I got to spend a bit more time with this post and some of it’s links. I think the disaggreagate power concept is important, I’m sorry it seems to risk of being lost in the ‘can a person learn on their own’ debate.
Certainly Scot is right, there are some things I can learn individually, and that learning resides uniquely in me. Some of these things may even be profoundly important.
However, the kind of learning I think you are pointing at is learning in the context of authentic, rich problems. The kind of learning that may be part of the discipline of joining a community of practice. Some of this learning might take place in the individual, or be accomplished alone, but there is an important and essential part that is the group’s work. I think of Seely Brown and the copier repairmen all wearing 2-way radios.
I’m in your PLE definition 2, and our work in WSU’s Office of Assessment and Innovation is increasingly encouraging student assembled tools as PLE — the mantra is, work where your community works, with the tools they use.
The stance does present some challenges for the institution, which Gary Brown recognized when he coined the Harvesting Gradebook idea. As we’ve worked with that idea I think I’ve come to understand that it still harbored an institutional power idea. Today I think the core idea might be more like ‘peer review the web.’ I look at the iPhone app Leaf Trombone for inspiration. Leaf Trombone is more like a broker for a community, helping players and reviewers connect and managing some of the logistics of their community.
Recently I had a chance to talk to folks at Peer to Peer University about our harvesting/peer-review concepts and hope to offer a course there coupled with a Mozilla Drumbeat project to work on the idea more.
Also, if you want to have a side discussion about your conversations on campus about the professional merits of blogging, I have a few thoughts to share.