Personal Learning Network Sources

a_002A Personal Learning Network or Professional Learning Network means different things to different people.  In simple terms, your network includes the people or sources that you learn from in your profession. Generally, the PLN is used by teaching professionals to access resources and ideas, develop their skills and lessons, and connect with others in the profession. In your PLN, you can include subject specific experts, websites, social media resources, online or face-to-face groups, conferences or learning communities.

After reading Anna Bartosik’s post, How to Connect the Right Way: Using your PLN on Twitter, I thought about my own PLN.  In 2013, I facilitated a workshop on potential PLN resources. (see the link below) My PLN has changed in two ways since that time: I have updated some of the resources, and I have refined the organization of my PLN for more efficient access.

Personal Learning Networks are quite a complex topic. In this post, I provide a listing of potential PLN sources with a corresponding exemplar.  In my next blog post, I will provide six possible options for pulling together these resources into a one-stop resources bank such as Anna Bartosik’s Twitter PLN. 

Potential PLN Sources and Example Links
Archived and Live Events

·      Webinars

·      Virtual Seminars

·      Webcasts


·      Conventional

·       Online Virtual

·       Niche online conferences

·      Google Hangouts

·       Live and informal unconferences (i.e. Speed Geeking, Pecha Kucha, Barcamp)

Google Suite

·      Google Scholar

·      Google News

·      Google Alerts


·      In person

·      Online

Learning Communities

·      Classroom 2.0

·      Edutopia

·      EFL Classroom

·      TESOL Community

Online courses

·      Commercial

·      MOOCs (massive open online courses)

·      TESOL courses

·      Independent teacher courses

·      Learning Communities

·      ITunesU

·      Regular focused sessions

·      Regular chat sessions

·      Open courseware

Online journals

·      The Internet TESL Journal

·      TESL Canada Journal Online

·      The Electronic Journal for ESL

·      The Language Teacher

Online magazines/ newsletters

·      English Teaching Professional

·      TESL Contact

·      TESL Ontario News Brief

·      ESL LINC Digital news


·      Staffroom

·      Lunch & Learns

·      Librarians

·      Authors (web pages)

·      Authors (blogs)

·      Authors (Twitter)

·      Slideshares

·      PodCasts

Professional Communities

·      Large communities TESL Ontario

·      Affiliates TESL Toronto

·      Interest Sections SIGs

·      Standards

·      Resource centres

·      PD events

·      Publications

 Social Networks

·      Facebook

·      Twitter

·      Blogs

·      LinkedIn

·      Yahoo Groups

Support pages

·      Institutional

·      Government

·      Commercial

·      Organisational


·      Wikipedia

·      WikiHow

·      Pbwikis

If you are thinking of developing your own PLN, consider which of these resources might be meaningful to your own work. What other headings might you include? Next time, I’ll explain ways organize all of these valuable resources.


Additional Resources

Anna Bartosik’s blog post. Using your PLN on Twitter. (TESL Ontario Blog)

Developing a Personal Learning Network

Create your own Personal Learning Network Session.  (TESL Niagara 2013)

How Do I get a PLN?

What is a PLN? Why do I need one?



Hi—I'm John Allan. I am an educator who works in the technology enhanced language learning field. I create online learning opportunities and mentor instructors on the Avenue project. I have experience teaching ESL and EFL in Canada and the Middle East. I hold an MSC in Computer Assisted Language learning, a M.Ed. in Distance Education, TESL B. Ed., a B.Ed. (OCT), and a variety of TESL relevant certifications from TESL Canada, TESL Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Education. For more articles, learning objects, projects and blog links see


5 thoughts on “Personal Learning Network Sources”

  1. John, thanks for compiling this terrific list. I’m encouraging my TESOL students to start thinking about their own PLNs.

    FutureLearn is another resource for free online courses. Starting March 7, they have five courses on Learning Online from the University of Leeds, and starting in early April Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching (University of Southampton), Multilingual Learning for a Globalised World (University of Glasgow)…and MORE. Just finished – Professional Practices for English Language Teaching (British Council). In the past -IELTS, Preparing your students. Courses are 2 to 6 weeks.
    Teaching & Studying

    Now I’m going to check David Crystal’s blog.

    With gratitude, Carolyn

    1. Carolyn, I have heard of FutureLearn but have not taken any of their offerings. Thanks for the contribution. I hope that you can refer the students to the next two blog posts re:organizing your PLN over the next few weeks!



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