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.
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.
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.