Six Signs You Should Start a Personal Learning Network

So you may be asking, what is a PLN? A PLN or Personal Learning Network is an incredibly easy way to get information about the latest technologies, tools, tips, and philosophy’s in your Industry from a group of like and unlike-minded colleagues, whether it is at your local coffee shop get together, via social media, social media groups, blogs, magazines, Industry meet-ups (think ATD, SHRM) and many other ways that we will discuss in this blog.  Download PDF>> Tools and Ideas to Start Your Own Learning Network.

Navis-Blog-PLN1        No Time

When someone asks you about the latest trend in learning – say 6 principles of better training – you say “Oh, I don’t have time to read or keep up and don’t have a clue.” This person then begins to quote some amazing facts and you think, great, I can incorporate that tidbit into my next project.

Your call to action: PLN TIP 1 – Ask that person how they learned out about this trend? The answer may surprise you. They may say during a coffee break I read a great LINKEDIN article by Mr. Amazing. Okay, you think, I can sign up for LINKEDIN or go back and revisit my account (if you are not active). The time spent can be as little as 10 minutes! You DO have 10 minutes!

Go ahead and get started.

2      Breakfast only for the Hungry

Breakfast is a great time to feed your body and soul! Use just 15 minutes while sipping your favorite morning beverage to work on your PLN.

Your call to action: PLN TIP 2 – Breakfast can be used to begin your PLN, how? To take advantage of the quiet morning wake up time, use your smartphone, tablet or PC and search for “tips for [my industry]. “ The top 10 results will usually pop and catch your interest. You can quickly review these over your coffee and breakfast, and bookmark or save them for later review. Just think, in one minute you learned something from a cool headline, something to think about on your commute to work or something to chat with others about, or ask if they read this article(s). If you want to listen, try out a cool podcast.

3       Co-workers are always Quoting Industry Factoids

Your co-workers quote factoids and tips like gamification, video learning, and learning difficult technical topics by using real people actors… Okay, you like this information and think hmmm, I wish I knew more. This is like the first sign above but…

Your call to action: PLN TIP 3 –– Want to learn in a minute, sign up for Twitter! It takes 5 minutes, and you do not have to tweet, you can just follow these topics and industry leaders. Truly this is one minute learning at 140 characters a pop. You can favorite some of these quick conversations to review later. Note: At the end of the blog we will show you how to get started with these tips.

4      I Have Not Connected with Industry Colleagues in Months or Years

If you find yourself in a situation where you haven’t met anyone new in your industry over the past 6 months or year(s), then you need to get your PLN in shape.

Your call to action: PLN TIP 4 – To get started meeting new colleagues, you can attend local association meetings, or you can ask a LinkedIn colleague (a local colleague you know) if they want to visit your office and meet your colleagues and vice-versa so that you can meet their co-workers. This is an easy way to quickly meet-up and learn from others, see new surroundings, learn from their projects and build connections. As for associations, you can look up your local SHRM or ATD chapters and meetings. The cost is generally a low one time cost for the year and you can take advantage of the meetings and current topics by industry leaders, and vendors where you can learn about new tools or get some assistance with your projects. You can also volunteer for an organization you admire such as FIRST.ORG which may take a bit of time but the rewards of assisting can’t be measured. For a virtual meeting, you can join Tweet Chats – BENEFIT – you can be on your couch and view the conversations or participate when you feel comfortable. Within your office you can connect trying a lunch roulette, or (if available) chat on Yammer or HipChat tools for internal global conversations. The best part of all of these PLN options is connecting.

5       You want to Learn Something New each Day

You want to keep learning and growing personally and professionally. You lead a busy life and it seems again that there is no time, but truly there is time to learn even if a few minutes a day.

Your call to action: PLN TIP 5 – Read blog posts! Browsing for interesting topics on-line is quick and easy. Follow your Industry leaders on Twitter and LinkedIn all while sipping your coffee or within your evening “couch sitting” routine. How about joining Pinterest? Pinterest is great if you are visual learner so many graphically appealing ideas on your industry or hobbies. Just pin what you like and review later and many pins lead to blog posts. YouTube is great to learn anything from carving a turkey, to fixing a printer, to sketch noting. Want to learn more about sketch notes? Aha, am I getting you curious now? Have you watched a TedTalk? Sit back and watch a leader discuss anything from how to use your posture before a big meeting to giving a value added presentation and thousands of other great topics!

6     You do not know what you do not know

Okay, so you do not know what you do not know. I totally understand because there is so much to learn and so many ways to do it that is may seem overwhelming. Beginning a PLN is about taking baby steps to learn about a topic. When you are happy with that topic, add another one and so on.

Your call to action: PLN TIP 6 – To know what you do not know – get started with your PLN.

Download PDF>> Tools and Ideas to Start Your Own Learning Network.

Now that you know more about PLNs / Personal Learning Networks go ahead and get started on your PLN.

Want to discuss this further, connect Navis Learning on LinkedIn or Twitter or via our NAVIS LEARNING Web site.

Andrea Lodato, Author

Andrea Lodato is a Master Instructional Designer at Navis Learning. She is an accomplished technical resource, skilled at designing and developing all modalities of training from instructor led and virtual instructor-led training (VILT) through e-learning and performance support.