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Learning outside the classroom – CPD in focus day one

Published on 22 November 2021
Personal and professional development are continuous but the majority of learning that happens during a career takes place outside of the classroom
5 mins read
Neighbourhood police officer

Have you ever watched a YouTube video to teach yourself how to wire in a light fitting or listened to a podcast to find out more about black holes? That is exactly what learning outside of the classroom means – it’s any continuing professional development (CPD) a person takes part in that happens outside of a structured course.

It’s informal learning that’s often done without any sort of qualification or certificate awarded on completion.

It can be:

  • learning that takes place in the moment, such as a conversation with a colleague where they share their knowledge and experience about a certain subject or situation
  • learning that takes place after an event, such as reviewing body-worn video footage of an incident to identify good practice and any development areas 
  • learning related to a specific area of interest – this might be reading an article in a journal from the National Policing Library, making use of research from the What Works Centre or getting involved in discussion on the CPD Focus Knowledge Hub group (you will need to log in)

Whatever form the learning takes and whatever the purpose, it is important to remember it is just as valid and useful as learning that takes place in a classroom and can, in many cases, have a more immediate impact on your professional practice.

Hear more from Detective Inspector Victoria Cubby on learning outside the classroom:

As with any form of CPD that you take part in, it should be recorded and reflected on, not only as part of the learning and development process, but also to support your personal development review (PDR) process. It can also be used as evidence of learning for your portfolios and work-based assessments.

Learning outside the classroom provides you with far more control over the how, what and why of your learning. It can be adapted and tailored to suit your needs and preferences and can be done at a time that is convenient for you.

The theme of this year’s CPD in focus week is how we learn and develop outside of the classroom. We will be exploring the many ways you can undertake and record this and helping you make the most of the learning and development opportunities that are available.

Detective Inspector James Ansell explains why promoting CPD is important:

The College has a range of resources and products to help support CPD that doesn’t require signing up to a formal course or event and is relevant to officers and staff at all levels.

This includes:

We have also developed a range of operational guidance and guideline resources, not to mention all the content that can be found on College Learn.

Don’t forget that your local force will also have a wide range of materials to support your learning. But if you need more help finding materials and resources, please contact the Professional Development team.

Get involved and take part

Join the CPD Focus Knowledge Hub group (you will need to log in to this) to access a range of learning resources and book onto events that forces across the UK are running as part of CPD in focus 2021.

Find more information about CPD week and sign up for the webinars.

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