A joined National Forum seminar and Engineers Ireland (EI) Academic society webinar was held online on January 12, 2022, from 4pm-6pm. It was held as part of the National Forum Seminar Series 2021/22, under the theme 'Teaching and Learning Enhancement Within and Across Disciplines'.

The aim of the seminar was to explore authentic and appropriate teaching, learning, and assessment practice in Continuing Professional Development (CPD), through a multidisciplinary and international lens, and to identify opportunities for learning enhancement in the built environment.

A total of 63 people registered for the event through Eventbrite, and 42 people joined the live event. Seven presenter certificates were issued as PDFs by email after the event, as well as 13 CPD attendance certificates. The CPD certificate design was approved for use by GMIT, EI, and the National Forum.

Eight presenters in total made representations on their research, experience, and opinion on the topic area, representing the professions of engineering, architecture, architectural technology, quantity surveying, construction management, and many more, from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England, Malaysia, and Canada. The event was also supported by three student ambassadors from GMIT and an instructional designer.

The seminar was split into two parts, which ran in total for two-and-a-half hours. This journal article is reporting on the Teaching and Learning Panel. The recording for Part 1 Teaching and Learning Panel can be accessed below, or on the link https://youtu.be/WNIdCIJEZeU.


Presenter notes and the seminar-pack contents can also be accessed through the link. The seminar pack contained three items: 

1) The Professional Development Wallchart

This was the inaugural roll-out of the Professional Development Wallchart, which was supported by the National Forum Seminar Series 2021-22. Three Professional Development Wallchart documents are included alongside a demonstration on the use of the Professional Development Wallchart for Built Environment Professionals which can be viewed at this link https://youtu.be/3uB8hXJCpNw 

2) The Irish Building Regulation Self-Assessment Heat Map

This was also the inaugural roll-out of the Irish Building Regulation Self-Assessment Heat Map. Its’ development was supported by Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology Teaching and Learning Office and the National Forum. It is web-based and can be accessed at this link https://futurebuildeducate.ie/self-assessment.

A demonstration on the use of the Irish Building Regulation Self-Assessment - General Self-Assessment can be viewed at this link https://youtu.be/NyXGe8SDTl8. A demonstration on the use of the Irish Building Regulation Self-Assessment – Building Specific Self-Assessment can be viewed at this link https://youtu.be/mMAue8fi9zc

Figure 1: Irish Building Regulation Self-Assessment Heat Map. Image: Irene Hayden 

3) Course Evaluation Toolkit

As part of Irene Hayden’s PhD studies, an evaluation template for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses was developed. This Excel spreadsheet is also included. It may be useful to some when completing CPD course evaluations, for example, mirroring an authentic assessment (National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 2017).

Part 1 Teaching and Learning Panel

The event was chaired by Irene Hayden, Chartered Engineer with Engineers Ireland, chartered architectural technologist, lecturer in the Department of Building and Civil Engineering in GMIT, and current public relations officer of Engineers Ireland's Academic Society.

After introductions, she made the first presentation on the Teaching and Learning Panel, during which she briefly noted the application and usefulness of the three seminar pack items.

The design of the Professional Development Wallchart evolved from common themes found when reviewing six professional body CPD requirements in November 2021.

A key takeaway noted was that “if a learning activity contributes to your professional development, then it counts as CPD” (Engineers Ireland, n.d.-b, n.d.-a, 2021). She briefly explored the differences between prescriptive competences in the professions, in education, and in the legislation in the built environment.

A further suggestion was to write down and note a plan of action for professional development each year and to refresh it annually. It was suggested to write a bucket list and to aim to discover new skills. Learners were reminded to keep on learning and to water their knowledge, noting the limited shelf life of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.

Figure 2: Professional Development Wallchart. Image: Irene Hayden, National Resource Hub, CCBY

The next speaker was John Barfoot, who is the learning, education and academic director of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE). Over the past year, he has facilitated more than 86 course accreditations worldwide, commenting that he was "privileged to see first-hand the brilliant content and innovative pedagogy that academics have delivered day-in-day-out to students". 

He noted "there is international recognition that, post-Grenfell in the UK, there can be no doubt of the need for improvement and the professional competence of our colleagues in the built environment".

He noted that COP 26 reminded us of the implications globally of climate change, "and the need for improvement in knowledge and competency in our sector". He further remarked that "instilling lifelong learning in our students will encourage deep learning and professionalism throughout their careers". 

Cultural change

To support a cultural change for professional lifelong learning, Barfoot noted that "we need an environment of available, easy to find CPDs for professionals, who after reflecting on their competence, can source CPD which is accessible to all learning styles that will meet their development needs".

With zero carbon targets and changes in the digital environment, new resources are required by professionals which are currently being delivered by academic institutions. He propositioned that this knowledge needs to be shared by academics with professions as CPDs in ways such as micro-credentials, within the context of research-based best practice in teaching and learning.

Sharing research and resources that employ "good pedagogy suggests a problem-based approach is preferred by learners" and that "CPD needs to be deep learning, enabling us to test ourselves and apply knowledge and skills in new contexts and being critical of arguments and evidence".

He stated that "micro-credentials are qualifications evidencing learning outcomes within short, transparently assessed courses or modules of varying credit, and which can be delivered online, onsite or in a blended format". CABE is hopeful to announce its first CPDs in conjunction with an academic partner in the next few months. This can be advertised by the professional body and will either be free or "at a cost which is attractive to the sector".

The next speaker was associate professor Ar Dr Sharifah Fairuz Syed Fadzil from the Universiti Sains Malaysia, who lectures on the Architecture programme.

