6 Steps To Creating A Professional Learning & Development Plan
A great professional development plan requires: reflection, planning and finding ways to keep yourself accountable. This resource is intended to be a guide and encouragement. If you find yourself needing a colleague to help you along the way, reach out at one of the monthly networking sessions to find encouragement and help along the way.
Step 1: A Good Plan
Don’t just make a plan. Make a good plan. Start with the big picture.
- How can you grow in your professional practice?
- How is the profession changing?
- What do skills do you need personally?
- What are some of the current or emerging issues in your organisation/department?
- What are current or emerging issues with the individuals you serve?
- Make sure your plan reflects local, regional and national initiatives.
- Include reflective activities as a part of your learning and growth.
- How will you document your learning outcomes?
Step 2: Clarifying Questions
Take the time to consider and frame out your plan using the core competencies for Career Development Practitioners.
Do I have the attitudes necessary to do this work? Am I: insightful, honest, open-minded and results-oriented? Do I need to focus on some areas of personal development to build these attitudes?
- How does my practice impact on the community I serve?
- Based on data, what do I know about our communities needs?
What skills do I have? Do I need to update my skills in order to document client interactions and progress, accommodate diversity, collect and analyze information, or convey information to others?
- What skills/knowledge do I need in my current role?
- What skills/knowledge will I need to be effective in that role?
- How can I improve or strengthen my practice?
What are my knowledge gaps? Do I need to refresh what I learned in the past? Do I have a solid understanding of the career development models and theories, the change process, transition stages and career cycles? Do I understand the components of the career planning process and the organizations and resources for career development and community services?
- How can I work with others to address my goals?
- How do local, regional and national goals/initiatives impact upon my learning goals?
Is my work guided by the Code of Ethics? Am I using the Ethical Decision Making Model to resolve ethical challenges that are arising between myself and: my organization, with colleagues and with people I serve.
Step 3: Create A Template
Create an outline or template for your plan. Start with the outcomes you are looking for first. Second look for activities and actions that will get you there.
Step 4: Strategies
What strategies/activities will you use? What is available and what do you need to seek out?
Reading, learning, training, community of practice, personal research, webinars, mentorships …
What blogs should I be reading?
What online newsletters and magazines should I subscribe to?
What sessions might I attend?
- Information sessions
- Communities of Practice
- Working Groups
Consider how you can embed learning and professional development into your day, week, month, quarter and year.
Be strategic by matching your needs with resources and activities with a mind to continuous learning and development.
Step 5: Evaluate Your Plan
- Do the goals and the plan reflect my needs as well as those of your organisation and community?
- Does my plan reflect new learning and growth, not just time and effort?
- Are my goals clear?
- Have I used facts, information and data to determine my goals?
- Do I have collaborative activities in my plan?
- Does my plan include reflection on the outcomes of my plan?
- Have I included how I am going to assess myself and the plan so that I know is it is working for me?
- Have I identified the evidence I will gather and where I will keep it (computer file, binder, journal, personal blog)?
Step 6: Smart Goals
specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely
- How can I embed the professional development strategies I choose into workday?
- Do I wish to share/discuss part or all of my professional development plan with the person I report to?
- How will I know I have accomplished my learning goals?
- How will I judge the quality of my work?
- Tools for self-assessment
- Where am I in my career cycle/career dimensions?
- What motivates and demotivates me?
- What are my values, skills and competencies?
Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
P.O. Box 21157
St. John's, NL
Canada A1A 5B2