#EDENchat Up close and personal

I have written a lot about Personal Learning Environments in the past, especially when they were emerging as a concept, and sounded quite new. There were posts about the Anatomy of PLEs, their functionality, their role as a counterpoint to the institutional Learning Management System, and also their relationship to MOOCs and Connectivism. I attended the first ever Personal Learning Environments conference in Barcelona, about 5 years ago, and spent three glorious days in the sun, learning with others about the merits and challenges of the PLE and how it would 'revolutionise' learning. We were all excited about the potential of PLEs, especially their subversive nature and their inherent informality. PLEs could be created by anyone, using just about any tool or technology, and we later expanded the idea to embrace other elements such as real experiences and people (Personal Learning Networks). Several peer reviewed journal articles (and a special issue in Interactive Learning Environments) also appeared, and countless blog posts were published. Fittingly, the history of the PLE was written through personal experience and experimentation.

Looking back on all of this frenetic activity, we can now see that PLEs, whatever they have evolved into, have become so much a part of the fabric of everyday learning, that they have all but disappeared, at least in terms of our perception of them. People tend rarely to refer to them now. Personal devices and the free and widespread access to social media have amplified the concept of PLEs to the point that they have become ubiquitous, and therefore run of the mill. What is your experience of using PLEs in your own learning? How can the concept be applied to wider issues in education?

The #EDENchat on May 20th explored these questions and many others, and there was free ranging discussion which was challenging, thought provoking and enlightening. The archive for this and all other #EDENchats can be found as Storified records on the EDEN NAP website.

Photo by Jourixia on Deviant Art

Creative Commons License
Up close and personal by Steve Wheeler was written in Preston, England and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


David Hopkins said…
Like you Steve, what I used to see as my PLE is now just my LE (learning environment). Yes, it's still personal, but I don't see it as anything more than just what I do. I search, I blog, I tweet, I share. This is me and what I do. Can the concept be applied or adopted elsewhere? Yes, of course, but it's less about the PLE (or formal acceptance of the 'world' that is the PLE) and more about using tools and techniques to 'include' and 'engage'?
Steve Wheeler said…
Tend to agree David. It's like driving a car or using a lift to me - you don't think about it unless there's a critical incident. My own use of technology for learning has become an extension of my abilities and thoughts - what David Jonassen calls mind tools - and its a part of who I am as a professional educator and learner.

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