'Need CPD in order to do a competent job'

Dr Sharifah stated: "The built environment enriches the growth and welfare of people and supports healthier communities, and it encompasses all the citizens of the world. The three groups responsible for our built environment are first, the leaders who make policies and enforce them.

"Do they need CPD? They do, so they can do a good job, they need knowledge just like the professionals and the workers in the second and third groups. All three have a duty of care to safeguard the public and the environment."

This responsibility mirrors the Sustainable Development Goal requirements. She advised to embrace CPDs because "it is an investment in ourselves, boosts confidence, and strengthens our credibility".

Dr Sharifah was critical of CPD that was not authentic and professional, suggesting tours, visits and mere holidays as not being appropriate CPD because one needs the substance to qualify as CPD.

The organisations offering CPD need to be responsible for the authenticity, credibility, legitimacy, and quality of CPD choices, however she stated also that "you decide, as the onus is on you, as good or bad CPD is up to you to dissect and learn from". 

Dr Sharifah outlined CPD programmes she delivered which involved research and which subsequently contributed to her own, personal CPD. Dr Sharifah noted that freely available international CPD can provide excellent opportunities for sharing knowledge and experiences while saving time and money.

CPD is required also because technology is moving fast, with technological advancements in architecture in the future, for example, encompassing virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Hologram, and Roto etc. Dr Sharifah concluded on CPD with these quotes, "continuous effort… is key to unlocking our potential" (Churchill & Philomon, 2017) and that "formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune" (Rohn & Brainy Quote, n.d.). 

Figure 3: Architecture, Entrepreneur, and Islamic Ethics

The final speaker in the Teaching and Learning Panel was Dr Suha Jaradat, head of construction and surveying at the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland.

Dr Suha’s research speciality areas include digitisation of the built environment, architectural practice and construction management, and the interactions between buildings and people.

She outlined seven of her research papers suitable for use as CPD. For example, her doctoral studies examined Building Information Modelling (BIM) in architectural practices in the UK and USA using a professionalism lens.

She was also involved in larger studies while doing her doctoral research including ‘Handing Over Digital Data from the Project to Operations in the London 2012 Olympics Games Construction Project’ (Whyte et al., 2016).

She has more recently been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) from Innovate United Kingdom (UK) to support BIM Implementation in a Small and Medium Enterprise company, Camerons Strachan Yuille (CSY) Architects.

Dr Suha outlined her interactions with professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), CABE, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

'Does not need to be a formal, structured, boring course, or a tick-box exercise'

"CPD does not need to be a formal, structured, boring course, or a tick-box exercise," said Dr Suha. "I arrange local site visits for my students, but I also find it valuable for me to learn from and to keep in touch with recent developments in the field.

"Graduates from our courses facilitate office and site visits. We also visit local iconic buildings; sometimes these visits provide experiential learning while also sparking an interest in doing CPD relevant to the visit, such as reading an article and researching to find out more, thus developing a deeper learning experience." 

Dr Suha outlined her international experience, such as an ongoing relationship and review process with the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Dubai, and her involvement in a one-week Disaster Relief International Workshop at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

"Sometimes CPD programmes can help in networking and writing more research papers." Dr Suha was involved in international study trips with students to Dublin, Berlin, and Dubai which was beneficial for CPD, as well as involvement in postgraduate students' research conferences and delivery from guest keynote speakers. 

Figure 4: Disaster Relief International Workshop, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences


  1. Irene Hayden, lecturer, Atlantic Technological University, irene.hayden@gmit.ie
  2. John Barfoot, learning, education and academic director, Chartered Association of Building Engineers
  3. Dr Sharifah Fairuz Syed Fadzil, associate professor, Universiti Sains Malaysia, sfsf@usm.my
  4. Dr Suha Jaradat, head of construction and surveying at the School of Engineering and the Built Environment, Edinburgh Napier University, S.Jaradat@napier.ac.uk

Author: Irene Hayden BE, MSc, CEng MIEI, C Build E FCABE, BSc, MCIAT, PG Dip. Lecturer, Department of Building and Civil Engineering, Atlantic Technological University, Galway City. irene.hayden@gmit.ie


1) Churchill, W, & Philomon, S (2017). “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.” Startups & Venture Capital. https://startupsventurecapital.com/continuous-effort-not-strength-or-intelligence-is-the-key-to-unlocking-our-potential-decca74702f7 

2) Engineers Ireland. (n.d.-a). CPD ACCREDITED EMPLOYER STANDARD SUPPORT GUIDE: Learn, Adapt, Grow. https://www.engineersireland.ie/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=X4ymfojPtcw%3D&portalid=0&resourceView=1

3) Engineers Ireland. (n.d.-b). What counts as CPD? In Engineers Ireland (p. 1). https://doi.org/10.1016/s0262-4079(10)60053-x

4) Engineers Ireland. (2021). CPD. Engineers Ireland. https://www.engineersireland.ie/Professionals/Membership/Frequently-asked-questions/CPD

5) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. (2017). Forum Insights: Authentic Assessment in Irish Higher Education. March 2017, 1–2. https://doi.org/10.1080/0969594X.2011.5828

6) Rohn, J, & Brainy Quote. (n.d.). Jim Rohn Quotes. Brainyquote.Com. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jim_rohn_121282

7) Whyte, J, Lindkvist, C., & Jaradat, S (2016). Passing the baton? Handing over digital data from the project to operations. Engineering Project Organization Journal, 6(1), 2–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/21573727.2015.1115396