Tapping into your personal curiosity: Personal Learning Environments and Inquiry-Based Learning

While we are working on the overall schedule and programme, I thought I would provide a few “programme previews” here and there… so that you can start to form an idea of all the good things that are in the pipeline for July 16. to 18.

So, let me start with an “Alternative Session” that will be offered by Dr. Alexander Mikroyannidis from the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University, UK.

This is what Alexander is going to address in his workshop:

Alternative Session:
“Tapping into your personal curiosity: Personal Learning Environments and Inquiry-Based Learning”

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) enables learners to take the role of an explorer and a scientist as they try to solve issues they came across and that made them wonder, thus tapping into their personal feelings of curiosity. IBL leads to structured knowledge about a domain and to more skills and competences about how to carry out efficient and communicable research.

A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is an innovative paradigm conceptualizing the aggregation, manipulation and sharing of digital artefacts by learners, within a flexible and versatile online space. The PLE follows a learner-centric approach, allowing the use of lightweight services and tools that belong to and are controlled by individual learners.

The European project weSPOT (http://wespot.net) adopts a PLE-based approach in order to support learners and educators in IBL (Mikroyannidis, Okada, & Scott, 2013). The project focuses on IBL with a theoretically sound and technology-supported personal inquiry approach. weSPOT supports the meaningful contextualization of scientific concepts by relating them to personal curiosity, experiences, and reasoning. weSPOT addresses several challenges in the area of science education and technology support for building personal conceptual knowledge (Mikroyannidis, Okada, Scott, et al., 2013).

This workshop will enable participants to understand how a PLE can be used to support them in their research, learning or teaching tasks, following an IBL methodology. Participants will first be introduced to the concepts of IBL and PLEs and the related technologies. They will then be able to use the toolkit developed by the weSPOT project in order to carry out a research inquiry. More specifically, they will be using the weSPOT inquiry space (http://inquiry.wespot.net), an online personal and social environment for performing scientific inquiries. Participants will be asked to use this environment in order to build a PLE that will help them investigate their preferred research topic. They will have the opportunity to try out the tools offered in this environment and perform their inquiry either individually or collaboratively in groups. At the end of the workshop, there will be time for reflection and discussions on the weSPOT toolkit and IBL/PLEs in general.


At the end of the workshop, participants will have acquired:

  • A good overview of the different pedagogical approaches for IBL in relation to PLEs.
  • An awareness of the range of resources, tools and methods available to enable PLEs for IBL.
  • An understanding of how IBL can be applied in their own research, learning, or teaching context.

Stay tuned for more “programme previews” over the next few days and weeks!

Dr. Sebastian H.D. Fiedler – Tallinn Conference Chair