Could you be a champ? Become a CSP learning champion

Fired up with enthusiasm for learning? Why not join the CSP’s growing band of learning champions, asks CSP professional adviser Gwyn Owen.


The process of helping others learn and develop can be a great opportunity for personal and professional development.  When done well, the process benefits the learner as well as the person facilitating that learning. As that learning is consolidated and becomes embedded into practice, the impact of learning spreads to have a positive impact on the experiences of service users and the quality and outcomes of the service.

While the idea of putting learning and development at the heart of practice is not new, it resurfaced during 2013 through the series of reports following the Francis Inquiry into the quality of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS trust. A common thread was that staff learning and development was central to an organisation’s capacity to deliver safe and effective care. This observation led to a call for organisations delivering healthcare to develop a culture dedicated to learning and service improvement. A culture that would support the development of communities of practice committed to producing safe, high-quality patient care.

As you’ll have seen from the last edition of Frontline (page 11, 3 September), these themes are the focus of the current phase of the Championing CPD project funded by the CSP’s Charitable Trust. The project aims to help CSP members optimise the quality of patient care in the context of the post-Francis agenda. The project will work with members to test, evaluate and refine existing CPD resources that develop capacity to deliver safe, effective, person-centred physiotherapy practice. At the heart of the project is the growing community of CSP learning champions – members who are passionate about helping others learn and develop and advocates for CPD in practice.

What is a learning champion?

The CSP role was introduced by the Championing CPD project in 2011 to 2012 in response to members’ concerns about access to quality CPD in practice settings.

Any CSP member can become a learning champion – you just need to be someone who:   

  • wants to help others learn and develop
  • enjoys learning and working with peers
  • is linked to a group of other CSP members (in a workplace setting or through a network – physical or virtual), has an internet connection to access resources on CSP website and iCSP.

The project’s webpage shows that the CSP learning champion role is designed to fit the individual and the group of members they’re helping to learn and develop. Most learning champions work to support CPD in their department. As the role becomes more established, a growing number of champions are creating learning networks of single-handed practitioners in a locality, or contributing to the CPD opportunities offered by existing networks such as the CSP’s English regional networks and professional networks. The Championing CPD project works to support champions in a number of ways according to the individual’s circumstances and learning needs. The hub of the learning champion community is a private network on iCSP. This space is used to post information, and share ideas and experiences about CPD in practice. Work is underway to map learning champions’ location and interests with a view to developing learning communities on specific topics, such as  using social media and technology to support CPD. We use a blend of iCSP, face-to-face meetings and email/phone conversations to support individual champions and to work together as a community to achieve the project’s aims (see Box 1).

Why should I become a champion?

What’s striking about existing champions is their passion for CPD, and their ability to see how the role benefits them, their colleagues and service users (see Box 2).

Taking on a role that focuses on helping others learn and develop offers opportunities to develop, consolidate and evidence a set of behaviours, knowledge and skills (see Box 3). These aspects are vital for the delivery of safe, effective, person-centred practice described by the CSP’s code of members’ professional values and behaviour, and the CSP’s quality assurance standards.  fl

Box 1: what CSP learning champions can look forward to in 2014 to 2015

Leading and supporting the development of a learning network that crosses all four countries of the UK. Opportunities to work with members to road-test, evaluate and develop:  

  • CSP elearning resources exploring compassionate care and collaborative leadership interactive eflyers (like this one: that signpost members to specific CPD resources materials to meet the CPD needs of members in their CSP learningchampion role
  • recycled and refreshed articles from Frontline’s CPD series grouped around a specific theme resources/arguments to support members in making the case for CPD

Opportunities to work with the project to:

  • evaluate how different blends of existing CPD content, spaces and technologies work together to support members’ practice and development
  • explore ways of involving service users in the CPD process
  • share evidence of the impact of CPD in practice – with CSP members, employers, service planners and service users

Box 2: reasons for becoming a CSP learning champion

This list gives a flavour of why existing CSP learning champions took on the role:

  • I am enthusiastic about CPD and appear to be able to enthuse others.
  • I wanted to network with other like-minded people who have different but complementary experiences that I can learn from for the benefit of my personal development and the team’s CPD.
  • I hope to get a better structure for CPD so that we facilitate great learning despite funding/time restrictions.
  • I have always been interested in learning and development and wanted to share my experience and expertise with others the role fits with my interests, role and general outlook.
  • I want to share best practise to facilitate change.

Box 3: behaviours, knowledge and skills for helping others learn and develop

The CSP’s Physiotherapy Framework defines helping others learn and develop as the behaviour, knowledge and skills required to:

  • assess the learner’s needs and preferences
  • design materials/experiences that facilitate learning and development
  • deliver materials/experiences that facilitate learning
  • evaluate the effectiveness of the learning and development experience
  • reflect on the learning and development process

The process of helping others learn and develop draws on the following domains of the CSP’s physiotherapy framework:

  • knowledge and understanding of: the principles and application of scientific enquiry; behavioural sciences, social sciences and the ethical and legal frameworks underpinning practice
  • self-awareness
  • communicating
  • respecting and promoting diversity
  • ensuring quality
  • practice decision making
  • using evidence to lead practice

How to use this article for your CPD

Use the information in this article to list what you could offer and what you could gain through becoming a CSP learning champion. If you’d like to be part of this dynamic and growing community of learning champions, contact the project team at:

Gwyn Owen

Number of subscribers: 1

Log in to comment and read comments that have been added