I am a Web Science PhD student at the University of Southampton Doctoral Training Centre and Southampton Education School. I am also a MOOC Educator and Facilitator and lecture on the ‘Living and Working on the Web’ module and Lifelong Learning classes. I have been a teacher (in various contexts) for fifteen years and I am interested in innovation and engagement in Higher Education.
My research interest is in Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). These can be defined as as an egocentric network of equally important, socially contextual relationships between a learner and the different individuals, component networks, technological devices and services, and information resources he/she employs to assist learning in its broadest sense. They are autonomously created and used by the learner, who has established preferences over the devices, software and activation patterns that best suit their learning paths.
PLN interactions can occur on- or offline, in formal or non-formal learning contexts, and for different specific activities undertaken for different network purposes. They can also be impacted by the wider social context in which the learner and their PLN resides at a given point in time.
A clear framework by which PLNs can be mapped and explained, allowing the identification of interaction patterns and preferences across PLNs, could lead to the successful incorporation of these pre-existing learning networks into the learning process. This may prove to be an engaging and effective addition to HE module design.