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Friday, September 17, 2010

A Deliberate and Effective PLE

Initial reading that has help me to formulate my opinion on this topic is the excellent Developing Personal learning networks for open and social learning article by Alec Courous who explains the rationale for choosing a primary free and open learning environment and describing the course facilitation model to promote an open an social personal learning network, John Mak's Research into the Design and Delivery of MOOC blog post which contains a number of prompts in relation to open and social learning compared with the more structured and traditional way of learning, Dave Cormier's 5 points about PLE'S and PLN'S which gives a good overview of key points on the topic and Scott Leslie's Mother of All PLE Diagram Compilation.

Thinking about my own PLE in relation to the reading led me to developing my own PLE Model. The thinking behind the model is outlined below the following diagram.

Questions that crossed my mind were:

1. Is your PLE Deliberate? By this i mean has your PLE just grown organically by adding and experimenting with different services or have you deliberately organised and designed your PLE to suit your learning Purpose.

2. What is the Purpose of your PLE? which leads onto the question...

3. What model of a PLE fits your purpose? (need to review PLE Models)

When considering Question 2 further questions come to mind such as:

4. What do you do in a PLE?

5. What is learning in a PLE?

Once you have a better understanding of what you do in a PLE, How you learn in a PLE and what the purpose of your PLE is you can in a more informed way address the question

6. What technically do i need to do to make my PLE Effective?

So - What about my PLE, is it Deliberate, does it have a purpose
In asking myself is my PLE deliberate the simple answer thus far is NO. Yes i do have a collection of tools that i use to help with my learning and maintaining personal connections, but previously i have not thought through clearly what i hope to achieve with my PLE. Until now most of my learning is driven by my immediate needs, the galvanising effect of being enrolled on a formal course or involved in informal but Studious and intentional courses such as this MOOC and serendipitous casual learning.

When thinking about the purpose of my PLE it strikes me that i have needs for a number of distinct learning situations, but i shall concern myself with my primary interest which is learning and education and in particular social, active and participatory learning.

Towards a Deliberate and Effective PLE
If we start with the premise that when creating a deliberate and effective PLE you are signed up to the notion you can enhance your learning by learning in an open, social, participatory, sharing way then at the most abstract level I think of what you do in a PLE as the 3x3.
1. Collate, filter/sort and share TOPIC/CONTENT information
2. Collate, filter/sort and share PERSONAL ACTIVITY
3. Collate, filter/sort and share NETWORK ACTIVITY
By actively contributing to these activities you will be contributing to your own and others learning. It can quite a demanding business, but being organised and deliberate will help and being kind to yourself in recognising that you may not have all the time you would like to contribute fully will help as well.

Practically - What do you do in a PLE?
It was interesting perusing the diagrams at Scott Leslie's Mother of All PLE Diagram Compilation, but quite overwhelming at times. Nevertheless it did help me consolidate what i believe occurs in a PLE and consequently has now given me a model to follow in constructing my own deliberate and effective PLE.

To simplify and understand what you do in a PLE I have broken down the key elements to SIX key activities plus your CONTROL center of Choice. We'll call this the CONTROL PLUS SIX model. Linked into this model is the recognition that the web based tools that you use in this model will have multiple uses and can fit in any of the six activities depending on your own learning purpose. The six activities that i have identifed are 1. Data Gathering, 2. Publishing, 3. Communication, 4. Collaboration, 5. Reflection and 6. Planning.

I think most activities can be bracketed under these headings. I welcome any thoughts as to whether these broad categories do indeed capture the range of activity that ensues in a PLE.

The Control Plus Six PLE Model

0. The control centre: Whatever you use to pull together all the collating, sorting and sharing of topic/content information, personal and network activity. May be a combination of tools, not neccessarily just one. For example a Wordpress blog, Integrated Google tools, Personal Blog with Tweetdeck and RSS Feed reader.

1. Data Gathering : (Inbound Activity) - e.g. diigo, delicious social bookmarking, google search, network tweets, network blog posts, facebook links
2. Publishing: (Outbound Activity) - e.g. blogging, creating multimedia, presentations, articles
3. Communication: (Inbound and Outbound Activity) - e.g. discussion forums, tweeting, email, social networking (i.e facebook), web conferencing, instant messaging
4. Collaboration: (Inbound and Outbound Activity) - e.g. wikis, google docs, project collaborations, presentations, research, article writing
5. Reflection: (Neutral - Home Activity) - e.g. blogs, wikis, notes (facebook, diigo)
6. Planning: (Neutral - Home Activity) - e.g. google calendar, project management (i.e basecamp)



VivianJ5 said...

Hi Steve, I've been lost in the PLE/PLN world for a couple of weeks now, trying to get a handle on how to approach the topic. Your grasp of the fundamental questions expresses exactly what I've been trying to formulate. Obviously, I have a ways to go in the organization department. Thank you for your insights! Vivian

Steve Mackenzie said...

Hi Vivian,

Glad my post has helped your thinking. Whilst re-evaluating my own PLE and learning how to get the best out of the tools at my disposal I have started filling in the blanks for my own PLE and will post at some point soon. Since the post i have decided to include a 'creativity' section in the home area.

unfortunately i have had to focus hard on other priorities in last couple of weeks and have missed the last few weeks interactions.

to function effectively in a MOOC, ideally I believe you need to 1)allow sufficient time to read and then 2)blog and 3) be proactive in interacting with others.

Lurking is ok if you don't have time, but contributing and interacting are the key to developing an effective PLE/PLN.

I don't feel too feel too good when i cannot contribute regularly but i have had to tell myself it's ok to lurk and take some of the personal pressure to contribute off. Maybe i should participate more in the forums, but i prefer blogging and reading other blogs.

hope you are continuing to enjoy the course


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