“... it is not the intention to be prescriptive here but set out the expectation that programmes must demonstrate the processes used to facilitate reflective practice in the context of employability skills. However, the review of PDP identified that the “embedded model of PDP apparently has a lot of advantages, not least, high reported levels of student engagement” and so this should be encouraged.
Drawing on the experiences gained in introducing the MMU Professional Passport personal development planning would be enhanced with the inclusion of the following, probably in core units at Levels 5 and/or 6:
- Production of an appropriate Curriculum Vitae
- Evaluation of skills developed within the programme and their relevance to future employment
- Evidence of effective answers to competency based questions as used in application forms ”
The National Committee of Inquiry in Higher Education recommended in 1997 that Progress Files should be introduced into HE. The guidance was updated in the QAA document Personal development planning: guidance for institutional policy and practice in higher education in 2009
While the term Progress File suggests that it is a document charting the progress of an individual, the overall concept contains:
[ From Guidelines for HE progress files ]
From this we can note that there is a clarity about process and product. The products (records, reviews, plans) belong to the individual. The institution’s involvement relates to provision of the the transcipt and to the provision of structured and supported processes of PDP.
At MMU, a bottom-up approach to implementation of PDP has resulted in an appropriately diverse range of models of PDP, where the key features of reflection on learning and achievement, and planning for personal and career development, are supported and structured in a variety of ways.
The minimum requirements for PDP are set out in the QAA Progress Files for Higher Education documentation.
For MMU this could translate as follows:
It can be argued that PDP is, and always has been an integral part of what we do in higher education. In many areas (e.g. Art and Design, Performance, Health Care and many others), reflection and recording of personal development as a practitioner has always been central to study and in many other disciplines there are strong elements of this kind of practice.
However, making explicit reference to, and development around PDP, encourages students to reflect directly on the process of learning, and to gain an awareness of their goals and their progress towards these.
With an increasing emphasis on the employability of students, PDP offers a mechanism for the development of personal attributes, attitudes and, where appropriate, artefacts to heighten personal awareness of what each student has to offer to others (which may include employers) and in a world where lifelong learning is not just a buzzword, but a necessity.
There are also strong indications that where members of academic staff are enthusiastic about PDP, their students will engage at a much deeper level and there is mounting anecdotal evidence that where effective practice in PDP exists, students “become easier to teach”. Further indications from the QAA. The QAA produced updated guidelines in January 2009.
For further information please contact Alicia Prowse, Centre for Learning and Teaching, Extn 6136.