CPD, CPE, CME and CE are all acronyms that refer to continuing education and professional development.
Continuing education and professional development courses help professionals maintain their knowledge and skill after leaving formal education. The requirement to take part in these courses is often compulsory, mandating that a minimum number of hours or points are achieved each year.
Traditionally, the administrators of professional development courses have been professional societies/associations/institutions such as (using the legal example) the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority. However, more recently, specialist business information companies such as LexisNexis have become the go-to purveyors of this continuing knowledge development.
Even publishers have got in on the game with trade publications, such as Law.com and The Lawyer, aligning themselves with accrediting bodies to issue CPD points and certification.
Who can issue CPD points and accreditation?
Professional development points and accreditation need to be awarded by, or approved by, a professional body representing that industry in order to have any weight. Often, the accreditation means nothing without the accompanying accrediting body’s stamp of approval.
What is the criteria that people have to meet to get certified?
Different professions set different criteria for issuing and collecting CPD points. Often, it’s as straightforward as simply attending the online course, webinar or virtual event.
However, sometimes the requirement is more taxing, with the user required to answer a number of questions correctly during the course or after, in order to gain their points and certification.
Many companies have started using webinars as a CPD certification method. Why is that?
One of the main reasons companies started using webinars for CPD courses was because webinars allow companies to personalize and brand the CPD experience, while also being able to engage with attendees in real-time.
There are so many features built into martech webinar platforms that companies can make use of to elevate the training experience, which now include:
- Resource sections
- Modern interface
- Built-in tests
- CPD certificates
- Data insights
- No attendee limits
- And so much more!
Another benefit of creating a CPD course using webinars is that of the testing, grading and certification can be highly automated, which reduces the level of effort for the organizer.
At WorkCast, we work with leading accrediting bodies, such as Law Society, AMA, Chartered Institute of Marketing and also with business information providers like RELX and UBM Advanstar - covering disciplines ranging from veterinary and human medicine, to legal, marketing and information security.
They all develop CPD webinars because they are a flexible, feature-rich way to both engage their audiences and offer the proper accreditation.
With the ability to host audiences of up to 50,000 per event, the cost per event and ROI, CPD webinars outstrip anything achievable with conventional physical events and even conventional online training platforms.
How do online CPD events make money?
Webinars, webcasts and virtual events can be monetized in different ways. The main business models that companies usually opt for are:
- Member access only
- Paid access
Which model you choose depends on the profession, exclusivity, value and on how you plan on delivering the content.
Some companies might find it difficult to get delegates to pay for CPD, but it's relatively easy to attract sponsors who are looking to generate leads from your membership base.
In our experience CPD webinars and virtual events can drive very large attendance numbers, therefore commanding significant sponsor fees.
We will see online accreditation for professional bodies and publishers growing exponentially in the coming years.
Previously, only the large organizations were able to take advantage of these professional development tools.
But with smarter, cost effective and automated platforms now available, the overheads of the past can be removed.
The audience experience is better with rich media content, such as embedded videos and animations - all now supported on online training courses. The attendees can now log back in at a later date, to complete the tests and the platform will remember them.
We are constantly working on combining the intelligence of e-learning platforms with the engaging nature of live webinars, webcasts and virtual events. This enables our clients to segment out these lucrative online events as new commercial revenue streams.