“At the end of the first year of the cycle, what should registrants have done?”
Philippa Mendonsa, head of education operations at the GOC, reflects on the first year of the CPD cycle and discusses the milestones registrants should have achieved
09 December 2022
As the first year of the three-year Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle is nearing its end, the General Optical Council’s (GOC) CPD team has been reflecting on how the new scheme and system have been embraced by registrants and CPD providers.
The new schemeLaunched in January 2022, the CPD scheme was introduced in order to adapt to the ways the optical sector is changing, respond to the diversifying scopes of practice undertaken by optometrists and dispensing opticians, and enable wider learning opportunities to be recognised as part of CPD. Our new scheme is designed to be more flexible: registrants no longer need to meet a number of mandatory competencies, but can instead spread their learning across four core domains as they see fit. The core domains include professionalism, leadership and accountability, clinical practice, and communication, allowing registrants to undertake a greater variety of learning and further their ‘soft’ skills, as well as their clinical skills. We’ve heard positive feedback from registrants about being able to log relevant learning from sources outside of optics as CPD through the new self-directed CPD option. This includes a range of activities, from attending a data protection course to completing a Master’s degree – both can count as CPD activities.
The PDP gives registrants an opportunity to reflect on their scope of practice at the start of the cycle (it can be revisited throughout the cycle)
The end of year one
So, at the end of the first year of the cycle, what should registrants have done? They should have:
- Completed their Personal Development Plan (PDP)
- Met the points target
- Logged their points correctly
- Included reflection statements where relevant.
Completing the PDP
The PDP gives registrants an opportunity to reflect on their scope of practice at the start of the cycle (it can be revisited throughout the cycle). It helps registrants to think about what they want to learn, what would be beneficial to their career aspirations, and plan their CPD activities. It also forms the basis of the mandatory reflective learning exercise, carried out towards the end of the cycle.
We are aware that some registrants are still to complete and upload their PDP. This should be done within three months of first logging on to MyCPD. Without a completed PDP, registrants will not be able to log their CPD points, although they will be able to carry out CPD activities so it’s important to complete it as early as possible in the cycle.
There is a PDP template on our MyGOC, MyCPD portal, but registrants may also develop their own template, or use one provided by their employer, contracting organisation or professional body.
Meeting the points target
We encourage registrants to obtain at least six points per year (adjusted pro rata for those joining part-way through the year), and would urge them to achieve more in order to spread their learning evenly across the three-year cycle.
Registrants can check their MyCPD account to see how many points they have before the end of December by logging in to their MyGOC.
One key system change in CPD is that registrants are required to log all their own CPD points. We recommend that points are logged on their MyCPD without delay as soon as a CPD activity has been completed.
When doing this, registrants should check how they are categorising their points as we’ve noticed some instances of provider-led CPD being logged as self-directed CPD. This may mean that registrants miss out on the correct number of points, affecting their annual and cycle totals.
In a nutshell: provider-led CPD is learning delivered through a GOC-approved CPD provider and has a C-reference, while self-directed CPD is learning from any other source.
Registrants are encouraged to reflect throughout the CPD cycle and have the option of completing a short-written reflection statement on MyCPD for any CPD activity undertaken
Registrants are encouraged to reflect throughout the CPD cycle and have the option of completing a short-written reflection statement on MyCPD for any CPD activity undertaken.
There are times where reflection statements are required – such as after completing self-directed CPD and after peer review.
Registrants will also be required to carry out a mandatory reflective learning exercise with a peer, but this will be towards the end of the cycle once all or most of their requirements have been met.
There is a reflection statement template on MyCPD but, like with the PDP, registrants may use an alternative template that suits them.
Learn more about CPD
We hope these pointers are helpful. For more detailed information, we have published CPD: A guide for registrants. This guide sets out the full requirements for each registrant group, and looks in more detail at features of the scheme, including personal development planning, reflection statements, peer review and self-directed CPD.
Earlier this year we also held a series of webinars which featured visual walkthroughs on various aspects of CPD, such as how to use the new MyCPD platform, which are all available online.
If you have any queries that aren’t answered by our guide or webinars, you can always email us.
About the author
Philippa Mendonsa is head of education operations at the General Optical Council.
OT interactive video CPD: one year on
Ceri Smith-Jaynes, OT’s clinical editor for multimedia, looks back at the popular discussion group, providing peer interaction online
OT interactive CPD in numbers in 2022
- Six CPD video exams
- 96% approval rating (feedback on GOC provider site)
- 548 LinkedIn posts
- 113,787 LinkedIn post views
- 3029 LinkedIn group members and growing.
On this channel, OT approves members, which stops advertisers and non-eye care people muscling in. Members needn’t add a lot of detail to their profile but, if they have a real name, and we can see they are an optometrist, dispensing optician or student, we will let them in.
Video CPD allows us to present content we just couldn’t manage in print, so I will commission topics that demand lots of video clips, graphs and images
For participants, our video CPD journey goes like this:
- Log in to our website and watch a 45–60-minute CPD video
- Answer the six MCQs
- Head over to the group on LinkedIn, read your peers’ views, ask questions and make your own comments
- Head back to the exam and write a short statement about what you have learned and hit the submit button.
I post in the group once or twice a week, sharing links to references and further reading, posing questions to invite comments and posting videos taken through my own slit lamp eyepiece. I love it when people post their own cases from practice, so I’d like to see more of this. The video authors sometimes participate in the discussion, so we can correct any errors in understanding too. We’ve been admitting new members all the time; and I hope the group continues to grow and flourish.
Video CPD allows us to present content we just couldn’t manage in print, so I will commission topics that demand lots of video clips, graphs and images. Since the relaunch in January, we’ve covered: papilloedema, juvenile glaucoma and keratoconus, retinal detachment, myopia management, and the basics of soft and RGP contact lens fitting.
“We’re hoping Villa Vision will win further funding in order to enable us to continue this work”
“The sector has significantly evolved since the Act was originally passed”
“We are not just doing it for show, it is about making changes for the collective good”
“The first step I took was to start asking the questions”