Topic: CPD Sectors>News

Break the Ice, Don’t make Ice

Posted on February 18, 2019 by - CPD Sectors>News

Happy Monday everyone!

This week we have received some questions on using ice breakers within face to face training courses and workshops.

This is an area that CPD Standards doesn’t usually advise or comment on, as an icebreaker exercise normally sits within a ‘general introduction’ to a training course. However, we know that to ‘soften’ a room full of strangers (which can be quite challenging) particularly in the UK with the cool British reserve! – having asked some of our members, one thing for certain is that it needs to be simple and lighthearted. There will often be reluctant participants, so you don’t want to make any icebreakers too involved or too personal. “Over 500 icebreakers and games, hundreds of icebreaker questions, team building games and warm up activities.”

A great training tool that we recommend you add to your armory is this book; by Jennifer Carter called Over 600 Ice-Breakers & Games At £2.49 for the Kindle edition. See here for the link – The book provides hundreds of icebreaker questions, activities and team building games to use for them training course exercises!

What do you want to know about selling training courses? We bust 5 myths…

Posted on January 18, 2019 by - CPD Sectors>News

Here at the CPD Standard Office, we have been getting a ton of questions on how to sell training courses.  Having worked with hundreds of training providers, and seen best selling courses to complete flops, we have gotten to know a little bit about selling courses.

Would you like to sell more courses? Take part in our 2 minute member survey, and we will provide some market analysis for you next month.


 Myth No 1:  Colour and ‘pizazz’ are important. 

Whilst having good looking, up-to-date design and branding is crucial, the actual colour of your logo, training materials and website is not critical to selling more courses.  Potential buyers are more interested in the name of your course, and the perceived quality that you are going to offer them.

Myth No 2: Cheaper training sells quicker

Wrong!  In our experience, the cheaper your training course, the more difficulty you will have in convincing buyers it is worth purchasing.  Don’t be afraid to price at the premium end of your market, after all, if you have enough experience and offer learning that is going to make a real difference (and have the credentials to back that up) buyers will invest.   Also don’t forget, the more pricey your course, the better profit margin you will receive on it.

Myth No 3: ‘Long’ courses are dead

In the YouTube and video age, there is a misconception that individuals only want short bite size training.  Wrong!  Longer “modulised” courses are still as popular, particularly if they have a social element that links the student to a new community of peers, enable complete mastery of a new skill set, or provide a form of qualification.  As long as your prospective buyers have flexibility in how they undertake the course, and can log-in and out easily, there is no need to worry about creating a short course for the sake of it.

 Myth No 4: Emails and websites are enough to provide the ‘written stuff’

Successful training courses are generally sold following an in depth conversation with the training company, and where appropriate a personalised proposal.  Companies that simply rely on generic emails and their website often struggle to sell courses.  Remember, first impressions count, and your prospective students want to being building a relationship with their course provider before they undertake any learning with you.

Myth No 5: Money back guarantees are worthless

In our experience, training courses that offer a money back guarantee tend to sell well.  It seems that by providing a prospective buyer with a ‘comfort blanket’ that they can retrieve their investment if they felt that the course didn’t meet its objectives (or however you want to word it).  Plus, we have found that buyers rarely request their money back, so it really is a no-brainer.


Interested in finding out more?  The CPD Standards Office is conducting research on selling training courses during 2019.   Click here to take the 2 minute survey, and we will be in touch soon with the results   

World of Learning Conference & Exhibition 2018

Posted on August 13, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

Senior L&D and HR professionals will gather at Birmingham’s NEC on 16 & 17 October for the year’s must-attend L&D event.

Bringing together experts and innovators in the L&D community, the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition has established itself as a hub for sharing best practice, thought leadership and the latest learning technology.

This globally renowned two-day conference will host leading experts as they reveal and examine the latest thinking and practices to drive organisational performance and success.

An extensive exhibition will showcase suppliers of training and development services and cutting-edge technology. A programme of free seminars and workshops will allow visitors to gather specialist insights into topics ranging from leadership development and organisational culture, to immersive learning and virtual reality.

A dedicated conference co-located within the exhibition, Learning Design Live, will provide invaluable expertise and support for anyone interested in learning design and technology.

The range of interactive features and zones at the event ensure that visitors have ample opportunity to experience best practice and to network with their industry peers.

Andrew Gee, senior project manager for World of Learning, comments:

“The World of Learning Conference & Exhibition delivers a thriving and industrious platform for L&D and HR professionals to immerse themselves in current practices and the most exciting technology the industry has to offer.

Visitors will take away inspiration, practical advice, and knowledge of the best methods and tools to meet the current and future needs of their organisations and their people.”

For more details and to register for free tickets to the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition, visit or to book the conference direct call 020 8394 5171.

