Tom Haskins has a series of interesting posts - on the topic:Stephen Downes and Michelle Martin. Stephen tells us...
Clearly this is a different use of PLE's than those outside the firewall, for free rangers, and for learning from everything of personal interest.and Michelle says ...
And they are not, therefore, PLEs.
A PLE that is 'inside the enterprise' is a contradiction in terms.
I have to agree with Stephen here. What is the most engaging to me about PLEs is that they put power into the hands of individuals, rather than corporations...First - let's clarify when we talk about "inside the enterprise" what does this term mean. It could mean -
- Only available to employees inside the enterprise with no ability to reach people outside the enterprise.
- Tools provide by the enterprise that will sometimes reach outside the enterprise to give public visibility.
Second - while I would expect Stephen to argue about the issue of control (see below for why corporations likely will want access, ownership, control), I'm surprised to see him argue that the same tools provide by the corporation or access completely independent of the corporation changes it from a PLE to not being a PLE. I could understand an argument that it would be preferable for individuals to be able to use the same tools outside the corporation for personal interests - but I don't see his argument that it is no longer a PLE or PWLE.
Third, Michelle, while there is definitely an issue of loss of content if you (as an individual) use tools provided by the corporation, I disagree that this does not still empower an individual's learning in a substantial way. Even if this isn't ideal (to you and Stephen), it still doesn't turn it into "not a PLE."
In PLEs are power tools Tom tells us ... I'm on the same page as Cammy Bean about Personal Learning Environments:
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.This kind of argument strikes me as odd. Learning is certainly very individual, does that mean we should help people learn how to learn? We've spent centuries studying this and we spend years teaching people these skills in schools. While Tom is right that "Life is my PLE", that doesn't free all of us from understanding how these new tools, techniques, skills, the network, the understanding of who vs. what, etc. has changed learning and in reality how it changes tacit work. Let's find the patterns here and help some folks. Certainly posts like Michelle's wonderful - My Personal Learning Environment or even my Personal and Group Learning Using Web 2.0 Tools are helpful in us finding patterns.
Andy Roberts posts - More Discussion on Personal Work Learning Environments where he juxtaposes Jay Cross’s comments:
Pitting individuals against corporations is not productive. Nor is the implication that businesses are out to steal workers’ intellectual property.versus my question:
.. if people will adopt these tools and approaches over time, then as a corporation, if you want to be able to keep the content after an employee leaves, especially blog content … then shouldn’t you make sure you provide these tools now rather than having tools adopted that are outside the firewall and personally owned where you will lose the content if the employee leaves?There were a few comments in Blogging Inside or Outside the Corporate Firewall that help to highlight the issues we are dealing with: Karyn Romeis said...
Hmm. I'm worried about the labelling of the various LEs. This speaks of clearcut boundaries. The separation of for-work learning from other learning. I would have trouble separating a PWLE from the rest of my life, let alone the rest of my learning.I think this highlights, but also confuses the problem. I can't separate my work from my learning except in unusual circumstances such as going to a class. Most of the time, I am doing things like researching topics that relate to issues that face my clients. It is clearly both learning and work. Tacit workers do both at the same time. Thus, there's no separation between a PLE and a PWLE. I'm suggesting the term PWLE because it highlights this exact issue. So, I agree with Karyn that you can't separate the two.
Karyn continues with ...
Also, by saying that a learning environment needs to be "set up" imputes a measure of formality that I'm not sure is warranted.What I'm suggesting is that learning departments should provide ready access to a set of tools and help employees (through training, resources, guide-by-the-side, etc.) learn how to use these tools and build skills in employees that ultimately makes them better tacit workers. Yes this does provide some formality to it. As a community, we need to think of ways to help people get better at learning.
Karyn continues ...
