April 15, 2005
So what's the benefit?
Some staff emphasised the process of reflection-recording-reviewing-reformulating and planning as an important element within personal development and as integral to the process of learning, concerned with:
“getting away from a one dimensional view of their achievements, and come to see themselves in terms of their own progress, objectives, knowledge, helping them become more discerning in how they see information, promoting a deeper approach to learning, more curious, querying”;
and as a useful means of :
“getting students to engage in learning in a more holistic way, to see teaching as an activity which makes learning possible, and enabling students to weave together a tapestry so as to turn their aspirations into reality.”
Students identified something similar, though more concretely expressed:
“creates a complete record, while you remember it. This is important in a modular structure, where you do something then move on. The risk here is that you lose the sense of continuation, it is quite hard, trying to link it all together”.
The spin off in is in long term planning:
bq. “it could be a bit daunting’ doing a CV, so a general basis from which you could select would really help people”.
“We have never been told what an employer will be looking for in their jargon, we know we are competent, but we don’t really know how to tell an employer that we are”
Students need to be aware that PDP highlights skills beyond the ones that are obvious on their course. This is important given the lack of a clear view of what employers want from this process and their stated concern with
“knowledge of publishing and procedures, when actually what matters are mature approaches to problem solving, strategic thinking, creative thinking, nothing to do with the content”.
Students see the relevance of PDP as part of the changing career structures within the world of, for example, publishing which will require employees to take greater responsibility for their own career development:
‘the increasing need to manage your own life career in industrial contexts”
“you have to get into the lifelong learning habit, for which this kind of self-analysis is needed”.
This was not necessarily seen as an immediate motivator-lifelong learning was something for the future, though students acknowledged the sense of individual development that could be captured within the process:
“we’ve changed so much… like being a different person.”
April 13, 2005
Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view
I know that PeeDeePee probably sounds like some 'stupid government idea' but I have to agree with John dale on this (I'd guess you'd expect me to – as I am the PDP Co-ordinator!) PDP (Personal Development Planning), is a reflective process that is already embedded within every course. Every time you sit and think about solving a problem, planning a project, writing an essay or carrying out research, you are engaged in a reflective thought process, but not all of us are systematic about it.
Our values and beliefs, our experiences and our reading influence what we do – even how we approach challenges – but this process can be a bit random. The problem comes when we try to apply a haphazard way of thinking and planning to getting a job, or finishing our degree courses.
It a good idea if you keep a 'journal' (blog?) of all the skills and ideas you are developing. By ‘thinking through’ the implications of your records, you will find it easier to set goals and focus on what you need (such as certain technical or work-related skills) and what you want to achieve. This could help prepare you for interviews, work placements, and CV preparation – so it could lead to a good job. In a competitive marketplace, we need to make sure that we get ahead.
In addition, it gives you a better understanding of how to approach your studies – especially as ideas and skills develop over your degree course – and this could help you decide on the kind of future you want. If you keep a PDP record and occasionally revisit it, you will be more able to express your aspirations and evaluate how they’re going.
PDP makes you more effective at interviews by helping you appreciate your own values, goals and methods – which influence the way you approach problem solving, or management or the conclusions you reach. A reflective record helps you to organise what you are going to say at interview. Research indicates that those employees who match or exceed expectations, and know what they want, in every job are accelerated in promotion.
So, my advice is: start reflecting, reviewing and planning.
Maybe these questions will help?
What advice would you give first year students as they prepare for the module/course you're on now?
Can you think of one thing that is wrong with your module – and what solution would you propose if you were running it?
Can you think of three ways to improve your essay/report score?
Can you think of three immediate goals for this term?
What is the most useful thing you discovered this month and how will that help your studies/research?