The General Dental Council makes it clear to dental professionals that it is essential to plan and choose your continuing professional development actitivities wisely. We help you do this.
CPD activities should be chosen wisely. Your time is precious, so it must be well spent, enhancing your practice and improving patient care. Furthermore, your chosen activities must meet the mandatory requirements because it is the registrant, not the CPD provider, who is accountable to the General Dental Council for compliance.
Delivering authoritative and engaging training that is supported by robust verification has always been at the heart of what we do. We are confident that our quality assurance processes are second to none, and that the time invested in participating in our courses will be well rewarded.
The following is a guide to help anyone interested in using our CPD resources understand:
- what our courses set out to do and how they do it;
- the authority of the content;
- the procedures we employ to confirm the activity has been undertaken;
- our documentary evidence;
- how feedback can be given;
- how we review and improve our service;
- how we fulfil the requirements of the enhanced CPD scheme.
The information follows the sequence that most using our site will follow i.e. view the course details, participate then reflect.
COPDEND Quality Assurance Framework
The Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors (COPDEND) published a Quality Assurance Framework document in 2016 intended to support both the consumers (i.e. registrants) and providers of CPD. Two levels of quality (“Expected standard” and “Enhanced provision”) under four criteria are specified:
- Planning and development
The corresponding COPDEND QAF criteria levels are indicated in brackets e.g. (1.1.1).
Each course page displays comprehensive information (4.1). That pertinent to quality assurance includes the:
- subject title;*
- GDC highly recommended/recommended category(if appropriate);
- publication date;promotion or sponsorship (2.1.6);
- a learning summary comprised of: (1.1.1-3, 1.1.6)
- aims (what the training sets out to do);*
- objectives (what it will cover to meet the aims);* and
- outcomes (what can be expected on completing the training);
- anticipated GDC development outcomes;*
- intended primary target audience;
- name, qualifications and brief biography of the presenter(s); (1.2.1-2, 2.1.1-2,2.1.4)
- time awarded for verifiable CPD (anticipated);*
- Contact for administrative and educational queries; (2.2.1)
- course (learning) content:*
- that required to be awarded a CPD certificate;
- additional optional material.
These details will help a prospective participant assess:
- the authority of the training;
- its relevance to the individual’s training needs;
- the approximate time required to complete the course;
- compliance with the CPD Rules; and
- how it aligns with the COPDEND QAF.
Courses are organised into lesson modules. All have a:
- main content (usually a live webinar or on-demand presentation);
Additional content, for example documents, videos or quizzes may be included. This may be added, removed or updated following publication.
A dentally and educationally qualified person works with our subject matter experts prior to delivery in order to optimise the activities and promote participation (2.1.7). Opportunities to “pause for thought” are often incorporated into both live and on-demand activities, promoting deep rather than superficial learning (1.2.3, 1.2.5-8, 2.1.4, 2.2.2-4, 4.12).
When events are organised on behalf of an organisation this is clearly indicated. Educational content is separated from any commercial interests (4.9-10).
Quizzes are designed by educationally-qualified personnel to help confirm that the key points of the training have been comprehended (2.3.1-2). They 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 (2.3.3). 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 knowledge-check (2.3.7). 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 dismayed if your 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, helping to derive most from the experience.
Your progress is recorded and activity displayed for each lesson, specifying:
- Start date
- Last accessed date
- Accumulated time
- Status (complete/incomplete)
Individual activities can be listed by selecting Attempts from the respective lesson.
Courses will vary in their structure, with completion of some or all of the lessons required for certification. Overall progress through the required lessons is clearly indicated.
NB Required lessons are indicated by this symbol:
Our sophisticated bespoke learning management system records participation and awards the actual time spent, as required by the CPD Rules. Whilst on-demand presentations can be completed over multiple viewings, participants in live webinars must be present for the duration (as in a traditional face-to-face event).
All the required lessons must be completed for the course to be marked as completed.
On completion the certificate will be available to download. The GDC requires the time awarded to be accurate and not to be rounded up to the nearest hour: this is what our dynamic certification does. It displays the time taken to complete the course and corresponding date.
A guide value is provided for comparison, which is the approximate time it will take to complete the required lessons once.
Any further time spent is also recorded and noted, with the total time, time in the current CPD year and over the current five-year period given (4.3-4).
Reflections: Assessing impact
Time is currently the measure of CPD participation, but we believe that what is most important is not how long you have spent but what has been learnt. This is why we require completion of a brief reflection for all our formal training (2.3.1).
Our reflections allow participants to assess what has been learnt and how the training will be followed up. 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. When you return to the training your reflection can be reviewed and updated as required (3.1, 3.3-7).
Monitoring and improving our service
The reflections provide valuable feedback for the presenter and ourselves. This includes an assessment of the aims, objectives and outcomes (1.1.4, 1.1.8-9). The subject matter expert is provided with an anonymised summary to help gauge the effectiveness of the training and how it may be enhanced in future. Similar information helps us evaluate the administration so we can improve our service (3.8-13, 4.5-6). This includes an invitation to presenters to reflect on their experience of delivering training with us.
Personal development planning and CPD activity recording
We provide a free Microsoft Excel template to help registrants design and implement a realistic personal development plan (PDP), record their CPD activities and then update the PDP by setting further activities to meet identified learning needs and assess impact on patient care (3.5, 3.7). Completing this after each CPD activity will help keep your PDP relevant and make the annual CPD statement simple.
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.