Seven Traits of PLEs for Designing Quality Online Programs

Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are experienced as immersiveness in a complex adaptive system with characteristics of emergence, self-organization, adaptive coevolution, self-similarity, dynamic non-linearity, and systemic interconnectedness.

In a technocracy, learners are immersed in a digital environment. What does this mean for designing quality online learning programs? Students do not unplug and they will need 24/7 access to systems and support.

The emergent nature of PLEs point to learners’ experiences of choice, freedom, autonomy, and dialogue. Quality online programs will choose systems that foster these technological affordances.

PLEs are self-organized based on the interaction between the learner and the environment. This feature illustrates the importance of access to interoperable technologies for personal knowledge management across devices and spaces including personal, professional, and academic environments.

Adaptive coevolution is the reciprocal impact between learners and their PLEs. This characteristic indicates that quality online programs must be agile and adapt to an evolving technological landscape in which learners draw in a variety of applications, which they use in tandem with their formal learning management system.

Self-similarity is the mirror images of a learner and their PLE. Quality online learning programs will support students with the freedom to express their unique identities and pursue personally meaningful goals.

The organic circuitous path of learning across formal and informal spaces illustrates the trait of dynamic nonlinearity. Scaffolding processes and technologies for personal knowledge management will guide learners to take the most advantage of learning online.

Want to read more? Check out my new book chapter:

Kennedy, J. (2019). Seven traits of personal learning environments for designing quality online learning programs: A systems view of connectedness. In E. Smidt and R. Li (Eds.), Ensuring Quality and Integrity in Online Learning Programs. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

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