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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19 Responses for this Activity

  • My PLN
    by Dorina Grossu (@dgrossu)

    My areas of professional interest are quite large, therefore, there are 4 distinct areas as follows: Conestoga College with the wonderful people who have been helping me to grow as a professional. ResearchGate is a good resource where I collaborate with many wonderful researchers. Within my organization, we partnered with PeopleCert and there are quite more… »

  • Tina’s Mapping My PLN Activity
    by Martina Kolodzey (@Tiniko)

    For my topic, I chose Teaching ESL online.  The two main nodes are LearnIT2Teach and Conestoga College.  The people I have listed in my nodes are people I admire and find have a wealth of information and I know they can help me find the information I need to know.  Some I follow on twitter, more… »

  • SFischer Mapping my PLN
    by Sarah Fischer (@sfischer)

    I chose to complete this activity using the Fruit and Vegetable Growing area of interest within my PLN. I identified different connection types based on colour (with the brighter teal being additional connections made as I completed the activity!). Larger fonts indicate a deeper connection, while the different font types indicate a collaborative, influential, or more… »

  • Vasudevan Padmanabhan – Mapping your PLN
    by VASUDEVAN PADMANABHAN (@vasus7)

    Mapping the Network was a rewarding experience. For the first time I looked at my connection with the focus on what they can do for delivering a specific subject. My Contacts were eager to participate and help me develop my teaching skills

  • Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN – Accompanying Document
    by Brian Nuttall (@bnuttall)

    Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN – Accompanying Document

  • Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN
    by Brian Nuttall (@bnuttall)

    Collaborative – Mapping Your PLN

  • Mapping my PLN – Take 3
    by Connie Palmer (@ConniePalmer)

    I had never realized that my professional contacts on LinkedIn (my PLN) fell into very distinct categories based on my career path and professional interests. My first map was a mess, my second map started to make some sense and my third draft clearly demonstrates that I follow/interact with people and organizations that follow under more… »

  • PLN Mapping
    by Stephanie Müller (@smuller)

    Loved this activity! A great way to organize your resources.

  • Diana Degan Mapping My PLN
    by Diana Degan (@dianadegan)

    I used a mind map to create my PLN. I plopped me in the middle teaching Marketing Communications courses which include Marketing and Public Relations. With that, I am blended my professional and my teaching lives and networks nicely. I have my industry associations in the top left-hand corner with hundreds more contacts that spill more… »

  • My Personal Learning Network -Alissa Bigelow
    by Alissa Bigelow (@alissabigelow)

    I use Twitter as a platform to expand my PLN. I have connected with many like-minded and influential educators to list in one diagram but I’ve outlined my most important in this creation.

    2 Resources for this Activity

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