The estimable Jane Hart, owner of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) has just released her list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009.
The list has been compiled from the top ten tool contributions of nearly 300 learning professionals from across the world. You can see who suggested what by clicking here (I’m in there somewhere; I submit my list to C4LPT every March, for reasons lost in the mists of time).
The Top Ten Tools are:
- Google Reader
- Google Docs
- Google Search
Jane also provides some analysis of how each application fares in these two sublists:
Astonishingly, there is only one LMS in the Top 100, and very few e-learning authoring packages are included in totality: Jing is the most popular Demo & Scenario Development tool, and Articulate is the highest-ranked integrated presentation environment. Audacity is the top digital media creation application (YouTube is a distribution platform).
This means that (to take the first app mentioned as an example) either every learning professional is so satisfied with Moodle that there is no need to use a different LMS in any circumstance (unlikely), or that learning professionals aren’t involved in day-to-day administration and management of their learning environments, or that learning professionals don’t really use LMSs.
Based on Jane’s data, somewhere between a one-fifth and one-eight (16%) of all respondents included Moodle on their list of suggestions, not a very high percentage by any measure, I think you’ll agree.
What this list says to me is that learning professionals:
- Are great consumers of content: most of the Top 10 Tools can be used as a means to aggregate or interrogate information
- Are great distributors of information: most of these tools can be used to engage in information-sharing, as well as onep and many-to-many dialogs
- Are – as you would expect – deeply committed to personal development and continuous learning
- Are very connected and maintain a strong sense of community
- E-learning content authoring is not especially high on most learning professionals list of priorities
- Do not rate content administration and management as important activities
- Learning professionals have no money: these tools are all free-to-use applications. I would hope that this is just a reflection on the times we live in, and not because learning and training organizations are so poorly funded that they have to rely on free tools to undertake their work.
I wonder if Twitter being the #1 Tool for Learning is a fad and not a trend: connectivity is all very well, but as much as anything else, learning is about context; context is one thing Twitter cannot provide, except self-referentially. I would hate to think of learning as being reduced to 140-character-sized sound bites of information: there is sublimation, and then there is the ridiculous.
The Greek philosopher Plato described a mythical beast, the Ouroboros (see image) as a
…being [that] had no need of eyes when there was nothing remaining outside him to be seen; nor of ears when there was nothing to be heard; and there was no surrounding atmosphere to be breathed; nor would there have been any use of organs by the help of which he might receive his food or get rid of what he had already digested, since there was nothing which went from him or came into him: for there was nothing beside him. Of design he was created thus, his own waste providing his own food, and all that he did or suffered taking place in and by himself.
Is this one possible future for learning? Small bits of informational stuff, endlessly recycled via digital relays, communicated infinitely around a IT network, like an eternal game of pass the parcel. Learning, in other words, reductio ad absurdum.
“Well done Jane” for all the hard work aggregating the data, assembling this list, and providing the extra insight ans analysis: I strongly recommend that you check out her website and view the accompanying Slideshare presentation. I hope that my brief meditation on what I think that the Top 100 Tools list potentially represents isn’t too glum, but I really had hoped for a better balance between the acquiring and creating sides of learning.
Maybe next year.
November 18 2009 08:30 am | e-learning
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