10 Steps to Course Development

Step 1: Determine your target audience and form your planning committee

As soon as you are confident that a certain topic or issue will be of value as a CPD program it is important to identify first who the target audience is for your educational program.

  • Is it a small target such as orthopaedic surgeons that specialize in foot and ankle surgery?
  • Should it include other professions and if so which ones?
  • Should it include patients or family of patients?
  • Should it include other professions outside of health care?

Once you have determined your target audience a planning committee needs to be formed (link to Quick Tip on forming a planning committee) whose members represent the identified professions. We also suggest you contact a program planner at this point to advise on logistical aspects of program planning.

Step 2: Conduct a learning needs assessment. What is the objective data that supports the need for a CPD event?

The learning needs assessment will help you stay on track with your audience and also provide you with valuable information on what makes the topic relevant to your potential participants. (See Quick Tips on Conducting a learning needs assessment)

Step 3: Set your goals and concrete learning outcomes

Once you are clear about the learning needs of the identified audience, composing general goals for the program and outcome measures (objectives) is the next crucial step. If you are clear in this step; the rest of program planning will follow with ease. Specifying measurable outcomes will also lead to being able to gauge the change or impact your educational program has on participants. (See Quick Tips on writing goals and objectives)

Step 4: Decide on methods

Based on whether your program objectives are focussed on building knowledge, acquiring skills or developing new attitudes, choose the methods that are most likely to guarantee the outcomes you have identified. (See Quick Tips on choosing methods)

Step 5: Take care of the logistics – location, budget, speakers

An event planner or conference coordinator is crucial to these aspects of program planning. Questions to consider include:

  • How large is the potential audience?
  • How long will the program be?
  • What kind of space is required?
  • What AV support?
  • How will faculty be chosen?
  • How will the program be advertised?
  • What is the budget required?
  • What will we charge for registration?
  • Who could sponsor the program?

CPD Office offers complete and partial event management services. Please contact CPD office at info.cpd@utoronto.ca for further information.

Step 6: Submit course proposal for accreditation

CPD has an online process that is relatively simple to follow.

Step 7: Implement

No explanation required here!

Step 8: Evaluate

Receiving feedback and determining the success of your program is an important and necessary aspect of program planning. Comments from participants can help guide future programs. Consult Quick Tips on evaluation to see how the evaluation can go beyond satisfaction and provide information on impact on practice behaviour. (See Quick Tips on Evaluation)

Step 9: Debrief

Hold a debrief session with the planning committee. Review program evaluations and consider the following:

STOP: What aspects of the program should be eliminated

START: What new aspects should be considered for the program

CONTINUE: What aspects of the program should continue

Send in post course requirements to CPD office including complete list of registrants, summary of program evaluation and copy of the final program.

Step 10: Acknowledge your success!

Too often we move quickly on to the next thing without stopping to acknowledge the vision and commitment involved in creating a CPD event. Take the time to celebrate.

Is this the first time you are planning a program or need more information about course development or the accreditation process? Do you need help with event planning?

Further support is available from our CPD office: