When is a LE a PLE?

When does a Learning Environment (LE) become a Personal Learning Environment (PLE)? This is a question that has been guiding some of my recent research on PLEs. I have take a psychological perspective on PLEs and wanted to find out when people feel that they “own” a learning environment. I have based my research on the theory of psychological ownership by Pierce et al. (2001, 2003) and conducted a number of studies showing that the scale of psychological ownership – which so far has been used to measure the feeling of ownership in organisations – can be applied to capture the feeling of ownership of learning environments. You can find more details in this publication.

Just recently, I have presented the approach of psychological ownership and selected research results at a workshop dedicated to Personal Learning Environments at University of Potsdam. The workshop was organised as part of the project eLIS, which takes a different, technology-driven approach. The contributions and discussions showed once again that there is a wide range of understandings of what PLEs may be.

My personal view is that PLEs and customisable, integrated platforms are two different things. A PLE is an environment which is constructed by an individual out of available elements. Customisable, integrated platforms are always constructed by someone else but they may be appropriated individually and become a part of someone’s PLE.  You may find more about my views on PLEs in the presentation below.


Buchem, Ilona (2012). Psychological Ownership and Personal Learning Environments. Do possession and control really matter? Proceedings of the PLE Conference 2012, 12 July 2012, Aveiro, Portugal. URL: http://revistas.ua.pt/index.php/ple/article/viewFile/1437/1323

Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., Dirks, K. (2001). Toward a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 26, 298–310 (2001)

Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., Dirks, K. T. (2003). The state of psychological ownership:  integrating and extending a century of research. Review of General Psychology, 7, 84–107


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s