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The Personal Learning Environments Reference Model Project

The idea of Personal Learning Environments was first discussed in 2001 in this unpublished paper by Olivier and Liber (it was an invited paper for the SSGRR-2002W International conference on Infrastructure for e-Business, e-Education, e-Science, and e-Medicine on the Internet, L'Aquila, Italy, January 2002 but was eventually withdrawn as neither author was able to attend). In the following years, and as experience was gained in the use of VLEs, the concerns raised in this paper became increasigly widepread, eventually resulting in CETIS being commissioned by the JISC Distributed eLearning Programme to propose a reference model and prototype software to elaborate the concept of PLE. The project ran from August 2005 to the end of July 2006, and this site contains links to its outputs.


  1. Define the scope of the term Personal Learning Environment, including distinguishing it from the term Personalized Learning Environment.
  2. Propose a list of user requirements for any system to be included within this definition
  3. Identify the technical requirements for such a system, addressing different implementation scenarios (client or server based, client-server or peer-to-peer) and addressing issues of integration into the eLearning Framework
  4. Produce a reference model and specification for a Personal Learning Environment that will elaborate on how the PLE can work within a service oriented framework:
  5. Evaluate potential technologies that can act as plug-in platforms for personal learning environments.
  6. Implement a reference pilot implementation of a personal environment using the Eclipse RCP
  7. Integrate the CETIS Enterprise Web Services toolkit as a plug-in as an example of the integration of web-service toolkits
  8. Develop a web-service interface that enables information to be exchanged between two concurrent applications based on Chandler
  9. Make the software developed as a open-source project on SourceForge


The PLE report (web)

The PLE report (Word)

The prototype PLEX desktop application

The prototype PLEW server application

A Special Edition of the Interactive Learning Environments Journal


  1. The PLE Sustainability Statement


  1. The PLE experts meeting, collection of links to workshop papers on delicious
  2. The PLE workshop

Other Workshops

  1. Staff awareness workshop, University of Bolton, June 21st 2006
  2. Staff awareness workshop, University of Manchester, July 12th 2006
  3. Workshop on using next-generation technologies, ALT-C 2006
  4. Workshop for practitioners on PLEs, conference, London, 2nd June 2006
  5. JISC Capital Programme User-owned Technologies projects start up meeting, Birmingham, 23rd April 2007

Publications and Presentations


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