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W.r.t the first quote... technically one has to turn one's back in order to learn how to surf! :-)

Re: PLE... I don't see a problem with the acronym per se, though I was surprised to see someone trying to teach it, explicitly using those three letters, to their students. Seems to me it is a useful construct for those of us that want to talk about the concept, but that it doesn't necessarily need to surface in the language of the students themselves - why not just say, here's a bunch of tools to help us get the job done.

My daughter and I were recently shown round a university by a student who proudly proclaimed they used the VLE every day. Ooh, I thought, fancy a student knowing what a VLE is. Unfortunately, when one of the other parents asked her what a VLE was, she replied, "It's a Visual Learning environment or something". Doh!

For info, I recently blogged about the P in PLE - wondering if 'personal' means different things to the PLE and PRE crowds... see http://tinyurl.com/yupaz3 if you are interested.

Michael Smith

An interesting article Martin. I agree with you totally about PLEs and VLEs been in competition with each other, as one of our institutions VLE Pilots (we are developing a moodle based VLE) I am constantly at odds with myself and the institution as to where to ask students to work. Do they use moodle forums and blogs to document and develop their coursework or do they use Web2.0 tools that are external to the institution, which would help us to promote life long learning. As it's course work what happens if Blogger or other tools disappears overnight as D'Arcy suggests (unlikely with Blogger I know but it's a well used tool)? Particularly with my students they like to use the external tools to college but always seem to fall back to the safety net of the VLE is they are confused about anything.

AJ Cann

By adding the arrowhead, the "value judgment" is implicit - "ooh, shiny"! If the diagram were drawn without the arrow, it would be more neutral in terms of value judgments, and more in line with your argument.


Andy - yes, you're quite right, students don't need to know what a PLE is, just how to use some stuff.
Michael - ah, that was a mistake, I meant to say 'not in competition', but now I'm not sure!
AJ - I thought that, initially I had a double headed arrow, but the axis is increasing personalisation so the arrow has to go the way it does.

AJ Cann

Interesting that Typepad shortens the url for this post to "a-ple-vle-con", or are you going to blame Feedburner for that as well?


Now that could be con as in rip-off or con as in convict. I think I may be the latter.
And yes it is all Feedburner's fault.


Just reading this one in conjunction with this one
So it's about the tension between formal and informal, no?
So the arrow should have another pointing in the other direction called something like formalization or institutionalization, no?

The only question than is figuring out who are the inmates and who are the gatekeepers.

Manish Malik

A CLE is not a VLE, its not a PLE.

To see what Cloud Learning Environment is see my post here:



From an upper primary school perspective, it still does depend on the context and skills the children already possess as to whether the VLE and PLE are in competition. In my experience, the children have had very limited experiences and thus I have to guide them and help them create their environment based on what works best for them and me. So, in the end, we have a TLE where we use a Moodle-type system (VLE/LMS)which is complemented by some Web2.0 technologies which are external to the VLE/LMS.

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