GoogleTranslate Service


Barriers to Personal Learning Environments

January 19th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

I am speaking at a joint Evolve / Educamp on line session tonight about e-Portfolios and PLes. Coincidentally, I have been working on background research for the Mature project which is seeking to develop Personal Learning and Management Environments to support professional development and knowledge maturing services.

One topic in my brief for Mature was to look at barriers to the introduction of PLEs and PLMEs. As I wrote two weeks ago, PLEs are with us now – in the sense of how learners are using computers to support their own learning. But at the same time there appear to remain institutional and organisational barriers to the wider adoption of PLEs.

Anyway this is what I came up with for the Mature work. I would love any comments or feedback.

Issues in introducing PLEs

Despite the interest from the educational technology community, the implementation and institutional support for PLEs remains slow. This may be a reflection of the need to address a series of issues, both related to approaches to teaching and learning and technology development.

Learner Confidence and Support

One of the reasons why current VLEs have been successful is that they allow universities to centralize support and thus ensure a certain level of competence and quality of experience (Weller, 2005). Supporting learners in creating their own learning environments would be a major challenge.

Furthermore many learners may not have the confidence and competence to develop and configure their own tools for learning. However, Wild, Mödritscher and Sigurdarson, (2008) consider that “by establishing a learning environment, i.e. a network of people, artefacts, and tools (consciously or unconsciously) involved in learning activities, is part of the learning outcomes, not an instructional condition.”

Moreover, the advances in Wb 2.0 tools and social software are reducing the technological complexity and knowledge required by the user in configuring such tools.

Moving beyond issues of technology, many learners may feel challenged by the shift towards more learner centred provision and by the idea of managing their own learning. Setting aside issues of whether this is a core or meta level competence, learners will often still require support.
Institutional control and management

A further barrier to the introduction of Personal Learning Environments may be fear by organisations of loss of institutional and managerial control. This is a complex issue. It may imply a difficulty in pedagogical change and innovation with the move towards more learner centred learning. It may reflect the requirement of institutions to utilise computer based systems for managing programmes and students with present functionality for this provided through integrated Virtual Learning Environments. It could also reflect the requirements of centralised curricula and prescribed learning materials and learning routes. It may also reflect the preference of Systems Administrators to control software systems and server access and the need for data security.

At university level many students now use their own laptop computers, thus alleviating some of these issues. However, this will not be so in an enterprise.

Also at university level, many institutions are moving towards Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs). These may allow specific learning services to be delivered in formats that can be consumed through a PLE, whilst maintaining the integrity of administrative systems and services.

Contexts of learning

In seeking a generic approach to PLE development, design and provision, there is a danger of overlooking the different contexts in which learning and knowledge development take place. Not only will different users be dealing with different knowledge, subject areas and data, but the physical environment in which the learning takes place will vary as will use of the learning. This may have profound implications for PLE design and deployment.

Experimentation, Development and Interface design

There are many interesting projects working on different aspects of learning design and development and contributing to what we might call a future PLE. Inevitably, much of this work is being undertaken by computer programmers and specialists, with a greater or lesser understanding of education and learning. To evaluate the potential of such developments requires trialling with real users. Yet, most of these projects are at best at a beta stage of development. Many do not have well developed user interfaces and the design of such interfaces is time consuming. Yet, without such interfaces it is difficult to persuade users (individual and organisational) to involve themselves in such trialling.

User centred design models may offer a way forward in this respect.

2 Responses to “Barriers to Personal Learning Environments”

  1. Hi Graham – hope the session went well. I agree with all of this, but worth remembering that VLEs were around for quite a while before they really took hold too. I hear what you say about the instutional control thing – perhaps PLEs will establish a foothold first in areas where this matters less, e.g. undergraudate/postrgraduate projects?

Tweetbacks/Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Pontydysgu – Bridge to Learning » Blog Archive » Barriers to … […]

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Adult Education in Wales

    Learning and Work Institute is organising this year’s adult learning conference in partnership with the Adult Learning Partnership Wales. It will take place on Wednesday, 16 May 2018 at the Cardiff City Stadium.

    They say “Changing demographics and a changing economy requires us to re-think our approach to the delivery of learning and skills for adults. What works and what needs to change in terms of policy and practice?

    The conference will seek to debate how can we respond to need, grow participation, improve and measure outcomes for citizens, and revitalise community education.”


    Industry 4.0

    The UK Education Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the challenges posed and opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.The Committee is inviting written evidence on:

    • The interaction between the Government’s industrial, skills and digital strategies
    • The suitability of the current curriculum to prepare young people for the Fourth Industrial Revolution
    • The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the delivery of teaching and learning in schools and colleges
    • The role of lifelong learning in re-skilling the current workforce
    • Place-based strategies for education and skills provision; and
    • The challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution for improving social justice and productivity

    The deadline for written submissions is Thursday 21 June 2018.


    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.


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      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 @shelly_addison L👀k 👉👉👉submit your Chapter abstract 31st July and be part of our new edited book collection: Imposter Syndrome as a Public Feeling in Higher Education' #bsaimposter @YvetteTaylor0 @maddie_breeze @fuse_online @bsaeducation pls RT pic.twitter.com/wbCOn12VG8

    About 3 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for iPad

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories