We are the champions

Joanna Snook and Gwyn Owen explain how physio staff can become ‘learning champions’ through a recently-completed CSP project

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Helping others to learn and develop is integral to physiotherapy. Think about your practice. You are probably helping others learn and develop – whatever your role or practice setting. The process of assisting others in this way can be a great opportunity for personal and continuing professional development (CPD). If done well, it can benefit learners as well as those who facilitate that learning.

Championing CPD (CCPD) is a nine-month project funded by the Union Learning Fund, which supports union-led projects to transform the members’ lives through lifelong learning opportunities. It has been working with CSP members to pilot the role of ‘learning champions’.

The aim is to encourage those who feel motivated about their own CPD to share their knowledge, and support others’ learning and development in their workplace. The project has also been developing bespoke, online resources to support the specific CPD needs of three CSP member groups (associates, newly qualified and advanced practitioners).  

This article looks at the behaviours, knowledge and skills that we use when helping others to learn and develop. It uses the CCPD project to illustrate the CPD opportunities that the process offers and signposts you to resources to support your CPD in this area.

Making links

Helping others learn and develop uses the same behaviours, knowledge and skills as CPD. Both processes are about learning: CPD focuses on our practice as a ‘learner’, while helping others learn focuses on our practice as a facilitator or ‘teacher’.

CPD and helping others learn and develop require us to:

  • assess learning needs
  • design and develop a programme of learning to meet those needs
  • engage in the learning process – as a ‘learner’ and ‘teacher’
  • evaluate the learning that’s happening and reflect on the process
  • document the process in order to demonstrate our learning and contribution to organisational plus professional requirements.

It is the processes connecting ‘learning’ and ‘teaching’ that CCPD has been exploring.

Assessing learners’ needs

The CCPD project identified learning needs and preferences by capturing members’ burning questions about CPD.

Common questions included:

  • Why am I doing CPD and why is it relevant?
  • What is involved and required for CPD to fulfil legal, regulatory and employer requirements, for example?
  • How do I do CPD and overcome barriers such as limited access to learning opportunities, or a lack of funding?
  • How do I start?
  • How do I best record, reflect and show evidence of my learning to others?

Developing learning opportunities

The project has developed a variety of interactive and online CPD resources to complement the delivery of local workplace CPD sessions. These include practical guidance, tools and examples. These materials aim to take account of individuals’ different learning styles, preferences and abilities. They also respond to members’ CPD questions and needs.  

The project also wanted to make the most of the CSP’s existing ePortfolio resource. It has therefore included various tools in the learning champion resource, including CPD videos and signposting to existing learning materials. The project team has also worked closely with members who are already excelling with their CPD and helping others to learn and develop.

These range from associates leading CPD in the workplace to practitioners taking on learning and development roles in trusts as part of the NHS preceptorship programme.

Evaluating, reflecting and documenting the process

We have collected project records, outcomes and evaluation activities to capture evidence of members’ engagement and feedback to demonstrate the project’s achievements.

There is clearly an appetite for the learning champion’s role and many members are enthusiastic about supporting their colleagues’ learning and development. Responses to the CCPD project’s online CPD resources and local workplace sessions have been very positive.

Project reflections and recommendations, for example, to enhance support for member access and engagement with technology, will be included in the project evaluation to inform future learning and development activity in the wider CSP.

Joanna Snook is a Championing CPD Project fieldwork officer and Gwyn Owen is a CSP professional adviser.

CSP Resources

  • Visit www.csp.org.uk/championing-cpd to find out more about the CCPD project and how to access the Championing CPD resources within the CSP CPD Webfolio. 
  • Two resources are especially relevant to helping others learn and develop. Open the ‘Learning Champions Webfolio’ and the ‘Formulating & Using Learning Outcomes’ to find out more.

How to use this article for your CPD

The CSP Code (www.csp.org.uk/code) states that members strive to achieve excellence.

Section 4.3 encourages members to ‘support others’ learning and development’. You could use this activity to develop evidence of how you’re meeting that expectation in your practice.

The prompts are broad enough to apply to a wide variety of learning opportunities. You might, for example, opt to focus on delivering a lecture or exercise class, produce an activity sheet or interactive website, or offer mentorship.  Think of a situation in which you provided a learning opportunity.

1.  Describe what you did to help someone else learn

  • You might find these prompts helpful to structure your record.
  • What were you aiming to achieve?
  • How did you prepare for and deliver the learning opportunity?
  • How did the learner(s) respond to you?
  • What feedback did the learner(s) give you?
  • How effective was the learning experience?

2.  Does your record show evidence of your ability to:

  • Assess the learners’ needs and preferences
  • Design and deliver materials and experiences that foster learning  and development
  • Deliver materials and experiences that foster learning
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the learning and development  experience
  • Reflect on the learning and development process

3. Record what you learnt from completing this task

4.  How will you apply this learning in your future practice?

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Joanna Snook and Gwyn Owen

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