I have been participating in George Siemen’s Introduction to Emerging Technologies – Africa open course. Recently we were asked to create a model to describe our PLE (Personal Learning Environment).† I began first with trying to define just what the PLE is – are we talking about the true meaning of the word “environment” (like what spaces/sites we use) or are we meaning a more generalized term (i.e. the place and all it encompasses)? The terms PLE/PLN/PLC and CoP are batted around online quite often, yet I am not sure anyone has clearly(or cleanly) defined them. Even those who may have coined the terms will find they’ve been adopted and adapted by the blogosphere to fit the post of the moment.
So for now, I am going to go with the definitions listed below until I find better definitions to replace these working ones.† (Comments welcome to correct my misconceptions).
- CoP (Community of Practice): A group of learners interested in the same topic who share their learning with each other to deepen the learning for the group – no electricity required.
- PLE (Personal Learning Environment): The structure of the PLN – the digital framework where learning takes place – tools & sites. A component of the PLN.
- PLC (Personal Learning Community): The human factor . A component of the PLN.
- PLN (Personal Learning Network): The people plus the digital framework that connects them.
With the above definitions in mind, I set about creating my model. I thought about building a diagram or flowchart as many of our examples showed, but frankly, I am just too right brained for that to really work for me. Instead, I worked from the metaphor of the environment. The idea of the personal learning environment is to make use of the technology around us to connect us to others to extend all of our learning – to keep us from being isolated as learners.¬ That led me to the thought that no learner should be an island.† And that led me to my model:
If you made a model to describe your PLE, what would it look like?