Building and Using a Personal/Professional Learning Network with Social Media


  • Tamra Davis Illinois State University


Social media, technology, learning networks, PLN, networking, professional development


“To have thousands of fellow minds in your pocket via a mobile device is to have an immensely unfair advantage over humans who think alone” (K. Honeycutt, personal communication, August 26, 2012). A strong personal/professional learning network (PLN)  provides an advantage for learners and educators not available to those who work alone. Using a mixed-methods, cross-sectional survey research method, this study was designed to be the first in a series of research projects to investigate how educators are using the framework of a PLN to support and enhance classrooms to meet the needs of the learners. Specifically, this study addresses the definition of a PLN, positions social media as one avenue in building a PLN, and describes how educators are using a PLN in the educational environment. A PLN is a self-selected network of professionals from various occupational fields whose members hold common interests with the intent of sharing ideas and resources, collaborating, and providing support with the purpose of enhancing personal and professional learning. Educators use a variety of social media platforms as part of a PLN and a larger Personal Learning environment (PLE). The most common theme was the use of the PLN to enhance individual educator knowledge through asking questions and seeking new resources for classroom use. Educators report the use of the PLN to seek professional development that is relevant to their individual classrooms and situations. Understanding how a PLN within a larger PLE can enhance the classroom experience for both teachers and students is important.


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How to Cite

Davis , T. (2013). Building and Using a Personal/Professional Learning Network with Social Media. Journal of Research In Business Education, 55(1), 1-13.

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