PLNs and PLEs: Definitions


What is a Personal Learning Network (PLN)?

PLN: “A Personal Learning Network is a way of describing the group of people that you connect with to learn their ideas, their questions, their reflections, and their references. Your PLN is not limited to online interactions, but it is that online, global interactive part that really makes it special. It is personal because you choose who’s part of that group; you choose if you want to lurk–just check out what people are saying–or if you share; because you choose when to do so, and how to do so.”

[Quote from: TeachThought]


What is a Personal Learning Environment (PLE)?



  • Are on online version of PLNs.
  • Are built on websites and online services designed to help people aggregate and share resources, participate in collective knowledge generation, and manage their own meaning making.
  • Are individual educational platforms comprised of tools, communities, and services that learners use to direct their own learning and pursue educational goals.
  • Can act as a digital setting for learner’s informal learning processes online or as an e-learning platform that allows collaboration with other learners and instructors, as well as coordination and connections across a wide range of systems.
  • Are built bottom-up starting with personal goals, information management, and individual knowledge construction, and progressing to socially mediated knowledge and networked learning.


  • Empower people to take charge of their own learning.
  • Encourage people to create, organize, and package learning content to learn effectively and efficiently.


  • The development and employment of self-regulated learning skills.


[From Dabbagh, N. and Kitsansis, A. (2012). Personal learning environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. Internet and Higher Education, 15, 3-8.]


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