Almost any technology can be a learning technology, I wrote a while back. It’s how it’s used, not what is used.
- What’s the difference between a conference room and a classroom?
- What is the difference between a CMS and an LCMS?
A learning technology is mostly about branding and I’m more interested in non-educational tools (social networking, wikis, blogs, social bookmarks) in that they are not limited by some pre-conceived notions about learning or a constrained pedagogical framework. I can use general tools for instruction, guided study or discovery learning; just as the same physical classroom can be alternately an exciting learning environment or a temporary prison cell.
I believe that special *learning technologies* actually restrain us.
Restraint may be defined as:
1. The act of restraining or the condition of being restrained.
2. Loss or abridgment of freedom.
3. An influence that inhibits or restrains; a limitation.
4. An instrument or a means of restraining.
5. Control or repression of feelings; constraint.
First, the notion of learning technologies as separate from working technologies continues to keep learning separate from work. This makes little sense in a networked workplace. Second, learning technologies become a special class of tools that only learning experts understand or care to learn about. Third, they create a class of vendors focused on the training & development department and not the overall organization. My experience is that the only organizations that benefit from learning technologies are those whose core business is learning with a focus on formal, structured delivery – schools.
Learning technologies, by their limiting nature, are instruments of restraint for the networked organization.