For the latest news and updates about the World of Learning 2018 read the World of Learning blog at, follow the exhibition on Twitter at #WOL18 and, and join the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition group on LinkedIn.

The World of Learning 2018 is held in association with the Institute of Training & Occupational Learning.

The World of Learning Conference & Exhibition is accredited by The CPD Standards Office (CPDSO). Founded from the largest research project ever undertaken in the UK relating to CPD, in addition to a multitude of research across every employment sector, CPDSO have developed an accreditation / assessment process, overseen by an Independent Advisory Board, to ensure CPD provision available to all professionals is of the highest quality. The organisation and the logo are recognised both internationally and by 2,000 regulators, professional bodies and institutions in the UK. In collaboration with World of Learning, CPDSO will ensure that the Conference and Exhibition will maintain the highest of standards whilst offering all visitors an immersive and educational experience.

The Rise of Dubious Accreditation

Posted on July 25, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

Dubious Accreditation

by CPD Standards

Over recent years, it has become far too easy to find a cheap and easy alternative to almost anything.  The problem now is that the cheap and easy alternative has almost become the preferred option to rigor and the real deal.

So how do we illustrate this phenomenon?  The most obvious example in the last six months has been the proliferation of so-called ‘GDPR experts’ selling their course or their tool to sort out everyone’s supposed issues with GDPR.  It is now becoming obvious that some weird and potentially deadly advice has been peddled by individuals who had never heard about data protection or an individual’s privacy rights a year ago.


Another worrying example is accreditation services run by those who have no real understanding of what they are supposed to be doing or the damage they inflict on their clients and the unsuspecting public by promoting their sub-standard and, in some cases, fraudulent services.  They pride themselves on saying they are the cheapest and easiest accreditation to obtain on the market and that it will take you approximately five minutes to pass their so-called assessment. The problem is that no accreditation has taken place and all that is happening is a transaction of cash for badge. Now that is definitely going to be worth the multi-colour logos they offer, isn’t it!  Especially as they have convinced their happy clients to go on social media and say they are wonderful, producing so-called review data which is completely skewed and unsupported.  Would you really want to be associated with an organisation like this?

There are more examples around at present but there is only one thing that they all prove and that is that you get what you pay for.  If an organisation is so desperate that they want a badge and they want it now and they are not prepared to either do any work to achieve it and most certainly don’t want to wait to see if they have been successful, especially when they have previously failed a more robust interrogation, then the cheap and easy route will cover their requirements because that is all they are prepared to invest in their future.


The risks attached to choosing cheap and easy options over the rigorous and difficult path are both short and long term.  In both cases your reputation is at risk as, at some point, the lack of quality in the cheap/fake versions may become obvious.  Although it is a difficult and expensive path in time and money to demonstrate the ‘fake’ in law, it will inevitably happen.  There is also a risk that those who choose to go down this route, and be visibly associated with a dubious brand, will eventually face questions as to their own trustworthiness and decision-making processes which chose the cheap rather than the robust option.

If you would like to talk about this to us we would love to hear from you and have your comments or maybe you have an experience that you are currently facing  that you would like to share with us – please do contact us –

Thank you,

The CPDSO Team

Royalty and CPD

Posted on May 25, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

The weekends Royal Wedding in the glittering Spring sunshine was a historical day for Britain; Windsor was on a world stage as an estimated 2 billion people from around the world tuned into watch the young couple’s ceremony and celebrations. A fresh, new approach to wedding nuptials and traditions (going back centuries) showcased how diverse our society has become in 2018, and how much good will, generosity and happiness can be nurtured when people from all corners of the globe come together.

Within the Professional Development Consortium (PDC), we have over 800+ members based in over 40 countries, we also share and celebrate the diversity of many cultures, religions and viewpoints of our educational providers. Having accredited 1000s of training, coaching and CPD activities that range from leadership skills for senior professionals, to charities training and educating about their courses, to coaches working with graduates, we’ve pretty much covered most professional topics and skills.

In the spirit of the recent Royal Wedding, which showcased how diverse our society is becoming and the benefits and positivity that can radiate from that inclusiveness. Here at PDC and the CPD Standards Office community, we have the same culture and approach. As US Pastor Michael Curry said during his speech:

‘Oh, there’s power – power in love. Not just in its romantic forms, but any form, any shape of love.’

What can we learn from this extraordinary event?

The Royal Wedding has reminded us that a diverse society can inspire creativity and drive innovation.

We would like our community to stop, take a breath, and consider how as educators you should celebrate diversity in your classrooms, cohort groups or via online platforms. It’s important as an educator or figure to take the time to do this and explore how diversity can be celebrated in the classroom.

For further reflection, see this inspiring speech about designing life’s blueprint and journey, and why it’s important for us to always keep moving forwards. Click here to listen to Martin Luther King Jr.

