Activity 15: My definiton of PLN – people are the network

In online learning we often find the term personal learning network (PLN), see Wikipedia’s entry. In this activity we should try to  formulate our own definition. I started searching in local resources and came across this post at the  edutechwiki of University of Geneva describing PLN as:

Personal learning networks (PLN) are the connections and communications made with others to question, reflect and evaluate information in order to create new knowledge (Attwell) (2007)

This definition seems quite suitable to me but there are questions.
Are connections and communications tools, channels or people?
The definition also miss a little the contributing and sharing activitiy.

After finding the  What is a PLN? Or, PLE vs. PLN? twitter discussion summary including this wonderful tweet by @BlancheMaynard which makes clear to me what PLN and PLE is about …

PLN is organic; PLE is mechanic. You can use ‘tools’ like Twitter
within your PLE to access your network, but the tool isn’t the

I change the above definiton to:

A personal learning network (PLN) consists of people we connect  to question, reflect, discuss, contribute and share information in order to create new knowledge.

Now, the channel we choose to communicate with those people can vary from E-Mail, social media tools, google hangout  or even phone.  Each of these tools has its own advantages and can offer new possibilities. But as  @BlancheMaynard writes, tools are not the network, people are the network.

Flock of Jackdaws in Tuira, Oulu, Finland
By Estormiz (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


3 thoughts on “Activity 15: My definiton of PLN – people are the network

  1. Hi Cinzia
    I’m just about to get started on activity 15 and have found much inspiration in your post. Thanks for the additional resources. It makes a lot of sense to me to distinguish between the mechanic PLE and the organic PLN. Thanks to technology, we are now able to connect very easily with people in all parts of the world and share thoughts and ideas that help build our knowledge. It is, however, quite an important digital skill to be able to use the technology to build, maintain and grow your network. I now fully se the importance of the “comment love” mentioned on the DS106 website. Comments and replies become very important links in the PLN. A type of fertilizer for PLNs perhaps 🙂

  2. Hi Inger-Marie
    Glad to hear this post inspired you. A am still fascinated by the organic/mechanic explanation, and your fertilizer fits so well here 🙂 I appreciate your comment, you have nicely extended my very short thoughts on technology. Yes, comments keep the pln alive.

  3. You post highlights a distinction that matters: the tools we use to connect with our network are not the network and confuse these two things at our peril. People are the network, indeed. And we need to develop each relationship rather than presuppose that because we all operate in the ‘same’ environment we have a relationship with its members? We need to buy in to a reciprocal online economy, as Martin Weller has suggested.

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