About a year and a half ago, I created a series of posts on developing personal learning environments (PLEs). It was surprisingly popular, finding its way into online class curricula and job interviews I was undergoing at the time. The posts are still some of my most visited posts, so I thought maybe I would revisit them and expand on them. Which turns out to have been a smart decision, because when I sat down to lay out new posts, I discovered that the original series could barely be called an overview. Sorry about that.
I’ve had more time to think about them, and to look at different ways to implement them in my own work, so I actually have more thorough ideas on each phase. My thought is to spend a month exploring each phase a bit more in depth than I did the first time, and incorporating how I’m using it myself in my own projects. Since this is January, and I’m at the beginning of one project and reconnecting with another project, it makes sense to start at the beginning of the PLE: The Process of Discovery.
Just a review: The Discovery process is the beginning of the PLE development. It’s when you find something you want to take a closer look at and start figuring out how you want to look at it.
If you’re just starting out with the PLE, then the Discovery process could be daunting because there are two ways you can (and probably should) employ PLEs. The first is setting up the personal learning environment where all of your work will be done, regardless of the project. What makes this challenging is that you’re just starting out. You may not know what skills and topics you’re going to want to explore, and as a result may struggle to work through the Discovery process in a satisfactory manner. Fortunately, no overarching PLE is set in stone, and you can change things to suit the direction your work goes. So, don’t think of this as setting the course of your life forever. Think of it more as starting a game that’s going to have quests or missions along the way that will help you develop your personal story line.
The second way you can employ the PLE is to create the “quests” in your larger PLE, and then the Discovery process identifies the goal for that quest. But that’s a discussion for the rest of the month.