Personal Learning Environments

[Editor’s Note: The Innovations Lab community growing at a fast past. Occasionally we will repost some older articles from the blog.  This articles was originally published on May 12, 2008]

Over the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). I bumped into the concept a few months ago, but couldn’t figure out if it was just eduspeak jargon or if it had some substance to it. So I just kind of just filed it away.

Now I still don’t know whether or not the moniker is worth tying my ideas to formally (need to see  how mature the literature is), but I know that informal, episodic, self-reflective, life-long learning is a real socio-cultural and psychological phenomenon in the 21st century. In some fashion or another, it has probably always been a reality — maybe in some eras and cultures more so than others. Nonetheless, the main drift of modern society and the embedding of new informational technologies (and its effects) highlight the possibility for educators to leverage this kind of learning and empower students within this highly networked, fast-moving (sometimes overwhelming, sometime exhilarating) environment.

I found this short video overview of the concept of PLEs to be quite informative. (Click on the image below.)

(From Graham Attwell.)

2010 Update: I still think about PLEs and PLNs (personal learning networks) a lot!

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