Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies has posted her Spring 2008 Top 100 Tools for Learning, a compilation of the top 10 tools identified by 155 elearning professionals. A complete analysis is here.
A wide range of "authoring" tools appear on the list. However,an analysis of the Top 10 tools used for creating and delivering learning solutions by workplace learning professionals as opposed to those used by educators (in schools, colleges, universities), shows that
- tools like PowerPoint, Articulate, Captivate, Camtasia etc to create formal, traditional (Learning 1.0) solutions(i.e. content-based courses, tutorials, etc) are dominant in the workplace, whilst educators are embracing a much wider range of Web 2.0 tools (like YouTube, Wikispaces, Voicethread and Ning) to build more social, collaborative and informal approaches for learning; and
- educators are making much more use of free tools - 7 out of the top 10 tools educators use for creating learning are free as compared to 1 out of 10 used by workplace learning professionals).
Here's her side-by-side comparison:
For workplace learning
For formal education
In looking at these two lists, I was intrigued and frankly bothered by how many "one-way" kinds of tools are being used by the workplace learning professionals. Most of the top 10 tools on their lists are presentation tools, with minimal interactivity for learners beyond what may get built in by an instructional designer. Related to this is the clear sense that workplace learning professionals are using more of a "push" mode of learning, pushing content to learners, and are focused on creating more structured, formal learning experiences.
Educators, on the other hand, are making use of more Web 2.0 tools, like YouTube, Flickr, Wikispaces, Ning and Voicethread, all of which invite commenting, content co-creation and interactivity.
The picture of elearning at work vs. elearning at school that emerges from these two lists seems to be very different, then. At school, there seems to be a greater emphasis on social interactions and using technology to facilitate co-creation and connections. At work, the use of tools like PowerPoint, Articulate and Camtasia suggests the development of solitary learning experiences--tutorials and the like--along with more rote kinds of event-based learning. The emphasis on these tools also suggest minimal attention is being paid to facilitating the development of personal learning environments at work and that learning is seen as something that companies and organizations do to and for staff, rather than an activity in which staff are engaging on their own on a daily basis.
What's unclear to me is why there's a difference in the two lists. Jane notes that many workplace learning professionals use the free interactive tools for their own professional development, so it's not like they aren't familiar with them. Why aren't they being used for learning at work, then?
Is it that there are no models for how to use the tools for workplace learning, as there are with the educational community? Certainly I've seen educators having many more discussions about how to use Web 2.0 technologies in learning than I've observed among workplace elearning professionals, so maybe this is part of the issue.
Is it that the managers who request elearning solutions want more traditional approaches? This suggests that maybe some additional education is in order so that management can understand how Web 2.0 technologies can effectively support learning at work.
I'd be curious to get others opinions on this. Why are educators making much more use of Web 2.0 tools for learning? Why is elearning at work seemingly trapped in a Web 1.0 paradigm?