"To inspire them to realize more and more of their capacities for living meaningful lives. Because there certainly is meaning to life."
-John Coltrane on Uplifting Others

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Personal Learning Networks

Have you ever felt like the Reverend Al Green here?

Well, you're not alone. Learning alone is tiresome and lonely. Luckily, with the advent in technology, we don't have to be alone during our education. What Dr. Zapala said during lecture has kept with me; there was a time when you could slip into class, turn in your homework, and not have to interact with other students or the teacher. That is not the case today. Professors ask students to frequently pair up to tackle tougher principles. That's where Personal Learning Networks (PLN's) begin.
Personal Learning Networks are your group of friends, professors, professional associates, blogger buddies, etc. who you turn to when you need help or want to learn something new. You can create your own through classes, blog searches, and Google Reader. For instance, I follow my PLN through Google Reader and Facebook; every time someone posts, I know and can read their ideas. That's the beauty of the class we're in: we can create and connect with people from all over campus and the world who share similar goals.
Doesn't it feel good to know you're not alone?


  1. As you were talking about all of the tools we have to link our learning, I was wondering how many of those tools actually assist us in not being alone. I mean, yes they allow us to interact with others, but not personally. Rather, it seems as if those tools personally isolate us, while digitally connecting us.

  2. This is Eric Collyer by the way

  3. With personal experience, I can attest to Dr. Zappala's point. My first year at BYU, I sat in the back of the class. I didn't ask questions. I took my notes, turned in assignments and took the tests. I saw my education as a final GPA.
    There is so much to gain from knowing people. When one is surrounded by friends, real or virtual, the knowledge of one becomes the knowledge of many.

  4. Eric makes a very good point. Strangely, we can be both very connected and very disconnected via technology. How much of one's PLN needs to be in person? Not in person? When is our learning not isolated?

    It would be nice if you could develop a bit more some of the thinking about PLNs. There's a lot of great books and articles out there that you could summarize or refer us to on the subject...

  5. I think that the ability to connect with people via technological means can be a wonderful thing; we can expand our social network almost endlessly, connecting and exchanging ideas with people all around the world while sitting at the same desk. At the risk of sounding cliche, I would say that there must be moderation in all things. We can't sacrifice connecting with the people walking around us in favor of online/virtual relationships (see David A. Bednar's talk, "Things As They Really Are," on lds.org for more on this). The thing I've noticed most with online communication is that you lose a lot of nonverbal information you would pick up on in face-to-face conversation that can be essential to meaning. We must find a balance between time spent on a computer and time meaningfully interacting with the people around us.