Promoting and educating everyone in diversity and equality is increasingly becoming a cornerstone within the professional development arena. It is exciting and refreshing to see this area progress at the Royal Wedding, and indeed at society generally.

The PDC Community has diversity in it’s heart and soul – our member event last week was testament to that with members flying in from various countries and interesting discussions from Rosetta Stone about the importance of bilingualism and embracing learning languages to be inclusive of all cultures in this increasingly ‘small’ global world we live in.

Now…. Take a breath and reflect

So… take a breath and lets embrace the CPD the British Monarchy has indirectly provided us by staging such a happy, diverse and inclusive event.

Impact Factory: Soft Skills CPD Programmes Breakfast Taster – 13th June 2018

Posted on May 16, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

How easy is it to identify your people’s L&D needs?

Perhaps the technical skills are clearly defined. But, how do you assess the subtler learning requirements that underpin how people communicate, interact and work together?

You’re invited to participate in our upcoming Breakfast Taster to get an insight of how CPD (Continuing Professional Development) soft skills programmes and personal pathways are created to make your people and your organisation thrive.

In this session, you will get an understanding of the importance of soft skills CPD programmes, the real fabric of an engaged, committed and shared vision organisation. Furthermore, we’ll be supporting your journey to help you establish trusted relationships with your people, so you can understand their individual needs.

Join us on Wednesday 13th of June 2018 (8.30am – 10.00am) and you will get a taste of our take on how to establish successful soft skills CPD programmes.

Places are very limited. We advise you to book in advance.

As Virtual Reality Training continues to take over, we have a look at what this means for the future of learning…

Posted on February 27, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

What is VR learning?

Virtual reality is an artificial environment that the user is submerged into when wearing a headset. This means that learners can put theory into practice immediately if they are learning new skills, or else practice emergency procedures in a simulated environment without the risk of a real emergency. They can even leave the work environment completely for a break by entering a simulated and relaxing environment.

For visual learners in particular, this technological progression is incredibly helpful, where lectures or webinars have been boring and unengaging, VR gives the opportunity to learn in practice and retain the information easier.

What is VR learning for?

The first thing that comes to many people’s minds when you mention VR is practical training because, after all, it is a way of putting a learner into a real time situation where they can simulate doing practical tasks. And certainly VR training can be used to simulate emergency situations for Health and Safety training, or else teach and practice technical skills once delegates have learnt theory. However, it does go further..

Virtual Reality learning can also simulate environments to teach soft skills, for example, an audience awaiting a presentation that the user must give or a customer service scenario to help learn communication skills. It doesn’t even have to stop at training, John Fecci of VR Learning Studio explained how they have developed a mindfulness programme with Channel4 to allow employees to escape their desk quickly and easily by entering an entirely different world using a VR headset.

Can VR be tailored?

The short answer is yes. The software used in VR training can track your engagements and actions during the programme. In my conversation with VR Learning Studio, John explains to me how they can measure how well the user is completing the tasks or tackling the situation and can use this information to gage how effective the training is or to see if users need more support. The content is then easy to amend where necessary with a software update if the statistics show there are areas that need improvement.

Is it all a great as it sounds?

There is no doubt that VR is changing the way we learn and work by allowing so many experiences and scenarios to be simulated in the workplace. However, VR is subject to the same criticism that elearning faced in its infancy – arguably some of the best learning happens in the classroom, when discussion and debate begins. So for all it’s advantages, is VR just another form of lonely learning and another piece of technology minimising our direct human interaction?

I discussed an example of how to overcome this with VR Learning Studio, they ensure that their VR training is delivered with allocated time afterwards for users to discuss and compare their experiences. This means they don’t lose out on the valuable, personal element and the opportunity to allow delegates to learn from each other.

John also stresses that the introduction of VR in education is not intended to take over, but to complement, current learning methods. Often the theory still needs to be delivered beforehand, either online or face to face, so the VR aspect is an immersive experience which enhances the existing teaching, rather than replacing it completely.

How to generate leads from LinkedIn or Facebook

Posted on January 12, 2018 by - CPD Sectors>News

We’ve all used social media in our social lives, but when it comes to business, the usual approaches don’t work so well.  But sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can be great sources of leads for your business if you approach them correctly.

You will see many different ways to use social media to promote your business; we have shared here a simple 7 step guide to getting started using social media to generate leads.  This is not the only approach that will work and we’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you find other methods that do or don’t work…

  1. Should I use LinkedIn or Facebook?

The easy way to decide where to start is to consider your audience.  Do you define them based on “hard” factors such as:

  • Industry
  • company size
  • location
  • job roles

Or on “soft” factors such as:

  • Their interests
  • Their hobbies
  • The sport they play
  • Their music or artistic choices
  • What they like

As a big generalisation, those that use the top list should focus on LinkedIn and those that use the bottom list, Facebook.  If you fall into both camps, do both!

