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Personal development planning - introduction

What is a progress file?

Progress files should consist of two elements:

  • a transcript recording student achievement which should follow a common format devised by institutions collectively through their representative bodies;
  • a means by which students can monitor, build and reflect upon their personal development'. (Recommendation of the National Committee of Inquiry in Higher Education; 1997)

While the term Progress File suggests that it is a document charting the progress of an individual, the overall concept contains:

  • the transcript: a record of an individual's learning and achievement, provided by the institution;
  • an individual's personal records of learning and achievements, progress reviews and plans that are used to clarify personal goals and can provide a resource from which material is selected to produce personal statements (e.g. CVs etc) for employers, admissions tutors and others;
  • structured and supported processes to develop the capacity of individuals to reflect upon their own learning and achievement, and to plan for their own personal educational and career development.

The term 'Personal Development Planning' (PDP) is used to denote this process.

Progress Files help make the outcomes, or results, of learning in higher education more explicit, identify the achievements of learning, and support the concept that learning is a lifetime activity.

What is Personal Development Planning?

Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and / or achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development.

The primary objective for PDP is to improve the capacity of individuals to understand what and how they are learning, and to review, plan and take responsibility for their own learning, helping students:

  • become more effective, independent and confident self-directed learners;
  • understand how they are learning and relate their learning to a wider context;
  • improve their general skills for study and career management;
  • articulate personal goals and evaluate progress towards their achievement;
  • and encourage a positive attitude to learning throughout life.