Full papers


When citing,we suggest the following format:

Last Name (s), Initial of First Name. (2010). Title of paper.  The PLE Conference, ISSN 2077-9119. Retrieved from http://pleconference.citilab.eu

Albuquerque Costa, Fernando; Cruz, Elisabet; Viana, Joana

“Managing personal learning environments: the voice of the students”

The main purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of the kind of educational work to be done with higher education students (undergraduate) in order to encourage them to create and use personal learning environments (PLEs) as a strategy for learning (Attwell, 2007). Based on our current classroom work with students of the 2nd year of a degree in Education and mainly using the functionalities of the Ning system (Copyright © 2010 Ning, Inc.), as well as other tools available on the Internet, we tried to implement a strategy based not only on the presentation of content by the teacher, but also on the recognition of the importance of student’s leadership in the organisation and management of their own learning. Therefore, in addition to face-to-face lectures, we tried to extend the discussion outside the classroom walls using the different services offered by Ning, proposing to integrate the work done by students in their individual evaluation (50% of the final classification). At the end of the semester we observed evidence of a general difficulty felt by the students, particularly in terms of self-regulation and personal organisation. So we decided to try to understand the problem observed in depth. For the purpose of understanding the nature and the extent of these difficulties, we used a methodology focused on analysis of a questionnaire applied to the students about their perception of the difficulties in managing the learning process and about the strategies used for dealing with those difficulties. Although the students acknowledge that the development of the individual online portfolio in a PLE requires that, for the most part, largely they themselves have to get organised and manage of their own learning (Barrett, 2000; Attwell, 2007), one can see that they do not feel prepared for this, experiencing difficulties in personal organisation, time management and regular participation in the proposed activities. In strategic terms, they value the appraisals and/or suggestions given by the teachers, but do not adopt an attitude of reflection or interaction and sharing with others, as catered for by the platform and its functionalities.
Keywords: personal learning environments; strategies for learning; student’s leadership; student’s portfolio; self-regulation


Ammar, Abdullah

“EFL Students’ espistemic stances and their cognitive engagement in personal learning enviroments”

Foreign language learning tasks at tertiary levels require deeper processing and more cognitive engagement compared to school-level ones. Within these tertiary contexts, PLEs might work best for foreign language learning where a need is felt for learners to overstep walled classrooms and become self-regulated learners; setting their own goals, managing both content and process of their learning, and communicating with others in learning contexts (citation). In such personal learning environments, learners become members in multiple knowledge communities including learning community (LC), community of practice (CoP), and community of interest (COI) (citation). The issue that remains unresolved in pertinent literature is how connectivity and membership within these multiple knowledge communities can be best accomplished when learners have different views of knowledge (personal epistemologies). In this regard, personal epistemologies refer to beliefs that EFL students hold about the nature of knowledge, where it resides, how it can be constructed and evaluated, and how knowing occurs (citation). Based on pertinent literature (citation), these views of knowledge overshadow various aspects of teaching/learning in general and foreign language instruction in particular. It is probable that the type and level of information processing within personal learning environments (PLEs) be reflective of the nature of epistemic stances (naïve vs. sophisticated) that learners tend to adopt; an issue that might affect how PLEs are designed and used. In the current study, EFL students’ use of blogs as a tool in their personal learning environments is investigated in relation to their epistemic positions. More specifically, the study investigates the nature of epistemic positions of EFL students in the Emirati tertiary context of foreign language instruction on the one hand, and the relationships between these epistemic stances and the level of their cognitive engagement and information processing (shallow vs. deep processing) as reflected in their blogs, on the other hand. Results are discussed in the light of the culture-bound nature of personal epistemologies. Implications for foreign language education in general and personal language learning environments in particular are presented along with suggestions for further research.


