Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

If someone were to describe him or herself as well educated, most people would assume that they were educated in a learning environment such as a college or university.  What most would not relate being well educated to, is someone educating themselves.  What most do not realize, is that someone could educate themselves on a topic without having to attend a school.  With loads of information available to our fingertips, it is hard to not become educated in things happening around the world, or educating ourselves on subjects we are interested in.  The term that is used to associate with educating one self is Personal Learning Environment  (PLE).

Continuing learning outside of a university began when it became evident that as technology grew, employees had to be educated and continuously trained on their occupational skills and processes (Atwell, Graham).  To meet theses needs, employees would have training sessions and office meetings to be introduced to the new information.  In today’s world,  information is literally a click away and incredibly easy to access, that an individual may be able to learn one subject in numerous ways.  Instead of reading a book, they could listen to a book on tape, watch a video on the topic, listen to a pod cast or talk radio show, or read news articles or blogs (Knittle, Beth).

The development of PLE is the introduction to web 2.0.  As a student researches a subject online, they will no longer have to worry about topics being outdated, and can easily find more resources.  The ability to quickly access information allows one to quickly learn a topic and move on to new topics (EDUcause).

I believe that PLE’s are an amazing advancement in our society.  No longer does someone have to rely on a teacher to become fully informed on a topic.  If someone really wants to become educated on a topic, they can easily find it.  Unfortunately, I feel that people in the near future, may become spoiled with the information at their grasps, that they resist fully learning a topic.   For example, if a student is learning about the War of 1812, they will grab resources that give them the basic information, and will not fully grasp the whole concept or meaning behind it.  It is great to know when the war started and why, however, it is the story line I fear will become a distant memory.  I am worried the passion of learning will deteriorate, as a passion of education will no longer be a requirement.

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2 thoughts on “Personal Learning Environment (PLE)

  1. I didn’t see the PLE so much as a potential negative, or something to fear. I think that Web 2.0 and PLEs spur creativity and inspiration. Compared to the old method of having to go to a quiet library and search through books upon books filled with nothing but white paper and black letters, PLEs offer something you can’t find in such a traditional setting: user input. There are millions, and millions of kids who hate reading, because it only speaks at you; you cannot speak with it. Involvement is purely up to the reader, because the book’s pages go on regardless of where a student loses interests. If a student is given a level of control and authority as to how they best learn, they have a vested interest in their education. There are no litmus tests for a student’s ideal learning style, so it becomes a difficult task for a teacher to navigate every student’s learning needs while trying to make sure everyone at least hears what they will need to know to pass the state tests. The PLE circumnavigates that for the teacher, allowing the student to find sources that interest him, and allowing the teacher to focus on the students on a closer level. Students are already losing a passion for learning because the classroom is still largely in the 19th century.

  2. It seems like PLEs are optimum for professionals who want or need to stay up to date on their occupation.

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