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7 Steps to CPD

Developing your Outdoor Learning Practice

A guide for outdoor instructors, teachers, managers or leaders choosing next steps in development or training as a professional in outdoor learning


The IOL 7 Steps to CPD guide is designed to help outdoor instructors, teachers and leaders decide the next steps in their continuing professional development. It describes an approach to CPD that can support the needs of an NGB, your employer, IOL and your development goals.

A Definition of CPD

““Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is an on-going commitment to broadening or further developing competence in outdoor learning.""

For instructors, teachers, managers and leaders in the outdoors, competence in a particular role comes from the ability to combine learning, skills, experience and knowledge and operate safely. Training or education courses are usually part of the process of acquiring competence and gain the skills to meet the requirements of a particular occupation or role.

Experiences that contribute to broadening or further developing competence can be considered CPD. Courses, voluntary work on a committee, watching video, reading books, online courses are all valuable forms of professional development. In general, it is not the content of an experience, the reading an article or attendance on a course that makes something CPD – it is how you have applied your learning to broaden or develop your practice.



7 Steps to CPD



Recommendations for CPD

It is good practice across the sector for instructors, teachers, managers and leaders in the outdoors to engage in a range of on-going CPD activities.

CPD supports you in being professional in your approach, whether working full-time or part-role in the outdoors, or in a voluntary capacity. Many membership bodies, awarding bodies and national governing bodies of sports (NGBs) require CPD to keep awards current or as a condition of membership. IOL strongly recommends regular annual CPD.

IOL Membership Category Suggested CPD over 3 - year period
Student and Affiliate members of IOL Encouragement to complete CPD
Registered Members of IOL Equivalent of 10 hours CPD per annum
Accredited Members of IOL Equivalent of 20 hours CPD per annum
Leading Members of IOL Equivalent of 50 hours CPD per annum

Sources of CPD

There are many valuable ways available for developing knowledge, skills, understanding and experience. Use the examples below as a starting point when choosing CPD that best suits your learning needs and preferences. Our top three options:

  1. Get involved with IOL - through your IOL Home Nation / Region event, a Professional Practice or Professional Discussion Group, a committee, IOL Coaching or Assessing, or a project group.
  2. UK Coaching - read, watch or listen to a treasure trove of podcasts, guides, articles, videos and webinars. (

7 Steps Guides


7 Steps to CPD Development Map


7 Steps to CPD Quick Guide


7 Steps to CPD Full Guide


7 Steps Professional Development Record



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