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Kim Aling

VLE versus PLE

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Edited by Kim Aling, Tuesday, 9 Apr 2013, 09:28

Like Martin Weller (2007) my own personal learning environment has built up over time and grown into a complex of sites and hardware.  It also links university and external tools.  The university tools currently used are my blog site, provided through tutorhome, the OU library and RefWorks.  However, beyond these tools I use Delicious, Google and Google Schola, iGoogle (Google docs) for my RSS feeds to useful blogs, Youtube, Twitter, SkyDrive for stroing documents and pictures and various apps on the iPhone, such as BBC news, Wired and ITN News.  Most of my computing is done on the move or away from home and so be able to use the cloud is important.   

Like Weller (2007) this also blurs the boundaries between work and learning for me.  Research for work often reveals resources for my course and vice versa. 

External sites for searching, storing and sharing resources as well as sites for specific software, like mindmapping, are freely available for students and so developing a PLE is quite an easy task.  These tools can also be used alongside institutional VLEs and in some cases linked to via VLEs, for example linking students to blogger.com, or wikispaces where you may want to share to a wider audience than the institution.  It may not necessarily be a choice between VLE and PLE but a choice of tools from both environments with students moving to a wider PLE as they develop confidence and competence.

For many first year students on course I tutor they have little experience of web 2.0 tools and so using institutional tools means that students can be easily guided in their use.  Some students do come already using other tools, eg delicious or diigo, and their continued use is encouraged.  Whilst on the course I also encourage students to use delicious as this is where I share good links. Use of VLE or PLE may then be influenced by the degree of competence of the student, starting with a safe and guided VLE and moving into a PLE.


Weller, M. (2007) 'My personal work/leisure/learning environment' blog post 06/12/2007 in the Ed Techie found at http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/no_good_reason/2007/12/my-personal-wor.html [accessed 09/07/11]

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