Wikipedia states a Personal Learning Network to be:
‘… an informal learning network that consists of the people a learner interacts with and derives knowledge from in a personal learning environment. In a PLN, a person makes a connection with another person with the specific intent that some type of learning will occur because of that connection.”
I was talking recently with somebody whom I consider a member of my PLN, Ian Pettigrew, I talked about a page I have on my website which shows ‘How I Stay Connected’.
I was sharing with Ian that I am someone who is passionate about supporting others to learn and develop, and so I had decided to add a page to my website which highlighted how and where I learn. As Ian and I were talking we thought it would be great if all the wonderful people in our PLNs shared their own PLN. Just imagine what rich content, ideas and learning could come from that.
I feel I have such a great PLN who help me to grow my thinking and challenge my ideas and if I knew it helped other people too then that would be ace!
So we agreed to start this off. We are hoping others want to join in with us.
Once I’ve provided an insight to my PLN I’ll tag Ian and he will do the same.. Then he’ll tag someone and it will hopefully carry on. That’s the plan!
Here within this free social networking tool I have grown my PLN quickly. The power Twitter has to provide resources, information and knowledge via those I follow is incredible. I’m always looking for new people to follow and different Twitter chats to engage in – so much of my learning now happens in this space.
What I find extremely helpful is how simple it is to search Twitter for ideas and resources. If I’m interested in a topic, for example ‘social learning’, I can just search using those words, Twitter will then provide me with a selection of tweets which include them. From there I can read and explore the topic.
Also, the use of the hashtag or # is a great way to find out what my network is thinking and discussing around a topic. A hashtag is simply just a word or phrase which follows the # symbol. A few hashtags I like to follow which you may find interesting are:
People via blogs
Blogs are very useful sources for learning and the understanding of new ideas, I regularly read a number of blogs written by people in my PLN.
I enjoy how some blogs are written to challenge an idea, others to discuss and explore and others enable the blogger to share their stream of thoughts on a topic.
Some (there are so many more!) of the wonderful blogs I follow:
I arrange #LnDcowork with my colleague and friend, Michelle Parry-Slater. June 2015 saw the first ever #LnDcowork take place in London. From the germ of an idea to get freelancers away from the loneliness of home working to come together to work, we now have a small movement of people who recognise the benefits of working with like minded people.
I have been delighted by the value #LnDcowork adds to my learning as an L&D professional. I really enjoy being on Twitter, discussing topics and meeting new people online. But what I really like is meeting people and having discussions face to face. For me you can’t beat it and that is what attending #LnDcowork brings.
So those were my PLN top insights.. I really hope you’ve found them useful. I’d love to hear what your PLN story is – feel free to comment or get involved!
Now I’m going to hand over to the lovely Ian to be the second in this (hopefully) series of blogs all about Personal Learning Networks. Ian.. over to you! You can read the blog post Ian wrote following mine here.
And it grows…. The following people have also taken up the baton sharing how they learn through their personal networks. So far we have had four individuals who have written about their own PLN’s, and as I’d hoped they are all different and are providing excellent food for thought. Please do have a read:
About the author Fiona McBride:
Fiona works with organisations, teams and individuals to develop their training capability. She works practically and openly to ensure learning happens in the best possible way.
Fiona also works with clients to design learning that is practical and real for the individuals attending. Examples of this include management development, coaching sessions, emotional intelligence, building positive relationships, facilitation and presentation skills.
A key focus of her work is with organisations that are looking to develop the capability of their managers and leaders. When organisations have managers who are committed, confident and clear on their management leadership style – amazing things can happen!
Connect with Fiona on Twitter @Fionamcbride