#PLENK2010: Five points about PLNs

Dave's five points about PLEs PLNs for PLENK2010

Here is my adaptation...

  • Point #1:  I use the term personal learning network (PLN) to refer to all of the following: professional learning network, personal learning environment, learning management system, course management system, etc.  A node that makes up a PLN can be a person, group, institution, online community, software program, etc.  And it's personal if the learner (and not a teacher, trainer, expert, etc.)  has control over which nodes to connect with and what type of interaction the learner prefers to have with each node.

  • Point #2:  Judging a PLN should come from the learner who cultivates the PLN.  If I choose and determine that an LMS is the best way for me to learn, then the LMS is my PLN.  It is not the responsibility of someone else (nor their place) to judge whether my PLN (e.g., an LMS) is right or not for me.  I decide this for myself.

  • Point #3: "[PLNs] need not be supported by educational institutions", but educational institutions will lose out if they continue to create obstacles for students to access websites.  In fact, it would be to the institution's advantage to support PLNs in any way they can.  As more individuals gain the capacity to develop a PLN, institutions will need to be more competitive, which means to incorporate a more open approach to teaching and learning.

  • Point #4: Ownership(personal) and Time(network) are critical impediments to implementing PLNs in both formal and informal education.  Cultivating a PLN is an ongoing endeavor that requires time for the busy professional as well as for the busy student.  Taking ownership in one's learning can be a novel idea for a professional as well, especially if the individual is used to having been taught in a linear, more traditional fashion (e.g., similar to Freirian's banking concept of education).

  • Point #5: Cultivating a PLN requires ongoing facilitative support from a variety of sources: teachers, trainers, colleagues, students, administrators, basically all stakeholders.  Even in formal education, there is no starting or ending point when it comes to developing a PLN.  There is no minimum or maximum set of nodes and no right or wrong way to interact with those nodes per se.  What is more important is the impact the PLN has on the learner both in how the learning process unfolds and how the learner communicates with others.