  1. Where to start on LinkedIn?

You probably already have a LinkedIn profile that you built years ago and use sometimes.  Well now is the time to start using it properly.  LinkedIn has recently updated its user interface, so it’s cleaner but a lot of useful stuff is now hidden away.

Start by taking a good look at LinkedIn and learn where everything is.  If you can’t find something, google what you are looking for.  There will always be an answer…

Next get your profile in order. helps you with this, suggesting extra bits to add to your profile.  Load as much content onto your profile as you can then regularly do the following:

  • Post updates every week
  • Write a new article as often as you can but at least every fortnight. Share knowledge rather than talking about you and your business
  • Identify your target audience by creating an advanced search using the criteria available to you: industry, company size, job role, etc.
  • Review your second-degree contacts in the results of this search and send appropriate people a connection request. Never more than 30 per day.
  • Accept appropriate connection requests you receive then send a personal message to each person thanking them for requesting you as a connection and asking them a bit about themselves and what they want from LinkedIn
  • When someone accepts your connection requests send a personal message thanking them and asking them a bit about themselves and what they want from LinkedIn
  • Regularly message your connections through LinkedIn just sharing knowledge that you feel may be relevant to them.
  • Start a LinkedIn group and invite your contacts to join it then share relevant knowledge and links with them.

This may sound like a lot of work, but if you spent 45 minutes each day following this process, you could get an additional 3500 contacts on LinkedIn within a year.  That’s 3500 perfectly targeted (because you have hand-picked them one at a time) business contacts to influence towards becoming your customers.

You can also export contact data for your LinkedIn connections, including their email address.

3) Get social on Facebook

If you have decided that your business is better suited to Facebook then your style and approach are going to be less formal and more social.

Start by establishing a Facebook page for your business and a Facebook group.  Then join groups relevant to your business.  So if you run cookery courses, join “foodie” groups and contribute to these groups, join in the conversations and encourage members to join your Facebook group.

One very powerful way to use Facebook is to run adverts.  You can target people based on what they have liked, where they are and a range of other factors so the only people to see your adverts are well qualified already.

Unlike LinkedIn, where there is a best way to work, there are many different ways to take advantage of the services that Facebook offers and the best way to decide where to start is to use Facebook’s own training.  It’s free and available here:  Try signing up for their SMB courses, some are very good.

4) Other Social networks

Many social networks may work for your business and if you are lucky enough to be in a niche with a dedicated network, use it to your advantage.  However many people try and develop business using Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest with less than great results.  You get followers, but turning your following into leads and sales is difficult.

Our advice is to focus your time and energy on LinkedIn or Facebook for your business, whatever your personal preferences.

Please do let us know your thoughts on this advice and share any successes or challenges that others can learn from.

Thoughtful Friday: Think Like Einstein

Posted on June 23, 2017 by - CPD Sectors>News

Continuing Professional Development shouldn’t be a chore – but to many it is. Spending time training to brush up on your skills, when you have a job to do, can be stressful and tiresome.  It’s easy to lose your passion for learning.

Albert Einstein was a great Physicist and Nobel Laureate. He had a way with words that would make you look from a different perspective. Here’s some words from the wise:

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or objects”

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”

“Learning is not a product of schooling but the lifelong attempt to acquire it”

“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of minds to think”

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate

Think like Einstein; what does your Professional Development mean to you?

The 7 things a training provider should never do

Posted on June 7, 2017 by - CPD Sectors>News

Everywhere you look, there is great advice on how to run training courses, what to do and how to do it. But no one tells you what not to do – those things that are guaranteed to disappoint or detract from your training.

So here is the top list of 7 things to never do:

  1. Don’t do Monday mornings or Fridays
    Obvious really, but it’s amazing how often courses are agreed without checking which day of the week they are on.
  2. Don’t create a 5 day course
    Delegates simply won’t put aside a full week to attend your training course. Their boss simply won’t allow it and if they are the boss, they won’t want to take a week out. Condense your 5 days content into 3 days.
  3. Don’t pin your hopes on public courses
    You won’t get the take up you are expecting, the training market has moved on – sorry!
  4. Don’t isolate your delegates
    Introduce your delegates to each other, get them to network together and create ways they can carry on their conversations after your training. Share their contact details with each other – with their permission.
  5. Don’t set overnight assignments
    Rather start the next day with a summary of the previous day. You avoid embarrassing those that didn’t have time or were not staying over, forgot or could not be bothered.
  6. Don’t immortalise one delegate
    Constantly referencing one of your delegates because you happen to know they are good in an area is guaranteed to embarrass that person and alienate the rest of your audience.
  7. Don’t overrun
    With child care charges of up to £5 per minute for overtime, you’re not making friends by overrunning. Finish 10 minutes early and offer your delegates the chance to join you for an informal coffee or drink.