Personal Project Cycle Diagram

Simple animated version, made in

To add to the Cycle Diagram frenzy of my last few months, here’s one for the Personal Project. Although the MYP Projects Guide has one that covers the Community and Personal Projects combined, I wanted to make one to focus on PP alone, and which could be used as a process guide for the Project.

It needed to be immediately recognizable as a type of Design Cycle and to be in line with the experimental cycle (and other disciplinary cycles). This is a deliberate effort to promote a design-thinking approach through the programme, as well as to visualize elements of inquiry in different contexts without having to use too many forms, sheet or texty documents. I also wanted to connect it as closely as possible with the Service Learning Cycle, to highlight how well suited a good service learning project would be for a Personal Project.

To highlight the central nature of the Approaches to Learning to the success of the Project, I’ve taken the “demonstrate [named ATL skill” strands and collected them in the middle, adding reflection for symmetry. The command term-based statements around the outside represent observable outcomes or checkpoints, most of which are taken from the objective strands.

Some outcomes have been added or edited, based on our experiences, to make the actions more explicit. These include adding ‘meaningful’ to the goal, and a focus on the Process Journal in planning. To connect more closely to the Service Learning Cycle, and to recognize the importance of the student-mentor relationship, I added ‘establish a relationship with your supervisor’ to the start of the Planning phase. In order to emphasize a focus on quality of Projects, I split up the Taking Action phase into three actions, ensuring an interim opportunity for reflection and improvement. The Reflecting phase is largely untouched.

If you have any suggestions or feedback, please leave them in the comments below, or reply to this thread on Twitter.


  • 12 March: Based on a second-look and feedback from Twitter (thanks Martin Jones), Draft 2 has Process Journal take a more central role, with ‘rigorous’ added to the success criteria and ‘organize materials’ added to the planning phase.

Final Version (for now)

This one’s the final version for now – my plan was to get the sections to link to supporting resources, but it doesn’t embed on WordPress and keep the links, as you see in the centre (as far as I know).

A little extra…

  • Here’s the GoogleDrawing file, so you can have a fiddle. Please attribute appropriately.
  • Here are some images that focus on each section in turn.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




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22 responses to “Personal Project Cycle Diagram”

  1. Ray Avatar

    Great Work. I would like to utilize your Design and incorporate it into my Project Guide and create links to activities, which will in turn become process journal entries.

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Sure Ray, thanks for the comment!

  2. Michael Smith Avatar
    Michael Smith

    This cycle design looks perfect for inclusion in a Personal Project Handbook I’m currently writing.
    Do I have your permission to use it (with citation, of course!) Thanks.

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Hi Michael – sure, go ahead!

      1. Michael Smith Avatar
        Michael Smith

        Thank you.

  3. James Kroll Avatar

    Fantastic work Stephen. I would like to modify it to align more with the community project instead of the personal project. Is the following an appropriate citation for you: adapted from the Personal Project Cycle by Stephen Taylor (@iBiologyStephen)?

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Hi James – thanks for the message. Please do note that it’s based on the IB guides as well. Good luck! Stephen

  4. Beth Avatar

    Hi Stephen – this is awesome! Well done. Can I use this (with citation) on my Personal Project Wall display and in our student workbook guide?

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Sure Beth, Rock on!

  5. Melodee Avatar

    This is great. I would like to use the “googlefiddle” version for a parent coffee morning session on the Personal Project I’m running this week.

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Sure Melodee – let me know how goes! (If you’re a Twitterer: @sjtylr)

  6. alavina Avatar

    Beautiful work, Stephen! I’d like to tweakfiddle and include in our PP Handbook for 2017-2018. Thank you!

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Of course, Aloha!

  7. Dr. Strunk Avatar


    I essentially left this same comment on the I Biology site but I did not want to take any chances missing you…

    The diagrams you have worked up here are fantastic. I really would like to make use of them in my teaching & research but I am having a difficult time ascertaining how to properly cite you. Is this blog the only place you have published this or have you gotten it into a journal and I am just missing that link? Again, well done.


    1. Stephen Avatar

      Hi Joshua – of course! For attributions, please use this link and my twitter handle (@sjtylr). Thanks for checking and good luck!

  8. beanyj Avatar

    Hi Stephen, May I use the cycle diagram you made with proper attribution in my IB MYP CAT 2 I&S presentation? Thanks Monique

    1. Stephen Avatar

      Hi Monique – of course! For attributions, please use this link and my twitter handle (@sjtylr). Thanks for checking and good luck!

  9. Rosalinda Avatar

    Hi Stephen, May I use the cycle diagram you made with proper attribution in my PP presentations and PP handbook? Thanks. Rosalinda

  10. Educate for hope, not despair, for a fair and sustainable world. | Ripples & Reflections Avatar

    […] From community service to “service as action“: Service Learning Cycle & Personal Project . […]

  11. Rhonda Mullins Avatar
    Rhonda Mullins

    Hi Stephen. I love the cycle. I work with new leader development in a corporate setting (after many years in public schools). I think your model exemplifies a particular “self-development” cycle I’ve been trying to articulate for a while. Could we discuss my using it to spur some thought with my group (with citation, of course). I’ve included my email information. Thanks for considering!!

  12. priamo simo Avatar
    priamo simo

    I love the Cycle Stephen. I will be using it a guide i’m making for students that will be guiding a Service Learning experience project. Are you OK with that?

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