Adapted from Yorke and Knight (2004), pp.83-4.
A ‘CURRICULUM PLUS’ APPROACH: Embedding PDP in the Postgraduate Urban and Regional Planning Curriculum (Heriot Watt University)
In a postgraduate course for Urban and Regional Planning, students are immediately introduced to, and start using, their Professional Development Plan (PDP), which supports students course-long. Throughout the course, there are specific modules that require students to interact with their PDP, starting in their first term. In the third and final term, the PDP is used for assessment, where all work is consolidated to assist in students’ application for work.
The PDPs encourage students to see themselves as whole persons, integrating work experience, transferable and technical skills and outside activities. Students also peer-assess each other’s PDP one week in advance of the hand-in date, to suggest improvements and further promote learning.
Student feedback was very positive, even from those who admitted they were sceptical at the beginning. Students found the PDPs helped them reflect about and plan their learning, prepare for job applications and interviews and develop skills required by the Royal Town Planning Institute (who require PDPs for initial membership and continuous professional development). It was clear that different forms of PDP appealed to different students and many were extremely creative. Students were happy for the plans to be assessed. Staff also said that the PDPs helped them get to know students; many were truly “inspiring” and when read across the cohort, gave useful pointers about curriculum development.
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