Advantages and Issues


PLEs are learner-centric  A PLE is a learning platform designed and directed by individual learners for their own learning goals. As a result, students are afforded greater flexibility and choice which can be a key motivating factor in the process of completing course assignments. (Educause, 2009; Demski, 2012)
PLEs promote autonomy  PLEs suggest learning autonomy and increased self-regulation.  A PLE ““puts students in charge of their own learning processes, challenging them to reflect on the tools and resources that help them learn best.” (Educause, 2009, p.2)
PLEs promote collaboration  PLEs leverage social media tools/Web 2.0 technologies which promote collaboration and sharing (wikis, blogs etc.). PLEs which are created as OERs become resources for other learners.
PLEs enable differentiation  “A personal learning Environment could allow a learner to configure and develop a learning environment to suit and enable their own style of learning.” (Atwell, 2007, p. 3)
PLEs focus on learning goals   PLEs allow learners to connect course goals to their own interests, increasing student motivation. With the implementation of PLEs, learning becomes standards-based and individualised rather than content-based for a one-size-fits-all curriculum. (Atwell, 2007; Richardson, 2012)
PLEs combine formal and informal learning   PLEs allow for anytime anywhere learning (Educause, 2009; Demski, 2012) and acknowledge that learning takes place in different contexts and is not provided only by formal institutions, but is also comprised of informal learning opportunities; “…the idea of a PLE purports to include and bring together all learning, including informal learning, workplace learning, learning from the home, learning driven by problem solving and learning motivated by personal interest as well as learning through engagement in formal educational programmes.” (Atwell, 2007, p. 2)
PLEs promote lifelong learning  PLEs are portable and fluid. “The idea of a Personal Learning Environment recognises that learning is continuing and seeks to provide tools to support that learning.” (Atwell, 2007, p. 2) Digital formats enable learners to continually add to and update their PLEs as their interests change and new technologies/tools become available.
PLEs are cost effective and accessible  PLEs are easily built through the use of OERs or freely accessible resources. Students have “ubiquitous access to technology which allows them to connect to learning communities, information management and communication tools, personal learning networks, information and data, expertise and authoritative sources, online tutoring and guided sources tailored to their needs, knowledge-building tools, and peers with common interests. “ (Demski, 2012)


Attwell, G. (2007). Personal learning environments: The future of eLearning? eLearning Papers, 2(1), Jan.

Demski, J. (2012). This time it’s personal. THE Journal. Retrieved from

Drexler, W. (2010). The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385.

EDUCAUSE. (2009). 7 things you should know about personal learning environments.

Richardson, W. (2012). Preparing students to learn without us. Educational Leadership, 69(5), 22-26. Retrieved from


One Response to Advantages and Issues

  1. Marie-France Hétu says:


    Your title indicates advantages and issues . . . are there any issues you can think about? What about privacy/security issues if PLE’s are used in primary school or junior high? Most PLE forums ask for personal information to register? Has anyone experienced this as an issue or/and found solutions to get around this?

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