The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Counting the CPD hours

Debrah Harding, MRS chief operating officer, fell victim to technical gremlins in her December webinar but look out for the recording on AQR's website.

The one positive to come out of December’s non-webinar is that the numbers who signed up demonstrate an appetite to learn about learning, even if, on this occasion, they were thwarted. In another era, Continuous Professional Development was often seen as a turn-off, something to pay lip-service to. But times they are a changing. The MRS’s new programme has already won fans for its comprehensiveness and flexibility.

I won’t attempt to pre-empt what Debrah will say, but I would like to urge you to have a listen and look at the slides when they’re up there. Because if ever there was a scheme which would have appealed to Benjamin Franklin, who as US president said: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” this is it.

Why do I rate it (and no, I’m not on commission)? Part of the reason is it’s designed for individuals, who can take charge of their own destiny, spot gaps in their learning/development, then fill them. It’s also aimed at line managers, serving those responsible for planning the learning needs of their team members.

And unlike many other such schemes, it is infinitely flexible. The units, or CPD hours as the MRS calls them, can be earned both through formal learning, such as training schemes, but also through informal learning...the books that you might read, the publications that you might author, the training (or the mentoring) that you might offer, even the awards that you might win.

Another attraction is that the MRS has opened it up to other training providers, such as the AQR, ICG, AURA, BHBIA, CIM and IDM, so attendance at their courses, workshops — or even webinars — will count, too, if on their publicity they carry the MRS CPD badge and the number of CPD hours each one merits.

Too good to be true? Well, not really. The MRS has organised a framework for individuals and team leaders to sort out personal development plans. All you need to do is rock up, work out what stage you’re at, where you want to be, and figure out the best way to get there.

The aim is to notch up a minimum of 21 CPD hours a year to keep abreast with professional development, of which at least 14 hours should be formal, not that onerous a target. If you hit it, you will progress from being a member to a certified member and possibly, in time, to an MRS fellow. But that’s not the only way to look at it. To cease learning is to stagnate, which clients know to their cost, and we can’t afford to be any different. So start earning those hours!


Louella Miles
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2015