PLE (Phase 3)

Long Title: Personal Learning Environment (Phase 3)
Université de Genève
EPF Lausanne
Université de Fribourg - Universität Freiburg
Université de Lausanne
Universität Zürich
Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana
Domain: ELS
Status: finished
Start Date: 02.08.2011
End Date: 31.12.2012
Project Leader: O. Benkacem
Website: http://ple.unige.ch

The Personal Learning Environment will be a key component, responsible for linking together institutional and non-istitutional tools, supporting formal and informal learning. Trainings for teachers and students as well as a recommendation engine will complete this new learner-centric environment.

See also pre-studies and following phase: Personal Learning Environment extension (phase 4), PLEfolio (phase 2), e-Portfolio pre-study (phase 1) and Pré-étude environnement personnalisé (phase 1)


Results see Personal Learning Environment extension (phase 4).

Two preliminary studies allowed to establish several reasonable assumptions from which a number of prospects for the design and deployment of a PLE can be built and developed. These pre-studies strongly suggest to consider students as the first target for a campaign on awareness, information and training on PLE, so as to enable them to develop transversal competencies in online resources.


This third phase has three goals:

  1. to provide the students with a set of learning tools, both formal and informal, linking together institutional tools (eg. Moodle, Chamilo, Mediaserver, etc.) and non-institutional tools (eg. Youtube, twitter, Googledocs, etc.),
  2. to teach how to use these technologies
    • by training students and teachers about the values and educational usages of the tools proposed in the PLE and
    • by assessing the tool usages so as to improve the understanding of those usages and of the users' ICT needs.
  3. to federate and recommend resources (tools and content) among institutions via a recommendation engine (RE).


  • stimulate a new learner-centric form of education;
  • create learning networks where pertinent information and knowledge are shared;
  • boost active and collaborative learning, critical thinking and the building of knowledge creation;
  • encourage students to use web technologies beyond social networks and apply them to improve their learning;
  • offer of trainings for developing Soft Skills about learning with ICTs;
  • open up new perspectives in knowledge construction for teaching staff (going from course-centric Learning Management Systems (LMS) to PLEs).


A techno-pedagogical watch activity (organized around a community of experts) is expected to help selecting ongoing tools and resources with regards to their usefulness for learning and teaching activities. Information sources will be blogs, elearning tools collections and evaluations, reviews of the scientific literature, etc.
For users first an initial training on technology and second an introduction to its educational uses and formats will be provided as scaffolding activities to help them to develop further as self-directed learners.
Information about techno-pedagogical tools will be provided as practical worksheets, good practice guides and educational scenarios.
The Eduhub SIG ePortfolio will produce guidelines for institutional decision makers, teaching staff and students.

The purpose of Soft Skills Seminars for PhD students is to enable them to practice and develop mastery of certain categories of Web 2.0 tools and PLE, useful for their learning and research activities. The goal is to combine theoretical and practical workshops to help them first to effectively exploit all these resources essential to their academic activities and, second to develop an intelligent strategy so to become independent while these technologies continuously evolve.
Surveys and analysis of users' needs, tests of prototypes (usability aspects) and evaluation of training sessions and of information resources on their impact on the development of ICT usage skills will be parts of a formative evaluation process during the development.

A dashboard based on Graaasp will be used as (single entry point) solution for integrating different applications and content. It allows students to quickly check available resources, which are either pre-integrated (but may be disabled by the user) or integrated by the students themselves.
Resources will be shared between institutions or gathered directly from the Web.
User profiles (templates for BSc, MSc etc.) will be used to provide adapted sets of resources, customizable by the users.
The institutional information will be federated and recommended with the help of the contextual recommendation engine (RE) developed at EPFL. After computation, a recommendation is provided to the users via the dashboard widgets. The whole process and infrastructure will work as a cross-institution federating hub.
Mahara (e-Portfolio) will be integrated with didactic activities fed by teachers and students.
A new Mahara module "Skills referential and learning outcomes" will help students to manage their progressions in learning and therefore promote self-reflexion and Personal Development Planning (PDP).
Integration of Graaasp-RE and Moodle, Chamilo, Mahara and Mediaserver will consist in enabling the current architectures to communicate with the new one while keeping the infrastructure as much independent as possible.