PLNs are personal learning networks. They are networks of people that you learn from with similar niches, interests and expertise. The point is to set up a learning network of people that you can interact with and learn from within your professional areas. When you create your personal learning network you set it up for networking, sharing knowledge and developing skills growth.
Fifteen years ago or more, personal learning networks took place by meeting with people in person to discuss and learn about employment specifics. For example, teachers met with other teachers for coffee to discuss and share teaching ideas and methods. In the 21st century, PLNs often involve networking and learning online with people of ‘like’ expertise. Learning online in this way requires the use of an Internet platform to share and interact on.
There are various types of platforms that are most often used to create PLNs, and most people use more than one. Some popular social media platforms include Twitter, Google +, Ning, LinkedIn, facebook, Instgram, meetup, and Youtube. Personal learning networks can also include network interactions and learning from content curation sites like Pinterest, Storify, paper.li, Scoop.it, Diigo, Listly, LiveBinders, and so forth. Other poplar PLN platforms are blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, tumblr, and Quora.
Why All WAHMs Should Have a PLN
1. A PLN helps you keep up with new ideas, technology, products, trends, services, and skillsets in your field of expertise. This continued up-to-date learning can keep you ahead of others in the job market.
2. A PLN helps you make vital connections within your field. These connections can help propel your career and land you remote jobs. Or, these connections can teach you so much more about your field and expertise than you previously knew.
3. A PLN helps you market your brand and get your name out there to others of ‘like’ niches. Other professionals will learn your name and want to come to you for advice. This can help propel your career options.
4. A PLN helps others see your knowledge, skills and expertise. Companies and those who offer work from home opportunities will see your skills and want to hire you.
5. It helps develop your professional digital footprint by marketing your name to land job opportunities.
A Couple Tips for Starting a PLN
1. Being involved in one Internet platform is a start to developing a PLN, but to develop a solid learning community online, it is important to use at least several different platforms. These platforms could be any social media platform, content curation platform, blogging platform, or any combination of them. Also, consider that using too many in your personal learning network can be too overwhelming. Keep it to a handful to get the best learning, networking, and marketing experiences that you can. This will optimize your professional experiences.
2. Don’t just create accounts and leave them idle. Use them to share articles, ideas, thoughts, and interact with people. If you don’t do this, you really don’t have a PLN.
Regardless of your expertise, every work from home mom should have a PLN. It is a vital tool for professional growth and finding job opportunities.