Because my learning journey is lifewide as well as lifelong, it existed before any formal structures were set in place - either by me or my employer. Not only does it follow me from job to job, but it follows me home, and to university and to church and behind the mic at band practice and and and....Fantastic point! So, if we provide tools and skill building for learners that can be used as part of their work-learning, these same tools naturally would be useful in all sorts of other tacit work activities. So, as an individual, I may want to have these same tools and skills to be available to me outside the corporation's control to support personal work-learning activities. This is going to cause some friction. Likely you will get supported in some corporations to help you use their tools that will allow the corporation to have on-going access to the work-product. They won't want you to do personal work-learning in these tools. So you will end up with two sets of similar tools.
Finally Karyn tells us ...
The concept of a formalised PLE (or PWLE or PXLE) speaks to me more of training and less of learning. My employer might have a form of LMS which might include a space referred to as my PLE, but I don't restrict myself to it. Just as my life is bigger than my job, so my learning is bigger than any formalised environment that exists, on or offline.This is the only part I really have issue with. Providing a blogging tool and helping employees to learn how to use this as part of their PWLE would seem like a great idea for many corporations. Maybe this is the whole issue of the The Paradox of Informal Learning (Form of Informal?). Karyn is not comfortable with trying to understand how to support PWLEs because it might formalize it too much?
Mark Prasatik said...
Well I have to admit that this conversation frustrates me a little bit. I think that all people have a PLE just as Stephen, Jay Cross and others have said. Nothing new there even if it's only a cell phone and TV. I also think that the explosion of Web 2.0 tools has created incentive for many of us to move much of that PLE online and at the same time add the PWLE part as well.Great points, although again, I'm not sure what "add the PWLE part" means. Mark continues...
Companies used to own the PWLE because it was on their computers, network etc., but now that it's online the genie will be out of the bottle. The PWLE will be more the responsibility of the learner and will also be more the property of the learner except where intellectual property rights are concerned. Maybe this PLE/PWLE gets taught/encouraged from within many environments (school, work, non-profits) as a way to promote a good life much in the way we treat health issues.Mark points us to the exact problem. The corporation used to be able to know that the work product created as part of tacit work would be retained on their computers. Now, if we use web services and we have every employee create their own blog that they control, we could easily see situations where the work product is no longer available to the corporation after the employee leaves.
I just saw a really good post on this by Mark -PLE/PWLE debate and my thoughts that highlights the issue and I think helps us separate some of the issues.
Somehow, lot's of people are not comfortable with considering the issue of the rights the Corporation should have to Intellectual Property that is created as part of work and learning efforts done while employed or in a work-for-hire situation. Clearly a corporation has a reasonable expectation that work done while they are paying you should be done on their behalf. They should have rights to the end work product.
If one of my employees creates something for us or for our clients on a for-pay basis, you had better believe that there's an expectation that the owner expects to have continued access to the work product after the employee leaves. Has that somehow been changed or suspended?
Of course, it has always been a little dicey dealing with things that people have inside their heads and where the line can be drawn if they go to a new corporation or go out on their own. I can't claim any great insights into this part of the complex issue.
What's really interesting here is that blogs, used as part of a personal work learning environment (PWLE), will bring this issue front and center. Corporations could lose access to significant, captured IP that will exist in the blogs of employees if those blogs sit outside the firewall and are controlled by the individual. When the employee leaves, they could theoretically take the content down and the corporation would no longer have access to that resource - to all of the ideas, thoughts, learning of that employee captured in the blog.
Naturally, most corporations are reasonably going to want to keep access. Maybe that simply means making copies of personal blogs that are archived by the corporation in case the employee leaves. In other words, maybe all we do is keep a copy of all RSS feeds, social bookmarks, wiki pages, etc. under the control of the corporation. I would guess that this will start to happen as corporations deal with the proliferation of web services.
The more likely scenario in the near-term is that corporations (and their learning departments) will provide tools to employees (a blogging tool for example) and will encourage their employees to use those tools (as opposed to using tools that the individual controls). This is already being done. And, likely will increase over the next few years.