Personal Learning Environments – the future of e-learning?

The idea of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) recognises that learning is continuing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning. It also recognises the role of the individual in organising their own learning. Moreover, the pressures for a PLE are based on the idea that learning will take place in different contexts and situations and will not be provided by a single learning provider. Linked to this is an increasing recognition of the importance of informal learning.

In terms of educational technology, there has been little attention paid to informal learning. It is remarkable that formal learning technology and applications have only really been made available to those enrolled on an educational programme or to those working for larger enterprises.

Many institutions are experimenting with the use of blogs and other social software tools in a more restricted environment as part of the curriculum. One interesting issue is the extent to which ‘communities’ continue after the end of a particular course. This also raises questions about what responsibilities institutions and teachers or moderators have for supporting such learning, outside course times.

PLEs provide learners with their own spaces under their own control to develop and share their ideas. Moreover, PLEs can provide a more holistic learning environments, bringing together sources and contexts for learning hitherto separate. Students learn how to take responsibility for their own learning. Critically, PLEs can bridge the walled gardens of the educational institutions with the worlds outside. In so doing learners can develop the judgments and skills or literacy necessary for using new technologies in a rapidly changing society.

Attwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments-the future of eLearning?. E-Learning Papers. vol. 2


6 thoughts on “Personal Learning Environments – the future of e-learning?

  1. >I found this topic particularly interesting especially in the context of lifelong learning since I believe adult learners will require learning environments which are more flexible to fit their work and personal life patterns and would mostly shy away from rigid settings. Such learners would have the maturity to determine their learning patterns which is compatible with PLEs.Web 2.0-related services offer a social component that enables opportunities for interface personalization in learning environments. A PLE in which every user builds his or her own learning path by using available services on the Internet, is expected to be the next phase of e-learning. Students will not be passive entities that simply utilise learning materials but are expected to be more active through the use of PLEs which will enable connections with instructor-led and student-led learning.The TENCompetence consortium is developing a model based on a PLE suited to life-long learning that uses adaptive hypermedia systems and intelligent tutoring to adapt to individual user goals, tasks, and interests. Mario Muñoz-Organero, Pedro J. Muñoz-Merino, and Carlos Delgado Kloos of Carlos III University of Madrid propose a PLE architecture that allows instructor-, community-, or user defined units of learning that might contain pluggable external services. A central element to this architecture is the ability to provide anytime–anywhere learning in which mobile personal devices play a central role. E-learning users would be able to contribute to already established e-learning communities by sharing services such as blogs, personal files, and personal forums or syndicated channels running on their mobile phones and PDAs.References:Organero, M., Kloos, C., & Merino, P. (2010). Personalized Service-Oriented E-Learning Environments . IEEE Computer Society.

  2. >In today’s competitive world, continuous professional development has become a must. People need to keep their knowledge and skills up to date in their working environment. This would result in more efficiency and effectiveness in what they are doing. E-learning is contributing heavily to continuous learning. Information is available through e-books, e-papers, webinars, blogs, educational videos and the like. Thus the information is available but one has to find the inner motive to search and update himself/ herself. I agree with Chris that informal learning and self-learning are good ways how a person can continue to learn. In fact, one has to test and find how they can learn best in order to enhance their learning.

  3. >I agree that the mode of teaching is changing and we have to adapt and change with it. Continuous personal development is also a must, especially for us educators where subjects are continually evolving. One of my colleagues above mentioned that students can take control of their own education. I believe that in theory this is an excellent idea, however in reality I believe that this might cause some difficulties especially with students that are not so motivated. From my personal experience with HND students, students need to be pushed and challenged. I think that if too much freedom is given to some of the students, they will fall behind, and might even drop out eventually. I know that some of the students are over age and they should be at school on their own accord because they want to learn, and not because they are forced, legally or otherwise. But, the truth is that students still need to be pushed to learn. I have quite a number of students that dropped out of JC because they were given too much freedom and they became apathetic and eventually failed in the subject. Having said all this, I still believe that e-learning can be very beneficial. I completely agree with Charlene that students have to find their inner motive to learn and update themselves.

  4. >I strongly agree that continuous development is vital; formal or informal training. According to the Institute for Research on Learning, at most, formal training only accounts for 20% of how people learn their jobs. Most workers learn their jobs from observing others, asking questions, trial and error, calling the help desk and other unscheduled, largely independent activities (Cross, 2006).Reference:

  5. >Strictly speaking, a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is an innovative approach in the way Web and other communication technologies are used for learning, rather than being an application solution in itself.On the other hand, the decision of using Personal Learning Environments includes various beneficial matters as are ethics and morality, academical, as well as others.

  6. Pingback: Deja Vu: Personal Learning Environments! «

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