PLEs and Workplace

During the PLE Conference I was asked to chair a paralell session on PLEs and Workplace. Just like it happened with the “unkeynote” that Jordi Adell and I organized, the organization asked the chairmen to avoid the usual dynamics and be… creative.

The communications were:

I noticed that the common denominator of the session was support, in the sense of “let’s tell our ‘supportees’ what does work so they can put it into practice”. With this in mind, I suggested to have the presentations not in a horizontal manner (i.e. projects are fully explained one after the other one) but in a vertical manner: we identify the main and common topics addressed by the three projects and the topics are covered one by one, that is: we choose a topic and all the presenters explain how they faced it.

The topics we identified were:

  • 1.- There are some problems in my learning process that need being addressed.
  • 2.- We (or someone else) have tried several solutions to fix these problems and found that they did not work: which were these (non-)solutions?
  • 3.- We (in our projects) have found some solutions that do work which ones are them?
  • 4.- How have these solutions that work been evaluated and the outcomes assessed?
  • 4a. How sere the solutions put into practice?
  • 4b. How was their performance evaluated?

What follows is the personal notes that I took on the fly (slightly edited for the sake of clarity), both from the speakers and the audience. The notes were taken on a blank presentation that was projected in the room, so anyone could see them and, as it happened, comment on them.

Problems that need being addressed:

  • Career advisors that handle huge amounts of knowledge. How to develop knowledge and share it? How to manage knowledge and make knowledge sharing work?
  • Physicians with low competence on e-tutoring: How to train trainers in the use of digital artifacts for training? How to make, thus, e-tutoring more efficient?
  • How to unclose the classroom?
  • How to avoid the deviations of meaning added by technological mediation?
  • How to fight certain attitudes that represent a barrier that prevent evolution/progress?

Solutions that did not work:

  • Traditional e-learning is not an answer.
  • Traditional training is nor an answer.
  • There are no training programmes or learning materials for specialists.
  • There is a deep ditch between knowledge management and e-learning.
  • Traditional educational systems require “full dedication”.
  • There are no “quick learning” programmes/methodologies, you always have to take the long path (but your needs/goals are in the short run).

Solutions that work (or not…):

  • Stating strategies, defining paths.
  • Designing and sharing models.
  • The PLME: personal learning maturing environment, a place where to test things.
  • Learning from the process itself and the context it is framed in.
  • Process + context = way to fit training into everyone’s needs.
  • Shareing not content but “people” by tagging the experts. Make the experts emerge: expert sharing (i.e. everyone is an expert). Indeed it is more about tagging people’s expertise than the experts themselves.
  • Assessment indicators are (a) relative to everyone’s goals/needs (b) qualitative and related to own path.
  • Assessment is yet another learning tool: feedback as feedback that really feeds the process back.

How were the solutions put into practice:

  • Providing useful tips: starting your own blog, starting following someone you find interesting,
  • Replicating.
  • 1 learner, 1 PLE.

Note: this part was, of course, richer, but got diffused or covered by the other questions.

How was performance assessed:

  • Checking whether the personal benefited the community.
  • A virtual desktop enhances not only sharing but monitoring and co-design.
  • Co-design leads to a certain degree of co-assessment.
  • Co-design is needs-based, not externally based.
  • e-Portfolios.
  • Recursive design, recursive assessment.
  • Extensive and intensive documentation while keeping hot tips simple.

I am aware that this dynamic penalizes knowing more about the projects themselves, so I encourage the reader to get in touch with the speakers or to visit their websites to get a deeper understanding on what they are working on (the how’s and the why’s, covered here ;)


PLE Conference (2010)

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

Peña-López, I. (2010) “PLEs and Workplace” In ICTlogy, #82, July 2010. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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1 Comment to “PLEs and Workplace” »

  1. Interesting you guys talked about traditional e-learning! It is so recent and already has a tradition! But it’s true and I know exactly what you mean…elearning as making content accessible and automating the connections between learners and tutors (which seems too artificial for me). We replicated mass-schooling scenarios into Cd-roms etc. That was what the tech allowed at the time and that has left a legacy that still persists today.

    And yes, I still think training is not the best way to take this forward… at least not training as the way we know it… because it takes more than a training session and also because we expect more from people than having them acquiring content units we prepared for such session. We want to trigger learning beyond the training session… but we are not good at fostering an environment that allows them to pursue what they have started in our training session.
    I have noticed it with my staff and students. They come to the session, they are all excited, they go back home and I never hear from them again (almost!). Their enthusiasm is easily caught in “real life” and soon enough they forget about their good intentions of cultivating new networks, starting a reflective diary, etc

    So I have started giving more personal support. I do 1-2-1 sessions extended throughout the year. I work with personal and individual goals and aims. But I still feel I am not quite there. I am only one and dont have enough resource to reach out to all.
    I totally agree we need to find new ways to engage people with their learning. I don’t know exactly how, but I think sporadic, systematic training is the answer… there must me more to it!

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