personal learning environments

I’ve been reading a few interesting posts on personal learning environments (PLE) here and here (as a blog on a presentation from Stephen Downes).My experience has been that constructing a PLE has had an enormous impact on my personal professional development – but developing a PLE that works for me took a long time (years really) and alot of experimentation. I like to think that my framework is pretty solid and its now more of a case of looking for tweaks of continuous improvement rather than wholesale experimentation. However, my career change into academia may well test this assumption – too early to tell just yet.

What the PLE has provided, is a mechanism for me to keep awareness of emerging trends and ideas in a reasonably diverse range of professional domains. I’ve also found having this PLE has helped me in presenting my skills, knowledge and understanding in the jobs market more effectively. As discussed by Jay Cross here the PLE has helped me in formulating a generic ‘elevator pitch’ that can be targeted for different professional areas in a specific language.

A key aspect of my PLE, given my ‘job hopping’ approach to career development/ exploration, is that it can move with me, ie, I have not tied it into the IT system of any particular employer – in keeping with a sort of free agent attitude to careers and employment.

Of course, this has some implications for the role of the learning & development professional. I, as an employee, have taken control of my learning and longer-term career development. I, as a professional, want to be a ‘high performer’ (on the basis of pride and thinking about future careers) and so make sure I (a) understand the organisation’s strategy and (b) seek to implement that strategy in my day-to-day activities (including learning and development) and my PLE gives me the tool to do this in respect of the external world. Assuming others are like me how does the L&D function of an organisation add value? is L&D less of an agent of change and more a consolidator of changes internally, supporting compliance with internal processes, disseminating effective practices, etc..

I’m not sure if I’ve explained this well – its an early thought on how effective externally hosted PLEs may change (again) the dynamics of L&D in an organisation where ‘loose-tight’ structures and a focus on informal coalitions are replicated in the delivery of learning & development.

3 thoughts on “personal learning environments”

  1. Could you expand upon this post? Gen Y seems to start out as interns or in contract positions. Any ideas you have about turning those years that aren’t building seniority into a plus would be greatly appreciated. My daughter studied HR, has a contract position in Data Management and told them she wants to be trained for Project Management so it sounds like you might be able to shed some light on how to navigate that winding path.

  2. thanks for the query – it seems that contracting etc. will be ever increasing for the workforce. In which case, building seniority becomes (a) less easy and (b) less relevant. The important thing may well be in building a portfolio of skills and experience that employers will want to pay for … not very original I’m afraid. What I would say is that project management will continue to be a key competence as part of this portfolio of skills.


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