Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) in a Distance Learning Course on Mathematics Applied to Business

José Bidarra [], João Araújo [],
Universidade Aberta, Rua da Escola Politecnica 147, 1269-001 Lisbon, Portugal, []


This paper argues that the dominant form of distance learning that is common in most e-learning systems rests on a set of learning devices and environments that may be outdated from the student’s perspective, namely because it is not supportive of learner empowerment and does not facilitate the efforts of self-directed learners. For this study we gathered and examined data on student’s use of Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) within a course on Mathematics Applied to Business offered by the Portuguese Open University (Universidade Aberta). We base the discussion on aspects that characterize student’s conceptions of PLEs, the emergence of connectivism as a new account of how learning occurs in a networked global environment, and conclude that an important goal of online course design should be to let students explore what the emergent Web 2.0 tools have to offer in distance learning. The widespread adoption of PLEs, bringing together learning from different contexts and sources of learning, shows that students are capable of expression in different forms, generating an added-value to distance learning environments.

If you would like to read the entire contribution, please click here.



e-learning, distance learning, distance education, online learning, higher education, DE, blended learning, MOOCs, ICT, information and communication technology, collaborative learning, internet, interaction, learning management system, LMS,

Current issue on Sciendo

– electronic content hosting and distribution platform

EURODL is indexed by ERIC

– the Education Resources Information Center, the world's largest digital library of education literature

EURODL is indexed by DOAJ

– the Directory of Open Access Journals

EURODL is indexed by Cabells

– the Cabell's Directories

EURODL is indexed by EBSCO

– the EBSCO Publishing – EBSCOhost Online Research Databases

For new referees

If you would like to referee articles for EURODL, please write to the Chief Editor Ulrich Bernath, including a brief CV and your area of interest.