Friday, 16 October 2009

Personal Learning Environments - Concept not Tool

The educational response to the concept of Personal Learning Environment has been to try and create a tool and present it as a ready made Personal Learning Environment. Well, this misses the point. Also, it is symptomatic of educational institutions desire to control. So they create walled, narrow tools (usually something like an e-portfolio system) and pass it off as a Personal Learning Environment. My Personal Learning spills over a number of different tool. I would say that igoogle is the major gateway but google reader and blogger are key elements (at the moment). Maybe by having the word "environment", the concept is given a false representative quality that it shouldn't have.

I've been prompted to reflect on this whilst reading Exploring Personal Learning Environment by Graham Atwell. Amongst this resource I found the following useful quote:

"Another approach is to consider the PLE not as a specific tool, but rather as a concept, a way of organizing a variety of Web 2.0 technologies. The PLE would be unique to each user, and would change according to the user’s needs and experiences." [Kompen R, Edirisingha P & Monguet J (2009) Using Web 2.0 applications as supporting tools for Personal Learning Environments]

Sums it up nicely I think.

7 comments:

  1. You can substitute 'LMS', 'textbook', much of the 'eLearning' stuff that I've seen and 'achievement' (and possibly even 'classroom') for PLE in this text with little or no effect.

    The costs of most eLearning (misnamed, it should be 'eTraining') for adults far outweigh the missed chances of collaboration, transparency, extensibility and - crucially - competition. The benefits of convenience and control are pernicious to fluency.

    Hmmm. This is possibly a slightly ill-thought-out reaction for education in schools. But falls into the sounds-radical-but-isn't category when discussing adult learning and training. Hmmm.

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  2. Although I'm not sure exactly what you are saying BunchberryFern, thanks for taking the time comment.

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  3. Ha ha. Hope this is clearer.

    The educational response to the concept of eLearning has been to try and create authoring tools and present them as ready made eLearning modules. Well, this misses the point. Also, it is symptomatic of educational institutions desire to control. So they create walled, narrow tools (usually something like an LNS) and pass it off as a eLearning. My eLearning spills over a number of different tools and resources. I would say that YouTube is a major gateway but SlideShare and blogger are key elements (at the moment).

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  4. Many thanks for taking the time to clarify.

    You are right. It seems that thinking about different ways of working is too much for education to handle. They need objects or tools which they can adapt and control. The problem is they try and keep the phrases and labels that accompany the original concept - which is wrong. PLE is one example.

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  5. I agree wholeheartedly with Brunch (an you) in that educational institutions feel the need to tightly control learning. Perhaps this is valid in some areas but with the way e-learning is going (good read: http://joshbersin.com/2009/09/25/from-e-learning-to-we-learning/) I think they should be looking for tools to help learners build their own *personal* LEs.

    My initial tumble is here: http://tumble.dasmith.co.uk/post/232088957/personal-learning-environments-free-form-tool

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  6. Thanks for this Danny, I'll comment on your tumble.

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  7. Thanks for the quote, Tom. We are happy you found our paper useful :)

    We are now in the second year of our ongoing study, this time working with two groups of students at undergraduate level, and -in connection with another project- with a group of high-school teachers. We think it will be interesting to compare the evolution of PLEs in different environments and groups.

    We are planning a PLE conference in July 2010, will start posting info and Tweeting (torresk in Twitter) about it as soon as we confirm dates and venues.

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