Is Online CPD the future?

Updated: Mar 29

- My reflections as a participant on an online workshop ...

Training or CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is a mandatory part of keeping up our professional counselling registration and we must undertake at least 30 hours each year.

Continuing to learn is such a great part of this profession, which I love. However, what I don’t love is the fact that most quality training courses run in London. This makes it very difficult for many counsellors to access due to long travel times and high costs on trains and hotels.

With the UK (and much of the world) currently being in lockdown due to Covid-19 we have all been forced to jump online and adapt from how it’s always been.

I have found this very refreshing as I have seen so many organisations offer their training online, giving colleagues the opportunity to learn from the experts at much more affordable prices and without the travel time and costs.

Today I attended the fantastic interactive online workshop Practical Steps To Blogging with Karin Brauner with Onlinevents. It was such a great experience to be part of an online group of over 100 people.

Very skilfully managed with a great support team, Karin led us through lots of practical exercises. We were able to chat to each other in the group chat text window as well as in our safe little groups of 4 in the breakout room sections.

It felt so inclusive and great that everyone had the chance to write their questions and also get to talk to others. Karin did a fantastic job of talking through ideas with a few volunteers who came on the spotlight in front of the group.

When I reflect back on other experiences I have had of CPD recently I remember the early alarm and rainy dark mornings to get to an unfamiliar venue. Then the frustration of it taking ages just to get a coffee and queue for the toilet, meaning we would often end up starting late. I have come to the end of these CPD events wondering why I actually needed to be in the same room to have learned what I did, particularly when it was a large conference.

I think the only thing that holds me back from dropping the idea of face-to-face trainings altogether is the networking. It is true to say that I felt I made much stronger bonds during the breaks on face-to-face trainings. However, I am left wondering if I need to pay hundreds of pounds for this opportunity or could we as counsellors organise our own local networking meet-ups? Perhaps we could split the cost of hiring the venue which surely would be a lot less per person for just 1 day. This is not to mention not having the need for long train journeys to London.

As a trainer myself I am aware that there are new and different skills to be learned and honed when teaching online. It is not as easy as just switching on the camera. However, having now run 14 online workshops – both