I first started researching distance peer-to-peer learning because I was fascinated with the implications of introducing youth across geographic distances so that they may learn together in terms of cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. I tried to launch a project and, through that, learned the world wasn’t quite ready for it.
Fast forward to today and people of all ages are coming together at a global level to learn.
This happens within the workplace but also informally as in the case of blockchain learning communities. These are organically growing because entrepreneur-minded and self-motivated individuals are ‘personalizing’ their education, especially through joining learning communities, informal education (often open source), and collaborating with others, consequently creating their own networks. I find these to be unique examples of Personalized Learning Networks (PLNs). This term is already in play but I seek to clarify what personalization really means, keeping the definition in alignment with the concept of personalized learning at large. That is that the network is central to the individual creating it (human-centered design) and it is adaptable.
The concept of the PLN traditionally refers to a Personal or Professional Learning Network. Historically PLNs were primarily used by educators in an effort to share fresh ideas about how to teach. It was understood that the benefactors would be the students within the educational entity they work in. The teachers shared and collaborated with their learners at the center of their motivations. Which is awesome! But the same model does not necessarily apply when working with people across many industries in constant shift. Teachers have had to be lifelong learners for their students.
Today we all need to be lifelong learners so that we can be our best for our families, communities, peers, and the organizations we work with.
My model represents a slightly different way to look at developing a PLN. The main differentiator to an emphasis on how critical it is to understand and reflect on your presence within your PLN, learning community (ties) you participate in, and your primary Community of Practice (CoP)