Learning and Teaching Innovation Centre

PDP Professional Development Planning

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PDP at the University should be informed by the following principles:

 At the University PDP should be taken to mean ‘Professional Development Planning’ rather than ‘Personal Development Planning’ although in effect it will support both personal and professional development planning,. This rebranding reinforces the close association between effective PDP and realisation of the Graduate Attributes.

PDP should be embedded and supported in all programmes. Each programme should have its own approach to embedding PDP support (e.g. discrete, linked, embedded, integrated and/or extended) depending on programme and professional body needs (using the QAA classification (see below).

It is important that programmes do not rely entirely on extracurricular activities to support PDP (for some students, for example, some international students and some students with autism spectrum conditions, reflection is an unfamiliar and inaccessible process and they will need proper support to develop the skills). Conversely, students should be enabled to have private reflections and goals, a “safe space”, and then the ability share part or all of their reflections with whom they wish, when they want. So it is important that not all PDP is located within formal academic processes.

Additional recognition needs to be considered in parallel. The importance to employment chances of additional recognition will vary across Schools/programmes but can be achieved via the following:

 It is important to note that QAA regard 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.’

 QAA accepts that there are many ways of supporting the implementation of PDP, however, it advises that PDP is likely to be most effective when it is:


QAA PDP Models and additional commentary on their use

 Discrete - where PDP is conceived as additional to, and separate from, the curriculum. Here, learners tend to be encouraged to engage in PDP, with perhaps some support from tutors or others, but whether, when and how they do so is left largely to the learners themselves. Because learner motivation is crucial, this approach is generally seen to be more appropriate for higher-level study. (i.e M Level)


Linked - where PDP is viewed as being parallel to, but also having explicit links to, the curriculum. These may include personal logs and diaries, or compulsory sessions as part of personal tutoring or skills weeks.

Embedded - where PDP is embedded in specific elements of a programme, which provide the main support for PDP. They may also serve to link with material covered elsewhere in the programme

Integrated - a whole-curriculum approach where all or most parts of a programme involve activities which are aligned with PDP processes, including those in the workplace. In this model, every programme tutor has a responsibility for supporting PDP.

Extended - where PDP processes are included in the curriculum but also serve explicitly to integrate learning activities (such as volunteering or peer mentoring) outside the curriculum. These may include integrated or voluntary work placements or other extra-curricular activities.


 It is recommended that: