It is essential to be able to make informed decisions about CPD activities so that time is spent wisely and that patients can have confidence that those charged with their care are keeping up to date. The General Dental Council defines verifiable CPD as follows:
Verifiable CPD is activity that meets our definition of CPD and for which there is documentary evidence that you have undertaken the CPD and that the CPD has:
These requirements are set out in law.(1)
- concise educational aims and objectives;
- clear anticipated outcomes; and
- quality controls.
The registrant should therefore be able to determine what an activity sets out to do, what it will cover and what can be expected on completion. The provider must also provide documentary evidence (usually a certificate) that the participant has undertaken the activity.
It is important to note that the GDC does not approve CPD providers, and it is the registrant that is responsible for participating in activities that meet the mandatory requirements.(2) The General Dental Council also has no legal powers to take action against CPD providers.(3)
There has been criticism of the quality of much CPD, and in April 2013 the General Dental Council highlighted the importance of quality assurance and choosing CPD activities wisely.(2) In 2014 the Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors UK (COPDEND) published its Quality Assurance Framework (QAF),(3) a tool designed to help both registrants make informed choices about CPD activities and providers to benchmark their offerings.
The GDC has been reviewing the requirements for CPD. In 2016 it announced a pilot for an enhanced scheme(4) that would see amendments to the legislation. Scheduled for introduction in January 2017, the enhanced CPD scheme has now been delayed until at least January 2018 whilst further review takes place, described in Shifting the Balance.(5)
NB: We hosted a webinar in February 2016 on the enhanced CPD scheme, now freely available on demand as Enhanced CPD: Helping the GDC to shape the future.
Delivering authoritative and engaging training supported by robust verification has always been at the heart of what we do. We do not issue CPD for scoring zero in a quiz, provide certification for hours of CPD that only takes a few minutes, or simply for being logged in.The following is a guide to help anyone interested in using our resources to understand how we meet the requirements for delivering verifiable CPD. It should also be helpful when using the COPDEND QAF tool. It describes how you can determine:
- What our courses set out to do and how they do it;
- The authority of the content;
- How feedback can be given;
- The procedures we use to confirm the activity has been undertaken;
- Our documentary evidence;
- How we review and improve our service.
All our courses provide:
- A learning summary comprised of aims (what the training sets out to do), objectives (what it will cover) and outcomes (what can be expected on completing the training)
- The intended primary target audience
- The name, qualifications and brief biography of the presenter(s)
- The related principles from Standards for the Dental Team(6)
- If it is a GDC Highly recommended or Recommended subject
- The time awarded for verifiable CPD.
- The course components (lessons)
- Which lessons must be completed to obtain a certificate for verifiable CPD.
- The approximate duration of the training
A course can therefore be assessed for its relevance to training needs and how it aligns with the COPDEND QAF.
Courses are structured as lessons. All courses have a:
- Presentation (usually a live webinar or on-demand presentation)
There may be additional content, for example documents or quizzes.
Quizzes are designed to help confirm that the key points of the training have been comprehended. Questions may take various forms e.g. multiple choice, multiple response, short answer etc., and will vary in difficulty. They are scored, and once answered responses can be reviewed and feedback provided. If a question has been answered incorrectly the correct one is given. The quiz can be retaken, but the questions are randomised. There is therefore no excuse not to score full marks if so minded!
Courses that deploy quizzes may include the quiz as a pre-test. Only one attempt is given. The pre-test is intended to help assess current knowledge and determine which parts of the course may be of greatest relevance. Do not be alarmed if the score is low! That is to be expected and is the nature of the exercise. Once the final quiz has been completed (hopefully with a score of 100%) the results can be compared, indicating what had been learnt. This approach promotes deep rather than superficial learning, and helps derive most from the experience.
The minimum requirement will be completion of the presentation followed by a reflection. If other lessons are required these must also be completed. The reflection will be the final step.
NB Lessons required for course completion are indicated by the symbol
Once enrolled your progress is recorded and activity displayed for each lesson. Our bespoke learning management system records participation in both live and on-demand activities. Whilst on-demand presentations can be completed over multiple viewings, participants in live webinars must be present for the duration (as in a traditional lecture).
Once all the required lessons are completed the certificate will be available to download. The certificate also notes the total time spent, providing documentary evidence of additional activity spent over and above the standard time awarded for completion. For example, some courses have optional quizzes; the time spent completing these will be recorded and added to the total. Similarly, you might complete a course but then return to it a month or so later. This activity is recorded.
Time is currently the measure of CPD participation, but we believe that what is most important is not the time spent but what has been learnt. This is why we require completion of a brief reflection for all our formal training.
Our reflections allow participants to assess what has been learnt and how the training will be followed up. In addition, they provide valuable feedback for the presenter and course provider (The Dental Channel), so we can assess the effectiveness of the training and help improve our service. Further evaluation of our service is undertaken by inviting presenters to reflect on their experience of delivering training with us.
Reflections can be viewed following completion and updated. Tasks can be set. For example, you might complete a course in medical emergencies and decide that you need to book some CPR training. This can be identified and subsequently marked complete. Intended changes to practice can be identified and subsequently reviewed to assess the impact on patient care.
Our quality assurance procedures should give all stakeholders (registrants, regulatory and commissioning bodies, and members of the public) confidence in the training provided by The Dental Channel by confirming both the quality of content and our verification mechanisms. We have been fortunate to have received consistent and repeated recognition from both the dental profession and e-learning industries for educational excellence. In the E-learning Awards 2009, when we won an award in the category Meeting the needs of compliance for an external regulator or an internal workforce, the judges remarked:
The Dental Channel's provision of an excellent range of resources, and fine mix of multimedia e-learning, journals and meaningful assessments including webinars. Live webinars offer the online equivalent of evening lectures, with webcams, polling and chat ensuring that participants are actively engaged in learning. On-demand webinars provide edited versions of the live events, combined with quizzes and feedback
We look forward to continuing to work with all those keen to promote excellence in continuing professional development and patient care.
- Continuing Professional Development [Internet]. General Dental Council; 2017. Available from: https://gdc-uk.org/api/files/Continuing%20Professional%20Development%20for%20Dental%20Professionals.pdf
- Quality controls for verifiable CPD [Internet]. General Dental Council; 2014. Available from:http://www.gdc-uk.org/Dentalprofessionals/CPD/Documents/Quality%20Controls%20for%20Verifiable%20CPD%20advice%20sheet.pdf
- News Archive [Internet]. [cited 2017 May 9]. Available from: https://www.gdc-uk.org/newsarticle?id=186
- GDC calls on CPD providers to ensure quality [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2013 Oct 5]. Originally available from: http://www.gdc-uk.org/newsandpublications/pressreleases/pages/gdc-calls-on-cpd-providers-to-ensure-quality.aspx
- Quality assurance framework for dental CPD [Internet]. COPDEND; 2014 [cited 2015 Jan 15]. Available from: http://www.copdend.org//data/files/Downloads/Dental_booklet_24pp.pdf
- Enhanced CPD [Internet]. [cited 2017 Mar 24]. Available from: https://www.gdc-uk.org/professionals/cpd/enhanced-cpd
- Shifting the balance [Internet]. [cited 2017 Mar 24]. Available from: https://gdc-uk.org/about/what-we-do/regulatory-reform
- Standards for the Dental Team [Internet]. General Dental Council; 2013. Available from: https://www.gdc-uk.org/api/files/Standards%20for%20the%20Dental%20Team.pdf