A New Model for Professional Learning

PARN Global News Article - 2 June 2014

A New Model for Professional Learning


A new model for professional learning has emerged from recent research with chartered accountants led by Hilary Lindsay, Affiliated Researcher at the Open University and Vice President of ICAEW.

In 2004 IFAC, the worldwide body representing accountancy professional bodies, issued a new education standard which required mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) schemes to be introduced by member bodies and for them to foster a commitment to lifelong learning among members. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) responded by introducing an output-based CPD scheme which had at its heart a reflect-act-impact cycle.

Independent research with ICAEW members has explored the relationship between CPD and lifelong learning. This involved looking at the learning individuals needed to do across their careers at a time when careers are now involving more transitions and when members of professions may well want to, or need to, work for longer.

Survey results showed that ICAEW members were very committed to maintaining and developing their professional competence but were less interested in learning relating to future career aspirations, particularly as they moved through their careers. However in the more detailed interviews that followed, accountants were clear that they wanted to work past the traditional retirement age.

The results have led to a new model for professional learning which includes the need to maintain and develop professional competence but also recognises a second aspect of learning described as career adaptability. This more personal aspect of learning includes five elements. In some areas individuals may already feel very comfortable but others they may wish to develop further. Overall the five elements help individuals develop the ability to adapt as their own situation changes.


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The new model of professional learning is potentially of interest to all professional bodies as their members seek to have more diverse and longer careers. If individuals do so they and their professional bodies will benefit and so too will the economy and the public interest.

Hilary will be presenting her new model at PARN's upcoming conference, CPD: Making It Meaningful, on 2 December 2014 in London.

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