"The Personal Learning Environment is rethinking the whole process of learning from the informal and the endogenous or non-institutional, everyone becoming responsible for their own learning plan. And this is largely possible by the digital revolution: the knowledge contained in people and objects is now available to anyone, anywhere, anytime. So, I understand the PLE as a set of conscious strategies to use technological tools to access the knowledge contained in objects and people and thereby achieve certain learning goals."
"PLEs might be seen instead as a flexible process to scaffold individual and community learning and knowledge development. And of course, with powerful mobile devices that learning can take place in contexts where knowledge is applied, rather than as pure knowledge abstracted from its application."
The Web is changing and emergent technologies on the Web provide new options for learners to aggregate and engage with information. Learners can take control over their information steam and be proactive in the search for valuable information. The abundance of information makes that choices need to be made about what is valuable and what not, while the low level of teacher presence on open online networks increases the self-directed nature of this task for learners. Learning technologists started the research, design and development of personal learning environments (PLEs) that include predictive technologies to aid learners with the management of their learning in an open networked environment. Designers and developers are working on information recommender systems, using learning analytics and visualization techniques, to present learners with information relevant to their learning. Questions are being raised, however, about the usefulness of these systems for the advancement of learning. The low level of teacher presence on open networked learning networks will influence the level of reflection and critical engagement with information by learners, and is seen as a challenge to depth of learning. It is argued that to counter balance this, critical factors in information gathering would be the level of serendipity and human mediation. This paper will highlight some challenges and opportunities in the shaping of information streams effective to learning. The aim of our research was to find out how people might position themselves at the centre of their information gathering process and how microblogging tool Twitter, in combination with RSS, shaped by human connections and interactions, might provide them with a reflection-inducing stream of information, in order to at times surprise and challenge them. We will highlight these aspects through the lens of research carried out during a Massive Open Online Course on Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge (PLENK2010) in the fall of 2010. This paper will use a small case-study in the use of Twitter on PLENK2010 to investigate how human interaction might aid the increase of levels of serendipity in open networked learning. Special consideration will be given to serendipity in algorithm-based recommender systems for learning.
"Research and development in Personal Learning Environments has made considerable progress in recent years. Yet such research continues to be focused on learning through formal educational institutions. Far less attention has been paid to work based learning and still less to the particular context of learning in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Yet it could be argued that it is in just these contexts, where work can provide a rich learning environment and where there is growing need for continuing professional development to meet demands from new technology and materials and changing work processes that PLEs could have the greatest impact. However, for this to happen requires a dual approach, based on informal learning and the development of network and mobile technologies. This paper will describe an approach being developed for learning in SMES, specifically in the building and construction industry in north Germany."
by Graham Attwell, Pontydusgu & Ludger Deitmer, ITB, University of Bremen
Over the last years, increasing attention has been paid to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) as an effective framework for lifelong learners, and to the need for a smooth integration of formal and informal learning. A wider and wider range of open source and free learning applications on the web are offering lifelong learners powerful tools to construct and characterise their own PLEs. Technologically speaking, this change of perspective manifests in a learning web where information is distributed across sites. However, knowledge management becomes an issue, and personalisation requires the support of semantics applied to social components. This thesis focuses on the characterisation of adult lifelong learners’ PLEs by implicit and explicit tools of personalisation. The synergy of formal and informal learning in the dynamic construction of a lifelong learner’s PLE has been explored. The SSW4LL (Social Semantic Web for Lifelong Learners) format has been devised, and the SSW4LL system, built on Moodle 2.0 integrated with an adaptive mechanism (conditional activities) and some tools of Social Semantic Web (Semantic MediaWiki, Diigo and Google+), has been designed, implemented and successfully validated as a device suitable to provide a dynamically personalised learning environment to the lifelong learner.
"The main concern about the development of PLEs was the practical pedagogical implication of their adoption in different contexts, especially when taking into account a more interdisciplinary perspective. It included considerations of pedagogy, didactics, technology, institutional issues and the many factors that contribute to the complex system of tensions that constitute the common framework in which we talk about learning and education."
The emergence of networking technologies and social media is changing the way we work, collaborate and learn. This has resulted in new forms of learning practices, more participatory ways of creating and representing knowledge and new global learning networks. In the current era, learning and educational practices are becoming more open, digital and networked. Open and networked technologies provide the opportunities for online learning to offer kind of more open and flexible online learning opportunities which can bring together such a greater number of geographically-dispersed learners to experience kind of networked and collective learning mediated by online and web applications. Such open and free learning opportunities for instance are the growing interest in offering open online courses in higher education nowadays which attract many people. This paper discusses the learning activities and experiences of the participants of some open online courses who are coming from different parts of the world to online networked environments and integrate various tools and digital application in the process of their learning and interactions. This paper presents the preliminary findings of a research in progress on leaning ecologies in web 2.0 and emerging technologies and personal learning environment (PLE). The main research question for this paper is: what is the nature of learning in open and networked learning environments and what learning activities and experiences result from participating in these environments? The findings are based on an online survey, semi-structured interviews and public online contents of the participants in open online courses. This study adapted a virtual auto-ethnographic method to get involved more closely to the culture and phenomena of learning in such open online environments in which researcher was able as a learner to participate in the various activities of the courses, interact with participants to explore the processes of learning and interaction. For the purpose of data analysis and understanding the nature of learning and interactions in such open and networked environments, by reflection on socio-cultural theoretical frameworks such as social constructivism, communities of practice and connectivism, we used a rhizomatic approach to learning in networks and communities (Cormier, 2008, Engestrom, 2007, Tella, 2000) to look at different emergent and multi-directional learning activities take place in the context of such open environments and to explain how open-digital-networked technologies are used by participants of open online courses.
Learning management systems traditionally provide structures to guide online learners to achieve their learning goals. Web 2.0 technology empowers learners to create, share, and organize their personal learning environments in open network environments; and allows learners to engage in social networking and collaborating activities. Advanced networking mechanisms, UGC, flat-structured architectures, RSS, and social tagging, permit online learners to define their own learning structures. This article reports an online course built within multiple Web 2.0 technologies designed to empower learners to construct their own personal learning environments within open network learning environments. Lessons learned, examples, and critical issues are discussed. This paper concludes that effective instructions should prepare “online” learners to become “network” or “open network” learners.
Today, in a changed world brought forth by the internet, questions arise on the matters of learning and leadership in educational institutions. To answer these questions, the inductive approach is taken up entailing the surfing of the internet to look for the relevant materials. Through the analysis done over a section of these materials, the following is found: the emergence of a new mode of learning and teaching with Web 2.0 tools; the development of new policies in the education system of a number of countries; and, the multitude of challenges faced by those with interest in integrating technology with the classroom learning experience. The challenges of concern are internet access, teachers’ education, teachers/lecturers modeling for the students, new additional skills or literacies and alternative paths in integrating technology with the classroom experience. Several forms of assistance could however be developed to help teachers/lecturers to bring technology into the classrooms. Also, to ensure smooth integration of technology in the classroom, the collaborative or shared leadership style appears to be the most appropriate for those concerned.
Bev Novak from Mentone Grammar School encourages educators to start developing their Personal Learning Network (PLN) and discover the joy of lifelong learning - learning anything, anytime, anywhere with anybody they choose.
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