Cultivating my personal learning network (#edumooc)

Although my blog may play a central role in my personal learning network, it isn't the only thing that does. I spend a fair bit of time cultivating my network. My network isn't just the people I connect with, it is also the tools I used to connect and learn. And my network isn't strictly virtual, as I connect face-to-face as well. So here are some ways I cultivate my personal learning network:

  • Blogging. I use my blog to share my reflections, but also help me reflect. I'm delighted when I get comments, as knowing that others are reading legitimizes the process -it also reinforces and sometimes even challenges my learning. I currently maintain two blogs ( and, and I'm working on a third mobile blog created and accessible with mobile phones (under construction – with micro entries and more multimedia.
  • Twitter chats. I regularly join in on two different synchronous tweet chats – #lrnchat and #phdchat. The first is a group of learning professionals that meets once per week to discuss learning related topics. The second is a group of Ph.D. students that meet weekly to discuss Ph.D. related topics. Both help me figure out what I think on the weekly topic and allow me to learn from others – I find the tweet chat process sparks creative thinking in me.
  • Twitter hashtags. Unlike chats, hashtags are asynchronous threads that help me filter out all the noise in the twitter world. I primarly follow #mlearning, but at times I'll add others. I'm open to suggestions for other useful hashtags!
  • LinkedIn. Whenever possible, I have connections to my professional contacts in LinkedIn. This allows me to keep track of my professional connects as they move between jobs.
  • Lunch or coffee. I try to have lunch with my personal connacts at least once every six months. This allows for knowledge transfer in less formal settings – and ensure that I stay in connact with people. I make the effort to setup these connections on a regular basis.
  • Classes. I'm currently taking face-to-face classes at Ottawa U. I use these as opportunities for learning and making connections with both my fellow classmates and with the professors.
  • MOOCs. I attend MOOCs to help me spend a little time each week focussing on the weekly content, but also to connect with more like minded people. I virtually meet a lot of people through MOOCs and develop closer connections with a few, who I may collaborate with or participate in regular blog discussions.
  • Outreach. I reach out to authors in areas where I'm interested in researching. This might be to ask for clarification on a statement they made in a publication or just to follow their blogs or twitter feeds. Sometimes this results in meaningful dialog – it even resulted in an academic supervisor for my Masters thesis! You never know until you reach out and try.

That's what I can think of at the moment. I'm sure I'm missing a few things!

How do you cultivate your learning networks?


  1. Interesting to know more about two of the people whose links I have been following most during this EduMOOC event.  Sorry I couldn't join Rebecca this evening. I just tweeted "completed blog post on The Shallows relevant to tonights#edumooc cast (which I heard but could not enter) <a href=""></a>.  
    Really interesting to know that Mary neither blogs nor tweets.  I've been following a lot of her links because they are often good ones, for example the one on Jarche today fit right into today's blog post.  But I tend to be distrustful of links that come without explanation (but not of Mary's now that I know I can rely on her quality).  But I think that's one value of bloggng (or microblogging one link at a time).  As Jarche says, these help you make the implicit explicit.  It's very useful to understand how one person's idea of a link you should follow fits in with the scheme of shared knowledge you're trying to develop.  Once you've established that trust then you feel that you are in each other's PLN.
    You might have noticed that I'm fading a bit into the background this far into EduMOOC.  I'm traveling next week, getting busy preparing for that, and there is another EpCopMOOC I want to follow, so I'm not able to keep up as I was the last few weeks.  That happens in MOOCs, we benefit as we can and move on.
    Rebecca seems to have touched most of the bases in her conception of her PLN.  We discuss this topic in a multiliteracies course I teach, in Week 1: One of my favorite sites from this page is Sue Waters's advice at from which the "PLN Yourself " diagram is taken.  Another of my favorites here is Scott Leslie's nice collection of PLE diagrams:  Here we're going from PLN to PLE which you might say is the spaces in which your PLN interacts.  If you have a look at the spaces in all those diagrams you'll get lots more ideas of where PLNs hang out.
    My PLN revolves around <a href="">Webheads</a&gt;, and a lot of that intersects with Worldbridges, which is where Jeff Lebow hails from.  So if you make Webheads and Worldbridges (and EduMOOC) a part of your PLE, then one important takeaway from hanging out in any or all of those spaces is increase in what you can call your PLN.
    Looking forward to continuing interaction, ^V^

  2. Hi Rebecca,
    I don't blog, though i have a blog which i use for my students during the school year !! But I join some very useful twitter chats like: edchat, and eltchat, and elemchat. I also follow posts on FB and Google+ as well. I also keep following some blogs such as yours!! I join useful group such as webheads, EFL2.0, and many others. Attending online courses and sessions is also very important and I keep attending them regularly !!

    • Hi Ayat,
      I’m not familiar with edchat and eltchat or elemchat. I’ll have to check them out.

    • Ayat,
      Can you tell me who edchat and eltchat are targeted towards? The websites say when they meet, but they don’t do a particularly good job of say who might be interested in joining!

      • Rebecca,
        ELTchat is for English Language Teaching professionals, while edchat is for educators to depate and evaluate solutions to problems. There are many others like edtech and web20. You can find a complete record of nearly all twitter chats in Cybrary Man's Educational websites(It's a great internet Catalogue of resources for teachers, students, and parents). Here's the link to the twitter chats page :
        Good Luck!! 

  3. Rebecca, 
    I do not blog, nor am I very good at twitter, but i am right with you on this journey. Good to follow your thinking!

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