Question Tom Education

The importance of personal development planning.

The importance of personal development planning.

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Answer Internal Staff

A personal development plan (PDP) is a document which logs a person’s aspirations, goals and learning needs in relation to developing as an individual, be that in their career, their education or their personal lives. They are often used in certain professions – education, health and business, to name just a few - as part of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programmes, which allow professionals to continually update and renew their skills through training and opportunities to expand their practice. An individual completing a PDP identifies their goals and ascertains the steps which need to be taken for the goal to be realised. This is then reviewed at regular intervals (normally every 3-6 months) – any progress made is noted, and any targets which have been successfully achieved can be removed in favour of new learning needs which have arisen. Having a PDP has many advantages, not least of which that having one ensures careful consideration of one’s ultimate goals, leading the PDP’s owner to systematically identify any barriers which may be impeding them in reaching where they wish to be in their lives. Introducing steps which can gradually be enacted also allows a person to tangibly see what progress is being made as ‘steps on a path’ to a specific destination. Structuring one’s goals in such a way also enables a person to adopt a more reflective and self-directed approach to their actions - being able to evaluate the strengths and limitations of both the approach taken and your own behaviour is a valuable transferable skill, which PDP ownership promotes. Ultimately, actively pursuing your goals via a carefully structured and well-thought out series of steps is likely to improve your chances of achieving them; this is at the centre of why PDPs are important.