Topic: CPD Sectors>News

Neuroscience and CPD: Making new connections between Academia and Business

Posted on December 5, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

“Just like paths in a forest, you lose the connections you don’t use.” Neuroscientist and Author, David Eaglman

Here at the CPD Standards Office, we have been increasingly interested in neuroscience and behaviour change and started to focus some of our research on CPD in this area.

Over the past decade, neuroscience and behaviour change has been in the spotlight, with many business professionals interested in learning from science to understand how the human brain can be optimised for learning at work and for work. Never before has there been such a huge interest in the relationship between business and science, particularly within the division of neuroscience.

The CPD Standards Office stemmed from university research and forms part of the Professional Development Consortium. Hence we are delighted about this new bridge between academia and business and so in this article we have explores the connection between CPD and neuroscience.

Background: The Human Brain

The human brain weighs a mere 3 pounds (1.36kg) but is a highly complex system that has evolved over millions of years. Homo sapiens, the first modern humans emerged in Africa 160,000 years ago and started migrating to Europe 50,000 years ago. Through time and space, humans have been shaped by their experiences and evolved to be the most intelligent species on earth; the brain has led humans to this unique status.

And now after centuries of trying, scientists are now successfully mapping the human brain with further technological advances in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) which takes highly detailed images of the brain. Watch here.

‘Neuroscience’ means ‘the scientific study of nerves in our brain and how it affects learning and behaviour’ and enables us to understand human behaviour and human only capacities in more depth. Neuroscientists have found that the adult brain never ceases to stop learning, we just need the right tools to continue to learn new and better behaviours.

Old dogs, new tricks

But in order to be good at work, how do we know what we know to get there? And what is needed to pursue real behaviour change for people to continually and intentionally develop their own knowledge, skills and personal qualities to perform their professional responsibilities to the highest standard? These two issues were discussed in the most recent CPD Standards Member events in Manchester and London and demonstrated through a light hearted film on how scientists in New Zealand have taught old dogs new tricks. Watch here.

We are shaped by our experiences and ultimately learn to do the right thing at the right time. The advancements in neuroscience has benefitted our understanding of human behaviour which stems from a mixture of our childhood experiences (nurture) and our DNA and ‘genetic wiring’ (nature). Plus, there are also added ingredients such as our mood and emotions, our learned bahaviours from friends and family, life experiences, culture and norms and political beliefs which all affect how we contribute to the world on any given day.

Applying science to business

There are numerous psychometric tests the work place measures to understand the psychology of their employees. For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a psychometric test designed to indicate psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. In context, the test can help employers recruit to form balanced teams, predict likely responses to given circumstances which may help leaders apportion tasks amongst the team’s strengths. However, a team or individual’s performance can fluctuate as they are affected by their world experiences. If an individual took the MBTI test five weeks later, they could fall into a different personality group.

‘Intelligence’ means the ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills (Oxford Dictionary, 2016) and according to Professor Howard Gardner (1980), an American developmental psychologist, there are nine types of intelligences: naturalist, musical, logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, kinesthetic, intra-personal and spatial. Gardener’s (1980) model argues that different minds need different resources and not one intelligence is better than the other.

A work environment which provides a high quality selection of learning resources can have an effect on peoples’ abilities to contribute to their job on any given day. Though, taking the time to practice learning a new skill can be difficult for someone if they are not given the right tools to match their intelligence.

We all have the ability to adapt to world around us to survive and master one or several forms of intelligence but we have to find the meaning and purpose within us to continue learning something that interests us. For example, a multilingual person should be considered as intelligent as a decathlete to a smart student scoring highly in maths tests to a pilot with ultra-spatial awareness. Just because you are good at one does not mean you are not talented in another form of intelligence. A person’s pursuit to be intelligent in one form or another is driven by their own life experiences and the perception of their meaning to continue learning.

And, when we learn something new and finally ‘get it’ a flush of dopamine goes through our brain, giving us a happy feeling. Our brains reward us for connecting the dots and we are rewarded with positive feelings about ourselves, motivating us to learn more (Kalat, 2007).

