How-To 2: Write a Personal Learning Plan
Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Why do you want to study?
The answer is in YOUR hands. If your educational career is not limited to the stereotypical four-years-of-full-time-college + one-internship + job, or even if it is, edupunks can use a personal learning plan to guide their explorations. You can write yours in a notebook, with markers on construction paper, or a document on your computer. Here’s what it should contain.
1. Goal. Pick your path:
- “I want steady professional employment in the field of sustainability.”
- “I want to start a business that feeds my love of jewelry.”
- “I want to combine teaching English with travel.” (“I want a college degree” is not a goal, because it’s not an end in itself.)
- Set a deadline.
2. Current Status:
Interests and accomplishments, both academic and extracurricular. College courses taken, creative pursuits, volunteer work, personality test results.
3. Learning Steps:
- The type of credential you want to initially pursue (certificate, license, exam, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, professional degree or PhD)
- The specific content and skills you’ll need to master; institutions that may become a part of your quest
- Prior learning credits, or credits-by-exam, if any, that you’d like to include. Even specific books, videos, websites that you’re planning to read, watch, or use.
4. Experiential Steps:
The social experiences you want to pursue as part of your learning, including internships, volunteering, travel, leadership of an organization, or experience working with a mentor.
5. Who Can Help:
Parent, sibling, friend, academic advisor at a college of your choice—someone needs to read this learning plan and help hold you accountable for it.
6. Next Steps:
What are you going to do in the next day, week, month, and year to make your plan a reality? It’s a good idea to review weekly, monthly, or every semester with your guide from step 5.