Professionals throughout the world are under more pressure than ever before to meet performance criteria while maintaining high standards. Some professional bodies are making revalidation compulsory and members will soon have to prove that they are up to date with all the latest developments in their field. But it is not only external requirements that professionals need to meet. In a world where patterns of work and learning are constantly shifting, individual professionals owe it to themselves to take responsibility for their own learning and development. In response to these needs keep-up-to-date productions has developed an innovative multimedia system delivering high quality interactive learning and development programmes over the internet regardless of connection speed.
Continuing professional development (CPD) plays an essential role in the career of every professional. As well as keeping professionals fully aware of the latest developments in their fields it needs to ensure that they are able to work effectively and confidently in an ever-changing business environment. In many professions CPD has not been mandatory, but this situation is changing. Dentistry, for example, is one of the first professions to have a mandatory requirement set by law. From 2002 The General Dental Council in the United Kingdom requires dentists to undertake 50 hours of CPD per year, including 15 hours of verifiable training.
As any dentist and most other professionals will readily admit, finding the time to attend courses and seminars adds extra strain to an already busy schedule. In this context keep-up-to-date productions has a clear and simple goal: to deliver fast, effective, interactive learning via its user-friendly internet channel. The channel enables individuals to study from their own office, at home, or wherever they happen to be, as long as they can access a PC.
Distance learning using video on the internet has until now been of very little educational value, having poor overall sound and picture quality. Viewers have had to make do with low-resolution images displayed in a small area of the PC screen. But now new technologies, specifically compression software and broadband online access, make it possible to stream full-screen interactive programmes with crystal clear resolution familiar to anyone who has subscribed to digital TV. In addition to employing these technologies keep-up-to-date productions also offers a narrowband alternative. With this the full-screen experience can still be provided using the company’s unique hybrid solution, where video and shockwave are streamed from a local drive while online.
The keep-up-to-date productions team have created a library of high-impact programmes, accessible via its website, combining the emotional impact of television with the interactive possibilities of the internet. They take the form of documentary or dramatised documentary, engaging the user in their style and presentation.
The word interactive is much overused these days. It is important that once participants have launched a programme they are not left just to sit back and let the information flow over them. Punctuating the programmes with a divergent range of relevant and thoughtful interactions, as the keep-up-to-date.tv system does, allows users to become actively involved with the subject matter and gain immediate feedback. The key to all the programmes is that they are visually driven and offer a genuine multimedia experience. By using full-screen, full-motion video with animation, text and music in combination, the system succeeds in stimulating the participant’s senses.
The software has been developed to allow a seamless transition between video and animation, thereby creating an uninterrupted learning experience. This allows a programme to flow without the disruption of having to open a multitude of windows. It also ensures that participants need not be technically expert in order to benefit fully from the programme. All the technology needed to run the system is provided on an installer disc and all programmes have intricately thought-through learning designs, based on sound training principles, with the result that they make the kind of impact needed to ensure the maximum retention of knowledge. The interface design has been specifically created to empower the viewer and there are built-in facilities to exit or pause, which means the user’s experience is one of being in charge of the e-learning.
Evidence of CPD is an integral part of the revalidation process. With the keep-up-to-date.tv system an individual Personal Development Record (PDR) is created for each subscriber to record every programme accessed and every module worked through, allowing proof of completion to be provided to the learner as well as to any professional body or employer. As for charging, dentists for example can subscribe to the full library of programmes for £320 or have access on a pay-per-view basis for between £15 and £40 per programme.
Following the successful delivery of a service targeting dentists, keep-up-to-date productions has been forging links with other professions and organisations. New contracts are in hand, including one with The Co-operative College, and the keep-up-to-date productions team are committed to adapting their system to any organisation that wants to take advantage of the latest distance learning technology to benefit its staff or members.
The importance of continuing professional development is now recognised by professional bodies, companies, educational establishments, employers’ organisations and trade unions worldwide, and keep-up-to-date productions is a leader in the field of CPD systems provision.