Cultivating compatibility with PLEs

Too many academic and employment experiences turn learners off the possibilities of personal learning environments. When learners find PLEs incompatible with their own experiences, they might think a PLE is:
  • an absurd idea based on false concepts about how learning really happens
  • something that might work only for extremely self-motivated learners
  • somebody's head trip that is lost in the clouds and cannot come down to earth
  • an approach to learning that's unrealistic in most classrooms and jobs
  • a way to make the learner totally to blame for the content that does not get learned
  • a device to mislead learners into covering more material in the same amount of time
  • a set up to get gamed by a system of course requirements and grading
All these reflections on the "true meaning" of personal learning environments reveals a history of contrary experiences. The ways we get expect to learn, succeed, conform and meet others expectations are convincing experiences. We also pick up impressions from our siblings, parents and own employment experiences. We then believe we have encountered the facts of life or "the way things really work around here". We become skeptical about alternatives like PLEs.

If schooling and employment were breeding grounds for extensive use of PLEs, they would need to be based on different premises like the following:
  • The grasp of new domains of knowledge comes about when someone works with our misunderstandings, not when they lecture us again about that domain
  • Our thought processes only reliable when we've learned to think for ourselves, not merely think like we've been told is acceptable
  • The way to get jobs done more effectively is to rethink how it can be done, not simply execute orders without choices
  • The ways to improve our motivation and commitment come about from succeeding on our own terms, not yielding to conformity pressures
These premises occur naturally when we are working with people in relationships as mentors, coaches, colleagues, or friends. These same premises disappear when we're working against people in attempts to control, repudiate, oppress or dismiss them. This suggests that the difficulties with getting wide spread adoption of PLEs calls for an indirect strategy. The breeding grounds need to be created and maintained where compatibility with PLEs occurs naturally.

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