What’s PLE?

My research interest in PLE has been greatly influenced by some key papers that I have read during the initial stage of my research. I especially love the work of Mcloughlin & Lee (2010), Drexler (2010) and Attwell  (2007). Their works have given me inspiration to find out more about PLE. After reading more papers on PLE during my literature review, here is my take on what is actually PLE:

Personal Learning Environment (PLE) takes the advantages of the evolution of Web 2.0 technology that rapidly growing in everyone’s daily life. Web applications or better known as social software or social applications are widely used in creating personal voice about a particular topic through blogging, connecting people around the world through social networking, conversing with peers or experts who (may or may not meet in real life) have similar interest through Twitter, Skype, etc. There are so many more ways to engage actively online with social software today that it was not possible before the emergence of Web 2.0 technology. This trend is helping many people share and connect socially in daily life that it is believed to be beneficial the same way for learners in higher education.

PLE recognizes  the learner’s need in the learning process as personal and individual experience. Hence, PLE aims to create a learning environment where each learner is in control of his or her own learning goal(s), activity(s) and experience. PLE promotes self-regulation and learner autonomy, bridging the gap between informal and formal learning, eventually promoting lifelong learning that crosses the boundary of higher education institution.

I’m actually growing to love this topic as I see a lot of potential in changing the way we learn today in higher education. Especially with the use of Web 2.0 technology, that potential is endless. However, there are a lot of criteria or factors to take into consideration before we could make the leap to the next level.

More about the rationales and challenges of PLE next.


Attwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments-the future of eLearning? eLearning papers, 2(1), 1–7. Citeseer. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/drexler.html

Mcloughlin, C., & Lee, M. J. W. (2010). Personalised and self regulated learning in the Web 2 . 0 era: International exemplars of innovative pedagogy using social software. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(1), 28-43.



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