Going forwards for CPD

The modern advances in technology and scientific understanding of neuroscience has enabled scientists to map the complexity of human brains. Neuroscience has told us that adult brains never stop learning and can continually adapt to the world around them.

The understanding of neuroscience and behaviour change has helped humans create better learning resources for different intelligences. In the context of CPD, workers need the right resources that can enable them to practice over time and incrementally learn and improve on their professional skills to remain competent. Doing CPD can provide on-going value to one’s career, business and work-life balance.


Kalat. J.W., (2007) Biological Psychology. Thomson Wadsworth

Gardner. H., (1980) Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. Basic books.

Eagleman. Brain (2015) The Brain. The Story of you. Canongate Books Ltd

AEON (2016) ‘After a century of trying, have scientists successfully mapped the human brain?’ Online URL

National Geographic (2016) ‘Caught in the act: Old dogs, new tricks’ Online URL

Member Feature: Smart Insights on Digital Skills

Posted on November 25, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

Smart Insights, Accredited CPD Standards Provider (No. 50052) has given an overview of the top 10 most in demand digital marketing skills during 2016. Dr Dave Chaffey, CEO and Co-founder of Smart Insights says how you can focus your efforts on acquiring these skills.

Smart Insights 50052 Activity

Smart Insights

The top 10 most in demand digital marketing skills


LinkedIn’s 2016 review of the most in-demand business skills applied mostly to digital marketing. As a marketer, what’s noticeable to me is the number of roles in the top 10 that apply directly or indirectly to digital marketing. These include marketing analytics, search marketing and campaign management.

The handful of roles that are featured in the LinkedIn article are the tip of an iceberg of digital marketing roles. Digital marketing includes a huge range of activities, which span all areas of the marketing funnel and require knowledge of a wide range of different platforms and tools. In our Smart Insights Digital Skills Report we identify 20 key skills which are needed in the modern marketing department. Those skills range from affiliate marketing, to copy writing, digital strategy and integrated planning to SEO and social media marketing. Read the report to find all 20!

While no one would expect any single person to master all 20 skills recognised in the report, building up complementary sets of skills within the department is extremely important. What is more, by ensuring everyone within the department has at least a basic knowledge of what each skill entails, they’ll be able to make better informed decisions about what is possible to achieve and the time frames required to achieve it.

If you’re a marketer looking at what skills you could invest your time in improving, you’ll want to know which of these twenty skills are the most in demand among employers, because then you can focus your efforts on only the skills most likely to open the door to new opportunities.

So how do you find out which skills are most in demand?

In our Digital Marketing skills reports we surveyed 718 digital marketing professionals earlier in 2016. 60% of respondents had senior marketing roles such as Manager, Head of Marketing, Head of Digital or Director.

This gives us a good idea of what skills are most in-demand, because those working in senior marketing positions are going to have a good idea of what skills are required to improve the effectiveness of their marketing department.

The following chart shows which skills the respondents most wanted to improve, and we can clearly see Strategy, Analytics and Mobile marketing skills being rated as extremely important by many digital marketers.

Skills that digital marketers want to improve

Another way, to gauge the skills that are most in demand, is to ask the managers doing the hiring. We asked digital marketers in charge of hiring decisions (a mix of managers, heads of department, CEOs, Directors and Owners) which skills they found most difficult to recruit for.

Ease of recruiting people in digital marketing

SEO, Strategy and Analytics were reported as being the hardest to recruit for when combining those that had a slight difficultly with those reporting extreme difficulty. Almost half of managers (46%) reported analytics skills being slightly or extremely difficult to recruit for, which suggests a strong demand for analytics skills given they also came 2nd on our chart of what skills digital marketers most wanted to improve.

The 10 most in demand digital marketing skills

By combining the insight from the two charts we can see the top 10 most in-demand marketing skills in 2016 are as follows. This should inform where to invest your time in developing skills.

1- Customer Data, Marketing Insights and Analytics

2- Digital Strategy and Intergraded Planning

3- SEO

4- Mobile Marketing

5- Email Marketing and Marketing Automation

6- Customer Experience Design

7- Social Media Marketing

8- Pay Per Click / Adwords

9- Planning integrated, multichannel campaigns

10- Online Advertising and Programmatic Marketing.


Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of digital marketing skills development and elearning site Smart Insights.  Their Digital Marketing E-learning course is accredited by CPD Standards. Dave is author of 5 bestselling books on Ecommerce including Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and E-marketing Excellence. He has been recognised as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of Marketing by the Chartered Institute of Marketing



Generation Z: In your Office Soon?

Posted on October 27, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

One evening you walk into your kid’s bedroom and ask how the homework is going. In one hand she holds a smart phone on which she is managing multiple Facebook conversations. It also buzzes quietly when a text or Snapchat message comes through. She is viewing a YouTube video on her tablet. And a sitcom is playing on a laptop. “It’s going great,” she says. You wonder how anyone can get anything done with all this multitasking.

Believe it or not these kids, Generation Z (or the “iGen”) will be entering the workforce at the end of this decade. As today’s kids grow up with unique Generation X parenting styles and with undreamed of technology gadgets, the way they will someday work will surely be different from today’s workforce.

A significant change in the age demographic of office workers is near. Just as organisations are coming to grips with the needs of the emerging Generation Y, a new group, Generation Z, is looming on the horizon. Little is known about Generation Z, the children of Generation X. This generation began in the mid-1990s and is ongoing. The first of this group have graduated college and are entering the workforce now. Right about the time when Generation Y will hit its peak as a share of office workers. Thus, the workplace will need to address both groups.

The challenge is to serve not only Generation Y workers, but to also anticipate the workplace needs of the emerging Generation Z so that both groups can work effectively.

But Generation Z will not be a simple “amplification” of Generation Y traits. There are similarities between Generations Y and Z, such as smaller family sizes, closeness and connection to parents, heavy use of online social media and portable technologies. But their upbringing and use of technology are different, resulting in significantly different outlooks.

This is the “device” generation and for them there has always been “an app for that” they don’t know any different.

Capterra suggest ways to train the “iGen” here

Information Week identifies values and work habits here

Members of Generation Z have a unique set of characteristics that could easily propel them to leadership positions at work (such as being expert at online collaboration tools), or at the same time, trip them up and cause career setbacks (i.e., weak face-to-face social skills). Like each previous generation, their distinctive perspectives should be understood so that management practices and workspaces can best support their needs.

Generation Z’s differences in outlook and technology choice will directly impact on the way that they respond to training, undertake learning and record professional development. Learning must be intuitive and broken down to informal bite sized chunks. Don’t expect them to print anything, so recording and logging learning needs to happen online.

It’s key to provide a variety of learning and professional development opportunities that can be accessed readily and easily through online sources.

What do you think?  How will dealing with Generation Z affect your training, or won’t it make any difference?

Running the 100 Metres Without a Stopwatch is Crazy!

Posted on October 24, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

This summer, we marveled at the Olympians and Paralympians achieving world records and medals in Rio and ultimately their success comes from managing their training and measuring performance. Darren Smith, Founder of Making Business Matter discusses how competency frameworks can improve performance in business.

It Matters What We Call Them
A competency framework, also known as ‘Skills Scorecards’, are a means of measuring a skill. An email exchange with Charles Jennings, the Founder of the 70:20:10 learning model, told me that he preferred the term ‘Capability Frameworks’. His reasoning was that ‘competency’ infers satisfactory, whereas ‘capability’ inferred potential. I agreed with his point. We all would. The only challenge is that ‘competency frameworks’ are searched on google 12 times more than ‘capability frameworks’. Maybe there’s a challenge for our industry to move our clients towards capability frameworks?

Image showing the number of searches for ‘competency frameworks’ over the last 5 years (source: google trends)

Image showing the number of searches for ‘competency frameworks’ over the last 5 years (source: google trends)


The competency frameworks, that are available to download in this article, have been written to support individuals that wish to ‘grow’, HR Managers that want to establish a universal measuring stick, and they are also useful for coaches and training providers. Particularly useful for the latter groups because these frameworks can enable individuals to identify where they are now, where they want to get to, and then the coach/training provider can help them make the required progress.

