4.6 Developing your action plan and thinking about evidence
We explained, earlier in this section, that developing an action plan involves the following steps:
- setting yourself a goal to work towards
- working out what you need to do before you can achieve your goal – breaking the goal down into smaller and smaller chunks until you get to a point where you think, ‘Yes, that’s manageable. I feel I could tackle that bit.’
- putting the steps in a logical order – some will be dependent on others having been completed first, while some will be more flexible and can be completed at any time
- putting a timescale next to each step to spur you on to achieving it.
We hope that as you have worked through this section, you will have put together much of the information that you need to develop an action plan, and we suggest that you do so, in the following activity.
Activity 53 Developing an action plan
- For one of your short- to medium-term goals, draw up an action plan following the style of Table 7.
- Write your goal down as the heading for the left-hand column.
- You may have come up with some initial steps towards your goal as you started writing it in a SMART way (as in Activity 46). Write these down now on a separate piece of paper.
- By thinking about the helping and hindering factors, you may have identified some further steps to increase the helping factors and reduce the hindering factors. Add these to your list.
- Now put the steps in a logical order – some you will be able to complete any time and some will depend on you having completed other steps first. For example, Jodi would ideally do his work experience to find out whether being a chef is as attractive as he thinks it might be before he enrols on any training courses.
- Write all the steps in the left-hand column of your table in the order in which you intend to tackle them.
- Now use the right-hand column of the table to set yourself a time by which you would like to complete each of the steps listed. There are two key things to bear in mind here:
- a.Remember to be realistic – do not set yourself up for feelings of having failed by being over-optimistic.
- b.Try to make sure that there is something you can achieve every week, if not every day, to keep your momentum going. If you find long gaps between completion dates, try to break the tasks down into even smaller steps.
|My goal||Date for achieving this|
Now, as you tick off the different steps of the plan, you are engaging in the process of collecting evidence of your achievements which can:
- be a real boost to your confidence and your motivation
- help you to develop your CV when you are applying for paid or voluntary work – showing that you can take an organised approach to your learning and development, as well as demonstrating the knowledge, skills and attributes that you have acquired in the process.
As we mentioned earlier, when talking about goals, some of your achievement will be directly measurable and can be ticked off relatively easily. For example, if you have been to the library and identified an appropriate course; if you have found yourself a work experience placement; or if you have made three new friends.
Some developments may be harder to tick off since they are not directly measurable; for example, developments in your confidence or your ability to influence people. This is where the informal ‘tool’ of the learning journal can help.
Looking back at your entries in your learning journal can help you recognise that you are now more confident and/or more competent in both your academic and ‘real world’ skills. You could use your reflections about the activities in this section and on what you have written in the journal. You can also develop your problem-solving skills by thinking about what has worked and what has not when you tried out new things. In addition, you can use your problem-solving skills to help you to decide what you might do differently the next time in order to increase your chances of success. Doing this will add evidence about your problem-solving ability, as well as developing your resilience.