Q & A about Part 1
The questions in this section relate to the first part of the assignment which is,
‘Describe personal and professional development planning and provide examples of PDP activities’.
Q. What does PDP stand for?
A. PDP stands for personal or professional development planning and there is a resource called ‘PDP’ which describes what PDP represents and its importance to the learner in the workplace. Use this resource as a starting point and find out different forms of PDP that might relate to your particular work context.
Q. How do I go about planning for PDP?
A. The first stage is to work through the flow diagram which helps you list work activities that have contributed to your PDP to date.
Q. What does ‘description’ entail? Is it verbal, written?
A. The assessment of the module is through an e-portfolio and a separate presentation explains how to access and use the e-portfolio. The e-portfolio can contain a number of formats of material including digital text, audio and video, so some of the material can be verbal descriptions. Discuss options with the module tutor.
Q. What is a PDP activity? Can you give me an example of a PDP activity?
A. A PDP activity, in the context of this module, is a defined activity undertaken as part of your work duties which helps you review and identify your learning needs in order to fulfil your work responsibility effectively. The resource on PDP will help you understand the elements of a PDP activity. An example may be: production of a website, a strategy or position paper you helped develop, a re-organisation of your area at work, any innovations you have introduced into the workplace, an evaluation report, or research project you have undertaken. Also look at the resource ‘Example activities’.
Q. Are the examples only of activities I’ve been exclusively working on?
A. Solo activities would be useful but we understand that the workplace involves team collaboration. When reporting on an activity, make clear what was your particular contribution to the process.
Q. How do I provide examples?
A. Because this is a distance learning module, examples need to be submitted through our e-portfolio and email. How you make your submissions is dealt with in the resource ‘Using the e-portfolio’.
Q. What sort of activities could be included as examples?
A. Work-related examples which you’ve performed alone, had a major part in or made a significant contribution towards. Make sure you select examples that you’re able to evidence and that you can identify what you have learned.
Q. What sort of scale of example is required?
A. The module accounts for 200 learning and working hours in total. Because everyone works at a different pace it’s difficult to be precise about scale of activity and your choice will be discussed with your tutor. As a rule of thumb, you will use around 50 hours in own reading and research, 50 hours for producing the portfolio assignment, which leaves around 100 hours for work examples. Remember, these are activities that you are currently or recently performed so you don’t need to start them from anew now.
Q. How many activities?
A. This is for negotiation between you and your tutor, but as a rule of thumb expect to provide around 5 examples, obviously depending on the scale of your examples and your contribution towards them.
Q. Over what timescale should the examples come from? How recent should the examples be?
A. Because you need to evidence the activity, realistically, limit the timescale to the last 2 to 3 years. If you have examples going back further and can evidence that you did them then list them too, though discuss this with your tutor.
Q. How do I evidence the activities? Prove that I’ve done them?
A. You need to show artefacts from the examples as evidence using whichever medium was appropriate. This may involve a hyperlink to a website, a photo, video or testimonial from a peer or senior colleague. The type of evidence required depends on the example and this can be discussed with your tutor.
Q. What constitutes evidence that I’ve actually performed the task? Is showing the output sufficient?
A. This is a difficult point to answer as what constitutes proof is debatable. There should be tangible evidence or witness statements from a peer or manager. Every submitted assignment carries a sign off form where the student confirms that the work is theirs and if subsequently it was found that the work was falsely attributed then the credit could be withdrawn.
Q. Gosh, it’s going to be difficult narrowing it down? I have so many examples I can think of.
A. Well let’s just start with listing what you’ve done at work in the way of projects or tasks in the last couple of years and then we can narrow it down by seeing which ones you can more easily evidence and which provided the best learning opportunities at L4 level of study (there is a separate resource which guides you through what this means). You will eventually present around 5 examples and these should be chosen to show different aspects of your learning. So if there are a number of similar types of example, you only need chose one of them from that area.
Q. How specific should I be as I shouldn’t give away company secrets?
A. Always check with your employer before putting forward an example. If there is any company-sensitive intellectual property (IP) material included and you still wanted to use it, the sensitive parts can be redacted or replaced with a placeholder term.
Q. Who gets to see my work? Is it fairly confidential?
A. Your work will be seen by a restricted number of people. That is, the module tutor, a second marker (to ensure, from an independent standpoint, that the work is at an appropriate level) and an external examiner. Everyone who sees your work during the assessment is bound by an implicit code of confidentiality.
Q. What happens to my portfolio once I’ve finished?
A. Only you have access to the portfolio and you control which parts of the portfolio are sent to the tutor to assess. Access to your portfolio continues for as long as you are registered with the University. I would suggest that you keep a copy of all materials that you upload to the portfolio on your own computer as a back-up.