Have you ever thought about strategically crafting your PLN? This year I am going to expand mine on purpose which I haven’t done in the past. Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) have always been around, we are a network of people who instinctively connect. Initially yours may have started with family, friends, and colleagues from work. Now with wireless access, smart phones, and various social media outlets the creation of any number of PLNs can be developed to include people you may never meet face-to-face however your ability to learn from skilled practitioners can take place through a network of interconnected people, topics, and technologies.
Many of the resources about PLNs focus on the tools and technologies used. My plan is to focus on creating connections focused on topics “for the purposes of discovering, collaborating and sharing ideas and resources. These connections are created based on your learning needs and can be made with like-minded people from all around the world.” One key component is that a PLN is a reciprocal network that you create to learn from, connect with, gather information or resources, create with and finally share what you have learned. A PLN can occur in your school, face-to-face, online, at conferences or through reading, reflecting and sharing. In other words, active participation is expected and I must be engaged in the process – sharing is an agreed upon component.
There is a purpose in my goal and it is driven by an opportunity I had to reach out to several learning leaders to identify best practices. What I learned was not what I was expecting and this chance to exchange ideas and L&D’s way to impact the organization it serves in new ways, at the time of need. I had an amazing insight from a global leader who shared several methods if growing the business using learning, not using an LMS, and focused on the learning team needing “transformers” rather than designers, centered on the person who can change, coach, consult, and is focused on performance results no matter the tool. Finally I was provided the results of employee engagement utilizing education as a driver for professional development and integrated with performance planning and how that drove retention in a fiscally prudent manner using educational institutions as business partners.
So this year I plan to strategically build my PLN focused on the following 4 topics:
- Competency design & authentic assessment strategies;
- Building the bridge between business performance success & education competency;
- How to design content for mobile tools to improve performance support;
- Building connections from HR to business profit developing people & creating engagement via education.
Networking is a prime form of 21st century learning. The world is much smaller thanks to technology. Learning is transforming into a globally collaborative enterprise. Take for example scientists; professional networks allow the scientific community to share discoveries much faster. And here is how I plan on building my network.
- I am going to write more, use this blog as my focus point where links to my Twitter (@WmJRyan) feeds, LinkedIn conversations, and eportfolio can be found. I will strive to find the topics above as my central point to find like-minded people and build on this common interest to create a community of learners.
- I am going to be more active in the online community starting with LinkedIn focused on finding, nurturing, and becoming a part of the greater community of learners.
- I am going to participate in different threads such as various Twitterchats.
- I will continue to share and look to interact with others on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Learning networks are based on information shared and accessed from a broad and growing range of social media sources and web sites. Shared is the key attribute PLNs have and I hope to grow and learn through meaningful interactions in this community. I welcome your suggestions and look forward to the journey!
And just for fun here are some resources I found that might be of interest to you as you consider building your PLN!
- “Building Your Personal Learning Network” – a fun prezi
- Here is a Pinterest board of 25+ topics focused on PLNs
- 5 Ways to Begin Building Your Personal Learning Network 1.0