Main articles: Professional development and Continuing Professional Development
Within the domain of Continuing Education, professional continuing education is a specific learning activity generally characterized by the issuance of a certificate or continuing education units (CEU) for the purpose of documenting attendance at a designated seminar or course of instruction. Licensing bodies in a number of fields impose continuing education requirements on members who hold licenses to practice within a particular profession. These requirements are intended to encourage professionals to expand their knowledge base and stay up-to-date on new developments. Depending on the field, these requirements may be satisfied through college or university coursework, extension courses or conferences and seminars attendance. Although individual professions may have different standards, the most widely accepted standard, developed by the International Association for Continuing Education & Training, is that ten contact hours equals one Continuing Education Unit.
Method and format of continuing education
The method of delivery of continuing education can include traditional types of classroom lectures and laboratories. However, much continuing education makes heavy use of distance learning, which not only includes independent study, but which can include videotaped/CD-ROM material, broadcast programming, online/Internet delivery and online Interactive Courses.
In addition to independent study, the use of conference-type group study, which can include study networks (which can, in many instances, meet together online) as well as different types of seminars/workshops, can be used to facilitate learning. A combination of traditional, distance, and conference-type study, or two of these three types, may be used for a particular continuing education course or program.