Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, Vol. November (2010)
In the UK, institutional strategies regarding Personal Development Planning (PDP) are based on two main approaches: 1) legitimising local practices, with an emphasis on PDP process, and 2) central approaches, often IT based, focused on meeting threshold requirements (Ward et al., 2006). This paper reports on the nature and purposes of situated PDP practices that have evolved in four academic programmes of study within a UK university that took the first approach. The study examines the sorts of local PDP practices that have developed within such an institutional framework; how they have come about and what they say about the role and nature of PDP. Using an ethnographic approach, supplemented by staff interviews and document analysis, the four case studies illustrate how an enabling institutional framework has afforded academic course teams the spaces to develop implicit and explicit PDP practices. In two cases a formal and explicit programme-deep model of PDP through e-Portfolio has been developed. In the others, there are implicit, but strong PDP practices evident although they are not necessarily claimed as PDP. The four case studies are not readily categorised but they do exhibit hybrid characteristics of the ‘professional’, ‘employment’ and ‘academic’ domains (Clegg and Bradley, 2006). In conclusion, it will be argued that the diverse and situated nature of PDP practices that have emerged in different contexts need not be seen as institutionally troublesome. These four cases present authentic pictures of what PDP has become, even if it isn’t called PDP.
P Hughes, N Currant, J Haigh, C Higgison, R Whitfield
Author(s): P Hughes, N Currant, J Haigh, C Higgison, R Whitfield, on Monday 28th November 2011