Thursday, April 1

Keeping Up

Because of my fairly continuous speaking and writing about new tools and technologies, I received a great suggestion for this month's big question:

Isn't this an ever-expanding universe of tech goodies? Will we be forced to chase hot tools and social platforms to stay competitive? How the heck are we supposed to stay up to speed on all the latest stuff and be successful using it personally and professionally?

Thus, the March question is:

How do we keep up?

How to Respond:

Option 1 - Simply put your thoughts in a comment below.

Option 2 -

Step 1 - Post in your blog (please link to this post).
Step 2 - Put a comment in this blog with an HTML ready link that I can simply copy and paste (an HTML anchor tag). I will only copy and past, thus, I would also recommend you include your NAME immediately before your link. So, it should look like:

Tony Karrer - e-Learning 2.0

or you could also include your blog name with something like:

Tony Karrer - e-Learning 2.0 : eLearningTechnology

Posts so far (and read comments as well):


Bill said...

It looks like a lot of new tools but when you boil them down to the essentials, you are essentially seeing variations on seven basic tools:

1) Wikis
2) Blogs
3) Texting (includes microblogging)
4) Instant messaging
5) Bulletin boards
6) Podcasting
7) Streaming video

Once you classify the "latest and greatest" tool into one or more of the categories, then you can easily determine how to use it based on the strengths and weaknesses of the foundational simple tools.

There is a category of tools for personal productivity that are not directly involved in elearning but make you a better teacher/trainer. Again, looking at the purpose rather than the features helps you to easily assimilate the tools into your personal productivity and knowledge management system.

1) Schedule tools
2) Budget tools
3) Task management tools
4) Knowledge management tools

Focus on what you need to accomplish to be productive and successful. Then you can easily determine if the "latest and greatest" tool can fit into your personal productivity/knowledge system.

Eloise said...

I'm going to leave a comment similar to Bill's but basically to say we don't chase that much. We might sign up for hundreds (thousands even) of new tools, networks etc. but we run through an evaluation process and most of us stick to a favourite few.

For example, I have about 30 bookmarks to wiki-style services I have used at least once. But, if someone approaches me about a wiki to use, I almost always make the same recommendation. As I see new wikis emerge, I will look at them, and if a new one is clearly superior, I'll recommend it in preference to the current one (I have done this three times over the years).

So we don't madly scramble to keep up, so much as find a core set of tools, evaluate new tools we come across against them and, if necessary, change to learn the new tool, discarding the old one.

Jeff Goldman said...

My answer to April's Big Question

jay said...

You start with what you need to do and use that objective to guide your research. No one can keep up with everything that's going on.

In other words, you use Pull, not Push. You monitor sites like eLearningLearning rather than sipping the raw feeds. You employ "social search," i.e. follow the suggestions of people you respect.

You must also accept that we are not the only folks involved in making the technology decisions. If everyone knows how to use Firefox already, I'm going to use Firefox to access learning opportunities; there's no learning curve. Most of the time, L&D should use what wins in the market rather than try to pick the learning best-of-breed that no one knows about.


Tony Karrer said...

Bill - at first, I was ready to agree with your assessment that a lot of the tools represent the same thing. I definitely think there's help understanding via these categories. But the reality is that there are all sorts of things that won't fit neatly into your more specific "seven basic tools". My guess is that you are putting "personal productivity tools" into other buckets, but it's not nearly so neat is it? Where would you put delicious and RSS Readers?

However, there definitely are categories of very similar tools that then can be handled as Eloise suggests.

Jay - good points. Interesting how much your suggestion matches with how Jeff came up with his answer.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tony

I've posted an answer on my blog: Holly MacDonald
<a href="</a>

Great question - can't wait to see how others do it!

Prabha said...

Tools aren’t a “silver bullet” They will help us do the work but not do the work for us. With technology comes an ever increasing demand to adapt ourselves to newer tools. But is it humanly possible.......As I write this blog ,Iam sure there is some tool that is created somewhere.
Tools provide structure and organization that are the key to improved performance.So just because there is a new tool would you start using.. Not exactly.
Evaluate a tool based on the current usage and the value adds that it would give to your work if you were to use it. If it doesnt bring any significant difference to the work then you would be better of not using it.
Having said that one cant still deny the philosophy that change is the only constant thing . Its always beneficially to keep ones knowledge updated with current trends. And the best way to do that is read, take time for yourself to keep yoursel abreast with current technologies. However just because its there doesnt mean you have to use it.

Karl Kapp said...

Kapp Notes: Answering the Question: How Do We Keep Up

Karl Kapp said...

Tony, Just occurred to me, do we have a Twitter hashtag for ASTD big question?

Tony Karrer said...

Karl - we don't have a hashtag. For a while we were using LCB, but it's not been used for a long time.

Karl Kapp said...


Ok, thanks I think I may start using the #LCB related to posts here and see how it works.


Amit Garg said...

Amit Garg (Upside Learning) - How Are We Keeping Up?

Bill said...

@Tony: "But the reality is that there are all sorts of things that won't fit neatly into your more specific 'seven basic tools'. My guess is that you are putting 'personal productivity tools' into other buckets, but it's not nearly so neat is it? Where would you put delicious and RSS Readers?"

RSS is more of a delivery method and not an actual tool. I can embed RSS readers into one of the seven tools. And del.ic.ious can be considered a blog but if you want, add an eighth tool - "Bookmark collections."

At the heart of all these tools is the ability to create information, store information, retrieve information, share information, or transform information. To paraphrase Jay, you let your objectives guide what you do with your information and then you find an app that fulfills one or more of your objectives.

That's why when I talked to people about Web 2.0 technologies, I approached the subject from a personal knowledge management system and had the students concentrate on their particular goals. And then we searched for applications to fulfill one or more goals. Everyone's PKMS was different because their goals are different. But, they didn't have trouble understanding how to use their PKMS and would only change the PKMS if the newer and shinier application could better replace an existing application.

gih said...

Thanks for the information. Perhaps it may occur later.

Tony Karrer said...

@Bill - I like your second classification approach better - based on the objective. That makes a lot of sense.

Inge (Ignatia) de Waard said...

Ignatia/Inge de Waard her 5 strategies to keep up with innovation

Clive Shepherd said...

Thoughts on keeping up from Clive Shepherd.

R K Prasad said...

Keep up with Technology

Harold Jarche said...

My original interest in personal knowledge management (PKM) was driven by finding a way to keep up (and in my case, without spending lots of money).

PKM in a Nutshell

Unknown said...

Good question for the end of an academic year. Sometimes, I think I need to step back to keep about it here.

Mayweather said...

That's a great idea that I practice everyday.

Unknown said...

I see way too many tech-leaps being taken by trainers/training mgrs who don't fully understand tech. I'm not saying don't do it; I'm saying, learn more before you decide.

I was thinking about this the other day, when Apple decided to cut off Flash dev for the iPhone, which a friend is trying to use for field training -- effectively killing e-learning on that platform, unless instructional designers/developers are going to stop everything and learn WebKit CSS animation -- which I kinda doubt. :)

I also don't see Adobe Captivate supporting WebKit export, given that Apple's decision snubs them.

Today there are so many training departments relying on poorly-functioning LMSs/LCMSs that could have been avoided wth a little more time and care... and, with more tech-savvy people in the training dept to guide those decisions.