In the modern world, there is need for students and teachers alike to come up with a viable plan that will help to guide students as they go through the learning process from junior school, high school, college until they are absorbed in the job markets. The personal development portfolio (PDP) is a planned and followed procedure that is meant to assist students in planning their persona educational and career development as proposed by Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, a).
The process of building the portfolio takes years of planning, evaluation, and implementation. In most cases, the PDP has to be modified in order to come up with a more tailor made solution. This paper will strive to discuss the process of coming up with a personal development portfolio that can be used by a student a guide towards achieving a better life. The paper will discuss the goals, plans, and actions that will ensure that one of the main aims of the personal development portfolio is achieved. The steps and procedure of designing a PDP will be looked at.
There are different personal development industry that the can help the student and tutor build a strong portfolio; there is the business-to-business market and business-to-institution market. This will be discussed in the course of the study. The paper will give a few recommendations on the improvements that can be made on the portfolio to make it flexible. In conclusion, the paper will give a brief overview of the key points that would have been discussed in the course of the study.
Personal Development Portfolio
According to Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, a), the personal development portfolio (PDP) is a planned and followed procedure that is meant to assist students in planning their persona educational and career development.
Aims of the PDP
According to Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, b), the main aims of the PDP are; improving self-awareness and self-knowledge, building one identity, develops talents, improve one’s potential, build a solid human capital, enhance lifestyle, fulfill aspirations, and implement the personal development plans.
As mentioned in the introduction part of the paper, the process of coming up the personal development portfolio starts while the individual is in the lower classes. Therefore, as the pupil grows, the PDP is embedded in his/her curriculum and it has the following positive effects at this early stage.
Supports the Learning Process
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, c), has observed that by embedding the development portfolio in the student’s curriculum, it will encourage the idea of learning processes and acquiring of skills.
Empowerment: As students grow, they need to be guided in the right direction of life. The PDP will help to mould them at a tender age to be more effective, independent in the decision-making process and confident as proposed by Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, c),
Future Life: As youth prepare for life after college, they tend to get scared of what the future awaits them, however as the student advance in life, the PDP will offer guidelines on which career path that the student will take in life.
According to Moon (1999), there are different stages in the personal development portfolio; strand 1 which covers students’ academic learning, strand 2 which deals with students’ personal development and the final stage, strand 3 which focuses on careers and employability. It is however important to note that all the three strands are inter related and the activities of one strand has a direct / indirect effect on the other strand.
Strand I: Students’ Academic Learning
Under this strand, the main guidance of the student’s activities is the normal curriculum. The learners are empowered with academic skills and the also the subject specialization skills. This means as the student is taught on all the subjects, he/she is also given a chance to select a subject that they wish to major. As they progress they (students) given skills on how to troubleshoot, analyze and come up with a concrete solution to a given problem. On moral emphasis, the students are taught the basic academic conventions and codes of practices that they can use during the learning process. The last aspect to be dealt under strand I is the personal development portfolio and the how it can be used to support the learner. The materials needed for successful implementation of the PDP are also mentioned during this stage. Most of the learners under the strand I are the junior and high school students.
Strand II: Students Personal Development
The purpose of learning institutions is not only to empower students with academic knowledge but also life skills. Students also learn how they can make use of their different talents. Strand II derives its material from the extracurricular activities. In this section, the learner/student is taught self-management and motivation skills; they are guided on the positive personal morals and positive values. The reason for this is that at this stage, the student / learner is being prepared for the competitive job market and every skill that they are given will play an integral part in their future life. The personal development portfolio at strand II is not theory anymore but it more practical. The learners / students are taken through the process of the PDP and how it is bond to affect their lives positively. They are also sensitized on the negative effects of the personal development portfolio if not well implemented. The students under this strand are college going and university students, some of the learners under this strand may have had some experience during their stint as interns in different organizations in readiness for the job market.
