Moving beyond silos: professional learning networks in higher education
Abstract Many faculty and staff in higher education have turned to digitally-enhanced professional learning networks (PLNs) as a means for situated learning that can help them grow in their various professional responsibilities. However, there is scant research on what these PLNs mean to the professional lives of higher educators. We report findings of a qualitative study that investigated participants' perspectives on their PLN experiences through analysis of survey data from 151 higher education faculty and professionals. Data analysis suggested that the anytime, anywhere availability of expansive PLNs, and their capacity to respond to educators' diverse interests and needs, fostered new learning experiences. Participants reported that their PLNs supported professional growth, specifically in the areas of teaching and learning. These findings have implications for defining the present and future of faculty learning and development in a digital age.