Author Profile Picture

Steve Robson

Marine Industry

Learning and Development Consultant

Read more from Steve Robson

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Individual Learning Plan



I have had previous experience of Individual Learning Plans (ILP's) when working with young people and people on various kinds of training schemes...

However, I now need to use a similar approach to Senior Technical Staff who need to develop enhanced technical skills over a period of about 2 years and need some ideas of how the document should look and what it should include?

Any ideas would be very much appreciated and if anyone has a template it would be especially useful. Particularly looking for ideas outside the "obvious".  Not sure if this will be paper based or electroninc based at this point...



10 Responses

  1. Yes Please

    Yes please Sue

    The more unusual the better…think I maybe trying to "redesign the wheel"…but I do want something outside of the "normal"


  2. Individual Learning Plans

    Steve, I have designed these in the context of "We have a technical person leaving in 1 month’s time and we need to trasnfer his knoweldeg to another person urgently".

    But your context seems to be more about a 2-year plan.

    The Principles are still the same, so I build from scratch:

    1) What are the "Items" the new person needs to know?

    2) Rank these according to how Difficult the Item would be for someone to learn on their own and how Frequently does a problem in this area arise and how Catastrophic is a problem in that area. [I know that is kinda threefold, but its a severity ranking if you like]

    3) Once Ranked and placed in order, then decide What needs to be trained and include the location of any Reference materials (It is possible that Sub-Items are identified as being of lesser importance)

    4) Then decide How Long the training should be for each Item (and/or Sub-Items)

    5) Then decide Who should conduct the training

    The ILP is simply a Table with those column headings. Happy for you to have a go, and post up a Draft Example for us to comment on.

    Hope this helps.

    — Robert Watson, Australia

  3. More Info

    Thanks Robert, appreciate your help.

    Maybe I should have clarified at the start…

    The people are all over the world and will have a dedicated local mentor but the management of the system will be done in London.

    I guess it’s all fairly straightforward but wanted to add some fresh ideas to take it beyond the usual ILP…even though its highly technical I am trying to incorporate some Coaching tools and Emotional Intelligence learning in to the ILP…

    Thanks again





  4. Individual Learning Plans

    Steve, OK. Sounds to me like your training content (Curriculum) will be established first, but there is opportunity to roll it out in fresh ways. My suggestion would be to use a Spiral Learning approach, where each "wrap" reinforces what was in the underlying "wrap". This way, the glue can be the EI and Coaching stuff.

    Not easy to explain in such a short space, but if you know the Spiral Learning concept you will know what I am saying.

    [I think I am only half helping you here – sorry about that]


    — Robert Watson, Australia

  5. Spiral

    Hi Robert

    Would love to hear more about "Spiral"…I can sort of guess but that’s usually a dangerous thing to do in my case so your explanation would be preferred.


    Many thanks




  6. I don’t know if this is too informal, but….


    I once used an approach that used a one page "questionnaire"

    What do you want to be doing in four years time in terms of your career?…………………

    In order to achieve that what do you need to:-

    a) learn?…………………..

    b practice?…………………..

    c) demonstrate?…………………….

    d) Keep up with emerging technology/professional thinking

    (think in terms of i) knowledge, ii) skills, iii) behaviours… in both technical and managerial areas)

    How can you achieve this development?……………

    and when?……………………

    (think in terms of training courses, reading, CPD, project exposure, management responsibility)

    Who do you need to get support from in order to achieve this? ……………………(think line manager, HR, operations….think budget, time expertise, secondment/project allocation/acting rank)

    This was the initial discussion document that then evolved as the period went on and things were added, amended and built on, amzingly it was also used when it was clear that the organisations could not provide a path for the individual to achieve his/her aspirations.

    I hope this helps


  7. Thanks

    Thanks Russ

    It will certainly help with the initial discussion form I am working on.

    As this is read in the USA I am also hoping for a whiz bang new idea that is cutting edge ILP…




  8. Spiral

    Think of what you imagine a traditional curriculum in medicine looks like. Might be 20 topics each made of 10 subtopics and taking 4 years for a student to learn.

    In Spiral Learning, you begin in the centre and work your way around the spiral, and as you get further away from the centre, the complexity increases. At the same time, the degree of interactions increases. I don’t have an example which I can share unfortunately, but I think you will follow this okay. This will demonstrate the progression:-

    Anatomy of the Skin (Intro)

    Anatomy of Blood system (Intro)

    Interaction of Skin and Blood vessels

    Anatomy of Nervous system (Intro)

    What happens when skin suffers a minor cut (=skin+blood+nerves)

    Anatomy of skin (More) = role of cells in repairing minor cuts

    Anatomy of Nervous system (More) = how nerves repair

    So, what I have tried to demonstrate is that a student of medicine over the course of 4 years study might attend lectures on the Nervous system 30 different times – each time getting more complex and more specialised, but always linked intimately to the other subjects being studied.

    When I show people how to do this, I begin with their Curriculum and try to get 50 or more Sub-Topics identified. These are then laid out around a spiral in such a way that the innermost rings are "Basics" and the complexity increases outwards. The only real difficulty is getting the Nerve Specialist to teach his/her Sub-Topic in such a way that the Blood Specialist’s content is reinforced. (and vice versa)

    — Robert Watson, Australia

Author Profile Picture
Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

Read more from Steve Robson

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!