One Essential Resolution for Educators in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment

This is part one of a three-part series for educators that describes how to create a rich, robust learning network and virtual space—a personal learning environment that supports professional and personal enrichment for lifelong learning.

3039956497_32885db756

PLE, Francesc Esteve, FLICKR

I plan to embrace 2013 with a new focus and direction, an emphasis that is different from a resolution. Resolutions don’t work, yet I still look forward to each New Year with a sense of anticipation, energy and a new plan. This year is no exception. I’ve spent much time considering carefully where I want to invest my time and energy, and it begins with a personal learning environment (PLE). A PLE is the hub of personal and professional development, and what better time than the New Year to commit to a renewed focus on one’s personal development.

This year I’ve selected three areas to focus on, of which I’ll write more about in the coming weeks, but the fulcrum of all projects is my personal learning environment. In this post I’ll share briefly what a personal learning environment is, why it is an essential dimension to any educator’s personal profile, share examples of other educators PLEs, and in parts two and three will explore how-to create a personal learning environment specific to educators.

Personal Learning Environment (PLE) Defined
A personal learning environment is a concept, not a thing or an event, but encompasses formal and informal learning experiences and interactions with various resources and people through a network of Web 2.0 platforms. It becomes a system that each individual [learner] manages, creates and builds, a learner centered, self-directed environment.

Personal Learning Environments (PLE) are systems that learners create and control to manage and direct their own learning. In this environment learners do the following:

  • set their own learning goals
  • manage their learning, both content and process
  • communicate with others in the process of learning  [modified from Wikipedia]

Part of the PLE is a Personal Learning Network, which is an essential sub-system of the PLE. It is the people, the personal connections within one’s PLE that are sources for new knowledge, collaboration partners, and serve as ‘nodes’ within the personal network that contributes to the wholeness of the PLE. Individuals become interdependent within a PLE, not independent [learning in a vacuum] or dependent [consuming knowledge only, and not creating knowledge].

Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning (Photo credit: Stephen Downes)

A Model for Life-Long Learning
The concept of a personal learning environment is based on the premise of lifelong learning, and [obviously] not a new idea given the history of the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom by Socrates and his followers. Yet a model for life-long learning was formalized as recently as 2007 by the Eurpoean Union with the launch of the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013, with its primary goal to support the development of quality lifelong learning across four phases: K-12, higher education, vocational training and adult education. The focus of the adult education phase is on the development of a network between people, institutions and other countries in education and training.

Examples of PLEs
Despite several excellent projects resulting from the efforts of the Eurpoean Union, describing how to create, build and interact within a personal learning environment is somewhat difficult to outline as I’ve discovered as I write this post. Mostly because PLEs are personalized, open, dynamic and unique to each person. Furthermore, environments take time to develop and are dependent on the motivation of the learner, and the direction and goals of him or her— all of which contribute to unique systems.

Below is an excellent example of a PLE where the learner describes the functions within her PLE, and the tools used for each.

scan_of_mm_ple_2

Michele Martin’s PLE, The Bamboo Project Blog, April 2007

Click here to view more examples of visual representations of PLE’s from other lifelong learners. The visual images are representative of the model or framework of each learners’ PLE, showing the Web 2.0 platforms used to catalogue, curate, develop, create, connect, record and/or save an individuals work, personal connections and knowledge created.

Next Steps for PLE
Over the next two postings I will provide guidelines and suggestions for how to develop a PLE, though my experience is limited, I will share how I have started to develop my PLE,  share resources and tools that may be of support to readers wanting to further develop their own. I would welcome any feedback or suggestions from readers, so please comment and share on your experience with PLEs if you are able to. Happy New Year!

Resources:

14 thoughts on “One Essential Resolution for Educators in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment

  1. Your own blog post, “One Essential Resolution for Educators
    in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment | online learning insights” ended up being definitely
    worth writing a comment here! Merely needed to state you actually did a tremendous work.

    Regards -Phillipp

  2. “One Essential Resolution for Educators in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment | online learning insights” was in fact a pretty pleasant blog, .
    Continue publishing and I’ll continue reading! Many thanks -Janelle

  3. I’ll right away grasp your rss as I can’t in finding your email subscription link or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly permit me realize so that I may
    subscribe. Thanks.

    • Hi. Thanks for asking! Yes you can sign up by clicking on the follow this blog tab, which is somewhat hidden, but can be found on the right hand side of the blog home page, and located just below all of the images of the community of people that comment. Thanks again.

  4. Pingback: One Essential Resolution for Educators in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment « digitalcollaboration

  5. Pingback: One Essential Resolution for Educators in 2013 – A Personal Learning Environment | Education Equipment | Educational News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s