You don’t have a strong PLN (Personal Learning Network) the moment you show up at the right group, even if it is the perfect fit for your particular interest. Admittedly, finding a group of folks who share your passions can offer support, guidance and quick tips for simple challenges. For example, finding the right quilting group for a lone quilter can be a dream come true.But what if your passions are not so neatly contained? What if your interests are broad and interdisciplinary? Specifically, what if you just can’t find a group that shares your varied interests? You could join different groups for your different interests or even create a new one. That works fine for discrete fields, that is, until you start to ask cross-cultural questions no one else in that group is interested in.A strong PLN is not just a group of people, any more than a strong college education is the particular college you went to. A friend of mine had this to say of his Harvard degree: “The classes I took were not what made my education so valuable. It was more about the friendships I made and the radically different world view I acquired while there. Things I used to think impossible became matter-of-fact, almost mundane.”
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Be sure to read the whole article. This is just the teaser and tip of the iceberg. I think it clarifies "network" as opposed to "environment," although making too much of the distinction gets in the way of understanding and using. The short version: network is part of your learning environment but not its totality. Shorter version: both are resources (of any kind) that you learn with and/or from.
The corollary is that you can learn by following passively (lurking) but you will always learn more when you participate actively.