exams, however the study and revision would be considered self-directed learning.
  • Reflective CPD / Passive Learning - defines learning that often has a structured format, however will typically have no participant-based interaction, and so this form of CPD is much more passive and one directional than structured CPD. Examples of reflective CPD can include watching training videos and tutorials, attending a non-interactive lecture, industry briefings, podcasts, case studies and industry updates.
  • Informal CPD / Self-Directed Learning - covers all unaccompanied and unstructured learning. This includes discussions in forums, reading books, articles and publications; either in print or online. You could possibly also include industry-specific news or research into relevant fields. Self-directed CPD often does not have specific learning time frames, is informal and learning outcomes can vary for each individual.

Different methods of CPD learning

There is no one-size-fits all approach to CPD, however a blended approach to learning that incorporates a full range of different types of CPD can increase chances of knowledge retention and engagement. From experience, we advise that at least 50% of Continuing Professional Development be completed in a structured CPD / active learning environment. The remaining learning can be balanced across both reflective and self-directed types of CPD.

Online Courses

Online CPD courses are an increasingly popular method of learning, and can offer convenience and affordability, in that there is no need to attend an in-person event and course materials can be shared free online.Online courses offer flexibility for individuals to participate at a suitable time and schedule around other work and family commitments.In many instances, online CPD courses can be spread over a period of time rather than requiring participation on a given day.


There are a number of different forms of learning that can be considered CPD events. For instance, there could be a live speaker session delivered in the format of a guest presentation or a panel discussion.

Other forms of CPD events includes conferences, usually held at venues, beginning with a keynote session and then offering breakout learning by topic. Seminars and workshops may also feature as part of wider CPD events.Organisations can choose to host or sponsor a particular industry trade show which are usually held in large spaces, with hundreds of products and services being showcased, and in doing so may add an educational CPD learning opportunity within the trade show itself.


Webinars are an online learning activity held virtually and attended by an online audience. Often, the main objective of a CPD webinar is to educate and inform professionals in a short and concise manner about new and relevant information.CPD webinars can provide opportunity to interact and participate, ask questions to the hosts, complete polls or surveys, and share documents between attendees. CPD webinars are useful in that they do not require attendance at an in-person event and therefore provide opportunity for wider, often international, participation.CPD encourages individuals to maintain consistent and high standards, as well as making it easier to demonstrate commitment and dedication towards a particular job role or profession.CPD offers a functional platform for individuals to build a career progression plan that supports their objectives towards new job openings, development within an existing role, or even possibly higher earnings opportunities.CPD can be an excellent self-motivation tool, acting as a reminder of personal achievements and progression over time. CPD provides flexibility and diversity in terms of different methods of learning available so each individual can find a learning style that suits them best. To that extent a professional is able to find much greater appreciation for the positive impact they can make at work. Accredited CPD training means the learning activity has reached the required Continuing Professional Development standards and benchmarks. The learning value has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality. The CPD Certification Service provides recognised independent CPD accreditation compatible with global CPD requirements.

ABRSM is proud to be a member of CPDUK. Every course on the Teacher Hub has been rigorously scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality and carries CPD accreditation.

If you want to find out more about ABRSM’s CPD accreditation, please contact us.
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Last modified: Wednesday, 28 June 2023, 9:22 AM