Personal Learning Network

What is a PLN?

Personal Learning Networks defined:
  • Personal - particular to a given individual
  • Learning - the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom
  • Network - an interconnected system of things or people

Putting those together = The acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom, particular to an individual, through an interconnected system of people. (credit to Michelle Krill)

Link to Presentation on Google Docs

Why are PLNs important?

Elements of a PLN

Common PLN Elements

Power Up Your Professional Learning Network

A very comprehensive and complete list of resources used in PLNs can be found on Jennifer Dorman's site.

Getting Started

Ask yourself ....
  • What do I want to learn?
  • How do I want to learn it?
  • What do I want to do with what I've learned?


Build Your PLN


(Rich Site Summary) is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

  • RSS is THE key tool in building a learning network.
  • The ability to have relevant, personal information come to you, rather than you seeking it out is efficient and effective.
  • Using RSS effectively may be the only thing you have to master to have a personal learning network.

For more info about RSS, visit the RSS eToolBox Page.


An aggregator can be likened to a web mailbox, but not for email. Your RSS feeds pull in magazine like content when you subscribe online and delivers it to the aggregator of your choice. Some aggregators are simply a list of those feeds, while others are more customizable. The two types of aggregators described here are readers and personalized start pages.
  • Google Reader - Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline.
  • Bloglines - Bloglines is a window to a whole new world of dynamic content that is being created and distributed over the new "live" web. You can make your own personalized news page tailored to your unique interests from our index of tens of millions of live internet content feeds, including articles, blogs, images and audio.

Personal Start Pages

  • iGoogle - Google offers the ability to create a personalized iGoogle page that gives you at-a-glance access to key information from Google and across the web. On this self-designed page, you can choose and organize content such as:
    • Your latest Gmail messages
    • Headlines from Google News and other top news sources
    • Weather forecasts, stock quotes, and movie showtimes
    • Bookmarks for quick access to your favorite sites from any computer
    • Your own section with content you find from across the web
  • Netvibes - Netvibes is a free web service that brings together your favorite media sources and online services. Everything that matters to you — blogs, news, weather, videos, photos, social networks, email and much more — is automatically updated every time you visit your page.
  • Pageflakes - Pageflakes, the social personalized homepage, is revolutionizing how we how we start with and use the Internet. At, you can easily customize the Internet and make it yours using ‘”Flakes” – small, movable versions of all of your web favorites that you can arrange on your personal homepage. You can also participate in the Pageflakes community, sharing your page as a “Pagecast” with a private group or with the world, and connecting with other users across the globe.


Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters, displayed on the user's profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. (From Wikipedia)

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, manage, and share bookmarks of web pages on the Internet.

Social Networks

Other Online Prof. Dev.

Your Role

Once you've moved past the aggregator step and into the socializing step, you'll find yourself lurking around. You'll read what others have to say and reap the benefits of resources they share. Slowly, but surely, you'll begin to reply/respond/share with resources of your own. You may feel anxious - as if what you have to say/share isn't important - that is just not true! Take a risk, say something, even if you only do it once in awhile. Climb the ladder and take your network to the next level! The more you put in, the more you get out.

The Ladder


Personal Learning Network Resources
Click HERE for the full list of PLN Resources


Generous thanks to my PLN for help with the construction of this page:
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