PLE…is it real?


Based on what I’ve read thus far on PLE, this idea is basically about shifting the design of education from focusing on the ‘course of study’ to the learner through the use of more liberal values and non-restrictive tools (such as Web 2.0 tools).

PLE is a beautiful idea. In the formal classroom, every responsible teacher’s dream is for her/his students to be able to understand the core concepts and principles in the course of study and be able to apply that understanding in the wider context of their homes and communities. Collaboration is also encouraged in the formal classroom. Learning management systems are adopted to improve students’ learning of the current content of the course of study.

But is PLE capable of educating a population larger than those that are used in projects and research studies? Is it going to be cheaper to the average person? Can PLE be totally independent of the existing formal education design? Is there a good reason for having some control over what is learnt by our children through the use of courses and LMS?

I may sound like an old schooler and traditionalist but the more I reflect on PLE the more I wonder about its long-term practicality. The majority if not all of us came through the traditional ‘formal’ design of education, and we understand why there is a course of study to be ‘followed’, and why there are curriculums, classrooms and schools.

To me, the formal curriculum, or a course is the reflection of society’s needs and aspiration.  I use the word curriculum here to refer not just to the documents and books but also the experiences and human elements of education. Is PLE a reflection of society’s aspirations?

I believe that the design of education that we have today is the result of evolution of many designs which began from a model that was more-or-less ‘informal’. But with my limited understanding of PLE, I am asking myself whether we are trying to reinvent the wheel – but by using the available modern technology?

Is it possible to have learners without teachers (or courses)? It is responsible to have completely unrestrained learners or learners in uncontrolled environments? Should we be more concerned about the individual learner’s learning needs/wants or the individual learner in the larger context of the common good of society?

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About Vilimaka on cruiselyna
Science teacher educator. Online teaching and learning. Use of web-based technologies in education.

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