the key to understanding the PLE consists not in understanding a particular type of technology so much as in understanding the thinking that underlies the concept, and in turn, the responses to that thinking as found in Web 2.0. This includes, as Attwell notes, ‘the changing ways in which people are using technologies to communicate and to learn and the accompanying social effect of such use.’
The PLE, then, consists in effect of a set of related concepts, each associated with the technologies and applications of Web 2.0, and each describing a shift in emphasis away from that which would characterise learning using the traditional LMS.

Conceptos clave:
- Learning in communities (comunidades de practica)
Learning, in other words, occurs in communities, where the practice of learning is the participation in the community. A learning activity is, in essence, a conversation undertaken between the learner and other members of the community. This conversation, in the Web 2.0 era, consists not only of words but of images, video, multimedia and more.
- Creation, not consumption (ver prosumidores)
- Context, not class (ver Attwell)
When learning becomes the creation of content in the context of a community of practice, then learning becomes something that is characterised not by instruction in a classroom, but rather by dialogue and communication within a given context.
The idea of context-sensitive learning is not new. It is already supported to a large degree in existing software; Microsoft’s help system, for example, would be an example of this were the help pages designed to facilitate learning and understanding. In a similar manner, learners interacting with each other through a learning environment will access ‘help’ not only with the software but also with the subject matter they are dealing with. Learning will be available not so much in learning institutions but in any given environment in which learners find themselves.

Taken together, the ideas that underlie the PLE – learning in communities, creation over consumption, and context over class – constitute an instance of a more general
approach that may be characterised as ‘learning networks’.
As seen, learning networks therefore depend on a ‘semantic principle’, consisting of four parts:
First, diversity: entities in a network should be diverse. In a society, this means involving the widest possible spectrum of points of view. In a human mind, this means being exposed to a wide spectrum of experiences. Diversity allows us to have multiple perspectives, to see things from a different point of view. These views moderate each other, and prevent us from jumping to a conclusion. Diversity is supported through weak ties. The loose connections enabled through the use of social networking applications allows us to reach beyond our groups and to connect with, and learn from, a wide range of influences.
Second, and related, autonomy: each entity operates independently of the others. This does not mean that it operates without input, but rather, it means that it operates according to an individual and internal set of principles and values. Autonomy is what allows diverse entities to respond and react in a diverse manner. Autonomy is enabled through a personal software environment. In Web 2.0, it is enabled through the provision of content creation tools such as blogging software. In learning, it is enabled through a personal learning environment.
Third, interactivity, or connectedness: the knowledge produced by a network should be the product of an interaction between the members, not a mere aggregation of the members’ perspectives. A different type of knowledge is produced one way as opposed to the other. Comparing two points of view, for example, allows us to see what they have in common, while merely counting or aggregating views forces us to pick one or the other. Web 2.0 software is about much more than listing connections or tallying memberships. It is about the conversation that happens between individuals. And so, too, the personal learning environment supports not just content consumption but interaction and communication.
Fourth, and again related, openness: each entity in a network must be able to contribute to the network, and each entity needs to be able to receive from the network. Openness is what makes interactivity possible; barriers that make it difficult or impossible to communicate within the network limit the network’s capacity to learn. Web 2.0 software freed users from the confines of mailing lists and discussion boards, environments owned by authorities where access was controlled and often restricted. Personal learning environments allow the learner to take their learning out of the classroom and to make it something they can share with the world, to make learning the result of sharing with the world.