PLN: Your Personal Learning Network Made Easy

A great source on how to build your PLN!

Once a Teacher....

What is a PLN?

If I had to define what a ‘Personal Learning Network’ is, I would keep it simple and broad:

n. – the entire collection of people with whom you engage and exchange information, usually online.

Personal Learning Networks, or PLNs, have been around forever.  Originally, they were your family and friends, maybe other educators you worked with, but as the internet and web 2.0 tools have become nearly ubiquitous, PLNs can include tons of different communities – social networking sites like Facebook, blogs, Twitter, wikis, social bookmarking tools, LinkedIn, and so many more.  Basically, anyone that you interact with is apart of your PLN, whether they are social contacts, professional peers, or experts in their field.   Most of the ‘learning’ takes place on-line now, because it is simple to find and connect with others with similar interests from around the world.

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9 thoughts on “PLN: Your Personal Learning Network Made Easy

  1. I’m not sure I’d be so broad to say anyone I interact with is a part of the PLN. For example, that girl from high school … we just see photos of each others kids and hit “like” occasionally. We don’t learn from/with each other and have few shared interests (if any).

    • What about that girl from high school that I never talk to, who posts information about a topic I’m interested in, or an event I’d like to attend? Does a PLN only include people that you connect with on a certain level, while others who only have limited shared interests similar to yours are out? I feel like we can learn from anyone in our networks.

      • We can get ideas and info from anywhere, but I consider the PLN to be the more intentional connections that repeatedly provide relevant interactions. I’d say there are frames, too. So, on Facebook I may find interesting crafts, recipes and parenting tips from my connections, but I don’t consider it a professional platform and so in my PLN related to my professional development I get little from Facebook and nothing from those connections like the random girl from high school. I don’t define a PLN as “anything in the world potentially of use or interest” but rather have a frame for it, a sense of intentionality (people/resources I interact with to learn more about _____) and I don’t have or try to build a PLN for every possible topic of interest, which would be overkill. Some folks recommend interesting novels. In my life, those are just recommendations of interesting novels from people with whom I interact, no more and no less.

    • I’ll agree with you that not anyone that are in my online circle is a part of the PLN. But I also think that sometimes, I do get some information about research and conferences from my high school friends who are also working towards their doctorate, such as what Mark also noted in his comment. I think it’s up to the person to determine his/her own PLN that suits his/her preferences.

  2. I agree, though I recognize that those people posting baby pics occasionally post something interesting that I can get more from. It can be a news blurb, blog link, or a TEDx talk posted. It’s just that I don’t seek them out for information on a routine basis.

    • Thanks for the comment! I totally agree with you that I do get or learn something from my Facebook friends (for example), but not as the main part of references of my PLN.

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