Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsNICHOLAS FAIR: We'll start off by having a look at Lisa's network. So this is Lisa here in the middle. First thing we can notice is that Lisa doesn't use a desktop. Now I'm guessing that's because you don't have one.

Skip to 0 minutes and 17 secondsLISA HARRIS: That's correct.

Skip to 0 minutes and 18 secondsNIC: Yeah, that's the same for me. And that might be a reflection of the fact that we also don't have desk jobs or work in offices. As our types of jobs require us to move around a lot and so we need lots of mobile devices. Would you agree with that?

Skip to 0 minutes and 31 secondsLISA: Yes, that's very much the case. When I produced this map I was actually working from home, which is why there's a lot more interaction via my mobile and my laptop than there is face-to-face.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 secondsNIC: Yeah, we can see that clearly with the thicker edges connecting the laptop and the mobile here. There's a little bit of interaction with the tablet, and a bit more face-to-face. So there's quite a range of options here. Interestingly to note perhaps, is looking at the information gathering icon. You can see that this is happening in a whole range of different media and devices. We can see that Lisa likes to use all of her different devices, including offline, to gather information. What do you think could be the reason for that?

Skip to 1 minute and 18 secondsLISA: Well, I do find it convenient to have my phone and my laptop with me as much as possible. Because I do tend to work pretty much 24/7, which is kind of, I don't mean all the time, but I do like to be able to if I need to. So I find the mobile very useful because it pretty much works wherever I am. So that's probably why there's a lot of mobile use there. So it's, I think, indicative of many working lifestyles these days. That it's very convenient to have all these choices. But sometimes it means you just can't switch off at all.

Skip to 1 minute and 52 secondsNIC: Yeah. And we can see actually, that with regards to the mobile, Lisa uses it for searching and browsing, for gathering information from quite a wide range of sources from communicating and collaborating, for creating and sharing, and for socialising. That's a big range of different activities. Only the laptop gets close to that. It's interesting that face-to-face we actually do fewer things than we do through our mobile phones and through our laptops. Even though the particular day in question was such that it was, it's clear though that this is perhaps a pattern to be noted by the thickness of the lines.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 secondsOther things we can note is that when it comes to gathering information for example-- here we're using social media a lot. That thick line there connecting to social tells us that. So what sort of information do you like to gather from social media? What social media do you use for that?

Skip to 2 minutes and 53 secondsLISA: Well, I use Twitter quite a lot. Both personally and professionally. Also Facebook, a number of groups I belong to on Facebook. And I find that finding real time information, as social media is particularly effective.

Skip to 3 minutes and 10 secondsNIC: Yeah I agree with that. Twitter is extremely good for getting real time information, real time news. We could look at another pattern here with the mobile phone. Coming down to communicating and collaborating. And that connects with work. And we can see a similar pattern coming through the laptop to communicating and collaborating, and then to work colleagues. So this would suggest that you're quite comfortable communicating both through the laptop, which may perhaps be through things like email, and through the mobile, which may perhaps be through things like Twitter or Facebook, with work colleagues. Would you say that's a normal pattern for you?

Skip to 3 minutes and 49 secondsLISA: Oh yes. It's very much the case. Yes. And particularly managing the large volume of email. And I find that if I've got the choice of laptop or phone, then there's a wider range of situations when I can keep on top of email. So, things like being on a train for example.

Skip to 4 minutes and 9 secondsNIC: Yeah, great. There are other patterns we could look here but the idea is for you to start exploring your networks in the same way. So let's flip over now and have a quick look at mine. And you'll notice immediately there's some quite significant differences. What do you notice first of all, Lisa.

Skip to 4 minutes and 23 secondsLISA: That you've had a very quiet day Nic.

Skip to 4 minutes and 26 secondsNIC: Yeah. Well, that's right. My network here is very small. On this particular day, there was not a great deal of interaction. Just like Lisa I'm missing a desktop because I don't have one either. But I'm also missing a tablet. I do have one but I didn't use it on this particular day and I don't use it very often. You can also see that the number of activities that I was making on this particular day are significantly fewer than Lisa's. And my main interactions tended to be with a laptop and with my mobile phone. You can see the thicker lines connecting these than with the face-to-face.

Skip to 5 minutes and 0 secondsThat mirrors Lisa's even though Lisa was doing more, and I was doing less, but we were still both using our technology more than we were using our face-to-face. What other things do you notice here Lisa, that you might want to ask me about?

Skip to 5 minutes and 14 secondsLISA: Well, were you doing this from home or was this a at the office day?

Skip to 5 minutes and 18 secondsNIC: No. So like you, I was working from home on this particular day. Although I was out and about. I wasn't at home the whole day. Hence the reason why there was some face-to-face activities here. But you can see with a relatively small number of people. And quite a lot of it tended to be family. You can see family appearing here, the creating and sharing, and appearing here for socialising. You can also see it appearing here for gathering information, and down here for communicating, collaborating, and so on. So there's quite a lot of interaction with my family because yesterday I spent time with my wife and my mum and dad.

Skip to 5 minutes and 56 secondsLISA: So you don't really see a distinct gap between using some technologies for work purposes and others for social purposes then.

Skip to 6 minutes and 4 secondsNIC: No, that's right. I just use whichever particular service or device is relevant at that point in time to whom I'm speaking to. And I don't have a particular device I use only for work, and a particular device I use only for communicating with my family or with my friends. And you can see, for example, if you follow the laptop lines up here, we've got up here some interesting things around creating and sharing which also happened offline. And that's a little bit unusual for me. And creating and sharing perhaps would be less at a different point in my life on a different day.

Skip to 6 minutes and 44 secondsLISA: And also I think that the way the technologies have developed. There are certain things that are still best created on a laptop aren't there? The mobile experience is getting better and better, but for some things you'd want to make sure you were on the laptop to do them properly.

Skip to 7 minutes and 1 secondNIC: Well, I agree. A lot of that stands to screen size and the ability to type more quickly and easily. And also access to do some of the software that you might use for creating.

What does your PLN say about you?

You can access your Personal Learning Network map at any time - remember you’ll always need your Unique Participant Number to view it.

In this video Nic and Lisa use their own Personal Learning Networks to illustrate what can be learnt from the visualisation and they talk about the interaction patterns they found.

Remember - the wider the lines (edges) connecting your devices, people, institutions and actions (nodes) the more often you interact that way.

If you are curious about network properties, for example, ‘edges’ and ‘nodes’, you can find out more by watching this video from our sister course ‘The Power of Social Media’ (video located at the bottom of the page).


You have seen what your PLN looks like - now it is time for you to investigate how you use it.

What interaction patterns did you see in your PLN?

Why do you think that is?

Is it what you expected or did anything surprise you?

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Learning in the Network Age

University of Southampton

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Contact FutureLearn for Support