Tag Archives: PLEs

Personal learning environments

Network ALL2_BC
I’m currently writing up some ideas on open online professional learning that includes considering  personal learning networks. I came across this interesting post from Martin Weller on the apparent decline in interest or discussion of personal learning networks. The reasons suggested include the mainstreaming of the practices associated with PLEs, a consolidation of the tools used in to a fairly generic set of software used but also that the (research) agenda has shifted from personal learning to institutionally provided personalised learning partly driven by learning analytics.


LinkedIn network map

This is a very short post on my LinkedIn network mapLinkedIn network map

The identification of three distinct clusters of contacts is interesting and (kind of) makes sense. What is particularly useful is identifying the links between clusters that ‘should’ be stronger. In terms of developing a professional personal learning network as part of a personal learning environment, LinkIn maps  look  useful as a visual “sense-making” tool and for identifying your network’s strengths and weaknesses. Next is to attempt to work out why some components of my networks look weak, if these weaker areas can and should be strengthened and, if so, how?

Learning Insights ….

Kineo, the e-learning company, have issued a new report on e-learning insights based on interviews with “learning leaders” to identify key emerging trends. I’m not going to repeat the report but will look at a few of their ten key insights:

1. Learning is pervasive. Learning is continuous, collaborative and connected and most learning lives outside a learning management system. This has implications for the learning architecture and intervention models adopted by Learning and Development departments.

ZypadI see this as a key insight. Not as some new trend in learning but rather as something that L&D is (finally) waking up to. Most learning at and for work occurs through working: by solving problems; collaborating with others; being challenged and being observant. Much of this learning occurs vicariously and by serendipity and well outside much of the activities and service offers of L&D functions. The weaknesses were always that organisations were failing to understand that all this learning was going on and that staff weren’t being recognis

ed for making this learning happen. In addition, learning and knowledge was being lost because no attempt was made to capture it, staff were not always making best use of it as learning wasn’t either intentional or the main goal and also that employees had under-developed capabilities in “learning to learn“. What *has* changed is that digital technologies, especially digital working, has made such learning and knowledge more visible and these informal learning processes more transparent.

4. Design higher empathy learning. …It is not so much about meeting learning objectives as about empathy with the learner, their position, their challenges and personalising their experience.

Which I take to mean L&D should seek to get the right knowledge to the right people at the time they need to use it … No argument here and this may well prove to be a crucial focus for future developments around predictive learning analytics; knowledge management and knowledge resource development and work/ learning integration.

7. Informal learning must not become chaotic. There is a danger with the pervasive nature of learning and the wide range of informal opportunities that learning can become chaotic.

Is an interesting pronouncement but I’d argue not a key issue as most workers will be seeking to get the job done to the best of their abilities. L&D should be concerned with developing an enabling infrastructure, establish baseline (learning to learn) competence in employees but then largely get out of the way.

10. Where web technology goes, learning will follow. It is difficult to overstate the degree of change in web technology.

This seems to me to point to a shift from LMS  to Personal Learning Environments/ Networks that span the boundaries of any organisation and where significant components are owned by the employee – see Jane Hart’s post here

Its an interesting a useful report.


[Image of the ZYPAD, rugged wrist wearable computer from Arcom Control Systems licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported]


What was done last week:

  • developed the Moodle site for the E-Learning Strategy & Policy course on the MSc Digital Education and I’m really looking forward to delivering the course over the next 12 weeks or so
  • started reading lots of personal learning environments (PLEs) in terms of their implications for learning and development in organisations given that PLEs permeate organisational boundaries. People work in networks of relations that ignore institutional boundaries so why don’t we think about management and organising also in terms of networks?
  • continuing to read and think about actor network theory and online learning
  • marking lots of dissertations – with some, its a joy, with others… not so much
  • I also learnt how to clean my dogs teeth – strangely enjoyable activity for both of us (chicken flavoured toothpaste in case you were wondering).

streaming & learning

I came across a very interesting post here with a presentation from Chris Messina on life streaming. The approach taken in the presentation, especially the references to activity theory and activity systems made me to think about life streaming as a means of tracing and reflecting on informal learning in digital environments. In other words, can life streaming contribute to making explicit and recording learning as a social, interactional and an active process. While the majority of workplace learning is informal and so highly situated, such learning can also be unreflective. So, I suppose, my thinking is that where people work in the sort of (digital) environments being discussed by Chris, can life streaming be instrumental in enabling reflective and potential expansive learning by providing the mediating artefacts that activity theory suggests can support such processes and outcomes.