Understanding These Capability Frameworks
My experience of using these skills scorecards is that the individual has had experience of their type before. An not a good experience. They have found competency frameworks to be complicated. Often struggling to understand them because they were doing pieces from the higher levels, and pieces from the lower levels, leaving the learner confused as to their starting level. These competency frameworks have been designed to avoid this problem. They are simple to use because:

  • Each competency framework has 5 levels from 0 to 5.
  • Each competency framework is one soft skill, e.g. Influencing Skills.
  • Each competency framework has been created on just one page per soft skill.
  • Each competency framework is based on 7 essential qualities chosen as the most important for that soft skill.
  • Each level of the competency framework is based on being able to demonstrate a number of the essential qualities. For example, at Level 2 the individual is regularly demonstrating 3 of the essential qualities, and at Level 3 they are regularly demonstrating 5 of the essential qualities. This allows flexibility.

The competency frameworks have been written for 16 soft skills. Only 1 is specific to the UK Grocery Industry; Category Management. The others can be used for any individual that wishes to measure their capability on a soft skill, e.g. Networking.

Making Business Matter Competency Framework

Making Business Matter Competency Framework


Using These Capability Frameworks
An individual begins with the 16 soft skills and then chooses 3 soft skills that they would like to improve, e.g. Time Management, Negotiation Skills, and Category Management.  The next step is to decide which level they are currently achieving on each soft skill. Then which level they want to achieve, and by when. Filling the gaps from ‘where now’ to ‘goal’ is then about choosing internal support, or Executive Coaching, or a training course. If a coach is chosen, then both coach and coachee use the competency framework for that skill as a goal and a measuring stick.

Download the Competency Frameworks

Making Business Matter

MBM is a training provider to the UK grocery industry. They help suppliers to the big four supermarkets to develop the soft skills that will secure them more profitable wins. Their unique training method, Sticky Learning ® , ensures that their Learners are still using their new skill 5 months later, which enables them to guarantee a measurable return on your training investment.

The Olympics and CPD – Q&A with iPerform

Posted on August 9, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

In this Olympic Year, with the Rio Games in full flow, iPerform are encouraging organisations and employees to achieve an ‘Olympic’ performance in the workplace.

The CPD Standards Office calls in with accredited CPD expert Paul Hannam, who launched iPerform with medal winning Olympians Steve Backley and Roger Black, to discuss why he believes short 5-minute videos are effective for professionals to learn on-the-go. 

Can you provide some background about your business?

iPerform is an App and e-learning programme that provides users with short videos to train them in transformational strategies from areas such as sports, business, motivation, neuroscience and positive psychology. The app integrates best sports practices with proven professional development and business practices.

Why did you get iPerform accredited by the CPD Standards Office?

We wanted to create a programme and certification for soft skills, which are so critical for the performance of individuals and organisations. We offer over 14 hours of qualifying CPD points.

We believe that accreditation enhances both the usage and impact of iPerform, and supports lifelong learning. Above all, we want users to invest in themselves as this is the key to their long term success.

What are the advantages in developing training on video via a mobile app?

We have built an app so users can access their training videos anywhere and anytime. They can watch and complete the programme while commuting on a train, or listen to the audio version in the car or even in the gym. We believe bite-size videos is the most effective way to learn new skills.

How long does it take to develop a training video?

Although our videos are only 5-minutes long, each one takes on average 3-4 hours to create. We have to get the script right, which can range from 600 to 800 words, then we have to film it – which normally takes several takes – and then add graphics, animation and complete other post-production processes. Then the quality is checked and the video is added to the programme.

Do you see video as the future of training?

Yes, most definitely and especially on smartphones and tablets as the incredible growth of YouTube and other video platforms proves this.

Videos have far higher impact than the written word and, especially in training, can convey ideas, knowledge and skills far more effectively.

Why did you get two medal winning Olympians to help design learning resources?

Roger and Steve are both world class athletes and highly accomplished coaches and speakers who have worked with thousands of business professionals around the world.

