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Issues in PLE development

June 8th, 2009 by Graham Attwell

I go through periods of having little new to say about Personal Learning Environments and times with many new ideas. I am at the moment in one of the latter periods – inspired by so many interesting talks at the European Technology Enhanced Summer School last week and at over the weekend at a meeting of the Mature-IP project partnership.

Here are a few of the things I have been thinking about (and will write about over the next two weeks):

  • the emergence of some consensus about a mash up (Mupples) approach to PLE development based on widgets
  • the relationship between (informal) learning and knowledge development and maturing within organisations
  • The relationship between individual learning through a PLE and organisational learning
  • the idea of bricolage as the basis of an emerging pedagogic theory of learning outside the institutions
  • the potential for a mobile device based PLE (code named a WOMBLE – Work and Mobile Learning Environments)
  • The digital identity of learners expressed through a PLE
  • the idea of appropriation (linked to bricolage) of software and applications for use for learning
  • the potential of Google Wave as a platform for a PLE

Anyone care to add to this list?

3 Responses to “Issues in PLE development”

  1. At the risk of restating the obvious, would you say PLEs are more about conversation as learning (i.e., knowledge building)? If so, then is organizational learning an additional node in one’s PLE? Or is organizational learning a separate entity/endeavor? This also leads me to wonder about individuality in light of a post-modern sense of ontological pluralism (although I try to avoid dwelling here too long!).

    Recently, I have been thinking about the seeming paradox that allows learning with new digital media to be at once individual yet more social. This led me to “PLE and intentionality” (or is it PLE as intentionality?) — this triggers several Nietzschean thoughts for some reason. Why are we using PLEs? Is learning about satisfying our individual curiosities or solving a collective problem? (e.g., The Me-First phenomena — how I look to serve my own needs first which actually ends up serving a larger need or goal.) Is such a model of PLE sustainable?

    Other ideas:

    The PLE as a gateway or as a mirror (or better yet, as both).

    The PLE and crowdsourcing

    My PLE as a playground or as a factory?

    The learner as bricoleur clearly seems to fit as a way to describe the affordances of one’s PLE and I am keen on seeing this idea advanced as a learning theory. The more I study connectivism, the more I’m convinced it’s simply another way of saying distributed cognition. I.e., there’s nothing new here, keep moving. Various literary critiques have yet to be mapped onto new digital media and learning which I believe has some real potential. Yet, it seems this could be a slippery slope if one’s network(s) are small and limited in scope–a potential result of PLEs in general. In what ways can we insure our learning environments and networks provide us balance, a middle way, if you will. Or is that not what learning is about?

    Thank you for taking the time to share. I truly enjoy you’re thinking about these topics.


  1. Pontydysgu blog: Issues in PLE development (from @GrahamAttwell)

  2. Pontydysgu blog: Issues in PLE development (from @GrahamAttwell)

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