GoogleTranslate Service

What do you want your PLE to be able to do?

June 29th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I am working on a couple of new papers on Personal Learning Environments. And getting asked by developers what we want them to produce as a PLE. Nota n easy question – in fact I am not sure it is the right question! But here are a few things I think I want my PLE to be able to do.

Access / search

One of the major things we use computers for learning for is accessing and searching information and knowledge. Whilst Google has greatly improved searching it is far form perfect. We need to be able to search inside documents in a way we cannot at the moment. And of course we need to be able to access and search our own computers and possibly those of our peer network. We need to be able to search inside audio and video, which is as yet problematic. And perhaps most importantly we need to be able to find people. Accessing and searching poses many challenges for developers. At present at a relatively simple level of educational repositories we are uncertain as to whether federated search or harvesting offers the best approach.
Aggregate and scaffold
A second use of a Personal Learning Environment could be for aggregating the outcomes of our activity – be it searches for documents, or other media, be it people or be it our own work. Aggregation is more than simply producing a database or of ‘learning objects’. Aggregation should allow us to bring information and knowledge together in a meaningful way. At the same time such a process of aggregation should assist us in scaffolding our knowledge, both in terms of growing on existing knowledge but also in terms of compromising what we know to accommodate the new.

Another possible use of a Personal Learning Environment is to manipulate or rearrange knowledge artefacts. This could be at the simple level of editing text or adding a note or tag. However with the use of different forms of media it may involve more extensive repurposing of such objects. Such repurposing may be for use within a personal knowledge base or may be for (re) publishing or sharing with others.

Another reason for manipulating media artefacts may be to render them usable within different environments and contexts.
A PLE should be a place to analyse knowledge. This might involve the use of different tools. Alternatively, or additionally, it might involve the functionality to render information, knowledge and data in forms to allow analysis. It might also include the functionality to share and collaborate in analyses and to compare the results of such analysis with the research of others.
A simple and obvious function for a PLE is to store data and artefacts. However, that storage function may not be so easy as at first thought with an increasing use of different storage media including external drives and web storage. Whilst some data and artefacts may be stored in a personal repository it may be that others will be stored within shared areas.
Reflection is a central activity in developing learning. Reflection is particularly critical in an information rich (or information overload) environment. Reflection involves questioning, challenging and seeking clarification and forming and defending opinions and supporting or challenging the opinions of others. A PLE could provide (micro) tools for supporting these processes.
We all have a need to present our ideas, learning and knowledge in different ways and for different purposes. It may be that we merely wish to present some work in progress for feedback from others. We may also wish to present parts of our work for a seminar or for a job application. A PLE could offer the functionality to select and summarise ideas and learning and develop a presentation in different formats according to need. Some forms of presentation may be unique instances – for example a presentation at a conference, others may be more recursive e.g a C.V. Tool also need to take into account that presentation may involve different media.
The representation of learning and knowledge within a PLE may be seen as a more complex functionality of presentation. Whilst a presentation will draw directly on artefacts within the PLE, a representation will attempt to show the underpinning knowledge structures of such artefacts. A PLE could include tools for visualisation and tools which allow the structures of the knowledge to be shown in a dynamic way. They might also allow the dynamic re-rendering of such structures either through the interrelationship of the artefacts and the underpinning knowledge structures.   The representation of knowledge might be an individual activity but might also form part of a wider community activity


That a personal Learning Environment should support individuals in sharing their learning and knowledge almost goes without saying. However, what is shared, when and with whom is far more complex. Tools could be developed, for example, which allow sharing to be the property of any particular artefact. A PLE might also include tools to facilitate collaborative work and collaborative work flows.
Network and people
Networks lie at the heart of a Personal Learning Environment. A PLE might be defined at a personal or individual node in a networked collaborative learning environment. It must be emphasised that a PE is not a document management system (although of course documents may be part of a PLE). PLE tools might allow social representation of networks and networking interchange. Such tools might also allow social association between people, knowledge and artefacts.

One Response to “What do you want your PLE to be able to do?”

  • Search

    News Bites

    Online Educa Berlin

    OEB Global (formerly Online Educa Berlin) has announced its Call for Proposals and the overall theme for 2018: Learning to Love Learning. The event will incorporate Learning Technologies Germany – a leading European exhibition on learning technologies in the workplace – for the first time this year. More details here.

    Barcelona to go Open Source

    The Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies.

    According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution.

    To support the move, the city will employ 65 new developers to build software programs for their specific needs. they also plan the development of a digital market – an online platform – whereby small businesses will use to take part in public tenders.

    OER18: Open to All,

    The OER18 Conference takes place in Bristol, UK on 18 – 19 April 2018. OER18 is the 9th annual conference for Open Education research, practice and policy. The final keynote has now been announced: Dr Momodou Sallah is Reader in Globalisation and Global Youth Work at the Social Work, Youth and Community Division, De Montfort University.  More about the conference:

    Learning about technology

    According to the University Technical Colleges web site, new research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

    When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

    Building apps (45%)
    Creating Games (43%)
    Virtual reality (38%)
    Coding computer languages (34%)
    Artificial intelligence (28%)

    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @guyverhofstadt When is Mark Zuckerberg going to explain what happened with our data? The data breach is an absolute scandal. The European Parliament must start an investigation. I will keep you updated about our progress.…

    About 15 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for iPhone

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories