It seems very appropriate that the Journal for Learning Development in Higher Education should devote a special edition to the theme of Personal Development Planning (PDP). This collection of papers and research reports from universities in many parts of England comes from the National Action Research Network’s recent project on ‘Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio Practice’.

Those already familiar with PDP will be aware of the closeness of its principles to those of Learning Development. A key focus of much LD work is the growing understanding among students, as a result of their learning experiences, of the value of self-awareness. The systematic study and harnessing of these ideas can lead to great progress and success for students and teachers in their various learning roles. At its best, PDP serves this purpose. Perhaps it would be appropriate to see PDP as a kind of ‘technology’ for learning which also encompasses collaborative values, as students become members of disciplinary and professional communities.

For the existence of this special edition, we must first thank Chris Keenan from Bournemouth University, whose inspiration it was. Chris is an ALDinHE Steering Group member and one of the Regional Lead members of the NTFS NARN project. For the Association for Learning Development in HE, our decision to support the proposal also came from a wish to consolidate the collaborative approach adopted by the project and its many participants. This kind of practitioner-led initiative aligns well with our values as an association, and helps further the links we are developing with groups such as the CRA and the NARN.

As editors of the JLDHE we are delighted to present this special edition. We are confident that it will provide a much-needed enhancement to the evidence base for PDP and make a significant contribution to the understanding of PDP and e-Portfolio practices in the HE sector. In addition, it tells informative and constructive stories of a collaborative and supportive network of committed professionals. We believe that these stories show how ways of working across institutions and regions can evolve, and can lead to an inspiring example of a community of practice.

John Hilsdon and Andy Hagyard
JLDHE Editors

In addition to ourselves, the editorial team responsible for this special edition was:

  • Natalie Bates, Research Assistant in the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at Bournemouth University and Editorial Consultant to the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE)
  • Sue Burkinshaw, Head of Learning Enhancement and Professional Development, University of Bolton and Project Leader for the Higher Education Academy (HEA), National Teaching Fellowships, ‘National Action Research Network on Researching and Evaluating Personal Development Planning and e-Portfolio Practice’ project
  • Peter Hughes, Senior Lecturer in Learning Development, Centre for Educational Development at the University of Bradford
  • Christine Keenan, Learning and Teaching Fellow at Bournemouth University and Steering Group member of the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (ALDinHE)
  • Arti Kumar, Associate Director of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire
  • John Peters, Deputy Head of Academic Development and Practice and Principal Lecturer in Higher Education at the University of Worcester and Associate Director for Research with the Centre for Recording Achievement and Principal Investigator for the National Action Research Network on researching and evaluating PDP and e-Portfolio practice
  • Janet Strivens, Educational Developer at the University of Liverpool and Senior Associate Director of the CRA
  • Rob Ward, Director of the Centre for Recording Achievement (CRA)

ISSN: 1759-667X