"The PLE project recognises the fundamental flaws in Virtual Learning Environments or Learning Management Systems (VLE, LMS), but falls short in its vision of an alternative. At this stage in the project it is suggesting that the PLE be a desktop application for a student (sounds a bit like my old Perfect LMS idea) or a singular portal online.
At risk of sounding like a broken record, I'll have to repeat my defining question about Internet enhanced learning, but this time in response to the PLE.
Question to the PLE: Why do we need a PLE when we already have the Internet? The Internet is my PLE, ePortfolio, VLE what ever. Thanks to blogger, bloglines, flickr, delicious, wikispaces, ourmedia, creative commons, and what ever comes next in this new Internet age, I have a strong online ID and very extensive and personalised learning environment. Actually I think the PLE idea is better envisioned by the futurist concept known as the Evolving Personalised Information Construct (EPIC). I think we already have EPIC, so why do we need the PLE?
To extend the statement: We insignificant little teachers and our out of date schools and classrooms don't need to be investing in media projects like VLEs, LMS and even PLEs. Our dam walls of knowledge have burst! and no amount of sand bagging will stop the flood that is clearly discrediting our authority over learning. Media, and with it communications, will evolve (as it certainly has in the last 50 years or more) well beyond the limitations of our classrooms, with investments and broadcast influence we can't even fathom. Why waste our precious money and time on projects that only serve to suspend our true position within that media scape. The PLE makes me think of ELGG, and it all makes me wonder why it is we educationalists still think we are even relevant anymore. The people (yes that includes us) are learning how to read and write for themselves, and in an amazing act of collective generosity, the people are teaching each other - why do they even need our classrooms... is it perhaps only credentialism that we offer? Or is it also sense of security and safety? Is it false?"
(Leigh Blackall, 13 November 2005)
Fig.1 "Lords of Graphite" by 5star (Neil Caldwell).
"For students and lifelong adult learners, we can think of such a permanent home domain as a personal learning environment (PLE). It is not one particular cloud app, rather it is the 'pure web' with a toolset enabling the person/owner of that domain to constantly adapt it to new developments. It grows with the person over time and constantly reflects new 'interior designs' and 'remodeling' as needed. A PLE allows the owner of it to be a true author, contributor, and social interactor with the wider web ecology while still maintaining the stability of a personal home base on the web which is not dependent on the evolving marketing strategies of free portal services...
Unlike the 'exhibition model' digital portfolios, a PLE is much more naturally attuned to the authentic personal and professional needs of the owner. Of course, as in a digital portfolio, we all like to naturally exhibit/display new features. However the passive role of an 'exhibit' is only one of many features of a fluid PLE site. Along with exhibiting this or that project, a PLE might just as likely be hosting a discussion on a particular topic, asking visitors to complete a quick survey, providing a quick 'breaking news' report about storm damage in one neighborhood, contributing a 'how to' screencast video on a recently learned technique…the possibilities are endless!"
Fig.1 George Siemens 2009 presentation "Connectivism: Socializing Open Learning", VI International Seminar on Open Social Learning of the UOC UNESCO Chair in e-Learning.
"Institutions, teachers, and learners are increasingly turning to the open architecture and customizability of the web. In doing so, they are leveraging the tools and resources of the larger PLE to create their own personal learning networks (PLNs) to manage information, create content, and connect with others. Whether termed PLEs or PLNs, these approaches 'represent a shift away from the model in which students consume information through independent channels such as the library, a textbook, or an LMS, moving instead to a model where students draw connections from a growing matrix of resources that they select and organize.' Scott Leslie's impressive collection of PLE diagrams reminds us that PLNs are infinitely configurable to meet individual needs and preferences. They are, after all, 'personal.'
The vision of individually constructed PLNs and their potential to transform learning extends beyond merely aggregating and using a smorgasbord of web-based tools and content. Gardner Campbell advocated the cultivation of 'personal cyberinfrastructures' that teachers and learners can leverage to become the 'system administrators of their own digital lives.' Instead of implementing tools that simply help instructors 'manage learning,' Campbell argued that we should embrace technologies that enable co-learners to frame, curate, share, and direct learning 'engagement streams.' John Seely Brown and Richard Adler argued that learning with Web 2.0 tools is so different that we ought to call it 'learning 2.0.' They asserted that, unlike old passive forms of learning, the new learner-centric paradigm (facilitated and reinforced by new tools) emphasizes participation over presentation, encourages focused conversation over traditional publication, and 'facilitates innovative explorations, experimentations, and purposeful tinkerings that often form the basis of a situated understanding emerging from action, not passivity.' The net result is an 'open participatory learning ecosystem.'"
(Jonathan Mott, 2010)
Mott, J. (2010). 'Envisioning the Post-LMS Era: The Open Learning Network.' Educause Quarterly 33(1).
Fig.1 Vahid Masrour 'synthetic view of what a PLN/E is, and what it enables'.
Fig.2 Scott Leslie 'collection of PLE diagrams'.