Personal Learning Plan – The Way I Do It, The Way You’d Improve It

As I promised in one of my other blogs, I’m up for describing my routine for the upcoming semester. This note might be a bit lengthy, so I won’t be mad if you save it to your Pocket or somewhere similar.

PLP – What is it?

Since visiting this page and being turned down for a PhD programme, I slowly grew to think about myself as an Edupunk – someone who is solely responsible for one’s educational goals, can take advantage of modern technology and knows how to give and take in the skill market.

Being an edupunk requires some cunning planning. The central part of it is called a PLP – Personal Learning Plan. I’ll show you the process of creating my first PLP.

What this post is for?

I can think of three reasons:
1) For people that want to create their own PLPs, let it be a walkthrough and inspiration. I’d also love to see yours, when you’re finished!
2) Sharing it will provide some accountability to the process.
3) I’d LOVE to get some feedback. More on it at the end of the post.


I got really inspired by “The Edupunks’ Guide to DIY Credential” by Anya Kamenetz (you can download the book for free!)! I breezed through it during one night!

That got me thinking – I want new knowledge, but this year there is no university curriculum to keep it structured! Bummer! I need to take care of it myself!

Writing many curricula for my students I though that it would be easy-peasy, yet it turned out to be much more complicated when you want to cover totally different fields, alone, without any specific exam you are working towards and no imposed restrictions. I also need to keep my motivation and flexibility high!

What I ended up with is THIS – click to open in a new window for reference.

I organize a lot of my links, lists and notes in Springpad and I grew to like it. Please use any platform that you like, be it Evernote, Diigo, Google Drive, Wunderlist etc.

First of all – remember how to use SMART technique in setting up your goals. Here’s a crib on SMART goals:

For me, some of those were taken care of of – the goals should be assigned to me and I decided upon the time constraints rather quickly – they are more or less similar to the original winter semester, hence this part of the project lasts for 22 weeks (including one week off around Christmas) from 28 September 2013 to 28 Februrary 2014.

A word of explanation on why I decided to start on Saturday – a lot of productivity gurus (see Tim Ferris or Scott Young) remind you to take a day far, faaar away from work – for me a day to sort out my priorities and reflect is Friday, because on Friday there are a lot of party opportunities, cultural events happening and it tricks my mind a bit. Frown-upon Monday is already the middle of my week! Also if a job opportunity comes my way, I’ll be able to tackle most of tasks during weekend and go easy for the rest of the week.

Another step was to write down my Expectations – I didn’t name them goals to assure myself that the world won’t end if anything goes wrong and I tweak those along the way. I also feel more responsible and less tense about my “expectations” than, say, “responsibilities”.

Some of my expectations, as you might see, are general – I want to keep on blogging, for example, or remember about making proper breaks and keeping up with current news and creative presentations. The rest of them I divided into 5 fields I feel passionate about right now: education, languages, culinary, sociology and science (esp. neuroscience). I then proceeded to breaking it down to more
measurable, specific skills and concepts I want to master or books I want to read.

Even though it looks busy, I weren’t harsh with myself. I thought that after a year in post-grad on Public Relations (away from linguistic major), it’s time to finally to refine my elemental skills, defossilize some basic knowledge and review some vocabulary depending on my mastery of given language (my students were surprised I decided to work through the whole Basic Kanji Book series in one semester – being it both a time-consuming, and fairly… well, basic task). Furthermore, I took genuine interest in fields I won’t be able to master at a University (FOOD. Still, I have to admit I’ve just received my Certificate of Accomplishment in “The Science of Gastronomy” MOOC from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology).

I decided also what to leave out – for example I want to hone my computer science skills (esp. coding) again, but during the summer semester. I have some interest in multimedia – but the idea of shooting anything in dim winter light seemed unappealing and so I postponed it until summer as well.

I tried to include not only passive knowledge, but also productive output – like tweeting, reflecting on blogs, putting things up for peer review and making connections.

Then I compiled lists of resources, books I want to read (Sorry for so many Polish titles! That’s what I have at hand!), courses I want to attend (MOOCs mostly) and lectures I want to dive into. To keep it simple, I refer back to specific parts in my Expectations drive. Later on I also started saving links to resources I want to tackle if I find the time – if not, they are valuable resources for the next semester.

To be sure I stay on track I designed what I called a Progress Page – PDF for that is included in the Springpad notebook. Taking into account what can be done to make me closer to the desired outcome, a Progress Page is a single sheet of paper to log my successes, failures (“There’s no failure – only feedback!”) and reflections each Friday.

Your Feedback

I would really love you to take a look at my PLP and share your thoughts, for example:

  • How would you batch the tasks together? 
  • Do you think it’s more sensible to choose a field each day on a whim or to tackle tasks based on some sort of timetable, regardless of I want to do something or not?
  • Can you support me in any of those goals? (shout out to Katriel, who has my back on Korean and German!) 
  • Do you see any possible failing points in my PLP? Would you add anything or cross anything out? Make anything less daunting or more specific?
  • Have you ever designed a PLP yourself? If so, can you share it? Any thoughts / expiriences worth sharing? 
  • Maybe you are willing to become a fellow edupunk? I love meeting new people and helping each other! Please contact me! 😀