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Build a Personal Learning Network

Connect with experts and communities of interest.

Your Personal Learning Network (PLN) is the group of people who feed your learning head. In a true network, you’re a contributor, not just a consumer. Meaningful participation in this network is an integral part of your personal learning plan.

Where can you find people on the web?

Follow people of interest on Twitter, Google Reader, Delicious, Digg, Diigo, and Reddit.

Subscribe to feeds of interesting blogs & YouTube channels.

Attend conferences, meetups, bookstore events, and talks.

Join special interest sites. Many professions have popular forums (i.e. StackOverflow for programmers, Vimeo for filmmakers).

Connect with professors or other experts whose classes you watch on open courseware sites, whose books you read, or whose ideas you connect with in another way.

Collaborate with peers in study groups or book groups, online or offline.

Once you get going you might be able to list hundreds of people who belong in your personal learning network. Some may be close friends, and others you’ll never meet. In reality this network never stops growing. Find more ways to connect in the Edupunk's Guide..

Share your discoveries with us. Even better share an illustration or screenshot of your personal learning network as it grows.

Task Discussion

  • LearningChicka said:

    I regularly participate in social networking.  I'm on most of the main social networking sites and I try to stay in contact/use each and every one a few times a week.  I use services that lump quite a few of them together in one application from my smartphone. I've always created a very simple homebrew program that allows me to have the newest updates/emails/notifications (etc) as well as updating my information in one action to help me stay in contact, aware, and learning (as well as helping) whenever possible.

    on Sept. 22, 2012, 7:42 a.m.
  • Stephen Wheeler said:

    Here is my initial effort at charting my Personal Learning Network.

    I decided to do it using Freemind, a free mind-mapping application available for all the leading operating systems.

    So far I've listed news-feeds, websites, Twitter and LinkIn, but I'm sure I shall be adding considerably to this over time and using Freemind seems like a good tool to use to keep track and easily access everyting.

    Poke around my PLN and let me know what you think.

    on May 14, 2012, 9:39 a.m.
  • Christopher Crawford said:

    I was following several contacts on Twitter, and there were several public figures on Google+, but it seemed that not only were all of their posts also posted to Facebook, but it seemed that they share more info & were more likely to respond to direct messages on Facebook. So, I ditched the extraneous social networks, and I am sticking to just interacting on Facebook. 

    on April 30, 2012, 4:24 a.m.
  • Anonym said:

    I am on target with this task, regulary using Google Reader, have all the favourite and useful resources subscribed.

    Plus also following some good to learn from people on twitter.


    on April 10, 2012, 7:08 a.m.
  • Corbin Tarrant said:

    I am starting to connect with some peers and have offered to be a mentor to one of them. I will start using the resources of peer learning with and . I have also enrolled in both the Udacity classes here: CS101 and CS373, which also have community forums and lots of participants to communicate with. I will also be building some more organized google+ circles on specific subjects and looking for other relavant feeds around the internet to subscribe to. Right now I don't know of any physical classes or people I could meet up with but I will keep my eyes open.

    on Feb. 24, 2012, 12:59 p.m.

    LBCarfagna said:

    great work Corbin - what advice might you give to others that are getting stuck on this step?  You seem to have a solid plan for finding peers and building a network.  Keep us posted on how your plan works out.

    on March 10, 2012, 6:14 p.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant

    Corbin Tarrant said:

    Thanks, I have found that this is a very important step and I made some good contacts this week during Open Education Week put on by the OpenCourseWare Consortium. I attended 14 of their great webinars. Also, as I have mentioned in another post, I started blogging about my Open Learning research and experience weekly and this weeks post is packed full of great resources, including some information on important legislation we need to back!

    I have also created a Google+ circle and Facebook group to share Open Learning resources and connect with more people
    Right now I find that I have so many resources to go through that I have a lot of work to do getting everything organized and once I have a system in place networking with more people is going to be my focus.
    on March 13, 2012, 9:41 a.m. in reply to LBCarfagna

    LBCarfagna said:

    This is awesome - I just started following you on google+.  I'm going to organize a google hangout soon with DIY users - would you be interested in helping out?

    on April 11, 2012, 3:39 p.m. in reply to Corbin Tarrant

    Corbin Tarrant said:

    Sure, that sounds fun

    on April 11, 2012, 5:09 p.m. in reply to LBCarfagna
  • Charles Thomas said:

    This task is quickly becoming cross connected with several of my other tasks!  I’ve connected with a peer and hope to connect with more as I complete other challenges.  I was lead to P2PU by Daniel Lambraña Gonzalez of Test4Theory which uses Boinc to share spare computer processing time to crash particles together.   I’m spreading the word Boinc is cool! 

    My personal lesson goal is to complete the webcraft challenge which includes creating a blog.  While I can be quite shy at time, and often wonder why people tweet, blog, etc., I will return with a link to my blog once I have completed that challenge.

    on Feb. 22, 2012, 10:27 a.m.

    LBCarfagna said:

    Hi Charles,  

    I felt the same way as you about twitter at first.  I subscribed to several people within what I decided to be my chosen "network" and the connections snowballed from there.  I rarely tweet my own thoughts, but sometimes just retweeting what others have tweeted can start to help you build your reputation.  I found that within a few weeks people were following me and I was finding more people to follow as well.  I was shocked to see how twitter could help with building a peer network, you might try it! 

    on March 10, 2012, 6:17 p.m. in reply to Charles Thomas
  • Leah MacVie said:

    I've done quite a few things to work on this task over the past week. 

    1. I started a Twitter list to file my Badges contacts into:!/leahmacvie/badges
    2. I also (breifly) attended the Open Badges conference call this week and plan to attend when i can in the future:
    3. I subscribed to a few blogs using Google Reader and I downloaded the app for my Kindle Fire so I can read my subscriptions on the go. 

    Right now, I have a lot of information coming to me. Over the next week, I am going to focus on connecting with these influencers. 

    on Feb. 18, 2012, 8:07 a.m.
  • AJC said:

    The biggest newtwork-expander for me is twitter. I am connecting with wastewater engineers and designers from all over the globe. I can ask direct questions to some of the most distant (socially & globally) people in the world. I even got to connect one-on-one with one of my design heroes - in less than a day! Amazing.

    on Feb. 1, 2012, 1:30 a.m.

    Leah MacVie said:

    I agree Twitter and Facebook are two of the strongest ways to network with a popular influencer. As long as the person you are trying to connect with is managing their own Twitter account, you can easily send them messages, cutting out any potential gatekeeper. 

    on Feb. 18, 2012, 8:13 a.m. in reply to AJC