The Web as Personal Learning Environment

Jun. 27, 2008

Source: A presentation at the 31st International Convention MIPRO 2008 in Opatija, Croatia, May 2008. Manuscript received 27 June 2008.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

I. Introduction

 Information related to science and technology has a very short life span.
The result of this trend is the need for constant renewal of knowledge after having completed formal education. The process is known as lifelong learning. As the state of the art
information is placed on Internet, it makes Internet an inevitable learning resource.

II. Resources for Personal Learning Available on the Web

Many resources that can be used in the learning process are available on the Web as Web applications. Using the Web applications, the user can create his or her personal environment for learning. Furthermore, the Web 2.0 applications enable communication and cooperation among users.

III. Personal Learning Environment

For a more efficient use of Web resources, learners need an environment that will aggregate different Web resources and thus give them additional value. That kind of environment is named Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
PLE is a system that helps learners to take control of and manage their own learning.

According to S. Downes every PLE should satisfy three main principles:
1) interaction,
2) usability,
3) relevance.

A PLE that supports all the three principles should enable the user to set up his or her learning goals and to determine learning paths. He or she is collecting materials, creating proprietary contents and communicating with other learners. This environment works as an aggregator for all contents relevant to the learning subject.
Using simple social Web application like weblog, wiki or Web portal, the user can connect components within an environment, and at the same time add new value putting
them in the learning context.

IV. Model of Personal Learning Environment Based on Web Services 

PLE based on Web services is a Web application that allows users to manage their
own learning process using distributed resources. The application should make possible:
1) creation of a learning plan,
2) storing of learning contents in electronic form,
3) cooperation and exchange of information with other users,
4) creation of a knowledge map. The application is user’s interface to external Web services.

V. Conclusion

The main function of PLE is to help learners to manage and self direct their learning through communication and cooperation with a learning community. PLE based on Web 2.0 services offer the learners a well known environment where they can easily achieve their learning goals.

Updated: Oct. 22, 2008