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Personal Learning Environments: Concept or Technology?

, Centre for Social Innovation, Austria and University of Turku, Finland ; , Tallinn University, Estonia

IJVPLE Volume 2, Number 4, ISSN 1947-8518 Publisher: IGI Global


This paper reviews and critiques how the notion of PLEs has been conceptualised and discussed in literature so far. It interprets the variability of its interpretations and conceptualisations as the expression of a fundamental contradiction between patterns of activity and digital instrumentation in formal education on one hand, and individual experimentation and experience within the digital realm on the other. It is suggested to place this contradiction in the larger socio-historic context of an ongoing media transformation. Thus, the paper argues against the prevalent tendency to base the conceptualisation of PLEs almost exclusively on Web 2.0 technologies that are currently available or emerging, while underlying patterns of control and responsibility often remain untouched. Instead, it proposes to scrutinise these patterns and to focus educational efforts on supporting adult learners to model their learning activities and potential (personal learning) environments while exploring the digital realm.


Fiedler, S. & Väljataga, T. (2011). Personal Learning Environments: Concept or Technology?. International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 2(4), 1-11. IGI Global. Retrieved July 20, 2019 from .


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