Personal Learning Network: The 4 Ws

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Everyone knows that two heads are better than one, but what’s better than two heads? With a personal learning network, you get the benefit from a practically infinite number of minds, all working collaboratively to a similar end. That’s why CLOs, managers and those looking to increase their leadership pull at work need a PLN: It gives you the power of new thoughts, ideas and insight from a network of professionals just like you.

What is a Personal Learning Network?

Your personal learning network is a series of personal connections that allow you to further your learning and development on your own time. Sure, you might get training and even leadership development at work, but your PLN goes beyond what’s required: It’s a method by which you grow your knowledge base, resources and skills.

Consider it a meeting of the minds: Through a collaborative environment, you share knowledge with your peers and they do the same. By aligning yourself with the right colleagues and influencers, you reap the benefit of an entire network of leaders.

Why You Need a PLN

A personal learning networking isn’t just “nice to have.” It’s a must if you want to make the most of your professional connections. Personal learning networks have a variety of benefits that make the effort worth your while:

  • PLN’s identify key information based on industry. Wondering about the latest study or tired of sifting through hundreds of articles for the best info? Your PLN is the perfect place to find the most pertinent and timely information about your industry, so you can quickly dial in on the need-to-know stuff.

Where to Use a Personal Learning Network

  • PLN’s offer opportunities to share your influence. Want to be known as an expert in your field? Becoming more active through a PLN can help increase your circle of influence and get your name out there. As you connect with others, they see you as someone active and knowledgeable in the field.
  • PLN’s allow the sharing of trends. The latest training methods and trends are bound to hit the PLN circles first, since that’s where the innovators and influencers are. Your PLN is an invaluable source of ideas and brainstorming, which you can then use in your position at work.

When to Get Started

The best part of growing your PLN is that you probably have the tools on hand. Social networking is the first and foremost way to increase your PLN and connect with others like you: Following innovators on Twitter and connecting on LinkedIn is a great start. Becoming more active in online industry forums and following and commenting on blogs can also help extend your reach, so get moving.

With eLearning trends in 2014 indicating much broader acceptance of corporate eLearning programs, the stakes are higher. This means that developing a proper PLN, by working with other professionals, is crucial. A PLN also means that you reap the benefit of combined decades of experience, ideas and problem-solving. Who wouldn’t want that?