What is a personal learning environment
Your personal learning environment includes all of your learning strategies and learning resources that are part of your learning process. Learning resources include people as well as media and infrastructure that you use as part of the learning process. Initially, it does not matter whether the resources or the work with them are analog or digital and whether it is a professional or private context. Dealing with your personal learning environment can help you make learning processes more productive in the future.
Analysis of the personal learning environment
Make a list and systematization of your personal learning environment. The following questions can help you:
- Which People or networks belong to your personal learning environment (analog or digital, professional or private)?
- Which media belong to your personal learning environment (analog or digital, professional or private)?
- Which Infrastructure belongs to your personal learning environment (analog or digital, professional or private)?
- Which Procedures belong to your personal learning environment (analog or digital, for example in relation to the search, collection, structuring, processing, analysis, reflection, presentation, representation and the sharing and networking of information)?
What conclusions do you draw from this list?
Expanded possibilities through digital technology and procedures
Few people today will have a purely analog or digital learning environment. As a rule, it is a mixture of these: folders and books are supplemented by digital notes and documents as well as online reference works. In addition to people with whom you learn professionally, privately or in further training, there are also people to whom we feel connected in social networks. Digital techniques and procedures change our learning and expand the possibilities. Two aspects are central:
- Availability and networking of knowledge: Instead of not having the notes and documents to hand when you need them, the digitization of the learning environment makes it possible to have almost unlimited amounts of what you have learned with you and to always be able to learn without yourself having to restrict. In addition, individual information and documents can be digitally networked with one another in a simple manner.
- Exchange: The personal learning environment includes other people who are included in the learning process. Digital technology makes it possible to integrate people into the learning process who would be difficult to integrate in an analogue way. So today it is easily possible to work with others regardless of time and place and to maintain an exchange. Digitization also makes it possible to make one's own work visible in different ways (keyword “working out loud”). This allows the network of relationships around personal interests to be further developed and expanded. Learning thus turns from a process of participation in a social community that enables learning processes to a process that allows the community to benefit again from what it has learned.
Learning environment and understanding of learning
Working on your personal learning environment promotes independent and self-directed learning. In essence, it is about transferring the structure of the scholar into your structure of learning and thus making it sustainably usable for you. The background is a constructivist understanding of learning, which understands learning as an active process of the learner in the context of previous knowledge (see the understanding of learning in this learning environment> www.lehren-und-lernen.ch/lern Umgebung/). This is accompanied by a changed role model for the teacher, who transfers responsibility for the learning process to the learner and supports them in learning.
Work on the personal learning environment
There is no silver bullet for creating a personal learning environment. The following impulse questions can help you with the design:
- People and networks: Which people would you like to take more into account in your learning processes in the future? Which networks would you like to maintain more actively in the future? Which people or networks would you like to network with? Are there people or networks from whom or from whom you would like to withdraw in the future? Think about how you want to specifically address the points and who can support you.
- media: Which media would you like to use in the future? Which ones would you no longer want to use or differently in the future? How do you want to use the media? Which media do you want to create in the future?
- Infrastructure: How can the infrastructure be changed in such a way that it better supports your learning process in the future?
- Procedures: How can procedures such as search, collection, structuring, processing, analysis, reflection, presentation, representation and the sharing and networking of information be optimized or expanded?
Think about how you want to specifically address the points and who can support you.
Different media offer you different networking opportunities. If you want to share your thoughts, your learning and your experiences online, the learning module from Bianca and Jörg “Publish online”> www.lehren-und-lernen.ch/im-web-publiken/ will help you. In this way, others can also become part of your personal learning environment that you did not know before. And you are part of their learning environment.
In the technical debate, the personal learning environment is also referred to as “PLE” (English for “Personal Learning Environment”).
- Kollar, Ingo / Fischer, Frank: Digital learning media for the support of teaching / learning processes in further education, in: Tippelt, Rudolf / von Hippel, Aiga (ed.): Handbuch Adult Education / Further Education, Wiesbaden  2016, 1553- 1568.
- Schaffert, Sandra / Kalz, Marco: Personal learning environment. Basics, possibilities and challenges of a new concept, in: Hohenstein, Andreas / Wilbers, Karl (ed.): Handbuch E-Learning, Cologne 2009.
- Stepper, John: Working out loud. For a better career and life, New York 2015.
- Wampfler, Philippe / Zimmermann, Tobias / Turkawa, Gregory: Personal Learning Environments as a Resource in Teaching-Learning Settings, in: Haberzeth, Erik / Sgier, Irena (eds.): Digitization and learning. Design perspectives for professional action in adult education and further training, Bern 2019, 191-211.
David is director of studies at the RPI Religious Education Institute in Lucerne and director of the Swiss Catechesis Center. He can be reached on Twitter at @WakefieldDavid. Further information on David Wakefield as well as email and telephone information can be found >> here.
CC BY-SA 4.0 David Wakefield | www.lehren-und-lernen.ch
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