What is a Personal Learning Network (PLN)? Personal Learning Networks are people that a learner, like myself, interacts with and learns from in a Personal Learning Environment. PLNs have been around for quite sometime, you might not know it, but your friends and families are part of your personal learning network as well.
During my two years in BCIT, I have developed my own PLN through my peers and my teachers. This network allows me to develop a network that will help the growth of my professional development and knowledge. My PLN mostly consists of people I have met through school, but there are a few people that I have never even met personally, or face to face.
After hours of researching about PLNs, I found a YouTube video regarding student networking, I found it very informative and useful for PLN beginners, like myself. I learned that blogs, social bookmarking sites, and wikis are great PLN tools as well. Feel free to check it out yourself, it is called the “Networked Student.”
My PLN isn’t very big, and I plan on expanding that. I only have two social networking sites that I use as my personal learning network:
First and foremost, I use Twitter. Not a lot of people may see Twitter as a personal learning network. I was one of those people. I have signed up and deleted two Twitter accounts thinking they were useless. I was wrong.
On a daily basis, I would visit three different tutorial websites for graphics and web design. Chris Spooner, Smashing Magazine and Vandelay Design. It was a hassle for me to have to visit each site a day to check for new updates. However, a couple weeks into using Twitter for the third time, I decided to make (proper) use of my account; I followed Chris Spooner, Smashing Magazine, and Vandelay Design. I now have daily Twitter updates (at three hour intervals) from three of my most favourite sites being pushed to my smartphone.
LinkedIn is another PLN site in which I have failed to overlook. By using LinkedIn, I can connect with my peers and teachers from both the New Media and Web Development program and the Digital Animation program to help, both, the growth of my professional goals and knowledge.
With that being said, how do I plan on expanding my personal learning network?
- Social bookmarking websites (such as Delicious and Diigo). These two bookmarking websites would be great tools to find links to tutorial websites, news related to New Media and Web Development, and so much more and vice versa, I’ll be able to share my resources with the world.
- Blogs (such as WordPress, Tumblr, and Typepad). By reading other people’s blogs, I’ll learn their thoughts and learn from their knowledge and be able to respond with my opinions and knowledge.
PLNs are an important part of professional development and self growth. With technology growing rapidly nowadays, I find that most of my PLN are online. It is much easier to communicate with people, and a lot easier to find people with the same interests. Whether it be online or in real life, it is important that we understand the importance of PLNs and continue to expand our networks everywhere we go.