MOC Tip of the Month
By Shahid Ahmed

Complete a Personal Learning Project in 6 simple steps

MOC Tip of the month

Interested in completing a Personal Learning Project (PLP) but not sure where to start? My six-step process outlines the basic steps you need to take to address a question, issue or dilemma in your professional practice with a PLP.


Log your PLP credits: You can claim two credits for each hour spent on these six steps.

Use these 6 steps for a PLP

  1. Identify a practice issue that stimulated further learning.
    • For example, I’m an oncologist living in Saskatchewan and one of my new patients is a Métis woman. I want to develop a greater appreciation of her culture and also the cultural awareness, sensitivity and competency skills I need as her health care provider to give her culturally safe care.
  2. Frame your issue into a question, problem statement or objective.
    • I ask myself, “What cultural considerations must I be sensitive to in order to provide culturally safe care to the Métis patients in my practice?”
  3. Develop an action plan to investigate — include scope, timeframe and where to look for resources.
    • I decide to complete this project over a number of weeks and to dedicate several hours of my professional development time to it. Specifically, I plan to
      • consult with a Métis health care worker, 
      • review both peer-reviewed and gray literature about culturally safe care for Métis patients, and 
      • take a short course on Indigenous cultural awareness, if possible.
  4. Acquire and appraise the resources/data you selected.
    • First, I read a fact sheet about Métis culture from an Indigenous health collaborating centre. I learn that Métis family units go beyond that of the immediate family and I realize that some of my Métis patients may wish to involve extended family members in the continuum of their care.
    • I look online for a recent journal article, lecture or medical podcast about best practices for physicians in providing culturally safe health care to Indigenous patients.
    • I reflect on whether the sources I picked were relevant to my situation and patients. I decide that the recommendations I read on how to adapt the delivery of health care services to support different Métis customs and traditions were of particular value.
  5. Reflect on the outcomes or conclusions you reached, and the implications for your practice.
    • I feel it is important to share with all my patients my wish to serve them in a culturally safe environment.
    • During our first consultation together, I encourage my new Métis patient to discuss the customs and traditions that are important to her when receiving care. For example, one of the questions I ask her is whether she wants to bring family members to her consultations with me.
    • In the interests of continuous learning, I decide to build an ongoing relationship with a Métis health care worker who can help me understand how to make my future Métis patients feel more comfortable.
  6. Record your work in MAINPORT ePortfolio.
    • Now that I’ve completed my PLP, in my MAINPORT ePortfolio I record in one or two sentences the conclusions I reached, the actions I took or will take, and I report the number of hours spent on each activity. MAINPORT ePortfolio assigns two credits per hour spent on each activity. 

Extra credit: Revisit your project
After implementing changes to your practice, you can revisit your PLP. For example, I might review my Métis patient case files two years later to assess whether the changes I have made to my practice have made a difference to these patients’ overall sense of wellbeing and comfort in our interactions.

I hope these six steps prove helpful for you as you pursue a PLP of your own. PLPs are truly wonderful problem-solvers. Not only are they a rich form of lifelong learning, they are one of the most flexible and adaptable learning activities in the MOC Program framework!