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self-regulation and personal development

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Saved by Norman Jackson
on July 1, 2008 at 5:39:02 am

When I worked for the Quality Assurance Agecy I helped develop in 1999-2000 the first policy that had ever een created to encourage a form of learning in higher education. We called it personal development planning and I believed that it was the most visionary of all the Dearing recommendations for improving learning. It has the potential to put students each with their own unique identity and voice at the heart of the higher education enterprise and to support the idea of self-regulation.




The introduction of Personal Development Planning (PDP) across the whole UK higher education system in 2000 represents a system-wide policy-driven attempt to focus more attention on the learner as an individual with a unique identity and set of qualities, achievements, dispositions and motivations that enable her to be and to act in this crazy world. It is intended to foster the habits and metacognitive skills to plan, act, self-observe, evaluate and learn from the experience of doing.


PDP is intended to encourage the growth in UK higher education of educational practices that are essential to the development of capcities for 'metalearning' - reflective, metacognitive capacities and levels of self-awareness required to becoming expert at thinking about and working with complexity.


PDP sits within a mechanism for recording achievement and experience called the Progress File. When viewed from the complex world perspective, Progress Files represent an attempt to recognise the complexity of learning, experiences and achievements that make up a 'being for complexity.'




The story of PDP has shown us that, as a higher education system, we can make a decision about an approach to learning and create an enabling policy that helps us to develop the will to change. While it is easy to criticise practices that emphasise the instrumental features of action planning, record keeping and reflection on action and performance and other important features of self-regulated learning are often neglected. All too often little consideration is given to the richness of the underlying motivations, emotions, values, beliefs, personal creativities and identity that underpin the sense of self-efficacy that drives and energizes what we do, particularly when we encounter the unknown. But as an education system we have made an important start and practices inspired by PDP offer our best hope of moving towards holistic notions of learning for a complex world.

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