Unit 23 Personal Professional Development

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This Unit 23 Personal and Professional Development aims to help the learner become an effective and confident self-directed employee. This helps the learner become confident in managing own personal and professional skills to achieve personal and career goals.

Unit abstract

This unit is designed to enable learners to assess and develop a range of professional and personal skills in order to promote future personal and career development. It also aims to develop learners’ ability to organise, manage and practise a range of approaches to improve their performance as self-directed learners in preparation for work or further career development. Its emphasis is on the needs of the individual but within the context of how the development of self-management corresponds with effective team management in meeting objectives. Learners will be able to improve their learning, be involved with teamwork and be more capable of problem solving through the use of case studies, role play and real-life activities.

Learning outcomes

1 Understand how self-managed learning can enhance lifelong development

  • Self-managed learning: self-initiation of learning processes; clear goal setting eg aims and requirements, personal orientation achievement goals, dates for achievement, self-reflection
  • Learning styles: personal preferences; activist; pragmatist; theorist; reflector eg reflexive modernisation theory; Kolb’s learning cycle
  • Approaches: learning through research; learning from others eg mentoring/coaching, seminars, conferences, secondments, interviews, use of the internet, social networks, use of bulletin boards, newsgroups
  • Effective learning: skills of personal assessment; planning, organisation and evaluation
  • Lifelong learning: self-directed learning; continuing professional development; linking higher education with industry, further education, recognition of prior learning, apprenticeships, credit accumulation and transfer schemes
  • Assessment of learning: improved ability range with personal learning; evidence of improved levels of skill; feedback from others; learning achievements and disappointments.

2 Be able to take responsibility for own personal and professional development

  • Self-appraisal: skills audit (personal profile using appropriate self-assessment tools); evaluating self-management; personal and interpersonal skills; leadership skills
  • Development plan: current performance; future needs; opportunities and threats to career progression; aims and objectives; achievement dates; review dates; learning programme/activities; action plans; personal development plan
  • Portfolio building: developing and maintaining a personal portfolio
  • Transcripts: maintaining and presenting transcripts including curriculum vitae

3 Be able to implement and continually review own personal and professional development plan

  • Learning styles and strategies: types of styles; awareness of personal style; impact of personal style and interactions with others
  • Learning from others: formal learning and training; observation; mentoring; supervision; tutorials; informal networks; team members; line managers; other professionals
  • Evaluation of progress: setting and recording of aims and objectives; setting targets; responding to feedback; re-setting aims targets; establishing and recognising strengths and weaknesses; directions for change; cycles of activity (monitoring, reflecting and planning)

4 Be able to demonstrate acquired interpersonal and transferable skills

  • Transferable skills: personal effectiveness (ability to communicate effectively at all levels, initiative, self-discipline, reliability, creativity, problem solving)
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication: effective listening, respect of others’ opinions; negotiation; persuasion; presentation skills; assertiveness; use of ICT
  • Delivery formats: ability to deliver transferable skills using a variety of formats
  • Working with others: team player; flexibility/adaptability; social skills
  • Time management: prioritising workloads; setting work objectives; using time effectively; making and keeping appointments; reliable estimates of task time.


Essential requirements

Activities in this unit could be part of the mainstream academic activity and could be integrated into the whole programme of study. Learners will benefit if there are established links with the learning outcomes of other units and if review meetings were held regularly. A personal development portfolio or progress file should be put together comprising information and personal records ‘owned’ by the learner, including the planning and monitoring of progress towards the achievement of personal objectives. The format for this could be web based, paper based or an alternative method. Potentially this could form the basis of an extended account of a lifelong record of learning and achievement. Tutors should be aware that textbooks are frequently updated and that they should use the latest editions where available. This is a practical unit and textbook materials should be used for reference purposes.

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