Getting started with your learning community

Setting up a learning community is quite straightforward. The following information explains the process.

Planning your learning community

Your CPPE learning community events can be as flexible as you like. Here are a few points to consider when making initial plans. The answer to one question might help you to decide others.

How large or small do you want your group to be?

Your learning community can have between 2 and 20 members. You might want to start small and grow, or you might want lots of perspectives right from the start.

Who do you want to join your group?

It’s up to you whether you choose colleagues from work, like-minded pharmacy professionals from the local area, or people from further afield who have a common learning need.

Do you want your group to be private or open?

If you have an open group, you might receive requests from other pharmacy professionals in your area to join a particular event or become a regular member of your learning community.

When do you want to study?

You might want to include your learning community session as part of a scheduled meeting that you already have. If that isn’t an option, you could schedule something during a quiet time at work or you may prefer to meet outside business hours.

Where do you want to study?

You could meet at work, in someone’s house, in a café or even the local pub. Would you prefer some atmosphere or a bit of peace and quiet?

Do you want to be in more than one learning community?

If you have several different groups of colleagues or a range of different learning needs, you can join more than one learning community. You can also be leader of multiple learning communities if you like.

What about learning with colleagues from other professions?

It is possible to form a multidisciplinary learning community with other healthcare professionals. However, only GPhC registrants can be registered as members of the learning community on the CPPE website. Non-GPhC practitioners can register with CPPE and pay to download the materials, or you can download the materials for them, but they are not eligible to receive hard copies. This is because CPPE funding from Health Education England is for pharmacy professionals.

One of the greatest advantages of learning communities is that groups who meet together regularly are able to discuss how they have put previous learning into practice, including what went well and what didn’t go according to plan, so everybody benefits from shared learning.

Before you set up your learning community

There are a few things to do and pieces of information to collate before you set up your learning community on the CPPE website.

  • Talk to your group and check they are all registered with CPPE, and that their contact details are up to date on their CPPE profile.
  • Appoint a leader who will create your group and set up your meetings on the CPPE website. It is very straightforward to do this and you can change the leader whenever you wish.
  • The leader gathers the GPhC registration numbers and CPPE registered e-mail addresses of other members of the learning community.

As a group, decide on the name of your learning community, your first topic, and when and where you will hold your first meeting. You can find full details of all CPPE programmes available on the learning communities dashboard.

Setting up a learning community on the CPPE website

  •  Log into the learning communities dashboard.
  • Click on Start a new learning community.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions, making sure to complete any box with an asterisk.

If you encounter any problems, contact: info@cppe.ac.uk

Creating a learning community event

  • Log into the learning communities dashboard. Click on Create a new community event. under My events.
  • Select the topic, venue, date and time that your group agreed.
  • Click Submit.

When you create a learning community event, CPPE instantly sends out an email to all members of the learning community with details of the event. Around three weeks before the event we send pre-event materials to everyone using the addresses on their CPPE accounts. We send the workshop materials to the learning community leader. Group members automatically get email reminders from CPPE approximately one week before the event takes place.

In addition, the leader is able to email learning community members through the CPPE website at any time. 

Leading a learning community event

If you have never facilitated an event before, this may be a little daunting. However, we have written a CPPE guide, Learning communities: a guide for leaderswhich is packed full of hints and tips.

A member of your local CPPE team will often be able to come along to your first session to support you. Either contact your local tutor directly or e-mail: info@cppe.ac.uk for more information.

CPPE runs several full-day facilitation skills workshops each year across the country. These are advertised on the CPPE website.

It is important to remember that as a learning community leader you are not expected to be an expert in the topic or to know all the answers. We almost always provide suggested answers to case studies in the workshop materials. Many topics have an accompanying facilitator’s guide which includes extra signposting material and hints and tips for leading the session (these are available from our website). If you come across a question that nobody in your group can answer, maybe one member could take that away as a CPD point for themselves and report back at the next meeting.