Attwell, Graham

“Supporting Personal Learning in the Workplace”

Central to the idea of the Personal Learning Environment is it can assist learners in bringing together and reflecting on all their learning be it form formal education programmes, from work or from home. This would include both formal and informal learning.
According to Jay Cross, around 80 per cent of learning in work is informal. Yet much of the focus for work based learning is on courses, rather than practice. Apprenticeship systems usually combine learning in vocational schools with practice in the workplace but there are often problems in linking up theoretical school based learning with work based practice.
Researchers into organisational learning have focused on how workplaces can be designed to facilitate learning. Barry Nyhan (Nyhan et al, 2003) states “one of the keys to promoting learning organisations is to organise work in such a way that it is promotes human development. In other words it is about building workplace environments in which people are motivated to think for themselves so that through their everyday work experiences, they develop new competences and gain new understanding and insights.”
Yet without support for learning, organizational change may not be sufficient. Vygotsky (1978) has pointed to the importance of support from a More Knowledgable Other to support learning in a Zone of Proximal Development which which is the gap between the “actual developmental level” which a person can accomplish independently and the “potential developmental level” which person can accomplish when they are interacting with others who are more capable peers or adults.
The paper will report on work being undertaken through the EU IST programme to develop a Personal Learning & Maturing Environment (PLME), embedded into the working environment, enabling individuals to engage in maturing activities within the organisation and in wider communities of practice beyond organisational boundaries. The work centres on the design a ‘mini learning activities (Conole, 2008) utilising Technology Enhanced Learning to support learners in a Zone of Proximal Development. These activities will utilise multi media including infographics and Technology Enhanced Boundary Objects (Hoyles at al). Although the mediation of a MKO may be seen as being embodied within the technology, learners will also have access to support through an organisational people tagging service. The PLE applications will be available to learners both through desktop and mobile devices.


Arrizabalaga, Pilar; Blanco, Berenice; Monguet, Josep; Ferruzca, Marco

“Support to the process of online tutoring through a personalized learning environment”

Introduction: This paper deals with the key elements that should be included in a personalized learning environment (PLE) to assist tutors in the effective development of online tutoring activities.

Materials and methods: Key elements are defined from a quality management perspective and applied within the context of an action-research study, to develop a tutoring model supported on a personalized learning environment for tutors. PLE includes the training and assessment of the tutoring process based on management quality indicators (planning, performance and results of tutoring).

Results: The paper also shows the results of the partial implementation of PLE in a training course for physicians in the field of nephrology. The average among all indicators (8.5) is over the minimum (7), just like the global indicator for all tutors. The tasks with the best indicators are progress monitoring, with 9.9 points, and the evaluation of results, with 8.9 points.

Conclusions: According to these results it may be concluded that PLE’s impact on tutoring quality is positive and that it is necessary to implement the full model to obtain more information and establish cause-effect relations between the involved variables.


Castañeda, Linda; Soto, Javier

“Patchworking Web 2.0 for learning: Introducing ICT as a professional tool building Personal learning Environments”

This paper reports on a teaching experience of the introduction of ICT to higher education students in a complementary professional approach and a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) development approach, as well as a naturalistic study based on this experience.

Over a 4 month period (a semester in Spanish universities) two groups of first year students of a Social Education degree (around 150 pupils), were introduced to and encouraged to work with different web 2.0 tools. Each one of these tools was able to be used as a professional/work instrument (for Social Education purposes) and as a general learning resource (to be integrated into the PLE of each student). Following these ideas, the dynamics of the introduction of each tool started with a students’ hands-on session. Later, the students had to carry out some individual activities (proposed by teachers) using the tool, and finally, they had to integrate it into a group project dynamic, together with at least one special function (self organized).

In the final period of the course, students built, painted and published online their PLE diagram, and finally they reflected on the integration of each tool into their course work, into their group work (project developing dynamic), the impact of these tools on their PLE and the impact of the idea of the PLE on their professional and personal life.

In the meantime, teachers explored the student’s general development using web tools, their perception and attitudes around ICT, and their development in working and learning in a patchwork proposal of a technology enhanced learning environment for the course we built with them.

Why patchworking?

Wikipedia says about patchworks:

“long forms of needlework that involves sewing together pieces into a larger design[……] The larger design is usually based on repeat patterns built up with different colored shapes. These shapes are carefully measured and cut making them easy to piece together”

Would we use it to define the PLE building process as well?

