What is a Personal Learning Environment?
A Personal Learning Environment is an electronic space that helps learners to manage thier own learning. It is personally developed to integrate the social, educational, professional, formal and informal learning tools that help individuals set learning goals, manage both content and process, communicate with others and support the learning process. This latest concept reflects the needs of students who are digital natives living and growing in the latest industrial revolution. While most discussions of PLEs focus on on on-line environments PLE includes the entire set of resources available to students. The real focus is how the individual appoaches thier own learning.
How can this technology be used in Education?
Personal Learning Environments are being used at 50,000 schools and higher education institutions across the world. It is also being used after students leave school because it is a space for learning and documenting that learning. It is a space for collaboration and peer review.
This technology can be used in a project based environment as well as working in conjunction with learning management systems.
How to Create a Personal Learning Environment
The first step in creating a PLE is to establish a starting point. Grab a sheet of blank unlined paper and begin creating a mind map. This mind map will support the development of you personal learning environment. Answer the following questions:
1. What do I need access to to help me learn? This should be in general terms: I need to search for information, I need a place to store the information I find, I need a a way to organize the information, I need people to collaborate with and construct meaning, I need a place to publish the final product.
2. What tools do I need to do the things I listed in question 1- make this a bit more specific but don't lock yourself down yet. For example I need to search for information so I will need a search engine, I will need access to academic journals, I need science/art/math/floral design/etc. data bases.
3. What tools are available to help me do what I need to do? For example I need to search for information, I need a search engine I like Google (or Altavista, or dogpile, or etc.), I need access to academic journals - I like google scholar.
Create mind map that has all the elements you would like to have at your fingertips to support your learning/teaching/professional development etc.
Next find a PLE - there are several different platforms that are serving as PLEs
Symbaloo available at www.symbaloo.com/ provides a framework for building a personal learning environment. This environment can be tailored to match your mind map and bring to reality the processes of your imagination.
Epsilen is based on the Jafir model for Personal Learning environments. This tool is more managerial in format but opens the design for creating a personal learning environment . Creating an on-line community of learners.
Use Cirip to create your own network of friends/partners, telling them what you are doing or working on. You can embed photos, video and audio clips, also you can record live video messages. Monitor RSS feeds, and create private or public groups for your students or collaborators..
Where can you go to get more information?
academic article defining and giving examples of PLEs.
This pdf file describes 7 characteristics of effective PLEs and gives examples of application in an education framework.