Lifespan professional development through practice-based education: Implications for the health professions

Ronald M. Cervero*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


There has been much recent discussion by leaders and scholars in the health professions about redesigning systems of lifespan professional development, highlighted by the Institute of Medicine's report, Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions (2010). In this context, the chapter characterizes the current system of continuing professional development, summarizes the evidence base for dimensions of the proposed system, and identifies four key characteristics of the proposed system. In the current system, continuing professional development is: 1) Devoted mainly to updating practitioners about the newest developments, 2) Transmitted in a didactic fashion, 3) Offered by a pluralistic group of providers that do not coordinate their work together, 4) Using "seat time" to re-credential practitioners, and 5) Often paid for by vendors who stand to benefit from the learning. The redesigned system will involve four fundamental changes, including moving: 1) from a pre-service to a lifespan focus, 2) from content updates to practice-based learning, 3) from un-coordinated events to a curriculum, and 4) from re-credentialing based on participation to re-credentialing based on learning and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContinuing Professional Development and Lifelong Learning
Subtitle of host publicationIssues, Impacts and Outcomes
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781621007678
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuing professional development
  • Evidence-based continuing education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Practice-based education


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