Skip to content
BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access April 13, 2022

Personal Learning Environments in Online and Face-to-Face Contexts in Mexican Higher Education

Urith N. Ramírez-Mera EMAIL logo , Gemma Tur and Victoria I. Marin
From the journal Open Education Studies


With the introduction of digital technologies in education and the diversification of learning modalities, research has sought to identify the characteristics of each modality in order to develop successful learning. The Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is a developing concept that takes advantage of digital technologies and their implications in different modalities. This research aims to identify how the educational modality contributes to the development of PLEs in higher education. We compared two case studies in online and face-to-face contexts in Mexican higher education through a case survey methodology using a questionnaire and a descriptive statistical analysis of five categories: self-perception, management of information, management of the learning process, communication and learning experience. Results show that online students focus on the use of information management skills and on self-regulation of the learning process, whereas face-to-face students are oriented towards the use of communication skills. In conclusion, we identify two PLE profiles whose main differences arise from the students’ learning approaches, one based on social interaction and the other guided by learning aims, two aspects that may contribute to the development of learning strategies for transition between modalities. Finally, we contribute to the support of face-to-face learning in virtual environments and emergency remote teaching.


Abou-Khalil, V.; Helou, S.; Khalifé, E.; Chen, M.A.; Majumdar, R.; Ogata, H. (2021). Emergency Online Learning in Low-Resource Settings: Effective Student Engagement Strategies. Educ. Sci. 11, 24. in Google Scholar

Admson, B., & Po, T. (2019). Juxtaposing comparative education and teacher education. In M. A. Peters (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Teacher Education (pp.1-17). Springer, Singapore. in Google Scholar

Alexander, S., & Bound, D. (2001). Learners still learn from experience when online. In J. Stephenson (Ed.), Teaching & learning online, pedagogies for new technologies (pp. 1-13). in Google Scholar

Alsaaty, F. M., Carter, E., Abrahams, D., & Alshameri, F. (2016). Traditional versus online learning in institutions of higher education minority business students’ perceptions. Business and Management Research, 5(2). in Google Scholar

Anagnostopoulou, V., & Izquierdo, V. (2020). The role of audiovisual resources in active learning methodologies. Πανελλήνιο Συνέδριο Επιστημών Εκπαίδευσης, 1, 3-12.Search in Google Scholar

Attwell, G. (2007). The personal learning environments: The future of eLearning? ELearning Papers, 2(1), 1–8.Search in Google Scholar

Bali, S., & Liu, M. C. (2018). Students’ perceptions toward online learning and face-to-face learning courses. Journal of Physics: conference series, 1108. in Google Scholar

Bartolomé, A., Castañeda, L., & Adell, J. (2018). Personalization in educational technology: the absence of underlying pedagogies. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 15(1). in Google Scholar

Bereday, G. (1964). Comparative Method in Education. Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Search in Google Scholar

Bray, M. (2004). Methodology and Focus in Comparative Education. In M. Bray & R. Koo (Eds.), Education and Society in Hong Kong and Macao: Comparative Perspectives on Continuity and Change (pp. 237-350). CERC Studies in Comparative Education. in Google Scholar

Brinson, J. R. (2015). Learning outcomes achievements in non-traditional (virtual and remote) versus traditional (hands-on) laboratories: a review of the empirical research. Computer & education, (57), 218-237. in Google Scholar

Caldwell, G., Bilandzic, M., & Foth, M. (2012). Towards visualising people’s ecology of hybrid personal learning environments. MAB ‘12: Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference (pp. 13-22). in Google Scholar

Castañeda, L., & Adell, J. (2013). La anatomía de los PLEs. In L. Castañeda & J. Adell (Eds.), Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje: Claves para el ecosistema educativo en red (pp. 11-27). Alcoy: Marfil. Retrieved from: in Google Scholar

Castañeda, L., Cosgrave, M., Marin, V., & Cronin, C. (2016). Personal Learning Environments: PLE Conference 2015 Special Issue Guest Editorial. Digital Education, (29). in Google Scholar

Castañeda, L., Dabbagh, N., & Torres-Kompen, R. (2017). Personal Learning Environments: Research-Based Practices, Frameworks and Challenges. Journal of new approaches in educational research, 6(1), 1-2. in Google Scholar

Castañeda, L., & Tur, G. (2020). Resources and Opportunities for Agency in PLE Related Pedagogical Designs: a Literature Exploration. IxD&A, (45), 50-68.10.55612/s-5002-045-002Search in Google Scholar

Chan, R. Y. (2016). Understanding the purpose of higher education: An analysis of the economic and social benefits for completing a college degree. Journal of Education Policy, Planning and Administration, 6(5), 1-40.Search in Google Scholar

Chaves-Barboza, E., Trujillo-Torres, J., Hinojosa-Lucena, F., & Cáceres-Reche, P. (2019). Personal Learning Environments (PLE) on the bachelor’s degree in early education at the University of Granada. In P. Novais et al. (Eds.), ISAmI 2018 (pp. 381-388). in Google Scholar

