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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51 Responses for this Activity

  • My PLN
    by Erin Gilbart (@egilbart)

    After having worked through the content of this module, I realized that my personal learning network is likely to continue to evolve. I identified some current colleagues that help support me in my faculty role and have included my students as a large group in this regard. I often learn just as much from them more… »

  • Mapping your PLN – Schools of Creative Industries and Online Learning
    by Wesley Butler (@wbutler925)

    When mapping my personal learning network, I focused on the Schools of Creative Industries and Online Learning at my college. My area of focus is teaching methods when shifting to fully online learning, so educators, mainly those who previously taught in person, can meet with like-minded educators to exchange ideas and discuss how to implement more… »

  • Map My PLN: Agile
    by Meyer Tanuan (@meyertanuan)

    For this activity, I focused on the topic of Agile / Scrum methodology to develop software and mapped my PLN.

  • Mapping your PLN
    by Brian Percheson (@bpercheson)

    I work and live in a small, rural First Nations community.  Thanks to social networking and PLN’s, I truly believe that our small Boot Camp group, where we exercise 30 minutes, 3x a week, can inspire our community to promote Diabetes Prevention Awareness. In the mindmap attachment, diabetes prevention is truly a community-minded initiative, which more… »

  • Mapping my PLN for my Project Management class
    by Elizabeth Stanley (@Penny123)

    Mapping my PLN for this class provided a good visual tool for me to better understand my existing contacts as well as potential future connections.  The graduate engineers I teach are inspired by real world examples of corporate projects that have been completed successfully.  In mapping this PLN I was able to see how I more… »

  • Mapping my PLN for Chemistry
    by Diana Spear (@Diana S)

    I mapped my PLN for teaching chemistry. I take for granted that I reach out when I have questions and it was interesting to see the network that’s been established over time. As far as new contacts, I have indicated each with a little green arrow to show some starting points where I hope to more… »

  • PLN Social Issues
    by Karen Burns (@karen.burns)

    For my PLN I chose to consider social issues, mainly in the Simcoe County area.  I felt this was a good topic for me to start with as I teach social service worker students.  What I noted was how many of the people/organizations I want to follow fall into more than one category.  For example, more… »

  • Mapping My PLN
    by Mary Dancey (@Mary Dancey)

    I’ve always recognized that personal and business connections are key to further my knowledge in my field but it wasn’t until I started teaching that I realized just how valuable they are.  Some of my connections are paid by their employers to promote their products and they do it well and I appreciate the knowledge more… »

  • Beginner’s PLN
    by Cynthia Gordon (@cynthia.gordon)

    I feel like I am still very new to education, even though I started studying some of these topics 10 years ago.  This is my beginners map of where my network is going and it shows where I have holes I need to fill.

  • Mapping my PLN
    by Julie White (@JulieSLC)

    Here is the map of the PLN I am creating based on my learnings at the EveryLearner Everywhere summer institute.

    3 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.

    • 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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