Are PLN’s beneficial?


CC BY-SA 2.0 Sue Waters

As I am wrapping up the semester and reflecting on how it went I can’t help but to feel eternally grateful for the Plymouth State Interdisciplinary program. In the beginning of the semester, I was lacking confidence and honestly quite scared as to what my future would hold pertaining to my career path. The Plymouth IDS program brought my confidence back, helped me thrive, and ultimately brought my passion back that I had lost for the healthcare field. The various assignments that I have had from my Introduction to Interdisciplinary course contributed to bringing my confidence back. One of those assignments actually involved using social media, specifically Twitter, to build something called a Personal Learning Network (PLN). Initially, I was hesitant about creating my own PLN, which is a network that you utilize to connect with others, gather information or resources, and launch yourself into the field that you are interested in. I have never been a fan of Twitter, and didn’t have an account, so you could say that I was not super excited about the idea but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try. My PLN reflects my career, Patient Advocacy, by containing information from a variety of fields including health, nursing, psychology, and social work. Basically, I signed up for Twitter, and started following a variety of professionals and organizations from these different fields. This allowed me to have a constant stream of knowledge on my Twitter that reflected my career that I could interact with in a variety of ways (retweet, like, comment, etc).

In the beginning, I was a bit overwhelmed, and maybe even a little bored, but as I continued to build my PLN I found that it was actually beneficial towards my education, my specific major, and my future as a Patient Advocate and aspiring Social Worker. I noticed while using my PLN that I became more engaged in my field and education, it gave me access to rich discussions and resources, and allowed me to share my thoughts on important issues surrounding healthcare. I had access to a countless number of articles that expanded my knowledge on specific topics that I probably wouldn’t have read or even found without my PLN. It is extremely important to make connections with others within your field, and outside of, and having a Personal Learning Network is a great way to do exactly that. As I move forward in my education and career, I plan to keep my PLN and utilize it to stay up to date on important matters, expand my knowledge, and connect with others. Overall, it is definitely challenging and takes time to build an active Personal Learning Network but I believe that it is something that all students, and professionals,  from all fields should have and use.

Take a look at my storify for an annotated outline of what my Personal Learning Network consists of!

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