Developing a framework for research on Personal Learning Environments
Each learner is unique and will have unique learning experiences. What motivates learning, what triggers curiosity, and what tools might enhance learning will be different for different learners.
This makes the design of a Personal Learning Environment that serves as an aid to each possible learner, a challenge. The design of learning experiences is a complex matter and involves not only using effective technologies and applying cognitive triggers, but there is a need to also design for the affective dimension of human experiences: the impressions, feelings and interactions that a learner might or could have with the online content, with others, and with technology. Our research in the design and development of a Personal Learning Environment led us to the development of a research and design framework that encompasses the full process cycle, from inception of the PLE idea, research of suitable tools to incorporate in it, and the recommendation of a prototype after educational research and evaluation of learner experiences with the learning environment. The research highlights tools suggested by ‘super-users’, motivational factors in connectivist learning, and competencies required to operate in such a learning environment.