Recently, I’ve seen quite a few questions posted on boards that I follow asking “What’s the best tool for…?”

Often, I’m curious as to why the question is being asked. I’ll say to myself, “based on what requirements?” Or “given what parameters?” And, “to what purpose?” I often end up banging my head, not responding, and wondering if the person asking is just taking a swing in the dark? Or, shudder, that the person who asked is just trusting that the community to give some kind of answer, hoping to get enough responses and then go with the consensus?

Here’s an example. “What’s the best tool to use for virtual instructor led training?”

My immediate response is most of them are about the same, what are you trying to do with it? Do you just want to take your standard information, that you usually present with a PowerPoint in front of a live audience and present it on the web? Or, do you want to convert that classroom training experience into a virtual learning experience? If the latter, is the goal to create an interactive classroom experience on-line? And what type of on-line interactivity do you want to use?

When clients ask me the tool question, my immediate response is to ask several, seemingly unrelated questions. These usually consist of:

  • What is it that you are hoping to do?
  • What outcomes do you want to see from that?
  • What does success look like?
  • How will you know this made a difference?

I get that we live in a world where we can just ask a question of our peers and hope we get the best answer. I just think that sometimes, putting a little more thought into it, and asking within what parameters, will not only yield better results, but get you the right answer.

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