MOC 101: Personal Learning Projects

November 16, 2021 | Author: Royal College Staff

In this article:

  • The many ways you can approach PLPs.
  • The six basic steps in a PLP.
  • Where and how to record your PLPs in MAINPORT ePortfolio.

A personal learning project (PLP) is a self-initiated learning activity that is stimulated by a question, issue or dilemma in your professional practice. PLPs are one of the most versatile forms of continuing professional development. In fact, you are likely already engaging in them!

PLPs can be created based on

  • updating your knowledge to prepare a presentation,
  • further research after reading a journal article or participating in a point-of-care activity,
  • inspiration from any aspect of your professional practice (e.g. CanMEDS Roles).

PLPs are flexible and adaptable within any learning context.

Steps to a personal learning project

There are six basic steps to a PLP:

1. Identify a practice issue or learning you would like to pursue.

2. Frame your issue into a question, problem statement or objective.

3. Develop an action plan.

4. Seek out and review materials, resources, data.

5. Reflect on the outcomes of your learning and impacts/implications for your practice.

6. Record your work in MAINPORT ePortfolio.

Shahid Ahmed, MD, FRCPC, goes through these steps with an example from his practice in his MOC Tip: Complete a Personal Learning Project in 6 simple steps

Reporting personal learning projects in MAINPORT ePortfolio

Where to record

PLPs are reported under Section 2: Personal Learning Project for 2 credits per hour.

Subtypes for personal learning projects

When reporting a PLP in MAINPORT ePortfolio, you must select a sub-type from the drop-down menu:

  • Address clinical or academic questions
  • Preparation for formal teaching activities
  • Development of research activities
  • Address medical-professional administrative or systems related questions/issues
  • Other—Please describe the type of PLP

These subtypes clarify the reason behind the creation of your learning plan. The Royal College uses this information to better understand how Fellows are using PLPs, so that we can make future improvements to the MOC framework.

If you have more questions or desire personalized support, please contact the Royal College Services Centre: 1-800-461-9598 or


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David Reid | November 19, 2021
Very helpful, Thank you,
John Parboosingh | November 18, 2021
Thank you for a helpful description of the PLP. The many ways that PLPs can potentially contribute to medical education are summarized in a text "Tools to assist physicians to manage their information needs". In Information literacy: models for the future, edited by Christine Bruce & Phil Candy published by Charles Stuart University Centre for Information Studies Chapter 10 121-136. (2000). The text summarizes the peer reviewed literature on PLPs collected on the predecessor to MainPort, namely. PCDiary®. It also describes the beginning in 1997 of an Internet-based "Question Library of PLPs" provided by RCPSC for use by residents and Fellows. Imagine how use of PLPs could develop if Fellows in a clinic or department allowed their PLPs to be made available to their colleagues. I can send a digital copy of this text to any interested Fellow and Staff.
Nicola Macpherson | November 17, 2021
What if "Bulk Reading" forms part of a PLP? For example, when I prepare a presentation, I spend many hours hunting for relevant articles and then reading them to extract the "Pearls", then spend even more time creating a presentation, and then presenting it. How do I record my time?
Royal College Communications | November 17, 2021
Hi Nicola, thanks for your question! You can claim the hours of learning you completed during the research and reading done for this activity (i.e. hunting for articles, reading the articles) under “Section 2: Personal Learning Project” (PLP) for 2 credits per hour. You would not claim this same reading separately as a bulk reading activity. Unfortunately, time spent teaching/presenting does not count in the MOC Program for credits (since it is viewed as a transfer of your knowledge); however, if you receive feedback from students/residents/colleagues on your presentation, you can claim any time you spend reviewing and reflecting on this feedback under “Section 3: Feedback on Teaching” for 3 credits per hour. I hope this helps! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at