CPD and Reflection ‘on the go’ - the RCoA web app

In September 2014 the RCoA developed a web app for the full (‘desktop’) version of the CPD Online Diary, which is exclusive to members of the College. Since launch it has averaged approximately 1,000 visits per month.

The web app allows CPD and reflection ‘on the go’ – (e.g. on the train journey home immediately after an event). This can be done when the device is offline (when there is no signal / internet connection), and when connectivity is restored the information which has been added will be synchronised into the full version of the CPD Online Diary.

The ‘on the go’ functionality is particularly important because the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges advises that reflection should occur as soon as possible after completing a CPD activity or attending an event to ensure as much recollection and meaning as possible.

Members of the College can enjoy the following benefits from using the web app:

  • Record and reflect upon your CPD at a time which suits you
  • Fully compatible with iPads and iPhones, Android devices and Windows Phones
  • Fully linked to the College list of approved CPD events
  • You can generate a certificate of your completed CPD activities and your reflective comments which can be taken to your appraisal meeting, emailed to your appraiser or uploaded into an electronic revalidation management system.

If you want to register for the web app, or if you have an existing account with the CPD Online Diary and need a password reset, please click here.

This guidance will help you get started with using the web app, and it details the main features available. A set of FAQs, including contact details for further information, is also included.

1  Getting started

If you already have an account for the CPD Online Diary you do not need to separately register for the web app. You can access the web app by going to the login screen for the full version of the CPD Online Diary from your mobile device. This will generate the screenshot below and you should select the “Mobile / Tablet” option, so as to utilise the offline capability of the web app. You will next be asked to read the Disclaimer on Access and Usage Policy.

As part of the getting started process you will also be given the option to set a Passcode, so that the web app will lock if it is left idle for a period of time. This is entirely separate from any passcode for your device, or password for the full version of the CPD Online Diary. If you choose not to set a Passcode now, there is still an option to select one via the More screen of the web app – please see Section 3.5.

You will then be taken to the Home screen and the web app will synchronise. When this is complete you should save the web app as a shortcut to your mobile device for future ease of access, including when your device is offline.


2  Top tips for optimal use of the web app

  • Use of the Google Chrome browser – particularly on Android devices – is recommended.
  • Use of the latest version of software/operating system for your device is also highly recommended.
  • ‘Cookies’ must be enabled on your device for the web app to work successfully.
  • The web app will not work correctly in ‘private browsing’ or ‘incognito’ modes.
  • The web app is configured to your Cycle 1 start date – i.e. the date in the full version of the CPD Online Diary which you have specified you want to start recording your CPD activity from. If you want to change this date, please contact cpd@rcoa.ac.uk.

3  Web app functions

The web app has the following functionality from the full version of the CPD Online Diary.

3.1 Home
The Home screen gives a summary of the CPD credits achieved by personal activities and by CPD subscribed/approved activities during your current Cycle. This screen also displays your CPD activities which have been completed and are awaiting review, and your CPD activities which are planned for the future.

3.2 Summary
The Summary screen mirrors the full version (‘Reports’ ➜ ‘CPD Activity Summary’) of the CPD Online Diary in showing by what types of activities your CPD credits have been achieved. This information can be filtered by Cycle number or by a date range.

The Summary screen also lists any Personal Development Plans which you have set up and any special circumstances (e.g. career break or maternity leave) which you have recorded, and you can download a certificate detailing your completed CPD activities accompanied by your reflective comments.

3.3 Add Personal Activity
As with the full version of the CPD Online Diary, this screen allows you to add a personal activity. The fields shown with '*' are mandatory and the activity types correspond with the College Guidance on CPD.

A planned personal activity can be saved, pending future reflection, whilst a completed personal activity can be reflected on including linking (as applicable) to your Personal Development Plan objectives and to the CPD Matrix.