Chen, M., Lin, H., & Lu, G. (2017). Virtual geographic environments. International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment and Technology. in Google Scholar

Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología [CONACYT] (2014). Fundamentos sobre calidad educativa en la modalidad no escolarizada. in Google Scholar

Dabbagh, N. & Castañeda, L. (2020). The PLE as a framework for developing agency in lifelong learning. Education Tech Research Dev, 68, 3041–3055. in Google Scholar

Dabbagh, N., & Kitsantas, A. (2012). Personal Learning Environments, social media, and self-regulated learning: A natural formula for connecting formal and informal learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 15, 3-8. in Google Scholar

García, M. F., Navarro, F. G., & Espinosa, G. E. (2014). Entornos Personales de aprendizaje en Universidades Publicas Mexicanas, Estudio de caso Sistema de Universidad Virtual, Universidad de Guadalajara. in Google Scholar

Gerkushenko, G., Gerkushenko, S., Shabalina, O., Kamaev, V., Davtyan, A., & Hostoveckey, M. (2014). Comparative analysis on Personal Learning Environment of Russian and Slovakian students. In A. Rosipliosi & S. Greener (Eds.), Proceedings of the European Conference on Social Media (pp. 183-192). Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited.Search in Google Scholar

Ghavifekr, S., & Rosdy, W. A. (2015). Teaching and learning with technology: Effectiveness of ICT integration in schools. IJRES, 1(2), 175-191. in Google Scholar

Gros, B., Garcia, I., & Escofet, A. (2012). Beyond the net generation debate: A comparison between digital learners in face-to-face and virtual universities. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(4), 190-210. in Google Scholar

Haworth, R. (2016). Personal Learning Environments: a solution for Self-Directed Learners. TechTrends, 60, 35-364. in Google Scholar

Halimi, K., Seridi-Bouchelaghem, H., & Faron-Zucker, C. (2014). An enhanced personal learning environment using social semantic web technologies. Interactive Learning Environments, 22(2), 165-187. in Google Scholar

Jurisch, M., Kremar, H., & Wolf, P. (2013). Using the case survey method for synthesizing case study evidence in information systems research. Proceedings of the Nineteenth Americas Conference on Information Systems. in Google Scholar

Kaliisa, R., Palmer, E. & Miller, J. (2017). Mobile learning in higher education: a comparative analysis of developed and developing country contexts. British Journal of Edcuational Teaching, 00(00). in Google Scholar

Klandermans, B., & Smith, J. (2002). Survey research: a case for comparative designs. In B. Klandermans & S. Staggenbord (Eds.), Methods of social movement research (pp. 3-31). University of Minnesota Press.Search in Google Scholar

Kosmützky, A. (2018). International Team Research in Comparative Higher Education: Shedding Some Light on its Social Side. Journal of comparative and international higher education, 10, 14-23. in Google Scholar

Kühn, C. (2017). Are Students Ready to (re)-Design their Personal Learning Environment? The Case of the E-Dynamic.Space. Journal of New Approaches in Education Research, 6(1), 11-19. in Google Scholar

Li, F., Qi, J., Wang, G., & Wang, X. (2014). Traditional classroom vs e-learning in higher education: difference between students’ behavioural engagement. i-jet, 9(2), 48-51. in Google Scholar

Manyukhina, Y., & Wyse, D. (2019). Learner agency and the curriculum: a critical realist perspective. The Curriculum Journal, 30(3), 223-243. in Google Scholar

Manzon, M. (2007). Comparing places. In M. Bray, B. Adamson, & M. Mason (Eds.), Comparative Education Research (pp. 97-138). Springer Netherland. in Google Scholar

McNess, E. (2004). Culture, Context and the Quality of Education: Evidence from a Small-Scale Extended Case Study in England and Denmark. Compare: A Journal of Comparative Education, 34(3), 315-327. in Google Scholar

Meza, J. M., & Cejas, R. (2016). Los Entornos Personales de Aprendizaje como estrategia de aprendizaje desde la Teoría del Actor-Red. Didáctica, innovación y multimedia, 11(33). in Google Scholar

Miertschin, S. L., Goodson, C., & Stewart, B. (2015). Time management skills and student performance in online course. 122nd ASEE annual conference & Exposition (pp. 26.1585.1-26.1585.16). in Google Scholar

Mödritscher, F., Petrushya, Z., & Law, E. L.-C. (2011). The applications of pattern repositories for sharing PLE practices in networked communities. Journal of Universal Computer Science, 17(10). in Google Scholar

Moreno, O., & Cárdenas, M. (2012). Educación a distancia: nueva modalidad, nuevos alumnos. Perfiles de alumnos de Psicología en México. Perfiles educativos, 34(136), 118-136. in Google Scholar

Muthupoltotage, U., & Gardner, L. A. (2018). Rules governing the use of personal learning environments for self-regulated learning: an activity theory approach. Research-in-Progress Papers, 20. in Google Scholar

