Bringing CPD from the Dark Ages to the 21st century

It’s time to embrace a digital approach to CPD, says Anthony Chadwick.

Reading time: 4 minutes

Never stop learning. This mantra is celebrated by open-minded, customer-centred professionals who want to make sure they’re offering the latest and the best.

They don’t want to be left behind; they want to ride the cusp of what’s new, what’s developing … and what will keep them on the cutting edge of industry advancements.

And yet, so many industries continue to offer that cutting-edge information with antiquated methods. Their industries might be leading the Digital Age, but their teaching modules are stuck in the Dark Ages.

Which leads to the question: if you’re building a reputation in your industry as a thought leader, a mover and shaker, a visionary … what kind of message are you sending if you’re not using the latest technologies to deliver continued professional development (CPD)?

What kind of messages are you sending about your business, and your industry, if you’re teaching 21st-century material using the equivalent of rocks and sticks?

Digital learning, webinars, eLearning, or live interactive video are common in many industries (including healthcare, IT, retail, education and construction), but what about the rest?

Why are we limiting limitless topics? Why are we not delivering progressive material with pioneering techniques?

Why do make-up application techniques have broader reach than life-saving medical procedures?

Why do videos of cats playing pianos have more engagement than videos about how to save your cat’s life?

It can be difficult to find good answers to these questions. In fact, rather than answer them, it might be easier to simply make the shift to 21st-century teaching methods, like webinars and other digital learning methods.

Why are we not delivering progressive material with pioneering techniques?

The shift can be more seamless than you expect, and the benefits of updating your methods greater than you’ve imagined.

The paradox of webinar resistance

Digital learning is one of the most progressive approaches to CPD; and yet, in many industries, it’s being overlooked as if it’s an obsolete teaching method.

As advancements come along at increasing speed, every industry needs an efficient method for conveying education about those advancements. Still, some of the most progressive industries have been resisting.

The Dark Ages’ brand of CPD involved significant time commitments, travel, hotel stays, expense reimbursement, time away from family, missed work and a variety of other inconveniences.

And yet, webinar resistance, even in the most progressive and carbon-conscious companies, persists.

The paradox is undeniable, and the objections are unjustifiable.

The resistance to digital CPD

A quick internet search will reveal webinars and interactive video learning for nearly any type of CPD; however, you might also notice that some industries are leading, while others are noticeably sparse.

Some are stuck in the “this is the way we’ve always done it” rut. You know how growth-restrictive that mentality can be.

Others maintain that webinars couldn’t possibly work in their industry or that eLearning would not be embraced by professionals.

Perhaps they refer to instances in which it wasn’t profitable – not accounting for lack of preparation, the misapplication of digital methods or marketing failures, for instance.

There’s the argument that webinars cannot compare to face-to-face training. If you’ve ever been to a live training and felt reluctant to raise your hand with a question, or if you’ve wished there was more support after the event, then you can see the error in this mindset.

The live, interactive webinar model makes every eLearner feel like they’re the only person in the room, and forums offer the support of the educator as well as other participants for an unlimited period following the broadcast.

Webinars build relationships. That means that even if they’re delivered free of charge, they are likely to lead to loyal, revenue-producing associations.

Another objection is cost. The equipment, publication, management, licensing … it’s all too expensive. That is, until you consider all the travel expenses mentioned earlier.



In fact, many businesses and industries have chosen the webinar route because it’s more cost-effective for presenters and attendees – cutting energy consumption by 90% and CO2 emissions by 85%.

Some business owners cite the “newness” of eLearning. Forget about it. The digital learning market has been around for more than two decades.

And one that no one really talks about: fear. There’s anxiety about being on camera, or about managing the technology. For any learning curator concerned with these types of things, the news is good – there are webinars for that.

Now is the time to shed light on digital CPD

CPD is progressing from convention centres and hotel conference rooms to the comfort of professionals’ living rooms – and if you’re not on board, the train is about to depart without you.

By 2025, the global eLearning market will have grown to US$325bn. Compare that to US$107bn in 2015, and it’s easy to see that the trend is one you don’t want to miss.


About the author

Anthony Chadwick is founder and CEO of The Webinar Vet.


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