The report should begin by clearly identifying the professional development needs (ICMA practices) the member sought to improve this past year. The remainder of the report should focus on what the member learned.
Credentialing Advisory Board reviewers are looking for concrete examples of learning. A comprehensive report of all the member learned is not necessary: one example of something learned from each activity is sufficient. "I read Media Relations for Local Governments and learned about working with the media" is too vague. Better would be "I read Media Relations for Local Governments and learned more effective ways to improve my working relationships with the media, specifically to be proactive, after assuring my policy body is informed, about providing the media with breaking news; to not play favorites among the media; and to encourage elected officials to provide quotes."
Every ICMA member commits to forty hours annually of professional development (Tenet 8 of the Code of Ethics). What distinguishes Credentialed Managers and Candidates is their commitment to plan for continuous personal improvement, to reflect upon their development activities, and to document their learning for peer review.
Some advice for maximizing your learning: as members advance in their careers, they often lament that training activities rarely provide grand, new solutions or insights. Such unrealistic expectations can lead to skepticism of any presenter, author, or trainer and cause our attention to wander. The mind closes, rather than opens, to learning. We may miss even small, useful kernels of new knowledge.
Attention and reflection help capture more of these kernels. Taking notes increases our attention. Later, even brief reflection or review of our notes seems to expand and help retain concrete learning. If time is available, greater learning gains can occur by preparing a journal of thoughts and reactions, discussing ideas with a colleague, or studying more on the topic.