Continuing professional development

K. Collin, Beatrice van der Heijden, P. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Continuing professional development (CPD), when provided formally, is something that is easy to recognize but perhaps rather more difficult to define. Theoretical and empirical controversy surrounds the scope and understanding of the concept. Definition is made more elusive by the different conceptualizations in use but the common denominator is that CPD concerns practices aimed at employees’ development beyond that derived from their initial training. Moreover, there can be informal as well as formal practices intended to develop professional expertise as well as professional experience which generates learning without learning being an express objective. This variety of forms makes conceptualization of CPD even more difficult, as it does the conceptualization of training and development more generally. In addition, current policies and practices in CPD are frequently based on assumptions about learning and practice that are in urgent need of more empirical research (see Kilminster et al., 2012). The starting point for this editorial, therefore, is the meaning and importance of CPD. First, we enter into a conceptualization of CPD and discuss its importance in current working life. Next, we consider the current practice of CPD. Subsequently, the papers that form part of this special issue are summarized and reflected upon. We end with some ideas for future research into CPD, briefly touching on the notion of CPD as an academic subject.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
JournalInternational journal of training and development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • IR-83067
  • METIS-292561


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