Yes, PLEs can be a great tool in an educational context, but they do have their limitations regarding learning and teaching. Here are three of the greatest challenges to implementing PLEs.
1) Staying Motivated
For PLEs to be successful, learners have to be self-motivated. Especially in an educational setting, however, this is not always a guarantee. Or perhaps learners start off motivated, but then their drive fizzles as the semester moves forward. Lack of motivation to learn is detrimental to a PLE.
2) Something Seems Vague
Let’s face it. The term “personal learning environment” seems vague, and that ambiguity could make it difficult to take seriously as a pedagogical/learning tool. If people don’t have a clear definition of PLE, or if they don’t understand how they can implement them in their daily lives, it will be much harder to use as a learning tool.
3) Demand for Basic Computer Skills
Although you don’t have to be familiar with computer programming to create a PLE, you do have to have a proficient level of internet expertise. That means if educators want to incorporate PLEs in their courses, they must ensure that their students have the technological know-how to make it work.
4) The Need to Change the Learning Landscape
PLEs are a new pedagogical tool that is helping break down the traditional image of education. This is not, however, easy to do. For PLEs to really be effective, they must be a combination of formal and informal learning. Because the traditional image of education is very separate from students’ lives outside school, students might have a difficult time being able to merge their classroom and outside-of-classroom learning.