In many schools and trusts, professional learning and development are now the key driver of staff performance management and school improvement. In our latest update to the BlueSky platform, we have reviewed the user journey in our CPD module to ensure that this area offers a flexible and easy way to approve, record and evaluate professional learning in schools.

In response to the fascinating and insightful feedback we received from BlueSky members, we have taken the opportunity to review some aspects of the CPD features in BlueSky Education. These updates aim to offer our members more flexibility around the way they approve, record and evaluate CPD within the platform. We have simplified the process with a streamlined user journey that will allow our members to more easily understand the impact of professional development on their practice and how their work contributes to school or trust priorities.

We have updated the User Interface so that the process of recording CPD is simple and intuitive for all users, helping to ensure that creating a CPD activity, adding evidence and evaluating the impact is straightforward and time-effective. This update is part of our ongoing innovation and improvement road map and will be applied to all BlueSky members free of charge.

Please join one of our training webinars to learn more about how to utilise these new features for your school – see details and dates below.

Not all CPD requires approval

Many of our member organisations encourage their staff to engage in independent or self-driven learning, through a comprehensive learning package such as BlueSky Learning, or the school’s own learning programme. While staff may still engage in formal qualification courses such as NPQs and mandatory training in person, most teachers and other staff now access a wealth of professional learning resources online – such as webinars, short courses, academic research and even blogs. Such self-led learning should not require approval from a line manager to be ‘counted’ towards professional learning goals.

The option to approve CPD activities can now be customised in BlueSky. Administrators can now determine whether CPD always requires approval, sometimes requires approval or never requires approval. This will allow an individual to simply document and evaluate their own learning, whilst still providing visibility to relevant roles via dashboards and reports. Of course, some CPD will require an approval process, so you now have the flexibility to define when approval is required.

NB: By default, all CPD activities will require approval in BlueSky, except those created and linked to BlueSky Learning, so admins will need to change the settings for other types of CPD activity in line with your school’s policies.

CPD update, professional learning, product update
CPD update, professional learning, product update
CPD update, professional learning, product update

Short and long term evaluation of impact

Self-reflection is a key step in professional development practice. When individuals take the time to reflect on how a CPD activity has influenced their approach and actions, it helps to embed learning into their future practice. Re-evaluating the impact after a longer period of time, when they may have a deeper understanding of how their practice has changed, or may feel it is worth revisiting the activity to refresh their knowledge.

Documenting these evaluations within BlueSky also allows school leaders to see the impact that professional learning has had on individuals and wider school objectives. BlueSky offers a flexible evaluation process for both short and long-term evaluations.

CPD update, professional learning, product update
  • By default, the Immediate Evaluation will be sent to individuals as soon as the scheduled date of their CPD activity has passed.
  • Administrators can determine the period of time before the Long-Term Evaluation is sent and choose which fields are required for each evaluation
  • Administrators can now send reminder emails to encourage staff to complete their evaluations
  • The number of questions/comment fields on the evaluation forms can be reduced

To simplify your CPD practice, there are a number of options:

  • You can choose to only use Immediate Evaluations OR Long-Term Evaluations
  • Or evaluations can be switched off completely to align with your school’s approach and practice

Time saving actions that help you and your organisation stay on track

We understand that managing CPD approval requests and checking progress on activity can be highly time consuming, so we have created a number of shortcuts and reminder notifications to ensure CPD stays on track.

  • Bulk actions: BlueSky Line Managers and CPD Team members now have a number of bulk action options: you can now select a number of individual requests and bulk approve, decline or complete activities on behalf of staff.
  • Bulk reminders: If evaluations are enabled, Admins can bulk-send reminder notifications to multiple users to ensure they complete an evaluation.
  • Repeat reminders: Individual staff can also set themselves a reminder for professional development that needs to be revisited, for example mandatory training such as safeguarding or first aid. When creating the CPD activity in BlueSky, users can specify a renewal date for that activity, and they will receive an email notification when that date is approaching.
  • Training at a later date: If a CPD activity is taking place in the future, or needs to be completed by a certain date, a notification will automatically be sent to remind users to attend / complete the activity.

In addition, there are a number of terminology options that can be selected via the Terminology Bank to help tailor the CPD forms to your school practice.

CPD update, professional learning, product update

Client Training Webinars on this feature

To see this in action and ask any questions you may have around the feature, please join one of our live client training webinar sessions. Both sessions will cover the same training points. The webinars will be recorded so that the video can be shared in the BlueSky Help Centre afterwards.

BlueSky Education: CPD Module Update Session 1

11 June 2024 03:45 PM London

BlueSky Education: CPD Module Update Session 2

13 June 2024 10:00 AM London

Please register for your preferred session using your school / work email address. This ensures that we contact you at the appropriate email address with any follow up communications.

Session times are given as UK time (BST).

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Tamsin Denley

Author: Tamsin Denley
Head of Marketing & Partnerships

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