Tuesday, June 1

Tools to Learn

I did an interview last week for the Frank Peters Show around my experience working as a Startup CTO. It was a lot of fun because I regularly list to Frank's podcast. Frank asked me about the disconnect (especially in Los Angeles Web Development) between the fact that it's hard to find really good developers and the fact that there seems to be a lack of opportunity for students to learn about programming. Most high schools don't teach programming. For me, that's when I was exposed. There was a great teacher, Mr. Thigpen, who taught me BASIC and then we worked together via independent studies for me to learn Pascal. It's what got me into computer science. Frank is determined to set up some kind of program for boy scouts locally so they can be exposed. I think that's a great idea. But it also got me to thinking ...

Last month - there was a wonderful set of posts looking at all kinds of things that might come to be Learning Technology 2015. A fair number of these posts suggest that to be a well rounded eLearning professional, you are going to need to know quite a bit about different kinds of tools. And, of course, there are issues like the possible Beginning of Long Slow Death of Flash that might have a big impact on what you should learn.

So the June Question is:

What tools should we learn?

Initially I was thinking - what tools should we be teaching? And I was thinking about the context of things like master's programs. But, it's also what tools should we be teaching to professionals at industry events or training programs?

And really, the reality is that you shouldn't rely on your educational institution, employer, association, etc. to decide what tools you should learn? The question is really about the specific tools that would make sense to learn today in order to be a valuable eLearning professional in 2015? There's also a question of the depth you need to know these tools.

If you really want to be helpful, you might point us to resources that someone could use to learn the tool at the level you are suggesting.

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):


Eloise said...

When talking adult education/professional training other than the very specific, I'm in favour of not teaching a specific tool. We should teach problem solving and algorithm construction, not Java or ActionScript or... whatever. (There is a slight exception here. If you go to work for Sun, say, they're going to expect you to programme in Java, so their specific induction programme will have Java programming, but the general course should still be in the more general skill.)

Similarly, we should teach tools for rapidly learning and developing assessment routines and use cases for various new tools that people offer to us rather than teaching "This is how you use blogger" or "This is how you use WordPress."

I'm sure people will want to be able to practise those skills with some real code and some real tools but if it's well structured training you should be able to deliver the core concepts as platform, tool and language agnostic, and either offer your current favourite language with clear indicators that it is just your current favourite not "the best" or allow people to develop a range of programming language skills in parallel to let them deliver their algorithm converted into working code in a number of languages.

Similarly for tools - once they've got the techniques to assess them, you can just tell them to go practise on 1, 20, 100 new tools and make their recommendations that way. That's far easier these days.

Harold Jarche said...

Harold Jarche What Tools Should we Learn?

Unknown said...

We should learn tools that will help us design solutions and tools that will allow us to report independently from applications that are in use. read more

Anonymous said...

I waffled a bit - part of me wanted to say "no tools", but the realist came up with a list: http://sparkyourinterest.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/the-learning-p…hats-essential/

Jeff Goldman said...

Development Tools I Would Learn If I Were You - Jeff's response to June’s Big Question

Kevin Thorn said...

What tools should we learn? As many as we can get our hands on! The eLearning space is constantly changing and to stay competitive, one will need to know what tools are being used.

David Grebow said...


This is a great question because it begs an answer to an even bigger question: What role will we be playing in 2015? I think if we can answer that question, the question about which tools we will need to learn will be more apparent.

My sense is that by 2015 we will be in the role of Mentors and Coaches to the people who are learning. The role of 'gatekeepers of the knowledge' will be greatly diminished.

We will be called upon to provide solutions to organizational problems that can be solved or resolved by teaching new knowledge or know-how. The tools we will need are new skills for mentoring and coaching more than learning any new technology.

Being able to provide a clear ROI will also be part of our job description. ROI analytics and spreadsheets that exist today, will be the tools we will need to learn in whatever version they evolve to in 2015.

Measurement will be much more longitudinal and we will be involved with the learner from the starting line (the initial program - online course - class) and then act as the downstream point-of-contact. Those tools exist today - e.g. smartphones, 1:1 web conferencing. I wonder how many of us use them today as part of our programs?

We also will need to know and be be adept with Social Media and Social Networking tools and technology. I think that we will rapidly move to Learning 2.0, which will include whatever Social Media and Social Networking is prevalent in 2015. So the added tools to learn would story boarding website design for learning websites / portals, podcasting, video production, using virtual instruction tools such as WebEx.

Again, I believe it's the answer to what role we will be playing in 2015 that will determine what tools we need to learn. And I also believe that determining that role is up to us between now and then.

Clive Shepherd said...

A view from Clive Shepherd

Jeff Goldman said...

My post's comments regarding HTML5 and Flash opened some discussion so I want to expand on my opinion in the following post. What I Would Like to Say About HTML5 and Flash

Unknown said...

Great post. If you need soft skills training such as leadership skills, negotiating or business communication skills or need to learn the latest in Cisco or Microsoft certifications I found a great non-profit that has been providing online education to adult jobseekers in 60 IT certifications in (Microsoft,Cisco, Oracle, Sun, A+, Net+, Security+ etc.) and Business (including Project Management certification) at www.nefuniversity.org. Try their sample courses to find out how easy the courses are to use and the quality of the courseware. Then you will find out yourself why these courses are the best value available.

Lea Ann Turner said...

When learning a specific tool, it always has application to other tools and future tools. I have found that in learning one tool, it gives me enough background knowledge to make it is easier to pick up and learn a new tool on my own. Therefore, in training for e-learning, curriculum decision makers need to pick a tool that can provide relevant practice that can extend beyond that specific tool to others.

yobeb said...

what will be the trend in the next decade that is the biggest question but possible it has already answer today.