Evidence LibrarySystematic reviewsPDP
A systematic map and synthesis review of the effectiveness of personal development planning for improving student learning

What do we want to know?

Personal Development Planning (PDP) is a process by which students can monitor, build and reflect upon their personal development. It is a central part of the Progress File, which is being introduced across all levels of higher education. PDP is defined as 'a structured and supported process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own learning, performance and achievement and to plan for their personal, educational and career development'. Its primary objective is to improve the capacity of students to understand what, how and when they are learning and to review, plan and take responsibility for their future learning.  This review aims to determine the effectiveness of PDP in higher education.

Who wants to know?

Policy-makers; staff and students in higher education

What did we find?  

PDP can have a positive effect on students' attainment and approaches to learning.  There is insufficient evidence to determine its effects on personal outcomes for learners.

What are the implications?

  • The findings confirm the central policy claim that PDP supports the improvement of students' academic learning and achievement.  Other claims, e.g. for broader self-development and employability, need further research.

  • The findings will have implications for other formal learning environments, such as schools and further education colleges.

How did we get these results?

Twenty-five studies were synthesised.

This summary was prepared by the EPPI-Centre

This report should be cited as: Gough DA, Kiwan D, Sutcliffe K, Simpson D, Houghton N (2003). A systematic map and synthesis review of the effectiveness of personal development planning for improving student learning. In: Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

  
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