Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-19, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 23 January, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2019.


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Continuing professional development (CPD)

core definition

Continuing professional development (CPD) refers to study (that may accumulate to whole programmes with awards) designed to upgrade knowledge and skills of practitioners in the professions.

explanatory context

Continuing professional development (CPD) may include named awards or just be certification of specific skill or knowledge development. For example, certifying that a professional, whose area of work is affected by a change in the law, is up-to-date with the changes.


Although intended to refer to upgrading of knowledge and skills for practitioners in the professions, CPD is increasingly being used as a generic term for any post first-degree development related to a work situation.

analytical review

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) (2010) define continuing professional development as:

A range of short and long training programmes, some of which have an option of accreditation, which foster the development of employment-related knowledge, skills and understanding.


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA, undated) in the UK defines continuing professional development as:

Training programmes, some leading to formal awards, to extend a person's employment-related knowledge, skills and understanding.


The Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC) (2002) defines professional development as:

courses offered to improve knowledge and skills in a specific professional area, such as professional certification programs. Usually not offered for academic credit.


Indiana College Network (ICN) (2007) reproduces just the first sentence above.


In the medical context, Wojtczak (2002) defines this as Continuing Medical Education (CME):

A continuous process of acquiring new knowledge and skills throughout one’s professional life. As undergraduate and postgraduate education is insufficient to ensure lifelong physicians’ competencies, it is essential to maintain the competencies of physicians, to remedy gaps in skills, and to enable professionals to respond to the challenges of rapidly growing knowledges and technologies, changing health needs and the social, political and economic factors of the practice of medicine. Continuing medical education depends highly upon learner motivation and self-directed learning skills.

associated issues

related areas

See also

professional programme


Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 31 December 2016.

Indiana College Network (ICN), 2007, ‘Glossary' available at, updated 15 February 2007, accessed 12 July 2012.

Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC), 2002, Distance Learning College Glossary., not avilable at this address, 3 February 2011.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 7 January 2017.

Wojtczak, A., 2002, Glossary of Medical Education Terms,, December, 2000, Revised February 2002, accessed 2 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2019

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