Special Edition – CPCAB’s Online Courses
During academic breaks, we sometimes broadcast special editions of the Counselling Tutor Podcast. In this special edition – broadcast in the summer break of 2021, as the COVID-19 continues but is no longer at its peak – Rory Lees-Oakes speaks to Kelly Budd, Head of Qualifications at the Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB), the UK’s only awarding body run by counsellors for counsellors. Kelly announces exciting news about the CPCAB’s plans for how its courses will be delivered in future.
Kelly explains that before the pandemic began, CPCAB had believed that counselling courses could be provided only face-to-face. Reflecting on the way centres rose to the challenge of the pandemic in adapting their teaching methods, Kelly describes the changes and learning that have resulted. It has become clear that training can be just as high quality and effective online, provided that the right support is in place, and there is the commitment from tutors and centre staff.
It seems likely that counselling will in future be a blended market, with some practitioners choosing to offer face-to-face sessions, and online and telephone working also being another important part of many counsellors’ offering to clients. Rory and Kelly note that it makes sense therefore for counselling training to mirror this blended pattern.
CPCAB created a working group to look at how courses will be delivered post-pandemic. This group has been looking at each of the courses offered by the awarding body, doing and drawing on relevant research, and the extent to which they could be taught online.
In this, CPCAB draws a clear distinction between asynchronous distance learning (i.e. learning not in real-time, where students are left to their own devices) and virtual classrooms (which – as with attendance at college – are on a specific day and at a specific time, for live, real-time teaching).
The working group has concluded the following:
- Level 2 and 3 courses can be delivered fully online.
- Level 4 courses need to have a minimum of 75% of face-to-face teaching.
- The new young people’s counselling qualification requires at least 50% face-to-face contact.
- Level 5 and 6 courses can be taught fully online
If centres wish to teach more of the content online than specified, this is fine: the online proportions are options only.
CPCAB has also designed a quality framework of online delivery, specifying how standards must be maintained – again differentiating its provision from that of distance-learning providers whose courses are not recognised by professional bodies and employers in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.
Together with other reputable awarding bodies, CPCAB is regulated by Ofqual, so ensuring that students on its courses:
- can be certain that the levels are properly mapped to the National Qualifications Framework
- can understand how and where they will be qualified to practise after successfully completing the course