The big idea of iPerform is ‘practice’. You cannot reach the top in sports without practice, and we believe the same is true in business.

So most people might not ever compete in the Olympics, but iPerform can help individuals compete in their own contest, watch short videos on-the-go and keep their CPD up-to-date.

Exclusive Discount for the World of Learning 2016

Posted on July 11, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

Members of the CPD Standards Office can access an exclusive discount to attend the World of Learning exhibition in October 2016 which showcases modern solutions for professional development.

Now in its 25th year, the World of Learning has established itself as the most comprehensive event for all aspects of Learning and Development (L&D), and the CPD Standards Office are proud to have reaccredited it.

In becoming accredited, the World of Learning has benchmarked itself against best practice for event execution and delivery and invites training providers from small organisations to large corporate trainers, freelance coaches and mentors.

The Office and World of Learning work alongside one another, sharing a common mission and ambition to ensure opportunities for continuous professional development are of the highest standards.

The World of Learning event promotes cutting edge and first rate training and learning activities, and combines the extensive research of its contributors with input from key industry figures. The CPD Standards Office fully supports the World of Learning event, as it is a crucial knowledge update for professionals within HR and L&D functions.

Amanda Rosewarne, Director of CPD Research and Accreditation said: “The World of Learning event is a fantastic opportunity for our accredited CPD providers to gain access to new business. The exclusive event discount on offer our members will enable them to have a better access to a wider professional network.  Those who attend the world of learning will have the opportunity to consume knowledge about the newest e-learning technologies to experimental classroom practices for CPD purposes and evolving lerning strategies of potential clients.”

To find our more about the World of Learning accredited course visit the CPD Standards accredited provider page.


Make CPD Sticky!

Posted on June 28, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

On Thursday 21st April, The CPD Standards Office was a sponsor of Membership Excellence 2016 in London, the most important conference of the year for professional bodies, institutes and associations.

The conference was themed ‘Membership: Evolution or Revolution’ and the CPD session invited speakers who presented on how they are dramatically changing the way their delegates learn for work.

Our speakers included respected professional bodies Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL); and large and small innovative training providers Reed Learning and CC Consulting. We also invited Fuse Universal, a social LMS, which is a mobile app that enables colleagues to share 2-minute videos across the company to demonstrate best practice.

There were a number of fantastic conversations that resulted from the CPD sessions including how professional development needs to be ‘sticky’ meaning ‘memorable’ in a world of information overload. See below the speaker highlights.

Speaker highlights.

  • Clare Hodgson, Professional Development Manager, ACCA presented how CPD has got personal within her organisation said: “Employers and employees say ‘I don’t know what CPD stands for, but I know I have to do it’”
  • Hodgson presented on how ACCA has improve its communications on CPD to ensure that individuals find it relevant, flexible and will enhance their employability prospects.
  • The ACCA has built a unique curriculum to help members choose their CPD modules, delivers CPD skills webinars and provides a jobs board to inspire individuals to apply for a promotion.
  • Melissa Sabella, Director of Product, Innovation and Strategy at Reed Learning highlighted how narrowing down the content on training to three topics per session is most effective for memory and delved into motivational learning theories.
  • Joni Tyler, Head of CPD at RIBA presented her own definition of micro-learning as ‘Learning as short digestible, bite-sized, single information units. Tends to be informal.’
  • Tyler said: “Micro- learning can take you beyond trivia knowledge and into deep learning as the tools can be used in addition to structured CPD.” For example, small email reminders, quizzes or extra reading on social media.
  • Steve Dineen, CEO and Founder of Fuse Universal, wooed the audience on how his social LMS (in form of a mobile app) can enable businesses to create ‘authentic’ communications at work.
  • Dineen explained that by using two minute videos, training can move ground up as store managers can record their best employees’ sales techniques and upload the content onto the fuse platform and share across the company. This makes training more personal as video can be replayed on smart phones and most content is consumed during travel between the home and the work place.
  • Rosemary Cooper Clarke, Founder of CC Consulting, gave her top tips on leadership coaching and how to keep dynamic by keeping it focused, action-centred and practical.
  • Jane Galbraith and Jack Sellen, Membership team at The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) explained how together with the CPD Standards Office revamped its accreditation service to ensure their providers deliver high quality courses according to their own standards.