3.4 List Activities
This screen details the personal activities and CPD subscribed/approved activities which you have reflected on, as well as those completed activities awaiting reflection, and any planned future activities. This information can be filtered by Cycle number/date range, or by activity type or keywords.

3.5 More
The More section allows you to select an immediate Synchronisation and it provides a link to the full version of the CPD Online Diary and to the Disclaimer. It also has a number of other features as follows:

‘Settings’ ➜ ‘Welcome Message’ – there is the option of showing or hiding the welcome message which appears on the Home screen.

‘Settings’ ➜ ‘Auto-synchronise’ – you can specify how frequently the web app should synchronise. Please note, synchronisation is possible only when data can be transferred, i.e. when the device is in WiFi range or has other connectivity.

‘Settings’ ➜ ‘Turn Passcode On/Off’ – there are options for setting a Passcode/turning a Passcode on or off, and also specifying a time range before which the web app automatically locks if left idle.

Events List – this screen details the events which have been approved for CPD credits by the College and you can search for an event by date or by keyword using the Filters option.

You can select an event to read further information about it – e.g. the overall aim and learning outcomes, venue location and direct link for further information (where this has been supplied by the event provider), and you can also “Subscribe” to an event – to add it to your records.

When you have completed a CPD personal activity / attended an event you will need to add your reflective comments – how what you have learnt will impact on your patients and the services in which you work, and any further learning needs which have arisen. As with the full version of the CPD Online Diary the CPD credits from the event will only get added to your records when you have completed your reflection.

Note - The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has issued best practice guidance for trainees on how to record reflective comments into e-Portfolio systems. The guidance focuses on the importance of anonymising reflective notes for patient confidentiality reasons and it is also appropriate for users of the CPD systems. It can be viewed at https://www.rcoa.ac.uk/sites/default/files/Academy-Guidance-e-Portfolios...

You can also link your attendance at the event to the objective(s) from your Personal Development Plan if you have set one up.

The More screen should also be selected to log out of the web app.

4  Frequently Asked Questions

I selected the 'Mobile/Tablet' option from my device but I then got a blank screen – what should I do?
Please check that your device is not set to the ‘private browsing’ mode. Deselecting this option should take you to the Home screen of the web app.

I tried going to the full (‘desktop’) version of the CPD Online Diary from the web app and I received an error message that my windows limit had been reached. What should I do?
Some mobile devices have tab limits which vary between operating systems. If you get this error message please close some of your open windows/tabs and try again.

My device has been quite slow to synchronise information – what do you advise?
The differences in processing power and available memory between devices will impact on the performance of the web app. You may find it helpful to clear the browser cache, data and stored cookies of your device for optimum performance. Please note that clearing your cache may impact your device more widely (for example clearing saved passwords for other apps / websites).

I tried to download my certificate from the Summary page but I got an error message that the file could not be opened.
In order to view your certificate you may need to install a program (such as Adobe) which allows your device to open PDFs.

I am trying to reflect on a completed activity but the field to link to Personal Development Plan Objectives is not showing up – why not?
You will firstly need to have added your Personal Development Plan and Objectives in the full version of the CPD Online Diary.

I have reflected on a completed CPD activity but it has not appeared as a Reviewed activity in the List Personal Activities screen – what do you suggest?
Please check that you haven’t selected a filter (i.e. Cycle number or date range) which is outside of the completed CPD activity.

I was using the web app whilst my device was offline and I added and reflected on some personal activities but the Summary screen did not update – why is this?
This is expected behaviour – the Summary screen links up with your information in the full version of the CPD Online Diary and so can only update when there is a signal for your device.

Can you explain what the Summary table on the Home screen is designed to show?
This table is populated from the summary on the full version of the CPD Online Diary. It is updated with every auto or manual synchronisation and is a snapshot of your current progress at any given time. However, the filters used in the Summary screen do not update this table.

5  Further information

For further information about the web app or to comment on your experience of using it, please contact cpd@rcoa.ac.uk.