Thursday, December 17, 2009

Personal Learning Networks

I've been giving a lot of thought lately to the creation of knowledge, while I've been reading up on theories of human development and how people learn for my current course. The focus of the course is adult learning and lifelong learning and it has been very interesting to reflect on how I've consciously and unconsciously come to know what I know and (more importantly perhaps) discover what I don't know.

Obviously, formal learning plays a significant role, as does professional reading. Equally important in the world of adult learning, I believe it is an individual's personal learning network (PLN) that helps them construct meaning of what is going on around them and inspire the deep, lasting learning that makes a difference. Learning in a vacuum can only go so far, it is when it is shared and built upon that it becomes deep and embedded.

On that note, thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share an opinion with me in the past, to wax philosophical about teaching and learning, to email me a link to an interesting article, or to ask questions and reflect with me about what we do. You are a valued member of my PLN and there is no way I would know what I know without our interactions.

Over the last few days I have had the privilege to spend significant time with some members of my PLN in person AND ONLINE, and as always I appreciate (and benefit from) their knowledge, PASSION, and energy levels. I hope everyone has someone like that in their network. I also hope you are taking advantage of technology to broaden your perspective and to add to your network. It is incredibly easy, and valuable, to find an online group you are interested in and touch base with them to find out more about what you know and don't know.

For those of you who may be reading this, I have some questions for you to reflect on. What do we do to help our students understand the importance of building those connections with their peers? Do we do enough modeling for our students and are we beginning to train them in the skills they will need to be lifelong learners?  Are we providing them with opportunities to shrink the world and broaden their knowledge through involvement with peers in other parts of the world? Should we?

I hope you get a chance to discuss this with those in your personal learning network, and if you'd like to share your thoughts on these questions with me, go for it. I would love to hear them...


No comments: