PLE's down under

I had a wonderful time and learned a lot from my online participation in the New South Wales Learnscope Event yesterday. Having previously uncovered the fact they've been talking about PLE's down under for years, I was very curious about their understanding. Much to my surprise, Personal Learning Environment has a very different connotation in the vocational education and certification community. PLE is mentioned in the same breath with job interviews and ePortfolios.

I've been thinking of "learning" as a verb and a PLE supports processes of continual learning by exploration and discovery. Down under learning is a noun and a PLE reveals what learning has already been identified and completed.

For me, most of the learning supported by PLE's occurs during employment, as a facet of learning organizations, communities of practice and coaching models of leadership. Down under the PLE's serve job applicants and present their learning that's been accomplished prior to employment.

I've been assuming learning would increase exponentially as a result of PLE usage, both longitudinally in life-long learning and in depth from learning about the significance and value of happenstance. Down under, the learning can be decreased by successful capture of latent or tacit competencies already acquired, but not consciously realized by the "portfolio worker".

For me, PLE's are unique creations of individual learners who's personal curiosity, questions and passions would shape the subscriptions, explorations and realizations. Down under, PLE's are being considered as a government program to extend support for job seekers beyond the skill training and placement services.

I see PLE's as movies that constantly change over time and keep us fascinated with their continual surprises and developments. Down under, PLE's are snapshots of what's occurred that could credential the learner as a worthy candidate for employment if the established content was cleaned up and made "less personal".

I've been expecting that utilizing a PLE could serve as a wonderful credential. A PLE demonstrates the learner's ability to increase shared knowledge in an organization, rebound from mistakes or setbacks, identify unfamiliar trends in customers or the industry, deal with conflicts and learn to think through problems from other team members. Down under, the credentials have focused on job skills; what has been learned rather than how the learner continually learns and benefits the employer by learning.

This is a different contention from the LMS/VLE vs PLE  debate I've explored. I learned a lot yesterday about the value of ePortfolios and digital credentials for employment. I'm seeing yet another perspective to include in my evolving big picture of PLE possibilities and success factors. As always, I'm learning from what happens.

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