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Promote Professional Development


The unit ‘Promote Professional Development‘ for the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership explores the importance of continuing professional development (CPD), which includes evaluating existing gaps in knowledge, setting goals in a personal development plan (PDP), and selecting learning opportunities.

It also looks at reflective practice and why it should be used as an essential learning tool.


It consists of four learning outcomes, each comprised of several criteria.

The study guide below contains information, research and references that may help you to complete this unit.


Learning Outcome 1: Understand principles of professional development


1.1 Explain the importance of continually improving knowledge and practice

  • To improve practice
  • To keep up to date with current legislation, standards and best practice
  • To learn new skills relevant to job role
  • Prevents skills becoming obsolete
  • Makes learning an active and conscious activity

1.2 Analyse potential barriers to professional development

  • Funding
  • Poor organisational culture and practices
  • Lack of interest from employees
  • Lack of time and other resources e.g. the void created when an employee is taken off shift to complete training
  • Employees being able to fit training requirements around personal commitments such as childcare
  • Language barriers
  • Self esteem/self confidence
  • Poor management and supervision

1.3 Compare the use of different sources and systems of support for professional development

  • Manager
  • Colleagues
  • Internet
  • Tutor
  • College/training providers
  • Skills for Care
  • Government training Levy
  • Mentoring
  • Supervision/Appraisal/Observations
  • Formal/informal
  • Internal/external

1.4 Explain factors to consider when selecting opportunities and activities for keeping knowledge and practice up to date

  • Cost
  • Location
  • Training provider
  • Is it necessary for the role?
  • Priority
  • Time and resources – can staff be moved from their day-to-day role to attend training?
  • Rota management

Learning Outcome 2: Be able to prioritise goals and targets for own professional development

2.1 Evaluate own knowledge and performance against standards and benchmarks

  • Code of Conduct
  • Currently held qualifications
  • Completed training
  • CQC fundamental standards
  • Minimum standards such as Care Certificate assessment criteria

2.2 Prioritise development goals and targets to meet expected standards

  • Identify training and experience required
  • Prioritise by completing most important and most urgent first

Learning Outcome 3: Be able to prepare a professional development plan


3.1 Select learning opportunities to meet development objectives and reflect personal learning style

  • Identify which learning opportunities will meet specific learning needs – give examples
  • Reflect learning styles e.g. I am a visual learner so I chose training in video format rather than classroom format

3.2 Produce a plan for own professional development, using an appropriate source of support

  • Work with line manager to agree a Personal Development Plan (PDP)
  • Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals and timescales
  • Include PDP as appendix (Personal Development Plan Template)

3.3 Establish a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan

  • Commit to a schedule to regularly review plan
  • When reviewing, check progress and identify if any goals/timescales need to be changed
  • Add new learning goals when required
  • Identify what help and support may be needed to ensure goals are met

Learning Outcome 4: Be able to improve performance through reflective practice

4.1 Compare models of reflective practice

  • Reflective practice: thinking about a situation and identifying what you did well and what you could have done differently for better outcomes
  • Kolb reflective practice (Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development)
  • Gibbs reflective practice (Learning by doing)
  • Both models agree that there must be a deliberate process to turn experience into knowledge
  • Kolb model designed for educational institutions
  • Gibbs model designed for healthcare
  • Gibbs model is a bit more complex and requires more time to do than Kolb’s model
  • Gibbs model adds ‘feelings’ to the process
  • Kolb’s model is easier to learn and quicker to perform

4.2 Explain the importance of reflective practice to improve performance

  • Deliberate process to ensure experience is translated into knowledge, skills and understanding
  • Helps prevent same or similar mistakes occurring in the future
  • Forces the learner to think about their performance and identify areas of improvement
  • Gain valuable insights about performance

4.3 Use reflective practice and feedback from others to improve performance

  • Give example of performance improvement from reflective practice in own work
  • E.g. I was getting a lot of calls on my days off from staff asking things they already knew the answer to. Upon reflection I realised that it was easier for them to call me because I just gave them the answer they already knew. I decided that instead, I would ask them what they thought they should do to force them to think about the situation themselves. 90% of the time they knew the answer and this made them more confident in their abilities. Over time, calls reduced because staff learned that I wouldn’t give them the answer but force them to think of it themselves and they became empowered to use their own initiative instead of contacting myself.
  • Give example of performance improvement from feedback in own work
  • E.g. My line manager informed me that a couple of supervisions I had performed with my staff had targets that were non-specific, couldn’t be measured and had no timescale. She introduced me to SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely) targets and advised that I use these when setting goals with my staff. I followed her advice and noticed an improvement in my staff with regards their understanding and meeting of targets.

4.4 Evaluate how practice has been improved through: reflection on best practice, reflection on failures and mistakes

  • Give example of performance improvement through reflection on best practice own practice
  • E.g. A client was not meeting the goals he had agreed with us. Upon reflection, I realised that the goals we had agreed were the goals that we (his support team)had wanted him to achieve rather than goals that he himself wanted. We had not been working a fully person-centred way. I spoke to the client and with his agreement scrapped the original goals and we collaboratively set goals that were a lot more centred around his preferences. He then had a lot more motivation to achieve them.
  • Give example of performance improvement through reflection on failures and mistakes
  • E.g. When I became a manager, I found that my front-line support skills suffered. I was making a lot of mistakes like forgetting to sign the MAR sheet and being a few pence out when doing balance checks. I reflected on the situation and realised that I was constantly thinking about my managerial duties whilst on shift with clients, which was making me prone to errors because I wasn’t concentrating enough on client support. Upon reflection, I decided that whilst on shift, I would put all managerial duties to the back of my mind and give the clients my full focus. I scheduled other time-slots where I would fulfil my managerial duties. This resulted in my front-line support getting back up to the required standard.

Useful Quotes

  • “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping experience and transforming it.” (Kolb, 1984)
  • “It is not enough just to do, and neither is it enough just to think. Nor is it enough to simply do and think. Learning from experience must involve linking the doing and the thinking.” (Gibbs, 1988)
  • “Without reflecting upon this experience it may quickly be forgotten or its learning potential lost. It is from the feelings and thoughts emerging from this reflection that generalisations or concepts can be generated” (Gibbs, 1988).
  • The Care Certificate: is the beginning of the career journey for those new to care; is a foundation for health and adult social care integration; ensures those new to the sector are supported; is endorsed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC); is a CQC expectation – all employers should now be offering it.” (Skills for Care, 2019)
  • “[you must] be able to justify and be accountable for your actions or your omissions – what you fail to do” (Code of Conduct, 2013)
  • “[you must] report any actions or omissions by yourself or colleagues that you feel may compromise the safety or care of people who use health and care services and, if necessary use whistleblowing procedures to report any suspected wrongdoing.” (Code of Conduct, 2013)



Sample Essay


Click here for a sample essay for this unit.


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