Personal development planning involves the creation of an action plan within the context of education, employment, relationship or career that takes into account values, goals, challenges and opportunities (Beausaert et al., 2011).
Perhaps this is why a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) has become a canonical feature of personal development plans (PDP). The QAA (2009: 2) defines PDP 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.”
A PDP normally includes strengths and weaknesses, aspiration or goals, education and training and timeline for completion of those goals in a realistic and timely manner. For the purposes of this assessment, the PDP devised in this essay would be education oriented as the underlying goal is to complete my doctoral studies by ensuring that any factors that could support or hinder this processes are properly considered from the earliest interval. Thus, the aim is to create a self-directed independent learner who is able to achieve the doctorate.
A PDP has a number of core benefits. First and foremost, it helps leaders to plan and take responsibility for the personal, academic and career development (Bartley, 2013). This is normally accompanied by the identification of key opportunities that can assist in the development phase (Evans et al., 2002: 82). Secondly, it helps the learner to evidence learning and development, to be more aware of different learning styles and strategies (Kim et al, 2015). Thirdly, it enables learners to become more effective at monitoring and reviewing their own learning or progress, while evaluating both their strengths and weaknesses. In essence, learners are able to develop an identity and be more responsible to external factors or changes in personal or professional circumstances.
Last but not least, a PDP is a strategic decision making tool (Beausaert et al., 2011).