Personal Learning Environments and Psychological Ownership

When does a learning environment become a Personal Learning Environment? I think it has much to do with our perception of the learning environment and a something that is ours, an environment that belongs to us, a learing environment that we own and feel responsible for, something we can identify with. This is where I think the theory of psychological ownership can help us to understand what it means to feel an owner of a learning environment. Let me just briefly introduce the idea and the study that I presented last week at the PLE Conference in Aveiro on 12.07.12

Personal Learning Environments and Psychological Ownership

View more presentations from Ilona Buchem

Last year we wrote the paper titled “Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens” (Buchem, Attwell & Torres, 2011). In this study based on the grounded theory analysis of over 100 publications on Personal Learning Environments it were the concepts of ownership and control that emerged as core concepts that authors related to when writing about Personal Learning Environments. It intrigued me that we know so little about what it actually means to feel an owner or be in control of a learning environment. As I searched for helpful approaches I came across a vast body of research on psychological ownership. This research, inspired by the theory of psychological ownership by Pierce et al. (2001, 2003, 2004), has been to a large extend applied to the exploration of the role of psychological ownership in organisations.  A number of studies has looked into how the feeling of being an “owner” of an organisation one worked in affected work attitudes, job performance and organisational citizenship. A number of studies showed that employees who feel owners of the organisation tend to be more satisfied with their jobs, feel responsible for what is happening in the organisation and in consequence care for the organisation as it becomes part of their self-identity.

It struck my mind that we can apply the theory of psychological ownership as framework to explore the role of ownership in context of Personal Learning Environments. This is why this year we conducted the first study, which applies the theory of psychological ownership to technology-enhanced learning environments, based on the example of ePortfolios in higher education. I presented this study at the PLE Conference 2012 in Aveiro and found out that there is a lot of interest in this approach.

The study results show that the measure of psychological ownership can be applied in to research on learning environments. The measure of psychological ownership I am proposing in the paper showed to have a very good internal consistency and I am looking forward to conducting further studies to see if the results can be replicated. One of most interesting outcomes of the study was the relation between control and ownership. The results show that while perceived control of intangible aspects of a learning environment (such as being able to determine the subject matter or access rights) has a much larger impact on the feeling of ownership of a learning environment than perceived control of tangible aspects (such as being able to choose the technology). Another interesting result was to see that psychological ownership is a very good predictor of the quality of learning in terms of engagement, invested time, creativity, interest orientation and self-direction.

This very first study seems to confirm my hypothesis that the feeling of ownership of a learning environment is significant for learning and one of the key aspects of Personal Learning Environments. What I am interested in is to find out ways to promote the sense of  ownership of learning environments in education.

References

  • Buchem, Ilona, Attwell, Graham & Torres, Ricardo (2011). Understanding Personal Learning Environments:Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th – 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK.Sunday, July 15, 2012
  • Pierce, J. L., Kostova, T., Dirks, K. (2001). Toward a theory of psychological ownership in organizations. Academy of Management Review, 26, p. 298–310. 2.
  • 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, p. 84– 107. 3.
  • Van Dyne, L., Pierce, J.L. (2004). Psychological ownership and feelings of possession: three field studies predicting employee attitudes and organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 25(4), p. 439-459.

Personal Learning Environments: Call for Contributions

This is the third time we organise the international PLE Conference and the third time we host the PLE Mediacast Contest. Over these three years have built a vivid international community inspired by the idea of Personal Learning Environments (PLE) as a concept reflecting self-directed practice of appropriating convergent media for learning (as I see it). As every year, we invite everyone to participate in the discussion on Personal Learning Environments by taking part in the conference, including the Mediacast Contest, which aims at enhancing the participatory culture (see: Henry Jenkins) also in the academic world.

The PLE Mediacast Contest follows the idea that by producing new creative forms, such as digital videos, individuals and groups can contribute to shaping the evolution of concepts, such as Personal Learning Environments. By creating and shaping the flow of media, each of us has the opportunity to contribute to the global discourse about what we understand under the term “Personal Learning Environments”, to share examples and experiences of Personal Learning Environments, to discuss potentials and challenges of Personal Learning Environments, to bring in perspectives from different domains, including academic perspectives (such as educational, social and computer sciences) and non-academic perspectives (such as enterprise, public and individual practice), and to express own future visions of Personal Learning Environments. Therefore, I would like to invite you to the PLE Mediacast Contest and sharing your own production with the PLE community!

Just a short, personal story to wind up: This year I asked a group of students to create a video announcing the PLE Mediacast Contest. Unfortunately, as it turned out pretty late, the project could not be realised. So there I was end of April without the video we have been planning for months. Disappointed as I was, I realised that it may be a good moment for me to learn how to work with tools sich as iMovie. Surprisingly, producing an own video was much easier than I thought. It took me two evenings altogether to learn the tool and create the video which you can see below.

So, let me just encourage you to participate and let your creativity unfold!

The PLE Mediacast Contest 2012 from Ilona Buchem on Vimeo.

PLE Conference 2012

Call for Papers for the PLE Conference 2012 is online! Just follow this link: http://pleconf.org/call-for-papers/:

The conference organisers welcome 1200 word extended abstracts for full papers or 700 words for short papers, posters and doctoral consortium panel participation (please check important dates). Submissions for other types of presentation, such as Pecha Kucha, workshops, symposia, demonstrations and installations are also encouraged (please be patient and wait for a separate call on that).

> For more on the Conference and Call for Papers you can also visit the Pontydysgu website.

This year the PLE Conference will be held simultaneously in Aveiro, Portugal (Universidade de Aveiro) and Melbourne, Australia (Deakin University)! Bringing together PLE communites from two different parts of the world is really exciting! As we are brainsorming for come creative solutions – your ideas on how to enhance interaction are very welcome!

The conference will take place from July 11th to 13th 2012 – so mark your calendar!

We are also currently working on two special editions for the DER and IJVPLE journal. As the reviewing process is already under way, selected submissions from the PLE Conference 2011 will be published in one of both journals soon.As we will keep on working on the programme in the next weeks, it’s best to keep in touch via Twitter –  hashtag #PLEConf – and to visit the official website – http://pleconf.org – for updates.

For publication of selected papers from the PLE Conference 2010 check the special edition of Digital Education Review on Personal Learning Environments.

Let’s keep the ball rolling!