This presentation is from the 2014 USDLA National Conference.
In today's rapidly changing world, it is more important than ever that each of us becomes a life-long learner and that we help the learners we work with to follow that path. While some environments still provide active professional development plans, others do not. If an environment does provide an active professional development plan, too often it will focus on keeping skills needed for your current position up-to-date rather than increasing or enhancing your skills to expand your future opportunities. This issue is compounded in the many environments where active development plans are not offered; therefore, much of the development falls to you. One way to prepare yourself for whatever comes your way is by developing and nurturing your own Personal Learning Environment (PLE).
While the definition of a PLE may not be firmly established, at this point the focus is learner-centric and it provides ways for the learners to control and manage their own learning. A PLE is comprised of all of the tools, processes (formal and informal), and methods that individual learners use to expand their knowledge, skills and competencies. This would include, among other things, Web 2.0 applications, LMS, books, and people they connect with personally or professionally.