Writing Personal Development Plans
Everyone has areas of professional practice that they feel comfortable with. But, what if they lack knowledge and skills in a particular area? The traditional didactic teacher-centred method of continuing education involves attending lectures. In this situation, it is likely a person will attend those in areas that they are competent but may avoid or neglect those areas which may be an educational challenge or ‘threat’. Reflection with an educational mentor (an educational appraisal) can lead to identification of learning or development needs and should form the basis for a personal development plan (PDP). Adult learners have the responsibility for organising their own learning and writing a PDP or action plan and this should be the basis of their continuing professional development (CPD). PDPs are about meeting individual needs, but also the needs of the workplace. PDPs may be viewed by some in educational terms as learning contracts with agreed educational ‘targets’ and they can form the basis of a portfolio or educational diary. We are all learners from ‘cradle to grave’ and during our education move from ‘teacher-centred’ directed learning of a carefully defined curriculum to self-directed ‘learner-centred’ learning. It is all too easy to become professionally isolated and bored through the routinisation and repetitiveness of the job. Planned CPD by writing a PDP can prevent the ‘autopilot syndrome’ that leads to stress and burnout and so increase morale and empower an individual organizationally and to evolve their job and career goals. A simple PDP proforma is demonstrated.
Keywords: Learning, Continuing Professional Development, Personal Development Plans
Dr. Rodger Charlton
Associate Clinical Professor, Institute of Clinical Education, Warwick Medical School