I'm going to do something tomorrow that I haven't done for some time - I'm going to drive for over an hour to attend a CPD course!
And I bet it will be a two hour drive home as it's an afternoon session so we'll be leaving in the rush hour.
Is it ever worth it to be sat and lectured at for two and a half or three hours? Let's hope so. This particular course should offer plenty of scope for questions from the floor and, I hope, some practical solutions.
However, I do think attending lecture-style CPD events will soon be a thing of the past, at least for most people. For one thing, it's just not how younger people were taught at school or university. Plus for most people the travel time makes it a pretty uneconomical proposition in a world where time is money.
At the same time we have a relentless growth in online training and webinars, which we find very convenient in view of the distance we have to travel to the main training centres - Bristol and Exeter down in our neck of the woods (just stay off the M5 during school holidays!). Used with a bit of planning, we find webinars very effective for small groups, where we can discuss practical issues afterwards in a fraction of the travel time we have saved. Even better, if we book onto a webinar and find that it doesn't meet our needs we can just log off and be back at work within minutes. How many times have you had to sit through a second rate CPD lecture simply because it was less trouble than getting in the car and driving back to the office? I know I have.
What hasn't worked for us is the idea of watching pre-recorded online CPD alone. It might offer the ultimate in flexibility, but the interaction of a group session makes all the difference. It's also harder to avoid, whereas a self-study session is easy to put off in favour of something "more important". Hence my pile of unread articles and magazines is now about three feet high!
So tomorrow should be fun, and hopefully I'll pick up plenty of practical tips to bring back to the office. But the bulk of my CPD schedule for 2014 will be mainly in-house and online again.