Cultivating a Personal Learning Network that Leads to Professional Change



Professional development with today’s technologies requires a shift from a priori organizational outcomes, which focus more on programs and problem solving to one that focuses more on people and problem setting. In order to achieve sustainable professional learning, the reflective practitioner must first learn how to recognize the distributed and relational elements of a personal learning network (PLN) that is in essence a webbed effect of prior interactions with people, material, ideas, and cognitive development. Little research currently exists relating the distributed nature of learning, specifically the role of materiality in the workplace and the fundamental assumptions of what constitutes professional learning. A multiple case study will explore how English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) educators at three different Mexican universities interact within a PLN in terms of social, material, ideational, and cognitive interactions. Utilizing a qualitative research design, data will be collected using a pre- and post-survey, public websites, focus groups, and interviews. A cross-case analysis will be used to recognize divergent and convergent patterns between the PLN as the unit of analysis and the extraneous contextual data that will make up the full description of the case. The findings show that…