Patchworking is used in this work only as a metaphor to describe the dynamic we have developed trying to help our students to build their own PLEs. Let’s start to explore how needlework around Web 2.0 tools can or couldn’t help our students to start to manufacturing their PLEs from the university.


Casquero, Oskar; Portillo, Javie; Ovelar, Ramón; Romo, Jesús; Benito, Manuel

“Towards an eLearning 2.0 provisioning strategy for universities”

The institutional Personal Learning Environment (iPLE) constitutes our vision of how Web 2.0 tools and services, and people arrangement and data sharing could be applied for delivering open, flexible, distributed and learner-centred learning environments to university members. Based on the iPLE, this paper explores a strategy that universities could follow in order to take advantage of the benefits and opportunities that offering eLearning 2.0 tools and services to learners could bring.


Döbeli Honegger, Beat; Neff, Christian

“Personal Smartphones in Primary School: Devices for a PLE?”

This paper describes the goals and first results of a ongoing two year case study in a european primary school (5th year) where the teacher and all students (n=17) where equipped with a personal smartphone (Apple iPhone). Students are allowed to use phone and internet services at no charge and to take home their smartphones after school. In this project the students have anytime and anywhere access to an internet connected computing device which can be used for reading, writing, calculating, drawing, taking photos, listening or recording audio and communicating. Does this setting help to achieve the goals of the official school curriculum? How do personal smartphones in primary school influence teaching and learning, especially weekplan phases (“Wochenplanunterricht”) and learning outside school?
The paper describes the planning and introduction phase of the project as well as first best practice examples of using personal smartphones in and out of school after five month of use. We have qualitative data from questionnaires with students and parents and quantitative data of phone and internet use.
The results up to now are promising in two ways: They help to formulate specific research questions for further research and they encourage enlarging the case study to several classes in the near future.


Fiedler, Sebastian

“Personal learning environments: concept or technology?”


The renaissance of the Two-Way-Web has produced a massive proliferation of loosely-coupled, networked tools and services and the emergence of a variety of related social practices. This development has not remained un-noticed in the realm of educational design and technology. In recent years it triggered a growing discourse on the predominance and appropriateness of centralised, often institutionally owned and controlled landscapes of tools and services, in formal education. In this context the notion of “personal learning environments” emerged as a sort of counter-concept for scrutinising the severe limitations of the mainstream approach to technologically mediated teaching and studying activities. However, the discourse on personal learning environments remains predominantly on a technological level, focusing mainly on networked tools and services and their further elaboration and integration. This paper reviews and critiques how the notion of PLEs has been conceptualised and discussed in the literature so far. It argues against the prevalent tendency to base its conceptualisation almost exclusively on Web technologies (WEB 2.0) that are currently available or emerging. Instead, a more subjective and psychological conceptualisation is proposed that integrates concepts from Activity Theory, notions of self-direction in education, and the development of necessary dispositions for the successful, technological mediation of work and learning activities.


Fournier, Helena; Kop, Rita

“Researching the design and development of a Personal”

After speculation in the literature about the nature of Personal Learning Environments, research in the design and development of PLEs is now in progress. This paper will report on the first phase of research in a PLE, the identification process, of what potential users would find important components, applications and tools on a PLE. The methodology includes surveying “super-users” on their use of existing tools, applications and systems and their preferences in learning, in order to enhance the development of a PLE and reach a specification that potential learners will find useful and empowering in their learning.


Grosseck, Gabriela; Holotescu, Carmen

“Anagramming PLE: Empowering Professional Learning through microbloggin”

Although since 2004, when the term PLE was coined by JISC and Scott Wilson, a whole literature and projects around PLE are being created, a relatively small number of studies and research integrate the microblogging technology. In this context our paper focuses on how the PLE can be built, modeled and conceptualized on a microblogging platform, as a result of an exploratory study carried out by the authors on the platform Cirip.eu, during the last two years.
Cirip.eu, a microblogging platform specially designed for education, integrates a wide range of Web 2.0 applications and social networks organized around educational resources in order to encourage teachers and students to discover and use them. Furthermore Cirip allows the creation of a personal profile / portfolio including ideas, projects, research, information resources, multimedia objects created individually or collaboratively. All users’ activities are developed in a dynamic and complex manner following a continuous evaluation process by communicating with other members. Thus on Cirip each microblogger can build not only a Personal Learning Environment but also a Personal Learning Network (PLE / PLN).