I can see lots of practical (and probably theoretical!) problems here – so was interested in this post from Graham Attwell on PLEs that refers to Ben Hammersley‘s budding as:

This sounds very much like part of a Personal Learning Environment to me: a tool which can allow us both to capture contextual learning where and when it happens and to repurpose it for presentation in different media …

Different media could include personal learning logs, blogs, reports, presentations, lessons learnt reports, wikis and so on. In other words, there is no reason for such micro-learning objects as assets of informal learning should, necessarily “melt in to air” once its immediate and situated utility is over.

Is it possible to use life streaming to trace micro-objects as memes for their ‘stickiness’, calls to action, capacity to spread, to be viral as a way to study, understand and reflect on implicit learning in practice?

roundup of interesting stuff: edupunk and social business

More on edupunk/ hacking the education “system” here Although I think there is a conflation of two issues here: (a) the brand recognition and market value of possessing a recognised degree (preferably from a prestigious university and (b) the power of the www to enable lifelong learning. So one is concerned with the confirmation that I have understanding of a particular body of knowledge in a form that others will recognise, the other is about learning and reflection in pursuit of my own interests, to be more productive/ innovative, etc. at work

This post overlaps many of the issues highlighted in the notion of the business as a social environment. If the ability to learn is key to competitive advantage then designing organsiational forms and practices around learning – social, informal, serendipitous – becomes an organisational imperative which is so much of what enterprise2.0 is about.

on the nature of personal learning environments

A well argued post here on personal learning environments as a dynamic environment rather than a product or device. This chimes with my own views on PLEs as something that is personal rather than a product as well as with the tension in views of enterprise 2.0 between the techno-determinists and those focused on people and culture.

experiencing twitter

Its been a couple of weeks since I started using twitter. Like some others I’ve been an erratic user. Initially (and perhaps, still) it can feel a bit overwhelming and a time sink – so many people to follow. A few things stand out:
– offers of support/ advice came almost immediately (thanks harold, Christian,Shawn)
– some of my followers seem very random
– limiting my Twitter use to a couple of time a day seems sensible yet slightly not in the spirit
– I’m very poor at using my iTouch or mobile for tweets
– I really enjoy the sense of serendipity it brings.

I’m still embedding twitter into the jumble of apps I loosely term my personal learning environment [PLE] but Twitter feels right as a sort of wide end of the funnel, pulling in the useful, not so useful and very un-useful bits of information. It also helps build a sense of being part of a wider community and what will be interesting to me is to think through the interface between Twitter, other tools (eg, blogs) and the concept of the Zone of Proximal Development. I’m not ready to make any sort of reasoned comment on that yet but it will be the subject of a future post ….

more to learning environments

just a quick addition to my previous post on learning environments as I should have referred to this post from Pontydysgu that discusses how/ whether micro-learning objects developed through social learning technologies can and do ‘mature’ into more formalised learning content, eg, through a process of aggregation and validation perhaps. The essence of this for me (ie, placing technology issues aside!) is whether the highly-situated and problem-specific nature of a lot of workplace learning via social media can be the basis of more generic and transferable knowledge and what the processes for making this happen might be ….

The Mature IP project looks like one to watch …

learning environments and networks

A great post from Stephen Downes here on personal learning environments [PLEs] and reflecting on the experience of running the connectivism course. I was taken with the argument that the value PLEs is greatly enhanced by extending social networks – a similar argument to the one made here by Malinka Ivanova.

The paper reminded me of a quote – can’t remember who made it or when [which is a bit useless I know] – along the lines of: “we learn but I just get to know things”.