Employability

5. Creating a Personal Learning Network

Using a Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN) provides opportunities to collaborate and share information, continually develop your skills and remain competitive in the job market. 

What is a PLN?

A Personal/Professional Learning Network (PLN) is an informal learning network that uses social media to help you connect with peers and future colleagues. It can be described as “a situation where nobody knows everything, everyone knows something, and what any given member knows is accessible to any other member upon request on an ad hoc basis” (Jenkins, 2006). 

 Creating a PLN (YouTube, 1m39s)

How to build and grow your Personal Learning Network

  • Spend 10 to 20 minutes a day interacting with your peers
  • Create a Twitter account and follow peers within your area of interest, more information will be available in the forthcoming social media module
  • Join and follow groups in LinkedIn and Facebook based on your professional interests
  • Start following relevant blogs, podcasts and YouTube channels to engage with peers

One popular tool that you can use to build a PLN is Twitter.

Twitter

Having a Twitter account and using it regularly will allow you to connect with peers. You can create networks by responding with questions to recent journal articles or online posts allowing engagement with the author or other commentators.

 
Popular hashtags to engage with peers
# unique tweets
per hour
hashtag exposure
per hour
#technology 317 0.2M
#datascience 50 80.3K
#nursing 83 6.4K
#chemjobs 4 0.3K
Mindful hashtag construction

If you are using Twitter and want to create a hashtag based on your professional interests make sure you choose the hashtag carefully. An example of an ambiguous hashtag is #nowthatchersdead. Twitter users interpreted this in a number of ways, and it resulted in a viral rumor spreading about Cher's death. It can be interpeted as either:

  • Now Thatcher Is Dead
  • Now That Cher Is Dead

Read Why build personal learning networks?  Reflect on how a PLN could keep you up to date with current events within your area of interest, connect with peers and enhance your employability.