Professional Learning Network Plan

I apparently like to learn and connect with people, a lot, if the image at the bottom of this post says anything. I knew I was connected to a diverse set of learning resources already, but until I starting mapping it all out using the iPad app iThoughtsHD ( and I don’t get along), I had no idea how big of a network I had already built.

How did this large network get built? I joined the library profession in 2006, when I started my MLS work, just as social media was exploding and people were connecting online like never before. I learned to use the tools available and that became available during my studies and as I started work in a library system office, first as tech support, and then as the technology library (current job). I dabbled and still dabble in tech support, training, tech trending, learning, sharing, teaching, answering questions, asking questions, and keeping up. I have used this network of people and places to connect with others sharing my interests and passions, and also to connect with others of different backgrounds. That’s how I became exposed to the Ed Tech community. I expanded my learning network to ed tech folk, and long story short, those connections greatly influenced my decision to pursue this degree in education technology!

Another way this network was built was by learning from and harvesting resources from those I connected with. Many of my closest friends in the library profession started with a connection in one of the network’s areas, particularly with Twitter. We’d connect online through a network, meet once or twice in person at a conference, and the rest of the communication would take place through these networks and through other tools. I know Twitter is a tool that not everyone uses or gets, but for me, it’s worked, to connect with librarians across geographical and time zone boundaries.

Click on the image to zoom in full-size on the plan.

Items with blue arrows are the resources I utilize the most. Resources in yellow are ones I hope to add to my learning plan. The three marked in Orange (Facebook, Facebook Places, and LinkedIn), are ones I would love to give up, but unfortunately, that’s not possible at this time. Two tools/sites/ideas that did not make the map but that I am planning to investigate is the MOOC, a Massive Open Online Course and the Scoop.It project/website. These look very useful and worth further exploration.

I’ve attempted to divide the plan up by topics, including ways I learn, who I learn from, where I share and learn, tools I use to share and learn, influential organizations and events, and places I reflect.

The division of all these tools wasn’t originally purposeful or planned, but as I look at the map over all, I realize it captures the powerful essence of a personal learning plan. You need to have tools to share AND learn, places to reflect AND read, places to share AND learn, people to learn from AND share with, and supportive organizations. Learning is reciprocal, not one-way anymore.

In the future, I plan to reflect further on the importance of a learning plan and what the purpose of these different identified areas are.

This was definitely a useful project that provides further insight into how learning happens and should happen.