e-Portfolio & e-learning

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Personal Learning Environment


Personal Learning Environments are systems that help students and teachers to manage and take control of their own learning. Therefore, it supports students to set their own learning goals, manage their own learning while they communicate with others in their learning process. PLE is a relatively new term that was first introduced in 2004. However, the action of learning everywhere has been around long time ago. The concept is being characterized with the initial push of digital technologies applied to education. Atwell (2007) describes it as a concept based on the Web 2.0 and social software.

Personal learning environment is based on the idea that learning takes place in different contexts and situations.  It isn’t provided by a single supplier and it recognizes the role of the individual in the organization of their own learning, including the integration of formal learning episodes, non-formal and informal. This unique experience using social networks that cross institutional boundaries and the use of protocols network (Peer-to-Peer, Web services, content .syndication) connect a number of resources and systems within a personally-managed space.

Additionally, in order to expand the concept of personal learning environment and its relationship with e-portfolios. It is essential to know the characteristics of the practice with technologies that enhance learning and communication.  When people  use technology, they mostly see learning in a connected network of nodes of information, it produces and interaction due to its dynamic relationships (Atwell, 2007, 2010; Waters, 2008; Downes, 2010).

Consequently, PLE is a concept where technology and pedagogy  feed each other, there are several factors that come into play, including the widespread use of the tools and Web 2.0 services in all educational levels and modalities. PLE can develop the potential of service oriented architectures in a distributed learning networks and knowledge development. As a result, promoting and supporting the development of communities of practice allowing the formation of technology to bring together experts, teachers, businesses and institutions.

A self-organized learning provides the basis for the establishment of a model of learning that goes beyond the curriculum and centralized models, provides a new learning model characterized by the convergence of a lifelong learning, and ecological learning, a space run by the student. (Knowles, MS 1975). PLE offers not only personal spaces which are owned and controlled by the student; but also requires a social context through which to connect with other personal spaces in order to share effective knowledge creation.

It is a process in which individuals take the initiative with or without the help of others in diagnosing their learning needs. Additionally, they formulate their learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, select and implement strategies for learning and assessment of learning outcomes.  (Argyris and Schön, 1978).

However, in their research (Krieslinger and Gillet 2008; Friedler, 2007) put the PLE as the source for a framework that each person create in the network, ‘materialized’ in the tools they use to create their own learning environment . This differentiation comes as two basic lines with a few trends within each line (Sclater, 2008) and the huge number of opinions expressed about it have led to many approaches to what is and is not a PLE. It maintains a lively discussion that has last so far (Siemens, 2008).

Finally, PLE is conceived as a set of tools, data sources, connections and activities that each person used assiduously to learn. This means that the personal learning environment that includes both a person query to find out the relationship  they have with such information. As well as the people who serve as a reference, the connections between these people, the mechanisms that serve to rework and rebuild information and knowledge.  Both in the phase of reflection and individual recreation and at the stage in which reflection helps them in the reconstruction.