How do we learn using the Top 100 Tools?

Every year I am asked how we learn from some of these tools. This is usually by those who  hold very traditional beliefs about how learning takes place – ie. that it only occurs in a formal training or educational setting where there is a transfer of knowledge between an educator or instructor and an individual – and a conscious effort on both parts!

But of course learning happens everyday in many different ways and contexts – as I have shown in the (free) introductory section of my online resource MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING.  In fact I have identified 4 key ways we learn, that I call the 4 D’s of Learning:

  1. We learn through DISCOVERY – that is by finding things out for ourselves (mostly on the Web) through purposeful searching or serendipitous browsing or to solve performance problems (aka informal learning)
  2. We learn through DISCOURSE – that is by connecting and interacting with others – through conversation or collaboration (aka social learning)
  3. We learn from DOING the day job and from everyday work activities and experiences (aka experiential learning)
  4. We learn through DIDACTICS – that is by being taught or trained or through independent study (aka formal learning)

But more than this we don’t learn equally from each of the 4 D’s. In fact the results of a survey of well over 10,000 people shows that only around 14% of what we learn happens in formal learning situations, ie DIDACTICS, whereas 21% comes from DISCOURSE, 32% from DOING, and 33% from DISCOVERY. Any tool that can enable learning in any of these contexts can therefore be termed a tool for learning.

So the graphic below shows the context in which of each of the top 100 tools is PRIMARILY used – which is then an indicator of how learning can be fully supported in order to provide a holistic approach to learning and development – click for a downloadable PDF.

  1. DISCOVERY – tools and platforms that an individual uses to find out things for themselves
  2. DISCOURSE – tools and platforms that can underpin interaction and collaboration between individuals
  3. DOING – tools and platforms that are used as part of daily (work/life) activities – and through which individuals can learn as a by-product of those activities
  4. DIDACTICS – tools and platforms that can be used to create, deliver, host and manage formal learning experiences as well as for independent study

Note: this doesn’t mean that the tools can’t be used in a number of context – for instance (1) a video meeting tool (DISCOURSE) can be used to host both meetings (DOING) and training sessions (DIDACTICS), and (2) a YouTube video (DISCOVERY) can be used in the workflow to support performance (DOING).

Read more about MODERN WORKPLACE LEARNING and discover the 3 complementary Guides for Individuals, for Managers and for L&D.


Last updated: August 31, 2022 at 12:59 pm

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