This project started as a masters implementation project in 2016 within the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Birkbeck College London University. So as not to repeat here, please read these introductory sections on the

Project mission - notes

Harnessing technology to (systematically*) Improve personal development support for all. With a focus on career and education planning support and building a framework for schools, family, friends, experts and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide individuals with support (advice, information, guidance). And hopefully to foster exploration of courses, careers, creative planning, learning & self awareness...

Related goals: Less patchy careers guidance provision

Page content:

  1. Project & System overviews
  2. Prototypes road map (provisional dev. plan)
  3. Notes on support roles
  4. The Gatsby Benchmarks
  5. How pPlan supports the Gatsby Benchmarks
  6. More about project
  7. Appendix

Project overview

iAutor system

See underlying A,B,C framework in system overview Figure 2

The tools in this pPlan App could be reconfigured for a business focused staff CPD program or an `ecoPlan` App to support sustainability & the planet
pPlan App

This web site is an application (instance) of the iAutor system. For more information see Figure 2, the home page & Course

pPlan Guides

See Guides introduction (link in top navigation)

These guides could evolve into a Course at later date

Research will come later as the other parts of the project mature

See questions & research strands Figure 5 at the bottom of this page

Figure 1 Project overview

This apps goal is that:
your input and engagement with: A - E, along with feedback [ SP + AI   ] supports achieving your goals and improves self-awareness Context / use-cases
User account setup workflow:
1. Signup:
  • username, password & email set
  • + age-group, country...
    (important for pPlan support)
  • email sent (see step 2.)
2. verification:
  • Email verification if True: account activated
3. Setup includes:
  • 1 default Board for goals (+ user & profile records)
  • 4+ role Groups (7 in total)
  • System assigned AgeGroup coach
  • Free personal subscription
4. Get started:
B Questionnaires (psychological instruments)

Personality test, Character strengths +Inventories:
1. Values
2. Interests
3. Abilities

A Goal setting & planning tool

Set broad goals and 1 or many SMART action plans which can all receive inline feedback F

C Entries: Personal journal, supporting information & analysis
D Profile & external tools
E Guides (Course) to support your edu/career development

It references: global & organisation goals & curriculum links

V Views: Goal-with-plans, Goal-pictures-view, Summary, Profile, Dashboard
Experimental views : Grid-Mapped planning...
Requesting & Assigning me SuPport SP - support roles may include: coaches, family, mentors, teachers, friends, tutors
F Feedback from supporting roles on A B C D & any direct communication
Computer feedback based on statistical analysis & ML AI  
Click for a high level overview of initial design

Project road map

Actually closer to a provisional development plan than a road map

# Dates
Name/ URL
Note: As only prototype applications the servers go to sleep and take a second or 2 to wake up
Development focus
0.1 2018, Aug. - Oct.
  • Develop the systems foundations: authentication, permissions, data model...
  • Start developing the planning tool A
0.1b 2019, July - 2020, Dec.
(On going development on this codebase side-by-side with user-testing)
  • Develop the Survey engine B
  • Start developing the Summary view
  • Improve the Dashboard
  • Improvements to the planning tool A based on prototype #1 feedback
0.2 2021-22
also @

Here pPlan was still at an experimental stage & undergoing - development - but moving out of the concept prototyping phase & allowing access to try most features

  • Develop meaningful content that end users might engage with (now the system framework is in place). Specifically the goals & the hierarchy/tree they exist in.
  • Enhance organisation information (goals) to include orgs outside education - to provide a broader context for personal decisions
  • Improvements across the codebase towards more formal testing & evaluation with end-users
  • Start exploring computer feedback based on statistical analysis & ML AI  
  • Review & improve the end-user roles/permissions and their assignment (coach, coachee, coordinating-coach + Admin roles)... example. Hide CRUD buttons for anonymous views rather than redirect to signin or custom error pages
  • Performance & analytics: explore caching & logging strategies
pPlan course 2020 - 22
also @
  • Course using pPlan tools is in the early stages of development
  • Currently just adding bits of content and not concerned with targeting a particular audience age-group, possibly because the intention would be that an informed teacher/coach/adult would (deliver) guide others through the course - see the introduction page
  • Provide open views that are publicly accessible on the internet.
    These along with the pPlan course are intended to eventually provide an Open educational resource (OER)
0.3 2022-23
0.4 2023-24?