Strand III: Career and Employability
This is the last strand of the three strands in the personal development portfolio. The sources of knowledge and experience at this stage are the real work experience and the working environment. In any organization the excellent public relations skills is the greatest asset that an employee can have (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, 2004, c). The ability for an employee to give excellent presentation about the various projects that the company plans to implement, the ability of the employee to be a team player are some of the attributes that the employee will be empowered with under the third strand. In addition to that, the fresh graduate will have been trained on the career management skills. The reason for this is that, when most young people graduate from institutions of higher learning, they are given good salary packages and in most cases these confuses them. It normal to notice that most graduates and “job tourists” since they do not know what they really want. They are also trained in different professional codes and code of ethics.
The implementation process of the personal development portfolio is on the most difficult tasks that any learning institution can undertake, this is because as the student grows, they tend to adapt to different behaviors. The career master might assume that the student wants to be a lawyer and a few years later, they change and wish to pursue a different course. Easterday had given some advantages of the PDP as well as the limitations that the process may face as explained by Easterday (2010).
Advantages of Personal Development Portfolio
Progress: from the time a student enrolls in junior school and is introduced to the PDP, which will be embedded in the curriculum, it gives the parents and teachers alike the chance to monitor the progress of the student. They will be able to tell the student’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. Easterday (2010) explains that this will give the parents and the lectures some guidelines on how to help the students choose the best career path.
Work Performance: Responsibility, commitment, and maturity are some of the virtues that the personal development portfolio instills in the lives of the youths. These virtues can be transferred from the classroom to the office and help the individual in contributing positively to the growth and development of the organization. The work performance can also help one to develop oneself and progress in life. The above-mentioned advantages are just some of the basic advantages of the PDP. However, there is much more advantages to it that have been discussed by different authors as argued by Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, b). The limitations of the personal development portfolio may not outweigh the advantages but still the same it is important to mention a few of them.
Confidentiality: In such a system, it is hard for the parents and teachers to keep secret the discussion that they hold with their children concerning their progress in life. This might make the students uncomfortable if the information leaks to the public. For instance, not all students have the same ambition and enthusiasm in life therefore a student who may wish settle for a blue collar may feel intimidated by his peer who has the dream of settling for a white-collar job. The same way is experienced in the job market if one employee spread grape vine information about others in the company, the employee may disclose the salary scale or educational background of his co-workers and this can really demoralize the personnel. If the situation is not arrested, the intimidated employee may opt to resign rather than face the humiliation from the co-workers as argued by Easterday (2010)
Management Failure: In most institutions, the PDP is a tailored “course,” it trains the learners on how to tackle a situation depending on the rules and regulations laid down. This in the end makes students adapt to the dictatorship / bureaucratic leadership style, when they transfer the same skills to their work places, things might get out of hand as suggested by Easterday, (2010). The reason for this is that is that, students from different colleges are hired in the same office and each of them comes with different skills and experience, therefore trying to impose rules on others may cause friction in the organization.
According to Moon, (1999) personal development plan is very important in determining the future of a student. The teachers and parents should be in constant consultation to ensure that the direction in which they are guiding their child towards to be the best direction. They should however not force the child on the area to specify on, the kid should be given a chance to explain the course that they feel they can easily handle, what are passions they have and from there then they can help the learner make a sound decision for a better future.
Another recommendation that can be taken under consideration is the flexibility of the PDP, as the world changes so does the job market. The PDP that institutions adapt to should be flexible and all-inclusive.
Summation of the Chapter
The concept of creating a personal development portfolio may be new in many parts of the world, however with the rapid growth and development of the internet and telecommunication sectors, more people especially in the developing world are bound to benefit from this great venture. The governments of the respective nations should be willing to promote positive education policies that will ensure that as the children go through different ranks of education they have a solid idea of whom the what to become once they are through with education. Job creations should be encouraged in both the private and public sector in order to absorb the thousands of youths who graduate every years. The paper has critically analyzed all-important elements that need to be understood pertaining the personal development portfolio.
Easterday, A (2010). Advantages and Disadvantages of Leadership Development Plan. Web.
Moon, J. (1999) Learning journals: a handbook for academics, students, and professional development. London: Kogan Page.
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, a), Personal Development Planning (PDP). Web.
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, b), Personal Development Planning (PDP). Web.
Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (2004, c), Personal Development Planning (PDP). Web.