Introducing the Hybrid Institutional-Personal Learning Environment (HIPLE)

NOTE: this is a two-part writing on the Hybrid Institutional-Personal Learning Environment (HIPLE). You might thus be interested in reading part II: The Hybrid Institutional-Personal Learning Environment (HIPLE) into practice: an example with Twitter.

In Funnelling concepts in Education 2.0: PLE, e-Portfolio, Open Social Learning I made a plead for equidistance and eclecticism and performed a first exploration on how to cope centralization with decentralization, the institutional and the individual, the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) with the undefined and polymorphous Personal Learning Environment (PLE).

Two concurring projects in the last weeks make me revisit that topic:

Common issues

Both projects share some issues — I dare not call them problems, though some of them are absolutely challenging —that have definitely to be addressed before implementing any kind of project:

  • With the increase of broadband penetration and the popularization of Web 2.0 tools and spaces, most participation (and a lot of it, indeed) happens outside the campus, unlike what was usual just 10 (or even 5) years ago.
  • With the realization of the concept of long-life learning, it is increasingly difficult to tell students from non-students, and even from members of the university community from non-members, especially when one can attend conferences online, download learning materials or follow the faculty or institutional initiatives on Twitter or their own blogs.
  • Just for the two previous reasons, one’s own learning management increasingly happens off-campus too.
  • And yet there’s the issue of where the experts are. Some of the experts are in-campus, but many of them (other faculty, professionals, potential employers) are off-campus too. And we definitely want our students to meet the relevant (online) communities of experts and people they should (and we want them to) be in contact with.
  • But: learning monitoring does require a certain degree of centralization and closeness or quietness, for many reasons: assessment, guidance, “noise filtering”… Or, at least, some educators feel more at ease in these “controlled” scenarios. Not to speak about managers.
  • And: some people are reluctant to use all that arcane network technologies, because of lack of knowledge, lack of competence, even lack of social skills.
  • And: some people just do not want to have their identity spread all over the e-place, but to be able to manage different digital personnae. Sometimes for privacy; sometimes for security reasons.

A proposal

So, there are people in and people off the Virtual Campus. There are geeks and explorers and digerati, and there are refuseniks and robinsons and goffmans too.

So, to respect and answer all demands, what do we need?

  • That the members of the university community that so wish it, can interact with their peers and teachers and all kind of educational resources with the tools and platforms own choice (e.g. off-campus), and thus concentrate or diffuse their activity at will.
  • That the members of the university community that so wish it, can maintain an idea of a campus as a space dedicated to learning, and use the tools within without having to disperse their energies (and attention) in (for them) low added value activities.
  • Despite the above said, tear down the concept walls of in- and off-campus, and member and non-member of the learning community. Let third parties participate of learning life, and let active and formal learners participate of informal learning or professional life.

What’s in a name

I ask for a hybrid-institutional personal learning environment. I ask for a HIPLE:

  • The HIPLE Is a PLE.
  • The HIPLE is a hi-PLE.
  • The HIPLE rhymes with hype ;)

At this point, please allow me to bring back what I draw in Funnelling concepts in Education 2.0: PLE, e-Portfolio, Open Social Learning:


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2010) “Introducing the Hybrid Institutional-Personal Learning Environment (HIPLE)” In ICTlogy, #81, June 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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5 Comments to “Introducing the Hybrid Institutional-Personal Learning Environment (HIPLE)” »

  1. I’d love to see this concept adopted by Blackboard and other CMS providers. I have been moving away from BB due to the vertical constraints imposed (blogged on this at and toward open tools such as Google Sites portfolios, wikis, etc. but keep BB largely for the online gradebook and integration with Elluminate. The level of integration and interoperability that you suggest would be most welcome. I hope we see some progress toward this idea in the near future.

    To be honest, I’d drop BB entirely if there were tools to easily deliver private data (e.g., grades) to students through open tools such as Google Sites. Plugins, anyone?…

  2. I think that institutions will gradually move in two (apparently) opposite ways: let the softcore activity move outside of campuses by using web 2.0 apps, and lock in hardcore activity and private data in their own platforms/servers.

    If some things don’t radically change about data ownership, data portability, privacy and security in web 2.0 services (not only Facebook and Google, but many others — and this seems unlikely right now), I would expect to see a round trip in institutions moving to third party’s services and then back home to secure what is sensitive and core data.

  3. Pingback: Perspectivas y focalizaciones de los entornos personales de aprendizaje | Fernando Santamaría

  4. Pingback: PLE_BCN Conference – Day 1 « Mediendidaktik 2.0

  5. Pingback: Una mirada a los PLE desde las organizaciones | e-aprendizaje

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