Personal Learning Networks

Definition

According to Wikipedia, PLN(Personal Learning Networks) consist of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a Personal Learning Environment. An important part of this concept is the theory of connectivism developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes. Learners create connections and develop a network that contributes to their professional development and knowledge. The learner does not have to know these people personally or ever meet them in person.

Social networking have created a culture of “connectedness” whose insight, increasing knowledge, and experience has the potential to revolutionize the present education field.

It is Important

To develop a learning network is essential for people who enrolled in continuing education programs. Creating a personal learning environment helps adult learners focus on their education goals, while avoiding time spent on all the distractions the Internet offers. These networks consist of services, communities, and tools that constitute the individual educational platforms learners use to direct their own learning and pursue educational goals.

A learning network is a collection of free, widely distributed, web-based tools, RSS feeds, and typically located within a blog or wiki that is controlled by the adult learner. These are a collection of customizable tools which are personal and independent of school or work. The important aspects of a personal learning environment are its capacity to access, gather, and process information.

Some Important Components

(1) Social Networks:
Some social media such as Facebook, twitter, mySpace, etc., are quite popular now. People use these kinds of social networks to share instant news from one another, and bring people together within the shortest time, and it doesn’t cost you one penny. Where you can also find some groups, which has many people having the same interests or expertise as yours; joining the group will be another good way to create your PLN.

(2) Micro-blogging
This is a form of blogging built on brief (140 characters) text updates. Presently, Twitter is the highly dominating micro-blogging tool and it’s really easy to use. The stream of user updates creates a stable flow of information. That’s why micro-bloggers build a network of individuals whose updates they choose to follow. The keys to success are following people who post interesting and relevant content. You should also be an active participant in the network.

(3) RSS
Really Simple Syndication is a system for delivering frequently changing web content. News sites, blogs and other online publishers can syndicate their content via an RSS feed. Google Reader and Bloglines are among the more famed RSS aggregators. Sign up for an account and when you read a blog or other self-motivating and active content provider that you like, simply subscribe to their feed and let the RSS reader convey the web to you.

Now you got the basic idea of what PLN is, and I think it’s a good timing to create a PLN for yourself if you don’t have one yet.

Referrence site:
Wikipedia
Your Own Personal Learning Network
15 Tools for Developing a Learning Network
PLN: Your Personal Learning Network Made Easy
Build Your PLN

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Knowing About SaaS

What is SaaS?

SaaS, typically pronounced [sæs], means “Software as a service” (sometimes referred to as “software on demand”), which is the software that is deployed over the internet and/or is deployed to run behind a firewall on a local area network or personal computer. With SaaS, a provider licenses an application to customers as a service on demand, through a subscription or a “pay-as-you-go” model.

SaaS was initially widely deployed for sales force automation and Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Now, it has become commonplace for many business tasks, including computerized billing, invoicing, human resource management, financials, content management, collaboration, document management, and service desk management.

The Key Characteristics

There are some characteristics of SaaS:
(1) Activities managed from central locations rather than at each customer’s site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web.
(2) Centralized feature updating, which obviates the need for end-users to download patches and upgrades.
(3) Network-based access to, and management of, commercially available software.
(4) Application delivery typically closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics.
(5) Frequent integration into a larger network of communicating software—either as part of a mashup or a plugin to a platform as a service. (Service oriented architecture is naturally more complex than traditional models of software deployment.)

In addition to characteristics mentioned above, SaaS sometimes provides:
(6) More feature requests from users, since there is frequently no marginal cost for requesting new features. [citation needed]
(7) Faster new feature releases, since the entire community of users benefits. [citation needed]
(8) Embodiment of recognized best practices, since the user community drives the software publisher to support best practice. [citation needed]

More About It

SaaS is becoming an increasingly prevalent delivery model as underlying technologies that support Web services and service-oriented architecture (SOA) mature and new developmental approaches, such as Ajax, become popular. Meanwhile, broadband service has become increasingly available to support user access from more areas around the world.

SaaS is closely related to the ASP (application service provider) and On Demand Computing software delivery models. IDC identifies two slightly different delivery models for SaaS. The hosted application management (hosted AM) model is similar to ASP: a provider hosts commercially available software for customers and delivers it over the Web. In the software on demand model, the provider gives customers network-based access to a single copy of an application created specifically for SaaS distribution.

Why SaaS?

If you understand what are the benefits you may get by using SaaS, you would be thankful to know about SaaS. Here is the list of the advantages:
(1) Save money by not having to purchase servers or other software to support use.
(2) Focus Budgets on competitive advantage rather than infrastructure.
(3) Monthly obligation rather than up front capital cost.
(4) Reduced need to predict scale of demand and infrastructure investment up front as available capacity matches demand.
(5) Multi-Tenant efficiency.
(6) Flexibility and scalability.

Referrence site:
Wikipedia
Software as a Service
SaaS Showplace
SaaS.com
Where to Find the Latest SaaS News and Breakthroughs