As most Registered Sensory Scientists are constantly learning, they recognise reflection as an essential part of continuing professional development. Making time to write things down as CPD is the moment which makes the difference. It is a challenge to maintain and enhance professionalism; however CPD-reporting helps to provide a structure for learning. A balanced portfolio of CPD activities should include a selection of activities in at least 3 of the following categories:
- Formal / Educational
- Learning outside of your normal employment
It is expected that you maintain continuous, up-to date and accurate records of these which demonstrate a mixture of different learning activities. You should also demonstrate how learning has improved quality of your work and benefited user of your work which is called reflective evaluation. See 5 steps to perfect CPD.
Please see below for a non-exhaustive list of examples of practical learning activities which you may choose to undertake during your professional activities as a sensory scientist.
1. Work-based learning
Work-based learning is professional development that takes place within the work environment in your current role. Such development naturally takes place as experience is gained in the sensory science role, greater independence and responsibility is given, and the complexity and scope of work undertaken increases.
Work-based learning also includes in-house learning activities and development opportunities that are provided by the employer as part of staff orientation and development in support of organisational performance and objectives.
Work-based learning may include:
- Experiential learning: Pre-preparation before commencing a new sensory role or expanding an existing sensory role e.g. learning new sensory technique/s, moving into a new product category
- In-service sensory training – includes orientation programs, standard operating procedures, best practices and employee development
- Receiving coaching from others on sensory practices e.g. panel performance monitoring, statistical methods
- Work shadowing to increase knowledge to aid application of sensory practices e.g. analytical method such as GCMS, production process, product formulation
- Peer review of own sensory work, including presentations to colleagues
- Review of sensory and related case studies and literature
- Participating in a journal club i.e. a group of people read a journal (typically the latest issue) at a similar time and then get together to discuss papers in it
- Discussions with relevant colleagues – idea generation, problem solving, e.g. choosing an appropriate method/s for a complex sensory project
- Presentations to external clients, regulators, policy makers e.g. conveying consumer insight to Government Bodies
- Supervising colleagues or students with sensory projects and in sensory roles
- Job rotation, secondments and sabbaticals to enhance sensory capability
- Involvement in the wider work of employer – beyond scope of sensory role
- Post project review and lessons learnt activities following significant sensory projects, events
- Requesting and analysing feedback on performance from colleagues, clients
- Participating in the employer’s performance appraisal and goal-setting process.
2. Professional activity
Professional activities that support professional sensory science development including participation in the management and organisation of a professional sensory science body; and also participating in activities that develop the professional skills and knowledge of other professionals and participating in activities that apply scientific sensory expertise in the wider community.
Professional activities may include:
- Involvement in the management of a sensory science professional body – officer, organiser, committee member, working group member e.g. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM); The European Sensory Science Society (E3S)
- Membership of a technical sensory expert group – special interest group, section or study group e.g. IFSTs Sensory Science Group, ASTM Sensory Evaluation Committee (E18)
- Organiser of a sensory science conference, scientific meeting or course
- Being an examiner of sensory courses or individuals working in Sensory Science
- Being a referee for a sensory science related peer reviewed journal e.g. Food Quality and Preference (FQP)
- Project Manager / Programme Leader of academic, commercial or government body e.g. a Research Council sensory-related research
- Being an expert witness on sensory science
- Development of new material for sensory science lecturing or teaching
- Developing and giving sensory-related presentations at conferences or scientific meetings
- Networking with professionals in other organisations to develop sensory knowledge and capability
- Maintaining current knowledge of sensory related ethical and health & safety legislation and procedures
- Sensory-related coaching or mentoring
3. Formal / educational
Formal/educational professional development includes the participation in Sensory Science activities that lead to gaining academic/professional sensory science related qualifications and the attendance at structured learning activities organised by sensory science or related professional bodies, learned societies or training providers; and also the preparation of sensory science or related papers, articles or presentations for a professional audience.
Formal / educational activities may include:
- Undertake a programme of learning or research for an academic qualification
- Attend training courses
- Attend conferences or scientific meetings
- Undertake distance learning or e-learning activities
- Reading to understand the legal, regulatory framework for professional work
- Maintaining or developing specialist skills
- Writing articles or papers
- Preparing presentations for conferences or scientific meetings to develop own knowledge
- Preparing material for training courses to develop own knowledge
4. Self-directed learning
Self directed learning takes place when the individual takes the initiative in diagnosing sensory science- related learning needs, formulating learning goals, designing learning experiences, identifying and using human and material resources and evaluating learning outcomes.
Self-directed learning may include:
- Reading sensory science or related books, journals and articles.
- Reviewing and summarising sensory science or related books and articles.
- Upgrading sensory science or related knowledge through internet searches and the use of electronic information sources
- Reflective practice – assessing benefit of sensory science or related CPD activities to self, client or employer – identifying next steps to enhance sensory science capability
5. Learning outside normal scope of employment
Activities which may not require sensory science expertise, but which help develop transferable skills and gain experiences that are valuable in the current professional role or in future career directions. These would include involvement in strategic activities for the employer; and activities carried out outside of professional life..
Learning outside your normal scope of employment may include:
- Strategic thinking (e.g. projects for employers such as organisational restructuring, strategic planning and resourcing, external/community relations, facility development)
- Leadership skills (e.g. managing a children's sports team, leader of a scouting/ guides activity, Chairperson for a club or society)
- Organisation and planning skills (Secretary for a club or society, school governor, Parent Teacher Association organiser, church parish councillor)
- Finance skills (e.g. treasurer for a club or society)
- Coaching and counselling skills (e.g. sports coach, Samaritans volunteer, mentoring, tutoring)