Personal Learning Environments are systems that have been specifically designed to help the user to take back control of their learning development. The “learner” utilizes three major factors to manage their PLE. They firstly establish clear and concise learning goals. Secondly, they manage the content and process for their learning program. The third factor is that the learner needs to associate and communicate with a variety of other individuals who are experiencing their own PLE. This article will further discuss the three factors that encompass this process and how individuals can create their own learning environments.
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1. Establish Clear Learning Goals
The advent of the Internet and our immediate access to it has created unique methods for how individuals learn new information and teach others. The online learning tools are constantly changing and improving and providing new learning opportunities. Individuals, who wish to learn and advance in personal development, must be able to adapt and change with the times—while embracing new learning techniques. A learning environment (PLE) basically represents the total integration of Web 2.0 technologies like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and RSS feeds that center around a specific individualized program. Stephen Downes is a designer as well as commentator in the online learning and new media fields. He has created a presentation regarding developing Personal Learning Environments. The initial step in this process is to establish clear learning goals. In order to create your own learning environment, you first must ascertain what you want to learn and through which Web 2.0 technologies. Be specific in your goals so that you know where you plan to go in your learning journey.
2. Manage the Content and Process
The second step involves effectively managing the content of and process for learning through your PLE. Remember that you as the learner are at the center of the learning process, so you can manage the type of information learned and how the process is completed. This is a personalized process of learning. According to Debbie Morrison, founder of Online Learning Insights, there are three key functions of the content management stage:
- Learners need to “collect and curate” pertinent content that is relevant as a viable option for their learning development.
- They can “construct and create” new knowledge and develop their skillset.
- Users “share and collaborate” with others interested in learning through this new system.
You can review some PLE Diagrams that others are using to develop their own learning environments.
3. Communicate Well With Others
The third step in creating your own learning environment is to ensure that you have an effective communication process implemented into the design of the PLE. As we learned from Ms. Morrison, it is vital that learners understand the benefit of sharing and collaborating with others. The communication throughout this personal development process will allow you to gain new perspectives on ideas learned. Additionally, you will have a forum for expressing your opinion and asking questions when needed. The basic emphasis in this new online learning environment is based on community groups networking with others to succeed in achieving learning goals that have been established.
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Creating your own learning environment begins with being open to understanding yourself and the information that is available online. Start the process with establishing clear goals of what type of content you want to learn. It is important to have an effective plan implemented for how you will manage the content and process of learning. Finally, end the process with being open-minded and able to communicate well with others. If you have created your own personal learning environment, please feel free to share about your experience.