Too many tools (Anti-pattern)

Design Anti-Pattern: Too many tools


The course grinds to a halt due to the overambitious use of third party tools and services.


Too many tools (anti-pattern)


You are well versed and experienced in a variety of Internet based tools, services and platforms and want to string these together to provide a rich and diverse learning landscape for your participants. The complexity of the course increases in direct relation to the number of tools and participants become confused and bogged down in managing the toolset as opposed to doing any learning.



Course designers can often see multiple ways of solving a particular edcuational challenge and during the design stage of a MOOC there can be a temptation to over utlilise tools and services. This can create a network of tools and dilute the central platform as a touch point for the core course scaffolding i.e. the hub.


Remember that the tools should serve the pedagogy and not act as a hinderance.


Like good graphic design - there are simple rules of thumb:



This is an anti-pattern and comes from numerous examples of running courses and workshops. For example - using Googlesites to edit content, followed by uploading an overview via Slideshare, mindmapping results in Popplet (which then does not work on iPads) followed by a VLE for assessment and tracking and a custom CMS for data strorage.


The MUVEnation project decided against using a Personal Learning Network approach of aggregated social media sites to one where a VLE (MOODLE) acted as the central course scaffold that aggregated data feeds from a limited subset of personal tools such as participants blogs


Data and References

 Is referenced by design pattern: ADJACENT PLATFORMS

Author(s): Steven Warburton
Published at: 11 Feb 2015 11:51 GMT
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