When I first heard the words, “personal learning environment” (PLE) I had no idea what they meant.  The Thesis Whisperer defines PLE as “… tools, communities, and services that constitute individual educational platforms that learners use to direct their own learning and pursue their educational goals” in it is blog entitled, “Personal Learning Net(WORKS).”  This blog describes that PLE includes things like books, papers, social media, library resources, people, etc… It oversets conventional ideas about learning where the instructor is the ‘center of knowing.’  I like the comparison that it makes about students being like animals ‘foraging’ through a forest looking for food except students are looking for information to learn new material or skills.  The Thesis Whisperer goes on to explain invisible work or articulation which can be thinking or reading.  Articulation work is important in order to understand and find information that you need.  It’s about hunting and gathering information needed to get to the goal.  Articulation work may well be physical and have effects, but it still becomes invisible. If work is invisible, it can come to be de-valued. 


ImageSam’s Antics has a blog post on “My Personal Learning Environment” where Sam describes his the different ways that he collects information. I really enjoyed the illustration in this blog.  Although it looks complicated, it makes a lot of sense!  Nowadays, this is how people learn; through different technology and many devices!  Sam describes himself as a “mobile learner,” meaning learning via smartphone, kindle, datastick, and by using the conventional pen and paper.  He describes learning best while he’s on the go, while on train, bus, car, etc… I think it’s very important to learn where you learn best.  It’s important to be able to read information and be able to let it sink in your brain like a sponge so that you’ll remember it later when you really need it.  I really liked and appreciated that Sam broke down PLE into 3 categories: Collecting, Reflecting, and Connecting.  Once I read the 3 categories, I immediately grasped what PLE is and how to do it!

Unreasonable by Design had a great post on “5 Steps to Designing a Personal Learning Environment” on one’s struggles to find information due to concentration issues, stress, prioritizing, etc….  Unreasonable by Design offers their own definition of PLE, “simply a way to manage my informal learning process, whether through software or other means. Expectantly, this structure will provide a catalyst for future creativity and innovation.” This blogger has constructed their own PLE and shares tips on how to help readers design their very own PLE:

  1. Understand your roles & responsibilities
  2. Brainstorm & document your resources
  3. Map out your system
  4. Schedule informal learning time for collecting and processing information
  5. Continually evaluate approach

The tips helped me understand how to go begin the process and that everyone has different learning styles and techniques. 

REFLECTIVE RESPONSE: In reading these blogs, I’ve come to understand what PLE is, its benefits, its efficiency and its worth.   I think it will help me in the future as a web designer to gather feedback and knowledge from professionals in the field who will be dealing with the same type of experiences as I will.  Someone who has already dealt with the same situation has a much better understanding and can guide me to a better, more efficient solution.  I’m glad that I learned what PLE is and how it will be useful to me in my future endeavors.