Writing Personal Development Plans

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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
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , Writing Personal Development Plans


Dr. Rodger Charlton

Associate Clinical Professor, Institute of Clinical Education, Warwick Medical School
Coventry, West Midlands, UK

Rodger Charlton qualified from Birmingham University in 1983 and then completed an MPhil thesis in Medical Ethics. Shortly afterwards he became a part-time Lecturer in General Practice at Nottingham University. In 1991-2, he was a visiting fellow at the University of Otago Medical School, New Zealand, researching into the perceived needs of undergraduates in palliative medicine education. This formed the basis of his MD thesis. In 1994 he was appointed Senior Lecturer in primary health care at the Postgraduate School of Medicine, Keele University. In September 2000 he was appointed as senior lecturer in continuing professional development at Warwick University and in January 2003 he became the Director of GP Undergraduate Medical Education at Warwick Medical School and is now working as the GP Specialty Lead and an Associate Clinical Professor in Medical Education. In November 2003 he was awarded a fellowship of the Society of Medical Writers (SOMW) of which he became the chairman in April 2004 for a year. He has just completed a further textbook entitled; ‘Learn to Consult’, for Radcliffe Publishing, Oxford. He gives instruction to professional groups on writing personal development plans, continuing professional development and appraisal.

Ref: L09P1232