Tom Whitby in his Edutopia blog says that there are certain barriers to the mass adoption of Professional Learning Networks (PLNs) including the following three:
“There are three deterrents to educators using PLNs as a tool for learning and professional development (PD):
- The PLN is a mindset, not the outcome of a workshop or the PD offered annually by many school districts. It is not a one-shot fix.
- Successful users of PLNs overwhelm the uninitiated with techno-babble.
- It requires, at least at first, digital literacy beyond a Google search.”
Whitby is focusing here on three significant factors but for me the biggest barrier facing teachers is their engagement and commitment to the concept. For me, it is an exciting, non-threatening, flexible means of meeting my professional needs on my terms! I can choose to participate in a discussion or simply absorb the many facets of the debate. I can choose to initiate a topic or to seek help from the collective wisdom of the network. Ultimately I am in control and for this reason an MLN (My Learning Network) is as powerful or passive as I want it to be!