Personal Development Planning


The introduction of Personal Development Planning (PDP) in UK higher education in 2000 represents a system-wide policy-driven attempt – grown from a small practice base – to focus more attention on the learner as an individual with a unique identity and set of qualities, achievements, dispositions and motivations that enable her to be and to act in this crazy world.
 
 ‘a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.’
 
But PDP is no more than a framework for learning through reflection and action. It needs to be given life, purpose and meaning by students and teachers as they interpret and implement the ideas it contains in different learning contexts.
 
Julian Burton voice is central to change
When I helped develop PDP policy in 1999 I believed that it was the most visionary of all the Dearing recommendations for improving learning. It has the potential to put students each with their own unique identity and voice at the heart of the higher education enterprise and to supportthe idea f self-regulation.
 
PDP AND SELF-REGULATION.doc
 
I still believe this but the reality has been that PDP processes often emphasize the instrumental features of action planning, record keeping and reflection on action and performance and other important features of self-regulated learning are often neglected. All too often little consideration is given to the richness of the underlying motivations, emotions, values, beliefs, personal creativities and identity that underpin the sense of self-efficacy that drives and energizes what we do, particularly when we encounter the unknown. But as an education system we have made an important start and practices inspired by PDP offer our best hope of moving towards holistic notions of learning for a complex world.
 
PDP is intended to encourage the growth in UK higher education of reflective practices that are essential to the development of reflective, metacognitive capacities and levels of self-awareness required to becoming expert at thinking about and working with complexity. Similarly when viewed from the complex world perspective, Progress Files (particularly when they are implemented through e-portfolios) represent an attempt to recognise the complexity of learning, experiences and achievements that make up a 'being for complexity.'
 
PROGRESS FILE A POLICY SOLUTION TO LEARNING IN A COMPLEX WORLD.pdf 
 
 
But the implementation of PDP is a ‘wicked problem’. By that I mean the challenge of how to do it continually emerges from all the technical, informational, social, political and cultural complexity that characterizes implementation in each teaching and learning context. Such problems cannot be solved through simple, rational, standard solutions because the problem definition and our understanding of it evolve as we continually gain new insights and new potential solutions are implemented. If you are a PDP practitioner I hope that you will share your thinking on the relationship of your PDP practices to supporting the ideas in this wiki.
 
See Arti Kumar's SOAR framework.
 
Norman
norman.jackson@surrey.ac.uk
 
 
The Centre for Recording Achievement is the UK Centre of expertise for PDP and E-portfolio related activity