Agile Learning Design: Tools for Learners

In the last chapter, I discussed some of the various media for delivering learning methodologies and objects. Before moving on to the final concept of Iteration in Agile Learning Design, I thought now would be a good time to discuss the tools the learners require for agile learning in a dL (distributed Learning) environment.

The Lava Lamp

Networked Computer

While this may seem obvious to some, we need to realize that a lot of learners in the workplace do not have access to a networked PC or to one that is located in an environment conductive to learning (free of noise and distractions).

Learning Management System (LMS)

And this does not mean access to any old LMS, but one in which the learners can easily search and locate the content they need. Aaron Silvers took a show of hands at DevLearn several years ago and discovered this seems to be the last thing that we require of a LMS, but if the learners cannot easily use it and dislike using it, then it is worthless, no matter how many other bells and whistles it may have.

iTunes/iPod (or similar system)

While there is an adverse reaction to providing this set-up to learners in some organizations, podcasting is a proven and viable means of learning. Yes, they may listen to music on their iPods, but they also use email, cell phones, and internet services for personal reasons. Lets provide them with the tools they need. To increase the capabilities of the device (mLearning), consider the iTouch or iPad.

Social Networking Media

Sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Yammer can provide networking between various learning episodes. While personal relationships can provide a great source of ideas and feedback, social networking media provides a 24/7 means of reaching a large number of people for bouncing your ideas around.

However, people often choose quantity over quality by following too many people. Robin Dunbar, a anthropologist, proposed that we can only comfortably maintain between 100 and 250 relationships, with 150 followers being the best number (Dunbar, 1992; Purves, 2008).

A Guide for Managing Learning

Not everything is hi-tech. Perhaps the best guide around is Getting Your Money's Worth from Training and Development: A Guide to Breakthrough Learning for Managers and Participants by Jefferson, Pollock, and Wick (2006). This book is conveniently divided into two parts: 1) start at one end for managers or 2) flip the book over and it is for the learners. It is based on perhaps one of the best book on training: The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results.

PDF Editor

For reading creating, and printing PDF files.

What would you include in your learners' toolbox?


This article was first posted on my blog, Agile Learning Design: Tools for Learners, but since blogs tend to push posts to the bottom as new posts are created, I thought I would post the series on my web site where they would stay more exposed and could be updated when needed. If you have any comments on this article please feel free to comment on the blog post.

Next Steps


Dunbar, R.I.M. (1992). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution. 22(6): p469–493.

Purves, D. (2008). Principles of cognitive neuroscience. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates Inc.