Nasution, A., Surbakti, A., Zakaria, R., Wahyuningsih, S. & Daulay, L. (2021). Face to Face Learning vs Blended Learning vs Online Learning (Student Perception of Learning). Journal of Physics: Conference Series, (1783). in Google Scholar

Ni, A. Y. (2013). Comparing the Effectiveness of Classroom and Online Learning: Teaching Research Methods. Journal of Public Affairs Education, 9(2), 199-215. in Google Scholar

Oleksiyenko, A., Blanco, g., Hayhoe, R., Jackson, L., Lee, J., Metcalfe, A., Sivasubramaniam, M., & Zha, Q. (2020). Comparative and international higher education in a new key? Thoughts on the post-pandemic prospects of scholarship. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education. in Google Scholar

Olom, P., & Okute, L. (2021). Effect of mentoring approach on skill acquisition among business education students in tertiary institutions in cross river state. Nigerian Journal of Bussines Education, 8(1), 159-165.Search in Google Scholar

Ordaz, T., & Gonzales, J. (2019). Valoración de estrategias de construcción del conocimiento en los entornos personales de aprendizaje. Apertura, 11(2), 6-21. in Google Scholar

Pan, W., Sun, L.-Y., & Chow, I. H. (2011). The impact of supervisory mentoring on personal learning and career outcomes: The dual moderating effect of self-efficacy. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 78(2), 264–273. in Google Scholar

Pelletier, K., Brown, M., Brooks, D. C., McCormick, M., Reeves, J., Arbino, N., Bozkurt, A., Crawford, S., Czerniewicz, L., Gibson, R., Linder, K., Mason, J., & Modelli, V. (2021). EDUCASE Hrizon Report, teaching and learning edition. Boulder: EDUCASE.Search in Google Scholar

Prendes, M. P., Castañeda, L., Solano, I., Roig-Vila, R., Aguilar, M. V., & Serrano, J. L. (2016). Validation of a questionnaire on work and Learning habits for future professionals: exploring personal learning environments. Relieve, 22(2). in Google Scholar

Prendes, M. P., Román, M., & González, V. (2019). How University Students Use Technologies to Learn: A Survey about PLE in Spain. Education in the Knowledge Society, 20. in Google Scholar

Ramírez-Mera, U., & Tur, G. (2019). Seguridad y fiabilidad en la gestión de la información de los entornos personales de aprendizaje (PLE) en la Educación Superior. EDUTEC, 70, 18-33. in Google Scholar

Reece, A., & Butler, M. B. (2017). Virtually the Same: A Comparison of STEM Students Content Knowledge, Course Performance, and Motivation to Learn in Virtual and Face-to-Face Introductory Biology Laboratories. Journal of College Science Teaching, 46(3), 83-89.10.2505/4/jcst17_046_03_83Search in Google Scholar

Román, M. M. & Prendes, M. P. (2020). Personal Learning Environments: quantitative instrument for university students (CAPPLE-2). EDUTEC, 73, 82-104. in Google Scholar

Serrano, J. L., Carrera, X., Brescó, E., & Suárez-Guerrero, C. (2019). Tratamiento crítico de la información de estudiantes universitarios desde los entornos personales de aprendizaje. Educ. Pesqui., 45. in Google Scholar

Soltanimehr, E., Bahrampour, E., Imani, M., Rahimi, F., Almasi, B., & Moattari, M. (2019). Effect of virtual versus traditional education on theoretical knowledge and reporting skills of dental students in radiographic interpretation of bony lesions of the jaw. BMC Medical Education, 19. in Google Scholar

Tolman, S., Dunbar, M., Slone, K. B., Grimes, A., & Trautman, C. A. (2020). The transition from teaching F2F to online. In L. Kyei-Blankson, E. Ntuli, & J. Blankson (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Creating Meaningful Experiences in Online Courses (pp.67-84). in Google Scholar

Tomé, M., Herrera, L., & Lozano, S. (2019). Techers’ opinions on the use of Personal Learning Environments for intercultural Competences. Sustainability, 11. in Google Scholar

Tu, C.-H., Sujo-Montes, L., Yen, C.-J., & Blocher, M. (2012). The Integration of Personal Learning Environments & Open Network Learning Environments. TechTrends, 56(3), 13-19. in Google Scholar

Wiseman, J., Davies, E., Duggal, S., Bowes, L., Moreton, R., Robinson, S., Nathwani, T., Birking, G., Thomas, L., & Roberts, J. (2017). Understanding the changing gaps in higher education participation in different regions of England. BMG Research. in Google Scholar

Yen, C.-J., Tu, C.-H., Sujo-Montes, L., & Sealander, K. (2016). A Predictor for PLE Management: Impacts of Self-Regulated Online Learning on Students’ Learning Skills. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange, 9(1), 29-48. in Google Scholar

Received: 2021-08-24
Accepted: 2022-02-03
Published Online: 2022-04-13

© 2022 Urith N. Ramírez-Mera et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Downloaded on 29.1.2023 from
Scroll Up Arrow