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Institutional guidance on PDP

From the 2005/06 academic year there has been a requirement that all students have the opportunity to engage in PDP and have some method of recording their personal development. National guidelines for PDP have been produced by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA):

The University of Manchester has devolved the operation and implementation of PDP and personal development recording to the local point of delivery to ensure maximum flexibility and requirements of individual disciplines and where appropriate, accrediting professional and vocational bodies. A University working group has drawn up guidelines and key principles in relation to PDP, which have been approved by the Teaching and Learning Group.

Guidelines and Principles

The key principles of PDP for the University of Manchester are outlined as follows:

  • Personal Development Planning should be centred on student learning and development, supporting students in strengthening, integrating and reflecting on knowledge; and on understanding their intellectual, personal and social development
  • Personal Development Planning should provide a framework to support the development of students in a structured manner, allowing them to self-assess progress through their programme and onwards to their careers.
  • Personal Development Planning should aim 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 and development
  • Personal Development Planning should provide a mechanism and a forum for individuals to learn to articulate and present their personal, academic and career development.
  • Personal Development Planning should give individuals the opportunity to reflect on learning within the curriculum, in co-curricular activities, and outside the curriculum.
  • Personal Development Planning processes should seek to encourage a positive attitude to self-development and lifelong learning

PDP related activities and opportunities within the curriculum should be articulated through unit and programme specifications according to these key themes which are aligned to the principles outlined above:

  • Structured and supported opportunities for self-assessment of progress
  • Core activities that give students the opportunity to review, and plan their learning with feedback and support from tutors/ supervisors.
  • Opportunities for students to present their developmental progress and to articulate their future goals
  • Methods for recording development and reflection within and outside the core curriculum

In addition:

  • Programme embedded models are considered good practice as they help students make clear links between their personal and academic development.
  • The effectiveness and enhancement of PDP should be a standing item for annual reviews.
  • PDP should be linked to employability. Where possible the Higher Education Academy Employability Profiles should be used to inform development and enhancement.
  • PDP processes should emphasise the articulation of skills and experience.
  • Students should be reminded of the learning outcomes of their units before completing unit evaluation questionnaires.
  • Electronic recording of personal development should be considered good practice.
  • Where possible students should be encouraged to submit a 'final portfolio' to their academic adviser or potential referee to inform any future references. Students should be encouraged to view this a developmental exercise and to engage in the recording process throughout their degree. The 'final portfolio' should be considered a rich synopsis of their development and achievement.

Further Resources

Further internal and external resources are also available.