My reflections of this topic 3 focused on my own Personal Learning Network (PLN). PLN, is about building your own personal network, expanding our connections to reach your own personal learning goals. However, I understand that there is a diverse understanding on how PLN works among learners. According to Oddone explained in the video, PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 1. ,the power of PLN comes from the interaction and sharing. Oddone explains that knowledge in PLN are autonomous, remixed, redesigned, communicated and shared in a constantly ongoing process. In Oddone´s video  PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 2.  the word “Community” and “Network” are used synonymously but explained that they actually represent important differences.  In a table she separates “Online Learning Community” and “Online Learning Network” with features that differentiate each ”social structure”. Oddone explains that both online or offline, the people that come together in a community know each other well and have a “shared goal”, an “intentional” structure with the values of creating a high level of “trust” and “mutual accountability”.  However, the challenges with a community is the potential for “inward focus” where input from others outside the structured communities are rejected.  In comparison, a learning “network” is more organic, unstructured and constant changes with weaker “ties”. Learners don’t know so much about their network learners and the learner’s goals are personal and self-motivated. The challenges with a learning “network” is the overwhelming amount of knowledge. Therefore, people within this network can experience problems to identify specific or high quality knowledge.

Altogether, Oddone shows that the context of PLN is strongly related to the self-personal learning goals supported by digital software’s enabling people to interact and share openly networked.

I reflected on my own PLN map and tried to connect the different online and offline tools that I use within my learning areas. I experience that I use many different strategies and working processes as part of my own learning. I search for information and share content, both that I find and self-create. I connect and discuss with different people, both those that I know well and those that I only know little about through our shared interest of learning area.  I work to collaborate, both self-initiated and when invited by others within my learning are. I create my own information content and packages when I teach and perform research. I openly reflect and discuss my own think with my colleges and students using shared/same tools. However, I experience a lack of new tools to complement my traditional use of reviewed journals for information sharing and communication. This could be a podcast, infographic and blog´s which I need to develop to reach other learners (not only researchers or teachers) in a wider network sharing similar learning areas worldwide.   

By Ellinor Östensson


PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 1.

PLNs Theory and Practice by Kay Oddone, part 2.

Topic 3: Learning in communities and networks