Wednesday, September 22

PLEs and PLNs - Watch your Ps and Ps

Confusion and Ambiguity Reigns Supreme

I'm meant to look at 'A Personal Learning Environment' as more of a concept than a particular toolset, and often presented in contrast to organizational learning management systems. For this course the term 'Personal Learning Network' has been defined as a structure that reflects relatedness to other people and grows when new people or connections are made. Information sources are seen as part of a PLN.

First understatement -A degree of overlap exists between these two terms !

I have been attempting to navigate the MOOC playing field and avoid the ambiguities engendered by acronym overdose. The readings have only generated more questions, but I'm somewhat comforted by the knowledge that I'm not alone in my confusion. 

 Wendy McGrath's blog comment resonated with me: 
....My take is that striving to draw lines of distinction between ple’s and pln’s isn’t useful to me. There are basic interdependencies here, and if there are boundaries, they are soft ones....
For me it would appear simple enough to define a PLN as a network of people who facilitate the individual’s learning and a PLE as the environment within which this growth occurs(although environment doesn't really hit the mark with me either, the term is too closely aligned to a specific area. I would prefer something like Personal Learning Resources). However simple doesn't ever appear to be the 'scholarly way', otherwise it would be unambiguous and accessible to all wouldn't it ? (I feel the cynic is starting to take a hold, so as it's early days yet, I'll exert restraint) 

Having pondered on the readings and following the discussions on the forum I too am less inclined to persist with attempting to differentiate between PLEs and PLNs. I see them as intertwined, with the network existing as a component of the environment. However, for the learning experience I'll consider them as distinct, and see where that takes me. If I start to look at it from the squirrel's perspective, at least I can say I've given it my best attempt.


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