Saturday, June 02, 2007

Be the Node


To Michele Martin's most excellent post on the Psychology and Skills of Personal Learning Environments....

First off, I have to say that this entire PLE conversation hasn't really sparked much for me. It just seems like a no-duh. Karyn Romeis talked about "lifewide learning." Yes. That's it, isn't it?

So all the talk about tools and maps has struck me as odd. How do we quantify or control something that is so unique to each of us? For me, I add -- why bother? Just do it. (I'm a practical person at heart; not a theory-based one).

All the many cool tools and widgets and features that really smart people are creating -- that's all we need. More and more of that so we can all pick and choose and figure it out for ourselves.

And maybe not even that. People have been learning forever without widgets and web2.0. Maybe it was even "personal learning" before the term PLE came along.

I don't see a traditional corporation every truly embracing the theme of PLE -- at least in the pure sense of the term "personal". Most corporations want way more control than that. A truly empowered employee may not be the one that sticks around. With PLEs, there may be just way too much personal learning happening on company time for a CEO's comfort.

We're all learning in our own personal ways and we're each going to figure out how to best support that...

To paraphrase Stephen Downes, "be the node, Danny."

So, you have a PLE if:

If you're interested in personal growth and development. If you don't want to stagnate. If you do want to have some element of control in the random direction that your life might take. If you do get excited by new interests, new directions. If you don't want to go crazy. If you don't want to be bored. If you've even got the time to spend on anything beyond the job, the family, the stress, the balancing act.

To have a PLE, do you need to first be aware that you are learning? Stephen Downes makes the point that you can't separate life from learning. But is the awareness of the fact that life is learning available to everyone?

To have a PLE, do you need to be aware that the term PLE exists? I have a PLE, therefore I am learning on my own terms.

OK. So my practical side says, stop talking about it and just do it.

But then Michele says, "My personal motivation in all this is the desire to figure out how I can empower others to explore creating their own personal learning environments." And then that dormant social activist in me sees how I can do more good in the world than just recycle. (You people are so inspiring!)

I think maybe PLE is another word for the upcoming Revolution of Enlightenment.

It's a Personal Learning Evolution.

If you're aware that you have a PLE, do you get to advance to the next level?


(Be the node, Cammy. Be the node. Stay up late on a Saturday night blogging in a bleary sort of way, that's a start.)

2 comments:

Karyn Romeis said...

"Be the node." Like it!

Michele Martin said...

Even better, I like the "personal learning evolution"!

One of my biggest concerns right now is the millions of people who do not get that personal learning is absolutely critical if you want to be in charge of your own career. In my professional practice I've watched thousands of people pay no attention to their personal learning, always leaving "training" up to their organizations. Then when they're laid off, they have no ability to move forward.

The reason I'm so keen on the idea of PLEs (not as a system, but as a set of tools and skills) is that I think it puts power back into people's hands, rather than leaving them at the mercy of organizations who don't really have their best interests in mind. Reading The World is Flat a few years ago really opened up my eyes to the idea that if people don't take charge, they're going to be in a world of hurt.