I know that continuing professional education for accountants is a mandated thing and that sometimes it’s only about the all mighty CPE credit. But that does not take away from the potential value of the education itself. Please–continuing education isn’t just about putting in the time! Even in non-regulated professions, outside training is considered essential to stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices in your field.

Are you staying up to date? Are you getting all the value you should from your training?

How do I do that, you ask? Well, it’s been proven that learning is not a passive endeavor. Adults learn best when they actively “participate” in their learning. You must take some responsibility in your own learning process.

I know that most program descriptions list “no advance preparation required,” but training can be such a significant investment of your time and money, it makes sense that you do whatever it takes to maximize the return on your investment.

Here are 5 ways to maximize the value you get from your training:

1. Before your training program, spend a little time preparing. Think about why you chose this particular program. How does the topic apply to your job? What would you like to get out of the training? Just one essential tidbit can be worth the cost of the program.

2. If possible take a look at the handouts ahead of time. Look for content areas that interest you. Jot down some questions you might want to ask the instructor.

3. During the program, turn off your distracting beeps and bells: cell phone, email notifications, etc. Focus on the presentation. Take notes!

4. Immediately after the program: review your notes to refresh your memory. If there were references to additional resources, check those out while you’re still excited about what you learned.

5. Once you’re back at the office, share the material with a colleague or a group in your firm. Discuss how you can use the new information in your current work. Teaching others helps you retain the information and it promotes a positive cycle of organizational learning.

Sorry for all the extra work, but I think you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort. I hope in your next training with CPE Link or other provider, you take back a tip that will bring in new business or save your firm time in a key process area. Happy learning!