People in the contemporary world are surrounded by technology, which has simplified their lives, especially in the field of communication as people can now communicate with others around the globe and share meaningful information and ideas. Undoubtedly, technological advancement, especially the invention of computers and the Internet, has transformed the way people communicate and exchange useful information in this modern world and it will unquestionably continue to do so in the future. The Internet has facilitated the success of personal learning networks (PLN). PLN underscores the entire assortment of people that one engages and interchanges meaningful information, which can be useful in building a successful career or a profession (Richardson, 2011). Although even before the invention of computers and the Internet personal learning network was available, the exchange of information was mainly through family members, close friends, teachers, and people perceived to be professionals in different fields. The process was somehow tedious and restricted to some extent as meeting people face-to-face and forming relationships takes time. However, the emergence of the Internet has made it easier and more effective for people to connect with others around the globe and share information.
The emergence of online social media and its contribution to personal learning network
Creating a personal learning network has become easy courtesy of the availability and development of several web technologies, which have put an end to geographical barriers, thus making connections with people less tedious. One of these web technologies is the social networking platform, which many Internet users access daily as compared to other search engines. For instance, Facebook is one of the dominant online social networks, which have created massive traffic flows online. This aspect means that online social media has become more predominant and useful in connecting people around the globe and hence playing a crucial role in the personal learning networks, which involves the use of social relationships for learning purposes.
Developing my own personal learning network
As a person interested in being successful in the future, I have realized that having relevant information is crucial if my dream is to come true. Information is one of the most important aspects of my learning and I have to seek relevant information that is of benefit to me in different areas. However, despite the fact that I have many professionals and are experts in their respective fields of interest and they can offer meaningful advice to propel me in the right direction, I now realize that knowing these professionals and experts is not enough. I need more connections to like-minded people across the globe so that I can learn more from them.
To my advantage, the need for social interaction for purposes of keeping in touch with other people not only locally, but also internationally, has led to the creation of social media platforms such as Facebook, which has many followers across the globe interested in different subjects fields. This aspect is a big opportunity for me as Facebook offers me an opportunity to connect with people who are willing to share their experiences and knowledge. In a bid to create my own useful and successful PLN, I have to get the right kind of people to facilitate my learning through meaningful interactions. This entails keeping the spirit of collaboration in mind and showing to like-minded Facebook users that I too have relevant information to offer. Being interested in the field of information science, my profile at Facebook will include information regarding my age and the level of education that I have attained. This element will make professionals with such an education level look at my profile and be interested in interacting with me with the main objective of creating authentic PLN and sharing information so that we can grow together in our respective fields.
The second part of creating my own PLN is to connect with various groups and people in a bid to expand my learning. This process is important, as it will determine if I will get the right kind of information that I desire as there are many groups and people available online and some of them offer irrelevant information. Through careful selection, I choose the following groups and people to add to my PLN. Friends of Hogan library, Rosemary Medlock, the Library of Congress, librarians for scholarly communication, and librarians against corruption. Adding these groups to my PLN is very important, as I will learn a lot from the members who are from different parts of the world as well as contribute to different topics of interest to the members.
The reason why I chose friends of the Hogan library group is that the group comprises librarians and people aspiring to be librarians. The administrator of this group seems to come up with different topics relating to the field of librarianship, which gives an opportunity for members to share whatever ideas they may have on the topic and give advice on the way forward. Hence, connecting with this group will aid me in learning more and acquiring the required knowledge to be a better decision-maker in the future.
Selecting Rosemary Medlock is also advantageous to my PLN as she is a chief librarian in a private university. This aspect gives the feeling that she has the insight and understanding of the current trends in the field and she can offer advice on the administrative duties of a librarian in a private university. Therefore, by connecting with her, she can offer very useful information. Having such information will help my network grow, as other interested people will see that I can be a source of reliable and up-to-date information.
The Library of Congress is one of the biggest libraries in the world, which means that the world’s renowned information science experts and professionals can be found in this group. This aspect implies that this group comprises intellectuals not only from the library of congress but also from different parts of the world who have experience and can offer reliable info that I may not get from any other source. The group also offers current technological advancement information in relation to library management systems. Thus, connecting with such a group offers many avenues for learning and I can share this information with other people within my PLN.
Another group on Facebook that I have selected is Librarians for scholarly communication. I selected this group because it also comprises librarians from around the globe who share their experiences on different issues relating to librarianship. Connecting globally with people who have knowledge in technology and e-library among other library managerial duties is very critical in learning as it will give me an opportunity to frequently ask pertinent questions and get answers from different members of the group.
Corruption is a vice that has greatly affected society and it has contributed to the offering of poor services in libraries. This aspect is the compelling force behind my choice of ‘librarians against corruption group’, which covers people that have seen the negative impacts of corruption in libraries. This group will educate me on how I can deal with corruption and advise other people on the importance of shunning corruption for better and more effective service delivery in libraries around the globe.
Facebook is a free-to-access social media platform that can be accessed at any time as long as one is connected to the Internet. This aspect makes interaction with other people easily, and thus by browsing the Facebook website over the Internet is easy for me to find these groups of people with the desire to learn more and share the information that they possess through social media. After finding them, I send a request for acceptance and I add them to my PLN.
A personal learning network is very important as it plays a critical role in determining the possibility of an individual achieving his or her goals in the future, solving problems, and finding appropriate support when the need arises. Over the past years, networking has become a key factor in supporting an individual’s growth and learning as it helps one to find and connect with other like-minded individuals in different groups and places. The best aspect of connecting with people online is that an individual is responsible for his or her own learning and development.
Richardson, W. (2011). Personal learning networks: using the power of connections to transform education. Bloomington, IN: Solution tree, Inc.