I’m proud to announce that I will have a new book chapter coming out soon.  The most exciting part of this chapter was getting to work with my colleague Yu-Chang Hsu at Boise State University.  Yu-Chang and I were part of a panel discussion at AECT a couple of years ago, and our research interests overlapped.  We collaborated on this book chapter over the fall semester, and it took some real interesting turns as we tried to parse out and define personal learning environments, personal learning networks, and professional learning networks.  Here’s the title and abstract info.

Making Personal and Professional Learning Mobile: Blending Mobile Devices, Social Media, Social Networks, and Mobile Apps To Support PLEs, PLNs, & ProLNs


Mobile technologies have become an integrated, or inseparable, part of individuals’ daily lives for work, play, and learning. While social networking has been important and in practice in our society even before human civilization and certainly prior to the advent of computers, nowadays, the opportunities and venues of building a network are unprecedented. Currently, the opportunities and tools to build a network to support personal and professional learning are enabled by mobile technologies (e.g., mobile apps, devices, and services), web-based applications (e.g., Diigo and RSS readers), and social-networking applications and services (e.g., Facebook, Google+, and Twitter). The purpose of this chapter is to describe and propose how individuals use personal learning environments (PLEs), personal learning networks (PLNs), and professional learning networks (ProLNs) with mobile technologies and social networking tools to meet their daily learning needs. In our chapter, we consider categories of learning relevant to personal learning and professional learning, then we define and examine PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs, suggesting how mobile devices and social software can be used within these. The specific strategies learners use within PLEs, PLNs, and ProLNs are then presented followed by cases that depict and exemplify these strategies within the categories of learning. Finally, implications for using mobile devices to support personal and professional learning are discussed.

Our chapter is part of a book titled, Mobile Devices: Technologies, Role in Social Media and Uses in Education and Students’ Perspectives. If you would like to have a preprint copy of the chapter, just let me know.  It’s still in production right now.

Image Creative Commons License Phil Campbell via Compfight

These are my Jumptags for November 24th through December 7th:

Paul Ayers

Paul Ayers

by Paul Ayers

Let’s consider for a moment a formal definition put forth by Alan J. Cann for Personal Learning Environments (PLEs).  A PLE is:

a system that helps learners take control of and manage their own learning. This includes providing support for learners to set their own learning goals, manage their learning, manage both content and process, and communicate with others in the process of learning.

Graham Attwell also makes a strong case for PLEs in his article in his article “Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning?

Both Cann and  Attwell caused me to begin reflecting on the tools and activities I use to learn and demonstrate my learning, from working within my university’s LMS to using Web 2.0 tools like Wikipedia and Flickr to an old-fashioned Google search. It occurred to me everything I use to assist me daily with formal and informal learning pretty much meets the definition set above. But there also seems to be a gap. The ease and tools with which to share my learning are not as readily apparent.
Here is my take on it. We are close, but not there. We are more capable than ever of finding information and acquiring new knowledge, but how are we doing with the “reflecting on it and doing something with it” part? Do most learners really want to control their learning environment and to demonstrate knowledge acquisition to the degree a PLE might offer?

Ok…I’ll admit it…I am thrilled by the idea of a designed PLE to support learners, but I am also convinced it may not be the end-all-be-all solution to learning ownership. In an increasingly knowledge-driven society, we have to be aware of the probability that some learners aren’t as interested in showing what they know, but just knowing. The PLE of the future must make reflection upon and demonstration of knowledge as easy as acquisition. Otherwise, we may only be talking about Google 2.0.

Guest blogger: Paul Ayers holds a Master’s of Business Administration in Management and is a currently a doctoral student in the University of Memphis’ Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership. His research interests include e-learning applications higher education settings, hybrid learning environments, and instructional design. Paul currently works with International Paper as a contract instructional designer, where he is developing e-learning solutions with subject matter experts in the Environment, Health and Safety division. In his spare time, Paul enjoys spending time with his family and home renovation.

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