The PLE – Personal Learning Environment – has been at the back of my mind for a couple of months now, ever since it was raised, in passing, by a colleague.
So, what is it?
According to Graham Attwell it could very well be the future to eLearning. In his Internet White Paper ‘Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?’ the PLE recognises that;
“… learning is ongoing, and seeks to provide tools to support that learning. It also recognises the role of the individual in organising his or her own learning.”
Despite what is sounds like, and what it is compared to (VLE, LMS, etc), the PLE is not necessarily a group of tools, or can even be described in terms of what it actually ‘offers’. George Siemens observed that the PLE is a “collection of tools, brought together under the conceptual notion of openness, interoperability, and learner control.” Therefore each one of us will have a completely different PLE than our neighbour, simply down to our differing needs and abilities.
Does this mean an end to the VLE, or LMS or CMS, or whatever you use? I don’t think so, not yet. Each of these have their own individual advantages over the other for the Institution involved but, as Graham concludes;
“… the argument for the use of Personal Learning Environments is not technical but rather is philosophical, ethical and pedagogic … PLEs can bridge the walled gardens of the educational institutions with the worlds outside. In so doing learners can develop the judgements and skills or literacy necessary for using new technologies in a rapidly changing society.”