From cats to roller-coasters: creative use of posters to explore students' perceptions of PDP

James Davey, Peter Lumsden

Abstract


As in many other UK institutions, the implementation of Personal Development Planning (PDP) has been varied across the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). This is due to a number of factors, including a limited understanding by staff of the underlying principles of reflection and their own personal development as practitioners. In the past, workshops with staff on PDP were often met with resistance and poor attendance. As an alternative, we have sought student perceptions of PDP, in the hope that these could be used to engage and influence members of staff. Year one students from ten different courses were given a session on PDP at the end of which they produced posters representing their perceptions of PDP for their course. The terms in these posters were coded and placed in appropriate categories then ranked to allow for comparisons between groups. Individual priorities for immediate action were captured on post-it notes. A year later the same students were surveyed once again and individual perceptions were captured by a questionnaire. Groups were shown their original poster and asked to create a new poster in the light of a year's experience.
First years' posters had elements of theoretical frameworks for PDP, with about half showing an idea of progressive development over time; posters from second years were less theoretical and instead reflected real-life experiences, with fewer terms but more extensive wording, and less focus on stages of development and forward planning. Second year students also showed evidence of engaging in PDP at an individual level with many reporting achievements in aspects such as time management which they had mentioned in year one. We conclude that students are able to recognise their development needs, and their achievements, but that the planning element of PDP is less well recognised.

Keywords


PDP; student perceptions; posters; reflection; personal development; situated learning

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ISSN: 1759-667X