August 04, 2008

The KEY Ingredient for a PPLN

'PPLN'? For me, there is no distinction between a personal learning network and a professional learning network since there is so much overlap, hence the PPLN (Personal/Professional Learning Network). I've read many posts on the subject, some describing how to create one, others on how to nuture one, and yet others on the characteristics. What I have yet to run across is the KEY ingredient that keeps one invested in their own PPLN.

This 'aha' moment came to me at 1:30 a.m. as I awoke from a sleep induced by literally crashing into bed at 4:30 p.m. yesterday. As I lay tossing and turning, wondering how long the batteries on my hand-held Solitaire game would last, my mind began to think of all the things I needed to accomplish this week. I then toyed with the idea of going into the office/loft and check out the latest on Twitter...and then it 'hit' me -- my PPLN doesn't only provide me with answers when I encounter problems, it doesn't only provide me a technical support system (much needed in rural New England), it isn't only about the informal relationships, what it's REALLY about -- what keeps me invested in my PPLN -- is that it makes me 'reach', it makes me try things and do things I might not otherwise try/do, it 'forces the envelope' so to speak.

I've joined a number of PPLNs over the past year and I was thinking about what made me stay in some and leave others. Those in which I stayed all had the same KEY ingredient -- they kept me engaged, they made me look at situations from different perspectives. I was not just a passive, receptive learner in these PPLNs, but rather I took the knowledge shared, the suggestions, the URLs, and with the support I knew I could rely on, I ventured forth.

What keeps YOU invested in a PPLN?


Jennifer Carrier Dorman said...

I am in total agreement; my PLN is really a PPLN. My husband often asks me why I'm "working" all the time . . . I have to keep explaining to him that it's ceases to be work when you love it! I rely on my PPLN to process what I learn, to uncover new strategies and tools, to discuss current events, and to be creative. When I can't tap into my network I feel lost. My PPLN ignites my creativity and sustains my professional energy.