This post will provide an example of what a personal learning environment looks like. For a clear definition of the term, check out the next post, Could You Already Have a PLE? and the first post, PLNs and PLEs: Definitions. For another example, click ahead to learn about Google.
Pinterest is basically the epitome of a personal learning environment. Using this social media platform, users select what topics they want to learn about, peruse them, and pin the information they want to save to their own personal boards. In addition, users can create content (in fact, all the content on the site is user-generated!), interact with others, and receive personalized suggestions based on pins. This selecting and collecting of information that you’re personally interested in, aggregated on one platform, makes Pinterest a prime example of a PLE.
I’ll take you through my process of setting up a Pinterest so you can see the personalization/curation process step-by-step.
When you first create an account, Pinterest asks you to select 3-5 topics you’re interested in to help you start curating the massive amount of information on the site.
With that information, Pinterest builds your initial home feed.
^^This is a picture I found online from an image search. The real topics I chose to learn more about were health & fitness, food & drink, books, technology, and DIY gifts. Here is the homepage Pinterest created for me based on those topics:
Not bad, Pinterest! It looks like there is at least one article on each topic at the very top of my homepage.
Next, I can decide to create “boards” and “pin” articles to them. This allows me to organize and save the information I find most useful so that I can return to these postings again and again.
The first board I created was Yum Recipes (yes, I was hungry at the time of this post’s creation). The first article that I saved to it was a recipe for Buckeye Brownie Cookies (wish I could eat right now).
Not only does Pinterest allow curation of content, it keeps track of what articles you seem to be most interested in and adapts your homepage accordingly. After clicking on three recipes for chocolate-filled desserts, my homepage now looks like this:
That’s right. It’s now almost entirely full of desserts (that, yes, are making me even hungrier!), although the painted CD seems to be a wildcard.
Next, I chose to create a new board, Yoga. I can visit my profile at any time and see the different boards I’ve created, as well as how many articles each has. This provides a clear visual for the different informational channels I’m curating.
After adding a few yoga articles to my board, my homepage is now full of yoga poses and recipes. (And still the painted CD! Pinterest is really pushing this on me.)
In addition to the content you choose, Pinterest also sends you messages on ideas for specific boards that you have. For instance, here’s a message I got full of ideas Pinterest thinks I might be interested in adding to my yoga board.
As you can see, Pinterest’s entire mission is to allow users to create their own PLE. It allows for the selection, curation, and organization of content onto personal boards that can be shared with others or kept private, and it recommends articles you might be interested in, thus further helping in the personalization process. In addition, the content on Pinterest is entirely user-uploaded and selected, meaning that it is built on a large network of individuals.
Take a look at the next example of a PLE, Google. Which platform would you prefer to use to create your own PLE? Do you already have one of these platforms? Answer these questions in the comments!