The study includes an ongoing group called PLE/PLE Conference Barcelona, opened when the first call of papers for conference in Barcelona was launched. The group gathers messages on PLE posted by members of the platform, also messages imported from Twitter, blogs or other social networks, reflecting the interaction/debate concerning PLE and conference. All notes, seen as learning traces, are carefully analyzed both quantitative and qualitative (statistics, cognitive maps etc.).

Therefore, the group can be considered a time capsule storing messages in 140 characters, being a learning experience and an important documentation in the PLE field. The group offers a fresh and informal image of this domain from the perspective of practitioners worldwide, and also has enabled us to conceptualize PLE / PLN architectures for different learning contexts using microblogging.

At conference we will present real-time analysis of the PLE group, the other participants being seen as co-authors of these results. The group will be used for future sharing and reflection on the PLE field.


Llorente Cejudo, M. Carmen; Barroso Osuna, Julio; Cabero Almenara, Julio

“Personal Learning Environment design and the professors’ educative training on ICT”

This paper belongs to a PLE research that it’s in the development phase about the PLE design, production and evaluation in order to qualify the university staff for the educative use of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

The research present four revised phases focuses around the methodology and work plan: a) PLE design, production and evaluation; b) pilot study; c) virtual environment dissemination; d) development the final report.

Due to the fact the research it’s in development phase we don’t still have results about the work but it’s our purpose to obtain different scientific-technical taxes and significant benefits with the project, such as: identify the more significant thematic for the faculty’s training in order to incorporate ICT for teachers’ professional development; creation of a PLE with the aim to develop a environment for the faculty’s training on ICT with the possibility that it can be used in an individual or collaborative way; to know the impact that possess for the faculty training the different tools in a PLE; to be aware about the necessary methodological change that means work and incorporate the PLE in the European Space for Higher Education (ESHE) at university.

Before concluding this paper, we would like to present in addition to the development and implementation of the research, the aim to increase our sphere of action by means of the different proposals provide at congress for improvement to complement the project.


Martín García, Rafael; Torres Kompen, Ricardo

“Ventajas pedagógicas en la aplicación del PLE en asignaturas de lengua y literatura de educación secundaria. Análisis de cinco experiencias”


A lo largo del curso académico 2009/10 los profesores participantes en el proyecto Huerto Digital desarrollaron proyectos prácticos en los que aplicaban estructuras de PLE en la dinámica pedagógica de clase. De esta forma integraron recursos basados en las Nuevas Tecnologías en la enseñanza de los currículums de secundaria de diversas asignaturas.
Hemos analizado cinco de estos proyectos desarrollados en el entorno de asignaturas de lengua y literatura y hemos estudiado las características pedagógicas que más potencian el uso y aplicación de PLEs en el aula.

A lo largo del curso académico 2009/10 los profesores participantes en el proyecto Huerto Digital desarrollaron proyectos prácticos en los que aplicaban estructuras de PLE en la dinámica pedagógica de clase. De esta forma integraron recursos basados en las Nuevas Tecnologías en la enseñanza de los currículums de secundaria de diversas asignaturas.

Hemos analizado cinco de estos proyectos desarrollados en el entorno de asignaturas de lengua y literatura y hemos estudiado las características pedagógicas que más potencian el uso y aplicación de PLEs en el aula.


Perifanou, Maria

“Using iphone as my “Personal Mobile Language Learning Environment”: an exploration and classification of language learning possibilities.”

