Personal Development Planning (PDP)

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

PDP helps students to:

  • become more effective at monitoring and reviewing their progress
  • consider how they learn and become more effective learners
  • recognise and articulate their strengths and weaknesses
  • identify extra curricula opportunities outside the curriculum
  • enhance their employability through greater self-awareness, self-direction and an ability to articulate their learning to employers
  • think about how their academic, personal and career and development relate to each other.

All students at Plymouth University are supported with PDP at programme level, via embedded activities in the curriculum, further facilitated by their personal tutor. Students have the opportunity to manage their PDP using the University e-portfolio tool. This enables students to collect their plans, experiences and reflections in one place. These can be compiled into other forms such as a CV and can be shared with others, such as a potential employer.

Students are also assisted in their personal development by the University via services such as the Careers & Employability Service and through structured opportunities such as the Plymouth Award.

Personal Development is also recognised through the Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) which helps promote student activities to prospective employers. The HEAR will include and extend the existing record of academic achievement but it will also feature additional information relating to any extra-curricular activities undertaken by students which are formally recognised by the University. Guidance for personal tutors supporting their students with HEAR is also available.

PDP resources

School of Law delivers the Graduate Employability and Achievement Record (GEAR) model of PDP. Year 1 covers the transition to university learning and start of career planning, Year 2 the development of academic skills and career development and Year 3 refinement of academic skills and career development. The GEAR DLE pages provide a wealth of information

Europortfolio is a not-for profit association being developed with the support of European Commission as a central part of EPNET project, dedicated to exploring how ePortfolios and ePortfolio related technologies and practices can help empower individuals, organisations and wider society. Europortfolio provides a network for those doing ePortfolio and related work across Europe; to build the use of e-portfolios across communities, and to provide opportunities for future partnership working.   

The ePortfolio introductory course is focused to learners, teachers, practitioners, educational institutions, employers, educational authorities and/or policy-makers interested in starting to implement an ePortfolio for the first time or interested in expanding/enhancing their current practices. It provides an entry point to the subject of ePortfolio for non-expert users and early adopters, so you don’t need previous knowledge on the topic to get involved on the course.

Plymouth Law School provide a structured series of PDP modules across all three years of their programme. These are called the Graduate Employability and Achievement Record – GEAR1, GEAR2 and GEAR3. The LAWGEAR links take you to the DLE sites for these modules, where you can find out how the Law School supports, resources and assesses their PDP.

Personal Development Planning - good practice

Building a professional identity

Learn how to sell yourself using the skills that you gain through undergraduate research, conferences attended, studying and networking.

Plan B - Everyone needs one

Where can your degree take you? Learn the value of making plans and setting goals.

Social Media for Scientists

These slides examine the way scientists use social media to communicate their work and how undergraduate students may use social media to communicate, professionally network and job seek.

Social Media for Scientists (masters students version)

These slides examine the way scientists use social media to communicate their work. Aimed at masters students, it provides advice and guidance on how to use social media to communicate, professionally network and job seek.