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.  

Attitudes

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?
Skills

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?
Knowledge

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?
Ethical Practice

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.

Attitudes

Skills

Knowledge

Ethics

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.

ADDRESS

P.O. Box 21157

St. John's, NL

Canada A1A 5B2

CONTACT

(709) 765-2182