Social media evolution has taken the world by storm. Our traditional approach to teaching and learning has been fundamentally changed especially these last years with the arrival of mobile technologies and “M-learning”. The new “open educational environment” in which learning occurs has no space and time limits and has become increasingly tailor made for the learners. “Microlearning”, “functional networking”, “direct access to databases”, “time-sharing optimization” are the basic elements of the education theory shaped by mobile communications. This new “democratic” tool of the formation of the learning has opened naturally new horizons to Language Learning. One of the major challenges for both foreign and second language learning is thinking about how technology can mediate or create connections between the teaching’s formal and more informal Personal Learning Environments (PLEs). Today, MALL (Mobile Assisted Language Learning) is moving into the field of multimedia and more social constructivist activities combined with the new developments of the internet. Language is all about communication, and there is nothing more motivating than being able to use one’s newly acquired language skills in an authentic environment. Increasing contact with the target language appears to be one of the most critical factors for successful Language Learning. As suggested by a recent review (Milton, 2006) learning a language is different from any other subject in the curriculum as it combines explicit learning of vocabulary and language rules with unconscious skills development in the fluent application of both these things. This can only happen when language learners are exposed in authentic language use for many hours every week and this is something that mobile technologies can easily support.
This paper will first try to explore the countless possibilities that iphones can offer to language learners and then will continue with a classification of them in applications that are dedicated to Language Learning and others that even though are not created for that purpose can be used in Language Learning. The paper will conclude with the proposal of some practical personal Language Learning scenarios and reflections about the benefits and implications of using iphone for creating a Personal Language Learning Environment.


Põldoja, Hans; Väljataga, Terje

“Externalization of a PLE: Conceptual Design of LeContract”

A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) can be understood as an individual’s perception of the resources and activities in relation to a particular learning project. Such an understanding of the individual’s PLE can be externalized by following a personal learning contract procedure. Individuals themselves set up their objectives, select potential resources and design their learning strategy. Implementations of the learning contract procedure have shown that individuals would benefit from having guidance for explicating their learning objectives, procedures and resources. Generic tools (such as weblogs) that are often used for writing learning contracts do not provide this kind of scaffolding.
In this paper we present the design process and conceptual design of LeContract tool, which attempts to support the personal learning contract procedure. LeContract provides structural templates that define important parts of the learning contract. During the learning project the contracts can be reviewed and the achievement of individual learning objectives can be evaluated.


Reig Hernández, Dolors; Martínez Marín, Jesús

“Entornos profesionales / personales de aprendizaje en organizaciones, propuesta para el programa de cops compartim.”

En el contexto de la investigación de Entornos profesionales de aprendizaje en organizaciones presentamos una experiencia piloto para los trabajadores de la Administración de Justicia de la Generalitat de Cataluña, a través del Centro de Estudios y Formación Especializada (CEJFE).

Consideramos la metodología EPA la más adecuada para manejar de la forma más eficiente posible el flujo de información continuo y abundante que podemos canalizar, convertir en conocimiento en la web.

Facilidades a la colaboración, autonomía, horizontalización de la tradicional relación jerárquica entre profesor y alumno, son algunas de las tendencias que se desprenden de una necesidad principal: la de adaptar los métodos, las dinámicas, los entornos, incluso la filosofía del aprendizaje a las posibilidades que introduce o posibilita al fin, después de años de pensar utopías educativas, la web social.

Precisamente en lo social, en la importancia de compartir el conocimiento explícito y tácito en las organizaciones se mantiene y crece la iniciativa de Comunidades de Práctica en las Administraciones públicas (AAPP en adelante) que ejemplifica el programa Compartim.

La idea, en este caso, es seguir en la mejora en la organización de personas y herramientas con el objetivo fundamental y dual de gestionar el conocimiento y potenciar a la vez el aprendizaje. Es momento de incorporar la metodología de los Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje (EPA).

En este sentido la primera propuesta es un entorno general para Juristas Criminólogos en Netvibes, que cada participante podrá adaptar a sus necesidades y circunstancias formativas dentro y fuera de la organización. Se distinguen, así, distintos sub-entornos integrados en un único sistema:

-Profesional: Propuesta inicial por parte del Centro de Estudios. Se trata de un prototipo que reune distintas fuentes, recursos y herramientas, pero se formará a los usuarios para poder modificarlo según necesidades.
-Personal: En este caso se respectarán las visiones más estrictas acerca de los PLE, formando al usuario para que los confeccione a medida en una nueva pestaña del entorno genérico.

