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Personal or professional development plans

The personal or professional development plan (PDP) is a formal, structured and supported means by which an individual (normally working with a teacher, mentor or supervisor) reflects on their own goals, performance, activities and achievements and sets out new goals and strategies in terms of their learning and training as aligned with the professional programme of study.

‘PDP embraces a range of approaches to learning that connect planning (an individual's goals and intentions for learning or achievement), doing (aligning actions to intentions), recording (thoughts, ideas, experiences, in order to understand and evidence the process and results of learning) and reflection (reviewing and evaluating experiences and the results of learning)’ http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/pdp/pdp (accessed 15 November 2013).

Goals may be a combination of personal (e.g. to cut down on outside commitments whilst completing the final year of a degree), professional (e.g. to practice a technique in the skills laboratory or practise clerking a wider range of patients) and career development (e.g. to explore possibilities for teacher training or postgraduate study overseas).

A PDP may be written to meet requirements from regulatory or statutory bodies around continuing professional development (CPD) and retaining a licence to practise, stay on the professional register or demonstrate professional standing.

The plan should clearly define time frames, activities and outcomes to meet the defined goals, and specify dates for review and meetings with teachers, supervisors or line managers. Plans will vary between individuals. Learning activities reflected on and identified may include formal and informal training, reading, attending meetings, observing colleagues, practising clinical skills, refreshing or learning new study skills, or developing new skills to meet a career goal.

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