In addition to the formal professional learning opportunities and requirements, educators also engage in self-directed professional learning experiences both in and outside of their work environments. Self-directed informal experiences may include participating in social media feeds or reading a book or paper to support the teaching experience. Informal, job embedded learning opportunities such as discussions with fellow colleagues, sharing lessons plans or requesting feedback from students can also support an educator’s learning experiences. Many teachers also participate in more formal approaches of self-directly professional learning such as organizing a personalized learning network to track and build on their professional learning experiences.

Personalized Learning Networks

Online tools and social media have sparked new opportunities for educators to participate in self-selected, professional learning opportunities and to build their personalized learning networks (PLN) and to collaborate with peers. PLNs may include professional learning groups (online and in-person), COPs, listservs, blog subscriptions, newsfeeds and social media tool such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, Ning and Edmodo.

From Policy to Practice


Sponsored by the Indiana Department of Education, the hashtag #INeLearn is used for both asynchronous sharing daily, as well as a synchronous conversation (TwitterChat) every Thursday night. The #INeLearn Chat Blog documents the topic schedule and moderators for these Twitter gatherings.
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