Friday, September 24, 2010

Week 2: Main Concepts from the readings

Definition of PLN: It is the set of learning communities where the learner organizes his learning process and people involved in those networks use latest technologies for learning. A distributed infrastructure is to be built for innovative conversations to take place.

PLE (Social and information environment designed for lifelong learning purposes): includes networks and connections between a person and resources.

PLE is a new and different approach to learning: learning is produced through discussion/communication and interaction; although motivation, self-direction, good time management and technical aptitude (digital literacy) is required from the learner’s side to create own PLN and efficiently participate in PLE.

Advantages of PLE:

  • Learner-centered: learners have freedom to choose what, when and how to learn/learners make own decision and learn their own without prescriptive guidance
  • Soft boundaries
  • Integrates personal and professional interests (combines informal and formal learning)
  • Persistence: reflective postings appear as digital records of the learning process and do not disappear after the course is ended
  • Identity: Learners are free to contextualize their own understanding, which can go beyond formal schooling/curriculum
  • Ease of use: knowledge can be flown into various applications and new applications can be easily integrated into existing PLE
  • Ownership: not restricted to a specific institution, therefore individuals are free to chose which elements are most important for them and their learning
  • Possibility for independent inquiry, learner’s autonomy and increased self-regulation
  • The ability to locate expertise beyond the classroom walls
  • Not limited to resources
  • PLE has the greater adaptability to differing learning approaches and environments

How to handle loads of information/navigate an increasingly complex content base? Apply curation tool to filter and assemble information relevant and useful to us and our knowldge

LMS (closed network): Is a system to manage content and learners’ interactions

Advantages of LMS:

  • Purposefully designed which fits well with formal teaching and learning
  • Is safe and secure: learners expect to have their comments, images, reflections shared within the protected environment
  • Ease of use: tools available for easy search, sorting, archiving, editing, retrieving of course content
  • Less time is required from teachers/learners’ side for investment
  • Discussions are more centralized (owned by the teacher)

Drawback of LMS:

  • Teacher-centered, subject-centered, institutional-centered, content limited to curriculum
  • Students’ choice is restricted by institutions/teachers’ choices

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First steps in MOOC and PLN

This is my very first blog, which I created especially for this course and my very first experience with MOOC, PLN and PLE. I have never been too active in any social networks (excluding facebook which I usually use to keep in touch with my friends scattered all around the world) nor applied too much technology either in teaching or learning processes. As this is totally new and experimental experience for me, it appears quite motivating and exciting to me. In general, I love to learn new things through any given opportunity, interact with different people and learn from this interaction, although I have to admit that such interaction has taken place only in a real, face-to-face setting in my case. I am happy to discover that this very course gives an opportunity to interact with people from diversified backgrounds; I was pleasantly shocked by the number of participants and I am still fascinated by the diversity of the class.  
The reason for attending this course is the desire to learn about new trends/innovations occurring in Higher Education field, but also the theme of this course is related to my PhD (Networked Innovations) which makes it even more interesting for me.
I myself always believed that any kind of learning should not be restricted to set and predetermined requirements/content, it should be learner-oriented and offer some freedom of choice and flexibility for students. While reading about PLE/PLN, I discovered that it actually offers the opportunity for the learner to launch creative learning process/exploration/discovery, compile valuable resources/information in one or few easily accessible/retrievable virtual spaces (by creating PLN), express personal viewpoints/reflections about different issues and share resources/opinions about them with various other people all around the world; but the most exciting point is the outcome itself: the knowledge acquired through interactive learning, through discussions and sharing of reflections made possible only through PLN.
At this point I cannot make a very explicit or clear distinction between PLN and PLE, I see them as interconnected concepts, PLN: a virtual space, mirror of our interests/ wonders/ likes/ dislikes/ storage of resources and a destination for interaction with colleagues/people with similar interests. I see PLE as a system consisting of various web-based tools making the PLN functional.
To sum up my post, I am very excited to be a part of this course and I am very eager to learn with all of you. But as I don’t have much knowledge or experience with PLE/PLN, sometimes I feel a bit overwhelmed with loads of information, find it hard to keep up with all the discussions or actively participate in them, although I do hope to catch up and become more active in them.

Wish you all productive, exciting and creative learning process.