Personal Learning Environments

Personal Learning Environments

Mary Hricko (Kent State University – Geauga, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2399-4.ch021
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Abstract

A personal learning environment (PLE) is a construct designed to facilitate the process of learning and knowledge management. As a multidimensional system, a personal learning environment enables users to control the content and process of learning through the selection of resources, applications, and activities that best serve the learning needs. Personal learning environments exist as transformative learning spaces that differentiate to the users' ongoing personal interests and needs. Personal learning environments will continue to transform the educational landscape as technology continues to impact our culture. New modalities of learning will be needed to meet the needs of individuals who wish to pursue education in a manner that best serves their needs. Self-directed learning will require flexible landscapes that can coexist with traditional educational platforms; personal learning environments, if implemented effectively, can meet the emerging challenges in the future of education.
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Introduction

A personal learning environment (PLE) is a construct designed to facilitate the process of learning and knowledge management. Unlike learning management systems (LMS) and virtual learning environments (VLE), personal learning environments provide users with greater levels of individualized control to create concrete or abstract platforms for learning. As multidimensional systems, personal learning environments enable users to control the content and process of learning through the selection of resources, applications, and activities that best serve the learning needs. As an intellectual metaphor, a personal learning environment can be construed as a cognitive mind map developed by the learner to acquire and organize information internally. The user selects processes information to construct a self-directed pathway for knowledge acquisition. Finally, as a pedagogical approach, a personal learning environment establishes a “learner-centric” practice that enables students to engage in activities that respond to their personal learning styles. Individuals develop their own goals and pace for learning; they select the strategies that help them master the material. Since PLEs are dynamic, they have a variety of architectures that are often modified throughout the learning process. Personal learning environments exist as transformative learning spaces that differentiate to the users’ ongoing personal interests and needs.

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