There is a lot of interest in the behaviour of the Modern Learner, but in the context of work it is more appropriate to talk about the Modern Professional Learner. The Modern Professional Learner learns for, at and through work in many different ways – i.e. not just in formal training or e-learning, but through everyday work experiences as well as on the Web. In doing so the Modern Professional Learner makes use of a wide variety of tools.
The diagram below shows the key tools a Modern Professional Learner might use in 12 different contexts – many of which appear on the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016. How many do you use for your own professional learning? How many do you support in your organisation to underpin learning in the modern workplace?
Web browsers are essential to get the most out of the Web. The most popular are Google Chrome and Firefox.
Social networks are where individuals build their own professional network (of trusted connections – from practitioners to thought leaders). Most popular are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+.
Messaging apps are becoming more popular than social networks to connect with both colleague and other contacts . Apps include Messenger and WhatsApp.
News readers let an individual subscribe to and aggregate posts from blogs and web feeds. These include Feedly and Inoreader.
Blogging tools are used by those who find it valuable to blog about their ideas and experiences. The main tools they use are WordPress and Blogger.
Resource collections – like YouTube, Wikipedia, Slideshare and TED – are often the first port of call when individuals need to solve a (learning or performance) problem.
Search engines are of course needed for a wider search of the Web, Google is the leading tool on use, although Microsoft’s Bing is another (albeit not as popular) option.
Curationtools are used by individuals to keep them abreast of new resources. Google Alerts notifies subscribers when new resources appear of interest to them. Scoopit curates resources on specified topics and presents them in a magazine. Flipboard scours an individual’s network connections for new resources and puts them in a mobile magazine.
Bookmarking tools are used to store links to resources – either temporarily or permanently. So for instance Pocket is a tool to save something to read later, whereas tools like Diigo (are for storing textual links) and Pinterest for pinning links as images.
Clipping tools support the “clipping” pieces of content from the Web. The main tools for this are Evernote and OneNote, although this functionality is also found in a Personal Learning Space.
Online course & MOOC platforms offer free and paid-for online courses and programs (often from universities) for self-study . The most popular are Coursera, Lynda, edX, FutureLearn and iTunesU.
Learning experience platforms are a new range of platforms that offer continuous curated content for both personal and enterprise use. These include Degreed, Axonify and EdCast.
Enterprise LMS deliver and manage e-learning (and sometimes social e-leaning) to employees. Examples: Moodle, TotaraLMS and Cornerstone.
Classroom tools provide a way for trainees to interact and feedback in the classroom using mobile devices. Examples include Poll Everywhere and Mentimeter.
Webinar tools provide a platform for individuals to participate in live e-learning. Most popular are WebEx and Adobe Connect.
File sharing tools are used for resource sharing in work teams or across the organisation (and elsewhere). Dropbox and Google Drive are the most popular.
Enterprise social networks and platforms provide a place for individuals to connect with one another inside the organisation. Popular ESNs/Platforms include Yammer, Confluence and SharePoint.
Video meetingtools allow groups of people to meet with video conferencing facilities. Tools include Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom.
Office tools are dominated by the Microsoft Office suite (Word, PowerPoint and Excel) although Apple iWork tools (Keynote, Pages and Numbers) are now very popular. Other tools include those like Prezi (for presentation creation).
Email clients are still very important communication tools, and Gmail and Outlook are the most popular.
A Personal Learning Space lies at the heart of the Modern Professional Learner’s Toolkit. It is a privately-controlled space where an individual can organise and manage his/her own learning, by recording and reflecting on experiences wherever and however they take place – in the classroom, online, in the office, in a conference or elsewhere – as well as evidence changes and improvements in her/her performance change. (It might be termed an ePortfolio or even a Personal LMS). Example: PebblePad
Of course, when it comes to using these tools, a new set of Modern Professional Learning skills is required to function effectively – to get the most out of the tools and ensure the individual is not overwhelmed. That’ll be the topic of a future article here.
Jane Hart is the Director of the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning, which she set up to help organisations and learning professionals modernise their approaches to workplace learning - through public workshops and bespoke consultancy. She is the Editor of the Modern Workplace Learning Magazine, and is the author of a number of books including, Learning in the Modern Workplace 2017. You can contact Jane at Jane.Hart@C4LPT.co.uk.