En cuanto al tema principal de la conferencia, destacar cómo uno de los objetivos que explicitamos es el de Reforzar la identidad digital mediante la figura de los E-portfolios profesionales.

La investigación está en fase de presentación del primer prototipo para el colectivo profesional de Juristas Criminólogos de la Administración de Justicia en Cataluña, aunque pensamos extender durante 2010 el modelo a los distintos colectivos profesionales de la Administración de Justicia (Educadores, Psicólogos, etc…)

Hemos cubierto ya algunas fases:
1-Identificación de las personas que son críticas en la organización en cuanto a la gestión del conocimiento que es necesario para desempeñar el puesto de trabajo de Jurista Criminólogo.
2-Fase de entrevistas y ajuste del Entorno “tipo”·creado en Netvibes al perfil tecnográfico y las primeras fuentes recomendadas por los asistentes.
3-Propuesta de Entornos (basados en Escritorio web en Netvibes) y formación específica del grupo piloto en su manejo.
4-Evaluación y escala del programa al resto de los colectivos en la Administración de Justicia.

A continuación aparecen temas de la conferencia y la medida en que los tratamos:

* Theories and frameworks for Personal Learning Environments: La investigación incluye una amplia revisión de la literatura al respecto. Conectivismo, Aprendizaje Informal, Learning by doing son, entre otras, las teorías citadas.
* Technologies and software for developing Personal Learning Environments: Entorno Netvibes como primera propuesta.
* PLEs in Practice (case studies, approaches to using PLEs): Se trata de un Case Study real, que está en curso en la Administración de Justicia de la Generalitat de Cataluña.
* Educational institutions, change and PLEs: Se realiza en el Centro de Estudios Jurídicos y formación especializada, centro de formación del Departament de Justicia de la Generalitat de Cataluña.
* Pedagogical approaches to managing personal learning: La investigación parte de concepciones pedagógicas afines, más teniendo en cuenta que se desarrolla en ínitma relación a un programa de Comunidades de Práctica.
* Supporting informal and contextual learning: El prototipo no forma parte de una acción formativa concreta (está prevista una sesión informativa acerca de su uso, pero no como curso tradicional), pretendiendo ser una herramienta permanente y sostenible de Aprendizaje Informal y contínuo.
* Using PLEs in organisations: Creemos que se trata de una experiencia relevante al respecto.
* Using PLEs for Work based learning: Pretendemos captar el conocimiento tácito, en el puesto de trabajo, de la organización. Por ello planificamos las entrevistas con los agentes críticos o nodos principales de conocimiento.


Ricoy, Carmen; Couto, Maria

“El alumnado de secundaria y el ambiente personal”

Recientemente, el concepto de Personal Learning Environment (PLE) ha pasado a formar parte del léxico de aquellos que se interesan por las TIC y particular por Internet y sus potencialidades educativas e innovadoras. Este término se centra en el alumno, en la forma como da sentido a sus objetivos y a la acción del aprendizaje autónomo. Se entiende el PLE como la selección que cada sujeto hace libremente de forma que puede recoger información, difundir ideas, ampliar conocimientos y, al mismo tiempo, promueve el desarrollo de comunidades virtuales que (in)conscientemente generan aprendizaje y reflexionan sobre el mismo.
El estudio abordado pretende ser una aportación, desde el ámbito de la investigación educativa, al desarrollo de la teoría del aprendizaje apoyada en la tecnología. Particularmente, tiene como objetivo central contribuir al descubrimiento de las aplicaciones didácticas utilizadas con Internet, en contextos informales en Portugal, a través del análisis de las prácticas en PLE del alumnado de secundaria del Norte de este país. La investigación se encuentra en fase de desarrollo y, en su conjunto, se afronta desde una perspectiva metodológica cualitativo-cuantitativa. La primera parte, de la que aquí nos ocupamos, se abordó desde el planteamiento cualitativo, a través de un estudio de casos. En ella, se ha utilizado un protocolo de cuestiones estructuradas que fueron presentadas a través de la técnica del grupo de discusión, para la recogida de datos en pequeños grupos (4-5 estudiantes), con el alumnado de secundaria del Norte de Portugal. Mediante los grupos de discusión los participantes manifestaron individualmente, según los casos, consenso o discrepancia con las opiniones y percepciones que emergen del grupo.
Como resultados y conclusiones preliminares, resaltar que en la focalización de la práctica cotidiana encontramos el uso de ambientes de aprendizaje personal definido por patrones comunes de utilización de la Web. Las prácticas en PLE resultan muy motivadoras para el alumnado y en ellas abordan aspectos comunicativos y desarrollan prácticas de ocio entre iguales. La extrapolación, al entorno escolar, de estas actividades y de los beneficios que genera el PLE tiene poco repercusión en el trabajo.