(or maybe a release candidate?)
  • Explore Strand 2 for closer integration with Secondary school, FE & HE practices of personalisation, support, tutoring, parent communications and the broader curriculum (ex. PSHE )
High level project management and feature development ideas

Notes on support roles

The term support role SP is used to mean in no particular order or exclusively:

In other words people using pPlan as a tool to support other pPlan users. Below are the permission profiles which these support roles can be assigned

User permission profiles
These are groups (of users) with specific permissions assigned (See support roles below)
Note: Can add goals,,, see below
Editor Note: Can edit goals... Commentator Note: Can add feedback... Spectator Note: Can view... Public
Note: Special group which can be used to grant public access.
  Full control

Note: This group is reserved for the owner & possibly parents of young children

Click here to see more information on the permissions matrix

Information on assigning support roles

Age group ranges & built-in accounts

Includes the built-in user accounts for coaches & students
(current age ranges & built-in user accounts...)
(age-range for comparison)
User age range Student accounts Coach accounts Coach associated real person
0-10 student-10-lt (A. Brown) coach-10-lt Greta Thunberg School strike for climate
11-15 student-11-15
(curriculum exploration)
coach-11-15 Vanessa Nakate Climate activism 16 or younger
16-19 student-16-19 (Job explorations) coach-16-19 Mahatma Gandhi Indian independence movement 17-18 years old
20-39 student-20-39 (Neurominority) coach-20-39 Ansel Adams Group f/64
19-22 N/A Transferable (soft) skill development coach-19-22 Volodymyr Zelenskyy Ukrainian Democracy 19-22
22-30 N/A TODO Note - this spot to be taken by account student-20-39 22-30
31-40 N/A Self awareness (VISP Surveys...) Charles Kao Kuen Pioneered of Fiber optics 31-40
40-59 student-40-59 (M. Brown) coach-40-59 Bob Marley Bob Marley and the Wailers 41-50
>=60 student-60-gt (Well-being) coach-60-gt Rachel Carson Nature writing 51-60
Do not wish to declare student-demo (DNWTD ) coach-DNWTD Wangari Maathai Green Belt Movement Age: prefer not to say
Other built-in accounts
System User
pPlan coordinator (This websites developer & owner of Goal tree hierarchy goals)
United Nations (Global goals) N/A

The Gatsby Benchmarks

Gatsby benchmarks in table below are from

Benchmark Description
1. A stable careers programme Every school and college should have an embedded programme of career education and guidance that is known and understood by pupils, parents, teachers and employers.
2. Learning from career and labour market information Every pupil, and their parents, should have access to good-quality information about future study options and labour market opportunities. They will need the support of an informed adviser to make best use of available information.
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil Pupils have different career guidance needs at different stages. Opportunities for advice and support need to be tailored to the needs of each pupil. A school’s careers programme should embed equality and diversity considerations throughout.
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers All teachers should link curriculum learning with careers. For example, STEM subject teachers should highlight the relevance of STEM subjects for a wide range of future career paths.
5. Encounters with employers and employees Every pupil should have multiple opportunities to learn from employers about work, employment and the skills that are valued in the workplace. This can be through a range of enrichment activities including visiting speakers, mentoring and enterprise schemes.
6. Experiences of workplaces Every pupil should have first-hand experiences* of the workplace through work visits, work shadowing and/or work experience to help their exploration of career opportunities, and expand their networks.
7. Encounters with further and higher education All pupils should understand the full range of learning opportunities that are available to them. This includes both academic and vocational routes and learning in schools, colleges, universities and in the workplace.
8. Personal guidance Every pupil should have opportunities for guidance interviews with a careers adviser, who could be internal (a member of school staff) or external, provided they are trained to an appropriate level. These should be available whenever significant study or career choices are being made. They should be expected for all pupils but should be timed to meet their individual needs.

