Whilst this particular ONL topic was underway, I considered the complexities of being enrolled in a course targeted at teachers and academics, whilst I myself represented an online learning design company. Despite an extensive background in the Education and Training sector in South Africa and many years of lecturing experience, I am now in a vastly different role and it got me thinking about whether or not I felt I even had a Personal Learning Network (PLN) away from the teachers I used to know and interact with. And now who felt so far removed from my new career.

In every day design work (I am a Learning Designer and curate interactive content for online consumption/learning), there is so little time to actually stop what you’re doing and consider what you’re doing. To be mindful of one’s own practice in the day-to-day slog and weekly deliverables and targets. I realise now that the formation of and participation in a PLN should ultimately evolve from one’s existing professional home base. And yet, upon further reflection and to my own admission, I realised just how much this is lacking in my current line of work, the lack of support I felt I had, and how isolating this experience can be.

Ivanova (2009) postulates that some of the challenges associated with forming meaningful learning networks is that they should provide sustainable value and also stimulate one’s own insights and experiences on a continual basis. Perhaps I have become so accustomed to working in a professional vacuum that I feel collaboration with others is synonymous with “more work”.

I looked back in a few chat groups I am a member of in our company’s version of MS Teams and noticed that there is a, “Learning Designer Community of Practice” group that had several interesting posts – all of which could greatly enhance and support my output. However, I had never responded to or engaged with any of the messages. And then it hit me, the support had been there all along, but I had chosen not to use it.

I understand now that PLNs can be especially valuable as, according to Trach (2017), new information and ideas are changing the world at a much faster pace than ever before. I would like to focus more on how I can gain perspective on my practice and the shift in my career as a whole, as well as learn from others’ experience and knowledge. So, from here on out, I am committed to learning the anatomy of the wave rather than merely riding it.



Ivanova, M. 2009. From Personal Learning Environment Building to Professional Learning Network Forming. The 5th International Scientific Conference Elearning and Software for Education, Vol. 9 No. 20, April 2009. [Online] Accessed:

Trach, E. 2017. Personal Learning Network (PLN) Benefits, Tools, and Tactics. Schoology Exchange. [Online] Accessed:

Learning in Communities – Networked Collaborative Learning