Continuous professional development (CPD) in Periodontology refers to the overall framework of opportunities that facilitate a life-long learning practice, driven by the learner-practitioner and supported by a variety of institutions and individuals. CPD must address different needs for a great diversity of practitioners. It is clear that no particular methodology or technology is able to successfully accommodate the entire spectrum of CPD in Periodontology. Course designers must choose from and combine a wide array of methodologies and technologies, depending upon the needs of the learners and the objectives of the intended education. Research suggests that 'interactivity', 'flexibility', 'continuity' and 'relevance to learners' practice' are major characteristics of successful CPD. Various methods of mentoring, peer-learning environments and work-based learning have been combined with reflective practice and self-study to form the methodological backbone of CPD courses. Blended learning encompasses a wide array of technologies and methodologies and has been successfully used in CPD courses. Internet-based content learning management systems, portable Internet devices, powerful databases and search engines, together with initiatives such as 'open access' and 'open courseware' provide an array of effective instructional and communication tools. Assessment remains a key issue in CPD, providing learners with valuable feedback and it ensures the credibility and effectiveness of the learning process. Assessment is a multi-level process using different methods for different learning outcomes, as directed by current evidence and best practices. Finally, quality assurance of the education provided must follow CPD courses at all times through a structured and credible process.
- dental education
- continuous professional development
- educational methods