My top 10 Learning Tools for 2011

Posted on Nov 6, 2011

It’s that time of the year again folks when Jane Hart is reminding us all to submit our ‘Top 10 Learning Tools 2011/of the year’.

This is something that I contributed to for the first time last year and it was interesting to see where my preferred tools came in the ‘Top 100’ ranking structure that Jane works out from all of our submissions, it is also a great place to catch wind of any new tools that are out there.

I am once again contributing to this years list, however I have decided to take a different tack. Whereas my list last year probably (I say probably because I can’t specifically remember) contained things like:

  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Google Reader
  • Slideshare
  • etc

I have decided to approach things from a different angle this year and have decided not to concentrate on the actual platform, but to think more carefully about how I get access to that platform. After all, it’s no good being a member of some of these wonderful online platforms if you can’t get to them. There are also a few in there just to remind us all that sometimes the answer doesn’t need to be a ‘click‘ away at all! I think it’s also worth mentioning that I have only very recently started working in a new organisation, Epic. What better time to consider what tools have been effective for my personal learning, within a real-time learning moment.

So here’s my Top 10 list of learning tools, in no particular order.

1. My phone (this allows me to phone people up and ask them a question, at which point I find Tool No 6 to be particularly useful)

2. My iPad (this allows me to review online information and communications in order to bring me up to speed on a given subject, of course without Tool No 4 I am somewhat limited in what I can do)

3. My laptop (not only can I do everything on this that I can do on Tool No 2, but I can also far more easily create content, which of course allows me to reflect upon what I am creating thus adding to my own personal learning experience)


4. Internet signal – WiFi/3G/4G/Ethernet (come on admit it, how many of you who submitted an entry into Janes Top 100 tools, overlooked the fact that *most* if not all of the tools you suggested rely upon being able to gain and maintain access to the t’internet?)

Fon wireless router 2

5. Falling over – not literally of course, I mean making mistakes. What more powerful tool can there be for learning than those amazing synapses in our brains firing adrenaline, emotions such as guilt, worry, embarrassment, shock etc after we have realised we have made a mistake. Sometimes bruised egos, flushed cheeks and yes – scraped knees serve us very well indeed.

scraped knee

6. My ears – let’s be honest, they’re in ‘receive mode’ far more than our Internet signal. Next time you’re amongst your team colleagues just allow yourself to listen to what’s being said….


7. The Epic intranet – a purpose-built repository of the specific ‘must/should/and could knows’ of my organisation. This has been of immense use to me over the last couple of weeks and no doubt will continue to be so in the future.

8. The guy who sits opposite me – His name is Andy Costello and he has been a godsend to me during my first few weeks working at Epic. Not only providing support when I have asked for it, but also providing it when he anticipates I am approaching a ‘just in time’ moment. Truly contextualised, semantic performance support.


9. Books/magazine etc (not fussy about the format)

Books - bookcase top shelf

10. My Son and Daughter – watching them grow up, evolve, learn, make mistakes etc provides me with some wonderful ‘lightbulb’ moments. Seeing how they navigate the challenges and problems that you and I take for granted, like carrying a plate without spilling its contents reminds me that all the learning challenges that you and I face are surmountable, I mean look at everything else that we have achieved in our lives!


  1. @maberdour Liking your thinking 😉

  2. How did it go at the awards?

  3. That really is a very effective learning tools! But what do you think is the best? 🙂

  4. I love how many of those things weren’t around 10 years ago. Well, except books and falling over. I especially liked falling over…

  5. Nice list of learning tools you have there.. Thanks for sharing them to us! Love to share this with my friends!

  6. Great lists! Number one for me is my bay, I have lots of new things learned from her and the gadgets you have listed… I am just not into books.

  7. I never went, but the entry didnae win anything I’m afraid

  8. That’s bollocks. Do they know who you are? How’s it going at epic?

  9. @MikeCollins007 Cheers Michael

  10. Excellent point! I love your list of tools.. I will surely keep those in mind I’m sure it will come in handy.. 🙂

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