Top Tools? Or Right Tools?

Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has put together a list of 100 Top Learning Tools for 2011.  She surveyed 531 self-identified learning professionals, and these are the tools these folks mentioned.  Now, Jane takes a very learner-centered approach. She’s all about enabling informal, just in time learning for individuals to structure their own learning experiences.  So it’s not surprising that many of the tools named by the learning professionals she knows were selected from the point of view of the individual learner.   Because this is 2011, most of these tools are decidedly “social”.   In the top 5 (TwitterYouTube , Google Docs , Skype,  and WordPress) Skype is a communications platform for 1-1 or small group real time conversation (though skype messaging can be used asynchronously) The other 4 permit users to scan content others have produced, and/or publish their own.

Here at Q2, we’re focused on learning within the organization. We help structure learning experiences which enable organizations to equip their learners with the tools needed to make good judgments when the situation doesn’t quite fit into the normal mold. We’re all about social learning too. We use all of those top 5 tools and either actively use or have experimented with most of the top 65.  Some of us here are admitted toolophiles, who take pleasure in checking out all the new “toys.” But we’re aware that the learners at the organizations we work with have a lot on their plates. The last thing THEY need is 65 additional tools to learn as part of their learning process!  The Internet (and for that matter, the corporate intranet!) is, in many ways, a library on steroids – more resources are available than ever before, but finding the right ones is time consuming, and it’s easier than ever to spend hours wandering around in the stacks (or even in the wrong library building!)

We’re painfully aware that our eCampus represents Yet Another Platform with Yet Another User Interface to master, another bit of cognitive overhead to the learning process. It’s for this reason that we design a custom interface for each client.  We have a cornucopia of useful widgets, but we take the time to figure out which ones will really enhance the experience for each set of learners.  And we make it easy to build access to the go-to tools for each learner group into the spaces that group uses. Need a quick reference knowledge base in your learning space? We’ve got one.  Already have one in Google Docs or Sharepoint? Cool, we’ll link out to it.  Got a terrific library of SCORM objects in your LMS?  Of course you can build those into your eCampus courses!  Would you rather bolt a window into our coached learning spaces onto your existing portal? We can do that. Want to incorporate coaching of learners by the folks who really know this stuff into your course? We LOVE that! Do you want to do it in real time or asynchronously?

It’s expensive to take worker time away from production in order to provide time for training.  By providing thoughtfully structured learning experiences which pull together just the right learning resources from all corners of the organization, using just the tools which make sense for the initiative, we help our customers maximize the portion of training time which is spent gaining the required skills.