A new Massive Open Online Course #PLENK2010 begins.
First week and the topic is to clarify the concepts of Personal Learning Environments (PLE) and Networks and to evaluate it against our own experience with the intent of developing a comprehensive understanding of them.
On the following, there is a Learning Design Diagram (hybrid abstract model) (1) that reflects the passage from Closed Models to Open Models of learning Design from my own experience.
On the diagram above, we can see the changes that remain on Learning Models Design with the emergency of Web 2.0 environment.
Here are the main features:
1. From linear learning to interactive learning hypermedia (links + multimedia).
2. Instruction to the construction of learning and knowledge discovery.
3. Of learning focused on the expert teacher by learning focused on the learner.
4. Absorb the content and knowledge to learning how to learn, think critically and navigate.
5. Learning to learn mass customized.
6. Learning bored by inactivity to learning fun and challenging.
7. Of learning that define the teacher as a transmitter to learn that it is the teacher as a facilitator.
8. Of learning by interacting only with materials, to learn by interacting others also networked synchronously and asynchronously.
9.Traditional environment has changes to sensitive environments that influence on interpretation processes.
10. From consumption of information to User Generated Contents (CGU).
When reading from the reviews, Ruth´s presentation(3), papers and diagrams about Learning Design Models, we can find different terms about them: Learning Management Systems (LMS) ,Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) (4), Content Management System (CMS), Personal Learning Environment (PLE) (5), Personal Learning Network (PLN)(6), Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), among others.
Different Paradigms as Behaviorism, Social cognitivism, Constructivism,Andragogy (Adult learning), Connectivism, Design Based, Humanism and many theorists (B.F. Skinner, Jean Piaget, L. Vygotsky, Dewey, Vico, Rorty, Bruner Stephen Downes, George Siemens, Colin Milligan, Malcolm Knowles, etc…) try to name the learning experience and develop a model that represents accuracy the learning process. All of them are organized on models from the epistemology that are reflected on their own field and language domain.
There were many efforts to offer a model and makes a definition of the learning design. Many of the theories offers different ways in which conceptualize and discuss about the problems and benefits of Learning Design. Most of those ways, have a ‘pedagogy’ behind, comes from common places and beliefs about “Learning” and bring up new problems from other places. So, scientific theories have scientific vocabulary and language with wich they assign words to ideas. As we can observe from the papers of this week, there is a semantic difference among terms.
Apart from the differences of approach, most of the theories have a common way in which named their models.
The use of Metaphors to label models is the way in which perceptions, values and paradigms from theories are reflected. Metaphors show us the way in which we must understand concepts. So the more naturalized they are, the most efficient in their use.
But, what are the reasons that make metaphors of Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and Personal Learning Network (PLN) effective? Which implicit values do they have to improve learning?
Regarding the first question, the transition to Web 2.0 makes the possibility to design learning centered on the learner. So Personalization is the main concept that reflect a change of model.
Environment and Networks are words that associated to the concept of “Personal” connote different senses.
PLE design is understand ” as if it were a category of technology in the same sense as the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) design, in fact we envisage situations where the PLE is not a single piece of software, but instead the collection of tools used by a user to meet their needs as part of their personal working and learning routine. So, the characteristics of the PLE design may be achieved using a combination of existing devices (laptops, mobile phones, portable media devices), applications (news readers, instant messaging clients, browsers, calendars) and services (social bookmark
services, weblogs, wikis) within what may be thought of as the practice of personal learning using technology” Dave Cormier (1).
So, I agree with Dave Cormier about the difference between PLE and PLN:
“The distinction, is that the folks who talk about PLN are focusing on the people who make up the learning that they are doing and believe that the PLE people are mostly concerned about the technology that makes up the learning space. (blogs, wikis, webpages, forums, broadcasts etc…)” .
Which implicit values do they have to improve learning?
PLE and PLN are terms associated to interactions, to networking in which a learner is engaged to others on open environments, including education, work, and leisure activities.This terms reflect a new organization of the learning experience (for the longlife) where critical thinking, collaboration, and user content creation are main features.
Summarizing, as the scientific fields are discursive fields, in the evolution of the sciences and their epistemologies, appear new languages and fragments of the knowledge that makes new contributions to the disciplines. On Learning Design, we can identify this process and find that PLE, PLN concepts acquire new semantic dimensions that reflect a way to model the reality of web 2.0, the new subjectivity and social interactions.
(1). Scott Leslie’s Mother of All PLE Diagram Compilation
(2). Personal Learning Environments: Challenging the dominant design of educational systems (.pdf)
(3). The Design and Development of a Personal Learning Environment
(4). Idem 2.
(5). EDUCAUSE: 7 Things you should know about PLE’s (.pdf)
(6) Developing Personal Learning Networks for Open and Social Learning (.pdf)