Seitzinger, Joyce

“Kia Ora and Gidday: the impact of an informal community of practice on an educator’s personal learning network”

lthough many educational institutions appear to have their IT infrastructure ready to incorporate the use of education technology in teaching & learning, the requisite skill set to use this infrastructure is not always present in the academic staff. The need for staff development in e-learning remains high. One way of addressing this can be through communities of practice, an established form of professional development for educators. In addition the concept of a web-based personal learning network as a tool for educators’ professional development, focusing specifically on the use of technology in their teaching, has become increasingly important in the educational technology blogosphere and twitterverse, though it has not been widely reported.
Through a case study of one particular informal community of practice, the OZNZ Educators, and the impact it had on the online personal learning networks and practice of the participants, this paper explores both concepts. It examines the impact the community of practice had on the PLN, in areas such as the exchange of tools used, the transfer that occurred of valuable connections with individuals (nodes) and the enhanced learning opportunities.


Weber, Sebastian; Heintz, Matthias; Trapp, Sonjat

Extending PLEs with Collaborative Exercise Solving Capabilities through the Web 2.0 Tool PINBOARD

This paper describes a Web 2.0 tool called that aims at collaborative solving of exercises through sophisticated discussion concepts. The major objective of our approach is to improve the learning quality in distance and blended learning scenarios where complex learning topics demand relevant practice of the subjects to deepen the knowledge of learners.
is part of
, a platform which includes learning content in various formats and different tools that enables learners to create solutions for a particular type of exercise. constitutes a portal to all these solutions because learners and tutors can utilize it to “collaboratively solve exercises” by discussing problems, open questions, or different steps of an exercise solving process with each other.
Our overall vision is that learners can choose from a variety of learning content resources as well as tools for exercise solving and everything comes together in the discussion tool . is designed as a dashboard that easily informs learners and tutors about recent events and changes (e.g., a fellow learner provided feedback for your solution) and can be utilized as one access point in the learner’s PLE. It enables users to easily and quickly navigate to the solution creation tools and learning content repositories. It offers a “personal” access point to learning tools and content due to the fact that every learner can individually tailor the
platform to his or her own needs by choosing from a virtually arbitrary set of tools and content sources.
Within the ongoing project , we are working on a prototype as proof of concept that focuses on UML 2.0 learning content and exercises, provided on a Moodle system as LMS. is the access point for discussing UML solutions that are created and shared with , a Web-based tool to create UML diagrams. Evaluation results after the first project year revealed that most of the learners and tutors like the underlying idea of
and . In addition, most of the evaluation participants stated that the quality of distance learning might by increased because theoretical learning content can be applied within practical exercises.


White, David

“Design and Implementation of a Personal Knowledge Integrator Federated with Personal Knowledge Environments”


This paper introduces the term Personal Knowledge Environment as a generalisation from Personal Learning Environment. It then introduces the term Personal Knowledge Integrator and describes a design science (Nunamaker 1991) approach to the design, implementation and evaluation of a framework for an instance of a modular Personal Knowledge Integrator utilizing a Microsoft Silverlight Rich Internet Application (RIA) working across multiple platforms including PC’s and mobile phones extending and synchronising with a federation of Learning Management Systems, Personal Learning Environments and other sources and sinks of information.

Description of approach used:

The work is being carried out by a small team of developers using the Agile methodology. Evaluation is via constant user feedback into the next design/implementation cycle.
The students of a course on Systems Design, taught by the author, are contributing to the design of this PLE both as end users and as designers, as part of their coursework.
The work is focused on extending and enriching the teaching and learning experience by connecting to the current e-learning federated centralised LMS’s.
The PLE framework is based on the Prism Composite Application Framework for Microsoft Silverlight and the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF). These frameworks allow for a plug-in architecture at either source code or binary level.

