Tom Haskins in PLEs are power tools and Cammy Bean in Be the Node tell us:
So all the talk about tools and maps has struck me as odd. How do we quantify or control something that is so unique to each of us? For me, I add -- why bother? Just do it.The reason why I think it's worth us talking about tools and maps and basically what is your PWLE (p-whale) is that it's helpful for us to figure out how to support our own personal work and learning. This is much like all the discussion around personal productivity tools, but in this case it is more focused on research oriented work that requires learning as a component of the activity.
Michelle Martin has a wonderful post - The Psychology and Skills of Personal Learning Environments and it's definitely worth looking at some of her earlier posts on the topic that you can find through the link. Michelle also expresses concern around the focus on tools:
And points us back to Stephen Downes and the skills that we need to learn to be successful in this new world. That's a great point by Michelle and a fantastic list by Stephen:
What I've noticed in the conversation about PLEs is that there's a lot going on around trying to get a handle on the tools for personal learning and how we use them. There's a great deal of discussion about whether or not a PLE should be a single tool or a collection of tools loosely joined.
Here he talks about the skills that we should be learning for success in this new world in which we live:
- Predicting consequences
- Reading for deep understanding
- Distinguishing truth from fiction
- Communicating clearly
- Learning how to learn
- Healthy Living (which isn't fear and anxiety-based)
- Valuing Yourself
- Living meaningfully--as in having a purpose in life.
We can use a models from the PKM world like the PKM skills from Steve Barth:
- retrieving information
- evaluating/assessing information
- organizing information
- analyzing information
- presenting information
- securing information
- collaborating around information
Bottom line for me - the discussion of process, tools, skills is very helpful and the more specific people can be, the better. I also am finding myself ever more convinced that we are discussing basically the same thing being discussed in PKM circles and even some overlap with productivity. I'm not quite happy yet with PWLE (p-Whale) as a unifying term - but I prefer it to either PLE or PKM because both of those seem to be taken; somewhat limited in their scope and also seem to imply separation from day-to-day work. One key here is Knowledge Work is Not Separate from Learning.