The CPD cycle

The CPD cycle illustrates the process by which you can make the most of CPD activities by taking a structured approach:

the CPD cycle


What are the areas that you need to learn, improve or update? What are your skills gaps? What are your aspirations and what do you need to do to get there? If you’re not doing so already, speak to your employer about this as a part of your performance review or regular supervision meetings as they can help you to identify areas of learning for you.


What is the best way to achieve what you want to do? The planning stage can be started at any point throughout the year, but you may find it useful to align it with your annual development or performance review.  It’s important to remember that a lot of the learning we do is not planned. Therefore, use this stage as a guide to follow, not a strict plan you have to stick to.

Take a look at our ‘different ways of doing CPD’ section for lots of suggestions on different methods and sources of learning.


This is where you actually do what you have planned to do. It's likely that your plan will include a mixture of keeping up to date with your area of expertise, learning about the external environment and developing new skills. If you are considering a change in role or organisation take a look at our Careers Hub section on our website for advice and guidance on finding the right role for you.


It is important to take time to reflect on what you have learnt and review how effective the learning was. Ask yourself if more is needed, and if so what?


You need to be clear about how you will put your learning into practice in the ‘real world’. Learning something without then implementing what you have learnt is a wasted opportunity – use it or lose it! Embedding learning requires repetition. Try to create opportunities where you can regularly revisit the things you have learned by putting what you have learnt into practice.