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Professional Development Plan Essay

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The Professional Development Plan (PDP) is a structured process made by an individual to reflect on their own learning, performance and/or achievement and to plan their personal, educational and career development. PDP complies a range of procedures, such as planning, doing, recording, and reflection. (The Higher Education Academy 2012)

The objective of this PDP is to help improve existing skills or to develop new ones. In order to do so, a self-assessment, SWOT analysis, SMART and Belbin’s self-perception inventory will be completed, to acknowledge strengths and weaknesses.

Section 1: Professional Development Plan
For this PDP three distinct goals will be developed.
* Individual Goal – Time Management and Personal Organisation
* Group Working Goal – Searching databases
* Academic Goal – Listen, read and take notes

To help set the goals, three goals worksheets were completed and the SMART diagnosis was applied (See Appendix 1 and 2). SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound. (Scanlon 2011)

Time Management and Personal Organisation

This goal was chosen as the individual goal because managing time and being organised was always a struggle, and therefore for several times in numerous occasions the effect was unpleasant.

By being able to manage time and being more organised, opportunities will rise to have a more effective performance in personal, academic and professional life. This weakness was noted through the self-assessment comprised by a friend, a colleague and myself (See Appendix 3). This skill was not developed sooner out of pure laziness and lack of motivation. To achieve this goal I will do weekly schedules to see what was done during the week and check if certain activities were accomplished (See Appendix 4). This goal is set to be developed until 11th March 2012.

Searching Databases

This goal was chosen as the group working goal because searching databases was always a difficult task, either it was for personal, academic or work related purposes. Whenever there are group works, this task is always passed on to other members, which made my ability to improve less feasible. This weakness was noted through the Belbin Test (See Appendix 5). This skill was not developed until now because there was lack of knowledge of databases resources. To achieve this goal I will carry on a research about Miss Universe, looking for information in all resources I can find (See appendix 6). As there were no relevant books on the subject, I had to confine the search to the Internet. This goal is set to be developed until 12th March 2012.

Listen, Read and Take Notes

This goal was chosen as the academic goal because as English is not my first language, it is sometimes difficult to keep up with lectures and at the same time take notes, as well as it is difficult to read, comprehend in just one go, and take notes. By developing this skill, when preparing for exams, being in lectures, workshops and work meetings, listening, reading and taking notes, will become simple, efficient, quick and easy. This weakness was noted while in class, at home and at work, and later on identified in SWOT analysis and also through the self-assessment comprised by a friend, a colleague and myself (See Appendix 3 and 7). The SWOT analysis is a notably useful tool to identify and analyse opportunities for development and related barriers and challenges. SWOT is an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Being Strengths and Weaknesses internal factors and Opportunities and Threats external factors. (Scanlon 2011)

To achieve this goal I will take notes from lectures and from a few pages of one of the recommended books for this unit (See Appendix 8). This goal is set to be developed until 12th March 2012.

Section 2: Progress Review
Time Management and Personal Organisation

For this goal I did weekly sheets to see my development. I did the first weekly sheet in 19th December 2011. As I was not working at the moment my only responsibility was University, and seems like the less responsibility one has, the less he/she does. That is exactly what was happening. I was spending most of my days watching television and/or watching series online, or simply just spending days sleeping. I had my mother and a friend over for Christmas and New Year. With their presence here, I felt like doing even less, because all I wanted was to spend time with them or go out and show them Manchester. So basically all the activities I was always planning to do, I ended up not doing them. I knew I had an exam in early January, and yet I did not study until the week before the exam. I managed to pass the exam with a low pass, 44%, but I know I could have done much better if only I dedicated myself to study longer and in advance.

So after this happened I realized it was time for me to stop being lazy and change my attitude towards the use of my time. I started watching less television and less series online. I started reading a novel ‘The Lucky One’, I started getting more worried with the planning of my PDP, I joined the gym and I was more focused in finding a job. For a while it was difficult having so many activities after not having basically none. I started going to the gym more often, like twice or three times a week. I started going to Church also; I did not go in a long time. I was more focused in classroom, and I understood more of the topics in study. I was feeling more motivated, less lazy, and I was managing my time very well. I was more organized with my studies, and personal life. I kept a diary so I would know what I did and what I needed to do. So in the end, I think the development of this goal helped me a lot, it improved my attendance in University, and also my productivity at home.

Searching Databases

For this goal I did a research on Miss Universe. Their history, how it started, who invented it, what is its purpose, previous contestants, the actual Miss Universe Leila Lopes, that is Miss Angola, from my birth country. I have to admit I chose this as my research topic because of how proud I am of her. She is a beautiful woman, and gave her best and deserved to won. As I was doing the research on the subject, I realized I did not choose the best topic to do a research, because I could only find information on the Internet.

There are no relevant books on this subject, and even the news I found, were on online newspapers. But as I did not have more time to think of a new topic, and start doing a new research, because I still had my last goal to develop, I had to keep up with lectures of both units, and look for a job, I just kept this topic. I do not think I had great improvements with this goal, and it was mainly because of my topic of research choice. I could not explore others sources, and that confined me to the Internet, which has a wide range of irrelevant information. So this is one goal I will keep on developing because it is really necessary for the years ahead.

Listen, Read and Take Notes
For this goal I gathered as evidence all the notes I have from lectures I attended, and notes I made from a few pages of one of the recommended books: ‘Organizational Behaviour’ by Buchanan and Huczynski (2010). It was hard in the beginning because I did not know where to begin. I was trying to be more focus in class, by not having my phone close, and not talking with colleagues unnecessarily. As we only have 2 classes per week, it was hard to develop this skill, so I decided that notes from the lectures alone would not be enough. I started to do notes from the book referred above.

And after a while I was feeling more confident, my notes were becoming good. I would write more in the lecture notes, instead of just listening and getting home, and not knowing what were the main points of that topic. I will still keep on developing this skill because it is non-stop, I know I am still far from excellent, but it was good to give it a go, and actually see some changes even though they are little.

Goal Setting and S.M.A.R.T goals

Specific – What (goal), why (reasons), which (constraints) etc.? Clearly stated outcome you wish to achieve.
Measurable – Can progress be assessed?
A goal that you can evidence, i.e., demonstrate its achievement in way and can show progress. Attainable – Can the goal be accomplished? The goal should not be too high or low. Goals that are set too high or too low become meaningless. It should stretch you a bit, without being too extreme. Realistic – Is the goal worthwhile? Make sure goal can be achieved within the framework of your life before the submission date, not as you would hope or would like it to be. You have to be willing and able to work on the goal. Time-bound – What is your target completion date?

Make sure goal that you set for yourself can be achieved within the timeframe and before the submission deadline of 14 March 2012. You must have start and endpoints.

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