A personal learning environment in a web context can be described as a collection of data channels chosen by the user according to his or her informational preferences and interests. These channels allow the user to interact with both content and other learners and are typically access by using a desktop computer, mobile device or table. Through these channels the user can connect with teachers, peers and learning materials. However, the learning is not dependent on guidance from another rather the learning is self-directed and can occur through the simple act of interacting with the sites contents.(Leslie, 2009)
I personally agree with the concept of a personal learning environment. I find that much of my study and learning is already self-directed. I’ve always preferred to learn about subject matter that interests me personally. Sites like YouTube provide not only access to a community of potential educators but also a wealth of information on seemingly limitless subject matter.
Having said that I do think that there are some pitfalls associated with this type of learning environment. As the user is interacting with learning materials without guidance there may be potentially dangerous consequences if the knowledge or information is misinterpreted by the user. I think that’s the benefit of situations like MOOCS and other forms of guided online learning. As long as there is a mentor or overseer of some sort to guide learners while still allowing them personal control and direction over their learning goals I believe this concept could be extremely successful and popular.
S. Leslie, 2009. “A collection of PLE diagrams,” edtechpost (21 December), at http://edtechpost.wikispaces.com/page/diff/PLE+Diagrams/110782205, accessed 2 September 2010.S.