Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)

Okay – I didn’t go to eLearning Guild in Boston … now I’m sorry that I didn’t … after reading a bunch of items about who was there and what was discussed … Damn!

Among the items that have piqued my curiosity … PLEs, or ple (non-capitalized) … Personal Learning Environments …

Brent Schlenker has a bit of a quick wrap up ..

He references an excellent article here

Clive Shepherd gives his take

And Jay Cross weighs in with his thoughts

Tony Karrer offers his thoughts

There’s a lot to read and think about with these posts (and beyond) … Two things strike me:

  • I have to consider myself as a learner – much more than as a coach, or instructor, or designer.  And I mean – really have to grok that I’m a learner … not just give it ‘lip service’ … I mean to deeply and intuitively know and act as a learner in my work.


  • I already have a personal learning environment – I’m just not aware of it all the time.  This goes beyond the tools I use – it includes my network of coworkers and clients.


About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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5 Responses to Personal Learning Environments (PLEs)

  1. nkilkenny says:

    PLE is something that happens naturally for some within the tech arena. Only those who feel comfortable exploring seem to really flourish in these types of environments. How do we get people who don’t traditionally feel comfortable using virtual or tech environments to learn and network? I have to admit that even I have a crusty curmudgeon layer when it comes to texting… someone once handed me a blackberry and I felt really weird using my thumbs to talk.

  2. Rory says:

    nkilkenny – Thanks for your comments …
    I’m with you that ple can happen naturally for some; but I don’t see it as an exclusive domain for tech.

    If I were to expand my understanding a bit, a PLE can include networks of people – much like Jay Cross talks about “ecologies” in Informal Learning. I think in that understanding many people have and use PLEs without even conscious of it.

    Even though us old, sometimes curmudgeons don’t always take to using the newest fandangled techs and such, I can see that these are more second nature for the younger learners and workers that are entering our organizations.

    The challenges are likely more for the stoic organizations themselves – being able to adapt more quickly and responsively to the learning (networking and informal ecologies) needs of the new workforce.

    Should be fun!

  3. Pingback: Following up on PLEs « Learn-Learn-Learn

  4. mark vernon says:


    If you have time, please check out – how much of this is site is PLE and how much LCMS?.. Iwould be interested to get your thoughts on it.


  5. Rory says:

    Hi Mark – thanks for taking the time to comment. It’s interesting to me that it seems that the term, PLE has seemed to fallen off … and that’s probably a good thing in that terms and acronyms are more a shorthand for my work and conversations with colleagues/co-workers. But they don’t seem to be very useful when talking to my clients. At any rate …

    For what it’s worth, I would venture to say that is (can be) both a PLE and LCMS. It just depends on how one were to use it, I suppose. For instance – as a PLE I can use it to build my own network of knowledge through links or some aggregate page with learning nuggets from it attached. Likewise, it can be an LCMS in that it is a repository of a wide variety of content that I could see being reused or repurposed for more formal learning events.

    That might be the distinguishing characteristic for me – whether something is/can be used formally versus informally … My experience with LCMS systems so far (limited as it may be) is that they are intended to be part of a larger, formal delivery system for training events or courseware. Certainly, when made available in a variety of formats and of a small enough size to accommodate my own needs informally, the content could be then used within a personal learning environment. But I’ve not really found an LCMS that was intended to be used that way. Maybe can become such a platform. Again I would imagine it’s all in how individuals contribute to and use its content.

    What do you think?

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