Online OT CPD Portfolio
July 23rd, 2015
Could using an online portfolio help you to organise your CPD evidence?
As an independent practitioner your roles may not fit neatly into CPD categories defined by professional and organisational bodies. Consequently you may also need to find CPD opportunities outside of your professional sphere of work that enable you to meet industry standards or those set by your employing organisation.
If you have more than one role, or work for different employers, finding evidence and presenting it to reflect your experience in the best light will be another consideration. Alternatively, you may have years of experience, and growing amounts of supporting evidence but no structured way of recording or storing this.
If either of these sounds familiar, then an online portfolio may be a helpful tool to enable you to create and keep records of your CPD activity and evidence.
What is CPD?
Practitioners will be aware of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) requirement to meet standards of CPD for professional registration and there is a wealth of information to enable you to do this from both the HCPC www.hpc-uk.org and the College of Occupational Therapists (COT) www.cot.co.uk.
‘Put simply, CPD is the way registrants continue to learn and develop throughout their careers so they keep their skills and knowledge up-to-date and are able to work safely, legally and effectively’ (HCPC 2012 page 6).
As an independent practitioner, the evidence you gather for registration purposes could also enable you to meet other needs such as, demonstrating that you are meeting industry standards, have achieved a certain level of competence or achieved an accredited qualification. You may also have chosen activities that specifically showcase your learning, development and quality of service to clients or demonstrate personal development.
So... while CPD activity should be relevant to your practice you may have; ‘… different development needs, and…’ your ‘…CPD activities may be very different.’ from your colleagues (HCPC 2012 page 9).
How could an online portfolio help?
Common reasons that people state for not organising their CPD evidence are lack of time and/or the lack of a relevant and accessible means of doing so! In response to this Harrison Training, a well-established OT training company, in partnership with Moonshine Internet, has developed an online portfolio for OTs known as CPD Online (cpdol) www.cpdol.co.uk.
Experience of using and developing CPD Online has shown that some of the key benefits of using an online portfolio are:
- Access to ready-made templates for recording CPD activities
- Easily accessible from anywhere via the internet
- Provide extensive and secure storage
- Ability to upload previously produced documents
- Able to access wider CPD resources and training
- Transferable between roles and organisations
Apart from the key benefits mentioned above, there are other features to look for when deciding which portfolio would suit you best...
Features of the portfolio – check the key features of the portfolio and then decide whether it meets your needs. Is it just a portfolio for basic recording of CPD or are there additional features such as access to online CPD opportunities, links to other resources, etc.
How easy is it to record your CPD activity? Can you customise templates? Can you upload certificates and other documents and organise them easily?
How it looks and ease of use – how appealing the portfolio looks to you will depend to some extent on your preferred style. However its overall appearance may also be an indication of how easy it will be to use; would you need to learn a new and unfamiliar system before you can start to use it? Can you try it out before committing to subscribe?
Compatibility with HCPC or other professional formats – some online portfolios present their templates and tools in a way that is compatible with HCPC or other professional formats – is this helpful to you? Would you prefer more flexibility to produce things in your own way?
IT compatibility/access/security – is it compatible with your computer/mobile/tablet and how easy is it to access? Checking what IT specification you need to be able to operate it and whether it accessible through a mobile app, internet access etc. How your data is kept secure and what happens to it if you decide to stop your registration with the service? Is it transferable internationally, across different job roles etc.
Financial considerations – most online portfolios use either regular subscriptions or an annual fee for the supply of their service. What features are included in the fee? Are there any hidden or additional costs? How do you know when renewal is due? How easy is it to leave the service? Are there any penalties for doing this?
Level of support – including technical or practical support with completing templates. How is support provided – remote via email or internet or is there a phone line? Are there prompts, guidelines or FAQ’s to help you with common problems?
Ability to share information – this is useful if you want to easily share your information with others for example your supervisor for your appraisal, or for HCPC audit etc.
Additional resources – most portfolios have additional resources as well as the portfolio function – such as CPD information, access to online training, links to other CPD resources, regular updates and reminders....consider what would be most helpful to you
CPD Online was created by occupational therapists for occupational therapists and so provides users with industry specific information together with tailored templates that capture CPD evidence within the OT sector. It was designed to provide therapists with a cost-effective tool to personalise and use throughout their career to record both professional and personal development; untied to specific organisations but facilitating compliance with audits, appraisals, and other professional requirements.
For further information please visit: www.cpdol.co.uk
Or contact Harrison Training: firstname.lastname@example.org
Health and Care Professions Council (2012) CPD and your registration. London: HCPC.
College of Occupational Therapists www.cot.co.uk
Interested in finding out more or making a start at recording your CPD?
Then look out for the next article in this series entitled ‘Making a Start on recording your CPD’ which will take you through using one of the templates in CPD Online
To access discounts on Harrison Training courses please contact Inclusion.Me and enquire about becoming an associate member of our team!