Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What does your personal learning network look like?

I like to think that we learn something new every day, or at least more pieces for own puzzles are found. Some of what we learn comes as a direct result of living our daily lives and bumping into ideas or unexpected circumstances. The interesting thing is that there will always be more “brain food” out there than we can possibly absorb and we have the ability to make choices about what interests we follow. People around us who “know things” and are willing to share are part of our immediate personal learning network. Our ability to access information through our “immediate” learning network is dependent on how many discoveries our friends are willing to share with us and what we in turn are able to contribute to this network.
Fortunately, we have books, film, music and the Internet that allow us to access ideas that others beyond our immediate network have decided to share with the world. We are more connected than now than any previous time in human existence. So what?
In this age of digital communication, we can have access to huge learning networks, but it is up to us to create and develop the kind of learning network that suits us. We have the ability to select pieces of information that help us make sense of the world. We can aggregate news, automatically follow what others have written in blogs, establish connections with people through social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter but the thing that connects is our own contribution. We have to interact in some way to make our personal learning network meaningful. We must be citizens of a larger learning community.
Expanding personal personal learning networks requires commitment and time. The time we take to develop a personal learning network will be reflected in the ways we access and share ideas. The tools for learning are all around us. It is up to us to make it happen.

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