Personal Learning Environment

October 28, 2013 – My professional learning network diagram is a depiction of the flow of information within my personal learning environment, and it shows the major services which I use to gather and disseminate information from/back into my community. ple_nash

Photo by joeymc86, sxc.hu

In addition to depicting the services that I use in my network, I added four arrows which generalize the types of connections that I maintain on the incoming end of my PLE: mass media (for general information dissemination), SMEs, or subject matter experts (for specialized information dissemination), curators (for information sense-making), and associates (for information applications such as best practices). There is a fifth type of connection that I will mention later in this post which is not depicted in this diagram: mentors. The layout of Web 2.0 technologies in my diagram does not attempt to align specific services such as Facebook and Twitter with specific connections such as media or associates. Various services usually offer multiple connection opportunities.

In reviewing seven other PLE diagrams, I noticed a pattern which differed from the layout in my diagram (except in Forrest’s diagram, which humorously seemed like a cousin to mine). The pattern in these other diagrams was to display connections between the person and the tools, or networking services, in the PLE. The person was placed in the middle and a series of lines was used to connect various Web 2.0 technologies to the center of the diagram.

Here is the reason why my diagram took on a different appearance. When I started preparing for this assignment, I began by listing out the kinds of connections that I try to make within my PLE (media, SMEs, curators, etc.). I then listed the tools or services that I use regularly to maintain those connections. Finally, I listed the venues through which I give back to (feed) my community. That sequence led me to create a diagram that was less focused on a web-like layout and more intent on depicting information flow within my learning environment.

I also noticed, while reviewing classmates’ diagrams, that I could have included a lot more tools or services in my image. Some of those that I use—albiet not as regularly as the ones depicted—include Zoom, Pinterest, Moodle, Skype, Google+, Google Hangouts, Flipboard, LinkedIn, Instagram, Bitly, Prezi, Scribd, Delicious, and TED. I didn’t include these services, but did use about 15 others which I rely upon heavily.

The primary lesson that I have learned in this exercise about myself and my learning environment is that my PLE is a complex channel within a larger network of communities, bringing information in on one end and disseminating my curated content on the other. Another lesson I have learned is that I produce less than I consume.

A final lesson learned is not depicted in my diagram. I mentioned above that I attempted to describe my PLE in words before creating a diagram. In my description I included several non-virtual connections, such as personal meditation and face-to-face interaction with mentors. These are critical elements in my PLE, but were not included for the sake of simplicity. A complete PLE diagram for me, however, would have to include non-Internet-mediated interactions of this nature.

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