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  • Writer's pictureEric Knitel

Adding New PLNs to an Existing Learning Network

How do you figure out what resources to use in your professional learning network?

Educators build PLNs by becoming a member of online groups, subscribing to podcasts, following educational bloggers, and joining news feeds. PLNs offer immediate links to thousands of experts sharing information and knowledge. The task of adult learning and development is reshaped and supported through PLNs (Trust, 2012).  Educators who build and participate in PLNs can advance and succeed in a challenging and constantly changing workplace setting by sharing and exchanging ideas with concordant professionals (Trust, 2012). Another benefit to employing a PLN is the capacity of these networks to help educators constantly retrieve, assess, and utilize emerging online web-based tools that continual Google searches cannot provide (Russo & Siko, 2018). 

PLN Expansion Plan 

The chart below shows the variety of professional learning network connections that are part of the current list of resources comprising the Knitel PLN. When examining the directory and assessing those resources there appear to be gaps in the learning requirements for the PLN. Instructional design is an area that needs expansion, and three new resources emerge as definitive additions to the network. Adding these specific sites, organizations, and blogs help achieve the goal of understanding instructional design and learning theory in a deeper, more expansive manner. 

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eLearning Designer’s Academy 

The first resource to add into this PLN is the eLearning Designer’s Academy. This website includes a community forum and discussion board, an instructional design & eLearning development knowledge base, a job and opportunities listing, eLearning examples and inspiration, and a feedback and submission forum for current projects. Additionally, there are monthly eLearning challenges to encourage growth and advancement within the field (eLearning Designer’s Academy, 2024). The plan is to join the community and become a member of this free site to access all the useful and unique information and shared expertise available. 

ATD (Association for Talent Development) 

Another resource that needs to be included in the PLN is ATD (Association for Talent Development). This organization is a membership website that helps professionals forge meaningful connections, stay informed and inspired, access resources that elevate, provide ongoing professional development, drive the learning development industry forward, and provide a supportive and thriving community of learning development professionals (ATD, 2024). The expansion plan steps for this resource are to sign up for membership through the website, follow the ATD blog, and leverage the learning community for career advancement. 

The Learning Guild 

The third and final resource that needs inclusion into the existing PLN is The Learning Guild. This organization provides several valuable elements. The community is made up of learning professionals dedicated to designing, developing, and advancing their work through valuable discussions and connections. The site itself is a place where eLearning professionals can share their knowledge, expertise, and ideas to build a better industry. This includes feeding professional passion by empowering the community to create better learning experiences through accessible resources that help advance the industry by working together (The Learning Guild, 2024). The plan for this resource is to join the community through the website, follow the blog, and access the resources and learning opportunities provided. 


Community & Resources for Learning Professionals. The Learning Guild. (2024). / 

Clark, G., Nowack, K., Walz, R., & Burkett, H. (2024).  ATD: The World’s Largest Talent   Development Association: ATD. Main. / 

The eLearning Designer’s Academy. elearning designer’s community. (2024). /home 

Russo, T., & Siko, J. (2018). The effect of personal learning network exposure on pre-service teacher’s digital resource search habits. Journal on School Educational   Technology, 14(2), 12–23. 

Trust, T. (2012). Professional learning networks designed for teacher learning. Journal   of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 28(4), 133–138.  

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