Dealing with the Apprenticeship Levy

Posted on June 22, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

What is it?

In April 2017 the way the government funds apprenticeships in England is changing. Some employers will be required to contribute to a new apprenticeship levy, and there will be changes to the funding for apprenticeship training for all employers.

The apprenticeship levy requires all employers operating in the UK, with a pay bill over £3 million each year, to make an investment in apprenticeships of 0.5% of the pay bill. You can use this levy for training apprentices.

When does it happen?

Everything changes in April 2017, so you need to start planning now.  Apprenticeships started before April 2017 will be allowed to run to completion on the existing arrangements.

 Am I affected?

Yes!  Apprenticeship arrangements are changing for everyone but only businesses with a wage bill of over £3million per year will have to pay the levy.

Is this just about funding?

No!  There is a new concept of “Apprenticeship standards” being rolled out.  These will allow employers far greater input and control over the training of apprentices and mean you can develop the staff your business requires more effectively by controlling the content of their apprenticeship.

 What do I need to do?

This link on the Apprenticeship Levy will help you plan and the CIPD has produced a useful FAQ.

Publicise your CPD Accreditation

Posted on June 21, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

A number of our highly valued members are getting themselves into the press and publicising their CPD Standards accreditation achievement.

Most recently Dale Howarth, a business consultant, achieved accredited speaker status for his presentations and speeches which the CPD Standards Offices third party assessment process deemed to be high quality and appropriate for CPD purposes.

As a result, Howarth has gained recognition by his local community and wider business audience by gaining publicity and acknowledgement for his prestigious CPD accreditation. Read more on Howarth’s local paper: The Island Echo

How to get into the press

At the CPD Standards most recent members event, PR expert and professional, Amanda Ruiz gave her advice on how training and learning providers can get into the press.

Ruiz recommended Golden nuggets are:

  1. What is your big “why”? What drives you?
  2. Why are you so good at what you do?
  3. Why are you better than your competition? What makes you stand out?
  4. Who is your competition? What do they do that you really admire?
  5. What is your mission?
  6. What are your major strengths and opportunities?
  7. Who is your target audience and why?
  8. What do the client testimonials say about you time and time again?
  9. What did you do before you launched your company? The press love a good story…

If you have taken the opportunity to get into the press, please share your stories in the comment section below and we will share them to promote your CPD accredited training.

CPD for Competitive Advantage

Posted on June 9, 2016 by - CPD Sectors>News

Andrew Gibbons an independent management developer, wrote a blog for the Training Journal in February 2016 summing up why he thinks CPD is a competitive advantage to all businesses.

Read here: Training Journal Blog

Here are some of his best points:

CPD is a low cost and high value strategy

I believe that a clear and committed strategy for the development of professionals in whatever field can be a low cost, and very high value route to genuine competitive advantage.

If professionals are recruited with the explicit expectation that at the very least will comply with minimum CPD requirements of their professional bodies then this will have a positive impact on the quality of intake for an organisation.

Professionals employed should be expected to show tangible evidence of planning their development in a tangible, flexible, structured way, and that they record that learning.

CPD can identify non-engagers

Once an organisation gets serious about CPD, it will swiftly identify those who would prefer not to engage. The passive professionals, often in positions of significance, see themselves as lifelong members of a club, passing exams decades ago was their price of entry.

CPD can work if employers take control

CPD can only have real impact if employers take the lead as professional Bodies can only publish the codes of practice to encourage CPD, and threaten sanctions for non-compliance.

Individual members will only see value in engagement if they feel their careers are dependent on CPD compulsion. Employers will favour those with tangible evidence of meaningful CPD over those that just can’t be bothered.

Thus CPD can provide a significant competitive advantage in recruitment, reward, career progression and performance management. The good news is most of the competition won’t be prepared to make the effort – nor will they reap the rewards of getting the most from their professionals.

 About the author 

Andrew Gibbons has been an independent management developer for the past years. He can be contacted on or 07904 201 474.