Attending formal course-based learning forms a major part of continuing professional development for physiotherapists. There is a vast array of formal courses available to physiotherapists each holding the tantalising prospect of improving knowledrge, skills and patient outcomes. However, educational evidence suggests that, while participation in traditionally organised workshops and conferences improves knowledge and practice behaviours of the individual attendee, there is no corollary improvement in patient outcomes. This paper discusses reasons why formal course-based learning has yet to be successful at improving the patient outcomes of those who participate. Suggestions and strategies for reconceptualising this aspect of continuing professional development are provided.