If you are old enough to understand the joke behind the title of this post you will probably need an explanation about what a Personal Learning Environment is.
A personal Learning Environment (PLE) is in its simplest form it is a selection of “web based” tools chosen by the user to support contact with teachers or lectures and tools for creating and disseminating their course work. Added to this outward communication needs of course to be the inward communication from learning specialists and institutions, these tools are also chosen by the user and complete the learning cycle. The idea of a PLE has been around for a while and i have seen several attempts to define and quantify what they would look like. I feel many of these attempts have some merit but the semi chaotic nature of the idea is what becomes the millstone around these attempts necks. The idea though i think is sound, a user controlled set of tools which they take with them as they grow and learn.
Steve Wheeler on his blog Learning with e’s has just written a helpful post on this area, one of his images of a suggested PLE by Joyce Seitzinger’s (Melbourne University) i find very helpful. The idea based on 4 quadrants of learning, where Joyce uses an office metaphor for the PLE. What struck me was the ease at which one of these communication structures could be built. For myself the portfolio becomes the area of active learning the other three quadrants largely are areas of discovery and storage.
If there is a weakness in the diagram i pulled in to this page it is that i don’t think there is enough richness or depth of possibility and a really good PLE needs this. Having said that it is a great starting place situating the idea into an environment we should all be able to understand.