Personal Development Plan

Jeff McLanahan
Contributing Writer
Contributor

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The only constant is change?”  While the saying is not new, the ever-changing world we live in seems to confirm this phrase on a daily basis.

With this ever-changing world, it is imperative that we continue to develop ourselves and learn new things regularly.  It also means that we must focus on the ongoing development of our team members. 

An effective way to accomplish the development of yourself or your team is to use a personal development plan.  A personal development plan details what the person will achieve by completing the plan.  The plan also lists any formal coursework to be completed, content to read, and other support that will be provided.  It may also include formal or informal learning to be obtained while performing on-the-job duties.

When creating personal development plans, it is important to remember a few things about training and developing adults.  These “adult learning principles” include reminders such as:

  • Adults learn best when the information is immediately useful to them.  Unlike children that learn how to do things such as dissect a frog and do not question it, adults want to know that the training they are completing will be useful to them right away.
  • Adults learn best through problem solving.  Reading or listening to a topic is fine, but adults will retain the information more effectively when they can use the content to solve real-world issues they are facing.  Including assignments or activities in the training that have participants practically applying what they have learned will help with this retention.
  • Adults need to know why they are learning something.  Much like the previously mentioned lesson on dissecting a frog, adults will question why they are being asked to complete specific training.  Explaining how the learning will benefit them in their personal life or professional career will be a key to successful learning.

Another saying you may be familiar with is, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Start using personal development plans with your team today and you will be feeding them for a lifetime!  

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