Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 | Personal Learning Networks
There is nothing new about having a personal learning network – what is new is that it is called a PLN nowadays.
Personal learning networks have been around for ages – whenever a person needed to learn a new skill, a peer or an elder would be approached for guidance. People joined guilds (carpenters, shoemakers, candlemakers, tailors, bakers and many others) where they were part of a network that helped them to hone their own skills. Many guilds or clubs or societies still exist for the same purpose.
Each one of us has a personal set of connections for learning – our family, friends, colleagues, and other experts. We also have access to books, magazines and other resources that could form part of that network.
Computer technology has opened new doors to forming personal learning networks. Through the internet we gain access to vast information resources. But more importantly, it is now possible to include people, to whom we never had access before, in our networks. By means of email we could tap into the expertise of people in all parts of the world – asking for advice is only a mouse click away.
There are many networking tools available that puts one in touch with people who could extend our personal network. Most people are aware of Facebook – though it is mostly used for entertainment and personal purposes, this facility could be used to link up with people that may assist us with learning. There are also other tools, such as Plurk, Twitter, Delicious, and many others, that will help one to make the required connections.
Personal learning networks are essential for life long learning. Technology affords each one the opportunity to build a very powerful network.
If you have found any electronic personal learning network tool particularly useful, please share your experience with us. The personal growth of many individuals in Africa hinges on the use of these tools to form such networks.