R. Torres Kompen1, P. Edirisingha2

1i2CAT - Citilab (SPAIN)
2Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester (UNITED KINGDOM)
The presentation shows the preliminary results of a pilot study, focused on the students’ experience of developing Web 2.0-based Personal Learning Environments, as part of the on-going research at the i2CAT Foundation – Citilab - Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain) and at the University of Leicester (UK), entitled PELICANS (Personal E-Learning in Community And Networking Spaces). This study is based on a previously proposed framework, which outlines four different approaches for using Web 2.0 tools and applications for helping university undergraduate students to manage formal and informal learning, by developing personal learning environments (PLEs).

The concept of PLEs and their advantages for learning is based on the idea that the majority of current students in higher education – also referred to as “NetGen learners” -are familiar with Web 2.0 tools and services, and that they are competent and knowledgeable enough to use them for learning. This popular wisdom is, however, being questioned (e.g., Selwyn, 2008; Mason and Rennie, 2008, Trinder et al, 2008; Cigognini et al, 2008), as these technologies have been developed outside education, mainly for informal networking, and creating /sharing media files for entertainment and leisure. We propose that systematically developed frameworks and guidelines can help NetGen learners to use Web 2.0 tools for formal learning, as the preliminary results obtained in this study show.

The presentation will present the results obtained so far, and show how a group of undergraduates were introduced to Web 2.0 tools and guided in using them to develop their own PLEs; discuss obstacles and issues surrounding the development of PLEs and students engagement with them; and show some evidence of learning and development of skills, organisation and management of content, and creation and strenghtening of social networks, as a result of the students’ learning experiences from building PLEs.

Attwell, G. (2009) The social impact of personal learning environments. Chapter 9 in Connected Minds, Emerging Cultures: Cybercultures in Online Learning (pp. 119-137), Information Age Publishing,
Cigognini, M.E., Pettenati, Paoletti, G., and Edirisingha, P. (2008). Guiding Learners to become knowledgeable learners 2.0, Proceedings of the EDEN 2008 Annual Conference, 11 – 14 June, 2008, Lisbon, Portugal.
Mason, R., and Rennie, F. (2008). E-Learning and Social Networking Handbook-Resources for Higher Education. London: Routledge.
Torres, R., Edirisingha, P., Mobbs, R. Building Web 2.0-based Personal Learning Environments – a conceptual framework. EDEN Research Workshop 2008, Paris, France.
Trinder, K., Guiller, J., and Margarayan, A, Littlejohn, A., and Nicol, D (2008). Learning from digital natives: bridging formal and informal learning, York: The Higher Education Academy. Retrieved online 19 Dec 2008 at: http://www.academy.gcal.ac.uk/ldn/LDNFinalReport.pdf
Selwyn, N. (Ed), Education 2.0? Designing the web for teaching and learning: A Commentary by the Technology Enhanced Learning phase of the Teaching and Learning Research Programme. Retrieved online 19 Dec 2008 at: http://www.tlrp.org/tel/files/2008/11/tel_comm_final.pdf
keywords: web 2, 0, ple, learning.