University of Southampton

Your Personal Learning Environment

Personally selected icons on a mobile phone

A PLE on a mobile phone

As the name suggests, a Personal Learning Environment or PLE can help you take control of your learning in a personal way that suits you. A PLE is a system or set-up that allows you to gather useful software and Web 2.0 applications in one place, usually on a mobile device or on the desktop of a PC. These can include tools and services provided by the institution at which your are studying. Choosing the tools and applications that play a part in your learning, then organising them in a PLE can help you manage your own own learning better. Whether your own PLE is quite rudimentary or very developed, careful selection and organisation of useful applications in your PLE can help you manage your own learning better.

In these activities you will think about the skills you need to make effective use of a PLE. You can also listen to other students talking about how they manage their learning through a PLE and explore some possible tools for your own PLE.

Activity 1: What skills does a PLE require from you?

An effective PLE requires some development and management by its user - you. In this activity you are going to identify skills you need in order to get the most out of a PLE, and recognise some features of PLE design.



Divide these considerations into two groups: personal skills that students need in order to get the most out of a PLE, and features that reflect PLE design. Drag and drop each item into the correct box. Then read the feedback.

Personal skills
Features of PLE design
Ability to organise
Ability to prioritise
Access to course resources
Critical self reflection
File storage
ICT competence
Learning awareness
Learning goal recognition
Mashup creation
Selection of widgets or apps
Social software for contact

Activity 2: How do others manage their learning through a PLE?

In this activity you can listen to some others students talking about how they manage their learning through a PLE.



Listen to these students talking about how they manage their learning through a PLE. Make notes on their different approaches. Then read the feedback.

Activity 3: Populating your own PLE or PLN

A framework for a PLE may be provided by your institution or simply be an 'environment' created by you on your laptop or smart phone to facilitate your course-related learning. The organisation of this personal space for learning will usually be a matter for you, including the choice of web applications that you use regularly in relation to your learning. Some of these may represent tools for communicating or collaborating with others, and can be seen as part of your Personal Learning Network (PLN). In this activity you are going to identify some of these useful free web services.



Think about these types of web application and how you use them. Select the tick symbol next to any that you use in relation to your studies, and the cross symbol next to those you don't use. In the text areas next to the types of application you use, write the name of your preferred web application of that type. Consider whether any of them could be useful additions to your PLE. Then read the feedback.

 Google tools
 Image gallery
 Social bookmarking
 Instant messaging
 File sharing
 Video sharing
 Feed readers

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