Results of work done:

The first module of this PLE has been completed and is in-use in courses. This Collaborative Video Library module allows annotation on and discussion about videos both on and offline. This facilitates discussion on any video but is specifically focused on lecture recordings. The student may use this PLE for their personal annotations or as contributions to a linked on-line discussion contained in the institutions LMS.
It is very early to give a specific evaluation apart from reporting enthusiastic involvement of the current and potential users. More specific survey-based evaluation is planned.


This initial module is now being enhanced to extend the current centralised LMS’s (Cecil and SharePoint) creating connected and synchronized networks of learners and teachers.
Additional functions focusing on teaching and learning around taxonomies and folksonomies are being designed and implemented. The next of these provides for the evaluation of artefacts, performance etc. using taxonomic rubrics.
The work reported here is just the beginning of what is already a rich and rewarding project.


Nunamaker, J.F., Chen, M., and Purdin, T.D.M. 1991. “Systems Development in Information Systems Research,”
Journal of Management Information Systems (7:3), pp 89-106.

(Educause 2009, 7 things you should know about Personal Learning Environments, ).

White, Su; Davis, Hugh; Hancock, Pete; Morris, Debra

“Making it rich and personal: meeting institutional challenges from next generation learning environments”

The understanding that personal learning environments provide a more realistic and workable perspective of learners’ interactions with and use of technology has gained widespread acceptance across many of the communities interested in learning and teaching technologies within higher education.

However in universities the service which normally purchases and deploys technology infrastructure is typically, and understandable, risk-averse, the more so, because the consequences of expensive decisions about infrastructure will stay with the organisations for many years. Furthermore across the broader academic community the awareness of and familiarity with technologies in support of learning may be varied. In this context work to innovate the learning environment will require considerable team effort and collective commitment.

This paper presents a case study account of institutional processes harnessed to establish a universal personal learning environment fit for the 21st century. The challenges encountered were consequential of our working definition of a learning environment which went beyond simple implementation – in our experience the requirements became summarised as ‘its more than a system, it’s a mindset’. As well as deploying technology ‘fit for purpose’ we were seeking to create an environment which could play an integral and catalytic part in the university’s role of enabling transformative education.

Our ambitions and aspirations derive from evidence in the literature, for example, van Harmelen on personal learning environments (2006), Downes on e-learning 2.0 (2005) and the recent report by Bradwell for Demos on the Edgeless University (2009).

We have also drawn on evidence of our recent and current performance; gauged by institutional benchmarking and an extensive student survey. The paper will present and analyse this qualitative and quantitative data. We will provide an account and analysis of our progress to achieve change, the methods we used, problems encountered and the decisions we made on the way.


Wolfgang, Reinhardt

“A widget-based dashboard approach for awareness and reflection in online learning communities based on Artefact-Actor-Networks”

The rapid changes to technology and society in the last decade not only reshaped
the way people communicate and collaborate; they also fundamentally altered individual
learning behaviour and organizational learning offerings. Lifelong and workplace
learning are in the focus of many projects and it becomes more and more obvious
that learning environments have to focus on the individual learner and be both
adaptable and personal. Learners are evermore escaping the boundaries of controlled,
heads-on institutional learning and are consuming learning content from uncountable
and uncontrollable sources. This perpetual learning in both formal and
informal settings, in online and offline discussions, large networked communities as
well as small local teams, form the need for a Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
PLEs support the learner’s individual learning style, providing an open and adaptable
framework for the aggregation of learning content from different sources. They encourage
networking with learning peers, reflection about learning goals and processes
as well as other relevant functions. In this paper we introduce a widget-based
Rich Internet Application that focuses on supporting reflection and awareness support
for learners in online learning communities. The AANalyzer tool builds upon the
theoretical model of Artefact-Actor-Networks, an approach to semantically intertwine
social networks with so-called artefact networks made up of objects created during
the social interaction of people.