PLEs extended

The full paper of your PLE_SOU submission for the PLE Conference in Southampton 2011 is finally online.

Here is the full title:

Buchem, Ilona and Attwell, Graham and Torres, Ricardo (2011) Understanding Personal Learning Environments: Literature review and synthesis through the Activity Theory lens. pp. 1-33. In: Proceedings of the The PLE Conference 2011, 10th – 12th July 2011, Southampton, UK.

You can find the full paper here:

Here is our abstract:

“This paper represents a scientific analysis of a broad range of publications surrounding the field of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). Personal Learning Environments can be viewed as a concept related to the use of technology for learning focusing on the appropriation of tools and resources by the learner. Capturing the individual activity, or how the learner uses technology to support learning, lies at the heart of the PLE concept. The central research question guiding this review was: What are the characteristic, distinguishing features of Personal Learning Environments? This paper argues that PLEs can be viewed as complex activity systems and analysed using the Activity Theory framework to describe their key elements and the relationships between them. Activity Theory provides a framework of six interrelated components: subject, object, tools, rules, community and division of labour. In referencing over 100 publications, encompassing conference papers, reports, reviews, and blog articles, this paper takes an activity-theory perspective to deconstruct the way central aspects related to PLEs are addressed in different publications. The aim of this study is to create a better understanding of PLEs and to develop a knowledge base to inform further research and effective practice. The literature review presented in this paper takes a broader view on PLEs recognising that research in this field stems from different scientific communities and follows different perspectives.”

We put the list of publications we used for the literature review into PB Wiki. By doing this we follow the goal of extending this list collaboratively and creating a public repository of PLE publications.

The original selection of publications can be found here: Original list of PLE Publications

We would like to enourage everyone to extended this original list and in this way create a public repository of publications related to Personal Learning Environments.

If you would like to add a publication to this public repository, please name a reference as a comment to the following page: PLEP Recommendations.

Thank you  all for your contributions and comments!



Personal Learning Environments and Media Pedagogy

This week I gave a presentation (or rather led a discussion) at a Multimedia Workshop at Goethe University in Frankfurt on Personal Learning Environments from the perspective of media pedagogy. We had a very interesting discussion which really came down to the basic questions and problems of formal education.  I presented together with Sebastian Fiedler and so we shared the PLE subject and looked at it from different perspectives: me from the perspective of media pedagogy and Sebastian from the  socio-historical perspective.

I focused on different forms of use and different examples of PLEs (especially from the PLE Conference 2010 in Barcelona and from some key EU projects) and on how PLEs change learning/teaching/organisational cultures. In the introduction to the PLEs I avoided providing definitions (as we agreed this would be Sebastian’s part) and instead showed the different metaphores that are used to describe Personal Learning Environments. As a linguist I find it fascinating to deconstruct metaphors and abide by Geoge Lakoff claiming that metaphors play a crucial role in shaping our collective thinking. I need to write more on this soon … oh well, once I find some time 😉

As far as different types of PLEs are concerned – me, Graham Attwell and Ricardo Torres are preparing a paper for the PLE Conference in Southampton which we base on a meta-analysis of over 100 papers on PLEs. One of the outcomes of this analysis are differnt possible ways of categorising PLEs that we are trying to arrive at.

You will find these three basic ideas in the slides:

(1) Based on type of technological implementation

  • individual, dispersed aggregation
  • integrated mash-up system with personal dashboard

(2) based on locus of control/ownership

  • private, owned by the user
  • institutionalised, integrating institutional resources

(3) based on duration of use

  • long-term (longer episodes in a life long process of learning)
  • short-term (e.g. project-based, within a particular course, conference etc.)

Unfortunately I could not attend Sebastian’s part as I had to rush to the airport after unexpected 2 hrs of my own presentation woven with discussions and sharing of positions on PLEs.  So @Sebastian – I hope to learn more about your standpoint in a blogpost 😉

So here is my presentation. Let me know what you think: