As you explore Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) in greater depth, you will want to think about how you can use digital technologies to breathe new life into your professional growth and better support your teaching. A helpful approach is to map your own PLN.

This activity asks you to consider and then represent who belongs to your PLN.

To map your PLN, use a tool such as Google Draw, Coggle, or even PowerPoint (see more Visual Organizer Tools in the Extend Toolkit), to create a visual diagram of the people, organizations, collectives, and others who are in your network. If creating a visual diagram presents a barrier for you, you can describe your PLN by creating an audio, video, or written reflection. Whatever the format, be prepared to upload your work or provide a URL to its location in your response to this activity.

  • Identify a focus of your PLN. It could be your academic discipline or professional area, a topic on which you’ve already done some research or work, or a learning interest that you’re passionate about.
  • Place your topic somewhere on your map. (You might put it in the central node, but remember, you, actually, are the centre of your learning network!)
  • Identify a few people who already belong to your network as it relates to your interest or topic. These will be your nodes. They might be colleagues, influential educators, mentors, people you’ve met at conferences or events, organizations, and so on. Then think of a few more nodes that you may not yet know personally but who you would like to include in your network. Who are the noted scholars or experts in your area of interest that you might follow?
  • Map the nodes (names) that you’ve identified onto your diagram. (Using one of the mapping tools mentioned above will allow you to move nodes around easily without having to redraw the connections.) Your diagram should include at least 10 nodes by name (i.e., specific individuals and organizations).
  • Add details about how you interact with each of the nodes in your PLN. Review your map and rearrange the design as you see patterns emerge. For example, you might indicate any of the following in the design of your diagram (e.g., by grouping, or by using different colours, symbols, or text labels):
    • Their role (e.g., educator, science researcher, blogger).
    • Their role in your network (e.g., collaborator, mentor, provocateur, consultant).
    • The relative weight of the connection (e.g., strong tie, weak tie).
    • The reciprocity of the connection (e.g., one-way, dialogue).
    • The technologies you use to connect to your network.
    • The relationships between the different nodes (i.e., identify clusters of nodes who may interact).
    • Anything else that helps to illustrate your interactions—past, present, or future—with your network.

Export your diagram to an image format and upload it or enter a link in your response to the Mapping Your PLN activity.

As evidence of completion, please plan to enter the web address for your response in the Collaborator badge submission form.

This activity is part of the Map Your PLN section of the Collaborator Module.

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65 Responses for this Activity

  • Mapping my PLN
    by Gitanjali Shanbhag (@gshanbhag)

    This was a great exercise for me as I was finally able to put my “go-to” people on a concept map. Since I am new in my role, I still need to develop a network of external collaborators (external to the University) but my goal is to be able to use social media platforms (maybe more… »

  • MY PLN Map
    by Victoria Workman (@Victoria Workman)

    For this Personal Learning Network map, I created the graphic in PowerPoint.  The four quadrants are the main networking strategies and the pink arrows are the networking themes for my personal development interests.  In red, I have highlighted the key individuals or groups where I have only a small connection and wish to grow.  The more… »

  • Mapping your PLN
    by Wendy Tseng (


  • My PLN
    by Martin Dupuis (@Martin Dupuis)

    This is a great exercise to move you to a more focused and proactive campaign of learning.

  • Mapping Your PLN Activity
    by John Colling (@johncolling)

    Mapping Your PLN Activity – John Colling

  • Mapping my PLN
    by Mary Jayne (MJ) Brown (@MJ Brown)

    I am looking forward to adding to my PLN.  This is a start and I am still very green at this.

  • MY PLN
    by Melissa Sherrer (@MSherrerRN)

    Please see the attached Miro Board which illustrates my current PLN. The new additions have stars.

  • Mapping my PLN
    by Sheryl Third (@Sheryl)

    This activity allowed me to see that I actually have a string PLN. I enjoyed mapping this on a PADLET I am active on social media. All my  accounts are sources of my PLN. My accounts are linked and this is where I get up to date resources and connections to the inducstry LinkedIN Twitter more… »

  • Mapping my PLN
    by Jenn Harren (@j_harren)

    This was a great activity to visually see my PLN and really reflect on who/what/where my PLN is located.

  • My Simulation PLN
    by Rachel Boorsma (@Rachel Boorsma)

    *I did not use last names on here as I don’t have permission from anyone to share their names I made this PLN based on Simulations, as this is something that I spend a lot of time in during my support role, and am hoping to integrate into my teaching role. As I mapped people, more… »

    4 Resources for this Activity

      shared by Alan Levine (@cogdogblog)

      A comprehensive review site of hundreds of mind-mapping software plus a blog full of related articles.

    • PLN Mapping
      shared by Lori Strauss (@lstrauss)

      I often reflect on the value I add as I enter my winter years in teaching this program. Doing this exercise helped me see the value of the seasoned educator in the connections and quick access to resources to support the students, and their learning. Through the ever building network of friends, colleagues, community of more… »

    • Toddler Learning Network
      shared by Christopher Rowe (@ChristopherRowe)

      While my network is still young… it’s growing and maturing. I’ve now had an opportunity to connect with some more people and to analyze the nature of those connections. I have a lot of work to do here to grow the network and get more engaged… but it’s a start.

    • Visual Organizing Tools (Extend Toolkit)
      shared by Alan Levine (@cogdogblog)

      Find recommended tools for creating mind maps

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    One Response to “Mapping your PLN”

    1. Mary Jayne (MJ) Brown

      This is a very interesting experience (experiment). It is good to have a visual of our connections and collaborations in our PLN. I am looking forward to adding more!


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