CPD in a virtual world
By Alison Rose, FCIA
As I write this article, I am still struggling to absorb the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Going into this year, the newly renamed Education and Qualification Council (EQC) and its various committees were well underway with planning for act20, in addition to the usual lineup of continuing professional development (CPD) offerings. Who could have imagined that a few months later, virtual conferencing would become everyone’s new normal, replacing all in-person CIA events for the remainder of 2020?
Many CIA members rely on events such as act20, as well as practice-specific seminars, to assist with meeting their CPD requirements. Understandably, there have been some concerns over the removal of in-person events and any associated implications for the current CPD recording period. However, it should be made clear that the strategy is not to remove CPD opportunities but to deliver them in alternative ways that eliminate the risk.
For example, the Virtual Actuarial Evidence Seminar, usually held in person, in September, will now have its content delivered via a series of webcasts which are already in progress. Virtual delivery is also being finalized for act20, the Appointed Actuary Seminar, and all education courses. Webcasts, which have always been popular with members, have become an invaluable tool for keeping the profession engaged and informed.
Apart from participating in virtual CIA meetings and webcasts, there are other ways to earn CPD credits from the safety of your own home, such as:
- Recordings of past meetings and webcasts. The CIA has a large bank of materials related to previous sessions, which can be a valuable source if you are looking for a refresher on a topic or looking for background on a current issue. If you missed the recent COVID-19 Town Hall webcast series, these have been added to the CIA website (login required).
- The CIA professionalism module. A combination of self-study and e-learning materials, the professionalism module must be completed by all members by December 31, 2020, in addition to the 80 hours of CPD.
- Seeing Beyond Risk podcasts. Did you know that the CIA produces podcasts on a range of topics? Connect and listen wherever you are or download them on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
- Make your own event! Collaborate with your colleagues, pick a topic (perhaps a recently released publication), and agree to meet online to discuss and debate.
As speculation for the future abounds, it is impossible to say definitively what our new normal will look like. The present plan is to resume in-person events in 2021, assuming we can confidently meet and ensure the health and safety of our members.
Feedback from the seminars and conferences has historically indicated that attendees value the networking opportunities provided at these meetings. Given that one of the lessons emerging from the crisis is that people prefer choice (e.g., people would rather have the option to work from home than be forced to do so), it is likely that while in-person meetings will come back, the convenience of virtual CPD offerings means it is here to stay. Rest assured, we are committed to bringing you virtual networking opportunities that allow you to stay engaged and connected with your peers.
Alison Rose, FCIA, is Chair of the Education and Qualification Council.