How pPlan supports the Gatsby Benchmarks

Core dimensions of good careers and enterprise provision How pPlan supports benchmarks
Benchmark Directly supports Some support Possilbe support (or not currently) Explaination
1. A stable careers programme y * Provides tools for the individual & coaches to develop, record and reflect over time
2. Learning from career and labour market information y references existing external resources
3. Addressing the needs of each pupil y * personalisation central to the design of plan
4. Linking curriculum learning to careers y can use/integrate pplan as e-portfolio of career planning…
5. Encounters with employers and employees y
6. Experiences of workplaces y **Record as the outcome of plans and feedback on goals during experience
7. Encounters with further and higher education y **
8. Personal guidance y *

More about project

Developer: Jago Brown
Blog/Project background information
Educational Technologist living & working in London

Contact us

And please also report issues to:
[email protected]
More information on:
Linkedin | Twitter @JagoBrown | Github | Blog:


Questions used to evaluate prototypes

General end-user questions & research strands (for user groupings)

This prototype is focused on researching and supporting strands one and two below around mainstream education and career planning of individuals of ~ 14 years +. However pPlan's tools (which are derive from education, business and psychology) could be tailored to other groups and situations suggested by strands 3-5. Tailoring the language used, survey questions and the external resources referenced.

Project research strands


pPlan used within Education

Use not reliant on Education sys.

(supporting roles may have up to 100? coachees/mentees)
Target age groups and questions/ Use-case stands

Core Strand 1

Core Strand 2

Strand 3

Strand 4

Strand 5

Coachee age range: 13+ (typically to ~30)

Based on very early personal experience using the tool - Y8 (~ 12/13 year olds) may be a good year to start the conversations around careers & courses to start exploring

Planning for Uni/course/ apprenticeship

Planning for Career

Include some Learning Analytics data (attendance, grades, VLE engagement) to monitor retention & other risks... & identifying any issues getting in way of success

Could it support any SLD or disabilities?

Where Tool used independently of Education system

Questions, examples


What changes if supporting L7- e.g MBA

Uses data from other systems:  Student Information System, attendance, VLE

e.g. Visual timetable (planning board for autism)

e.g. when used by individual coach or family or teacher

Specific end user questions

Which end-user features would improve pPlan: SWOT analysis, user photos, working values inventory, Ability to have many mentors, ability to share board on facebook...

General system design research questions

These questions relate to specific components/tools shown in the system overview diagram below

  1. How could the Summary (portrait) view which presents a summary of input to Tools A, B, C - be improved :

    1. Display different information - what information?

    2. Present it differently - how?

  2. What would be the best surveys/questions B to support Strand 1 and Strand 2 in mainstream education?

  3. Regarding educational and career choices and planning - i.e. exploring the course/career options and getting information on these:

    1. Should pPlan include more information or provide deep links into specific pages of the databases provided under the Education and Career menus above?

    2. Based on the input to A, B, C, D and F should pPlan provide suggestions? AI  

  4. Is there a need for more specialised and dedicated personal development planning (PDP) systems that support personal reflection, exploration, planning & critical thinking than are currently available in the mainstream?

  5. Planning Tool A - If mentees defining and reflecting (with mentor support) upon the following constructs is the best approach :

    1. Current Situation <--> Goal (Ideal Situation) <--> Smart Plans ?

    2. If a visual map/overview and networking of relationship between these constructs enhances coachee/mentee understanding and improves decision making?

General technical questions

What aspects of the technical implementation are fit for reuse and which might be discarded?