Critical connections: personal learning environments and information literacy

Personal learning environments (PLEs) and critical information literacies (CILs) are two concepts that have been presented as responses to the challenges of the rich and complex information landscape. While both approaches support learners’ critical engagement with new information environments, each was developed within a different field. This paper connects and contrasts PLEs and CILs in order to explore the design of pedagogical responses to the information environment. Through a careful examination of PLE and CIL literature, the paper demonstrates that information literacy education intersects with the concepts and goals of PLEs. As such, the authors suggest that PLE scholarship informed by CIL scholarship, and vice versa, will yield a deeper understanding of modern learning contexts as well as a more holistic and responsive learner framework. (…)

Article first published in “Research in Learning Technology”, V. 23 (2015), and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) License (

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