, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 359–364

Personal Learning Environments: A Solution for Self-Directed Learners

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11528-016-0074-z

Cite this article as:
Haworth, R. TechTrends (2016) 60: 359. doi:10.1007/s11528-016-0074-z


In this paper I discuss personal learning environments and their diverse benefits, uses, and implications for life-long learning. Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) are Web 2.0 and social media technologies that enable individual learners the ability to manage their own learning. Self-directed learning is explored as a foundation for the use of PLEs. I outline the optimal criteria for social media tools to be used as PLEs: they must be easy to use, open, dynamic, and offer collaboration options. I discuss individual PLE tools with examples and possible uses. I list implications for educators and individual learners. I conclude the discussion with ideas for future study of PLEs in formal and informal learning.


Autodidactic Heutagogy Personal learning environments PLE Self-directed learning SDL SymbalooEDU Social media Web 2.0 

Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications & Technology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instructional Design Department, Idaho Falls Center for Higher EducationUniversity of IdahoIdaho FallsUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationIdaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA

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