Fine Learning Tools is based on four simple ideas:

  1. Learning matters
  2. The best learning is self-directed
  3. Good tools aid learning
  4. People need access to good learning tools

I am tired of the way that learning has become conflated with education. Everyone needs to learn, but you don’t necessarily need to learn the stuff that is being taught as part of “education”. Learning encompasses learning a language, learning how to iron your pants or learning theoretical physics.

Learning makes it possible for people to lead better lives, not by “getting a job” (which is what education tells us), but by developing ourselves. Learning can enable us to do things differently, develop useful or just fun skills, connect with people and resources, and fufill our curiosity about the world. So learning matters.

Everyone loves learning. Babies learn all the time. It’s education that makes it boring and humiliating for those who are not good at that kind of learning. But people still learn, (although not always what they are “supposed” to learn, and not in the way that education says it must be done). The best kind of learning happens when you learn what you want to know, when you want to know it and in the way that you enjoy learning.

Only you know what really interests you, and only you will be able to figure out how you will use that skill or knowledge; how it will fit into your life in the long term. Curricula tell you what you ought to know. That might be helpful if you are entering a new field and you want the guidance of an expert, but there is no reason why you can’t learn things that are not in some curriculum. Learn what you want to know.

Learning how you learn is important too. Some people learn best by reading, others by doing, others by listening. Many people like to learn through play. Once you know how you learn, and you pick what you want to learn, you will be a really effective learner.

Learning tools make learning possible. They might be books, videos, equipment, web sites, or even schools, courses and teachers. A learning tool is anything that helps you learn what you want to know. Some learning tools are better than others. Really fine learning tools will make learning easy; they will be well-crafted, appropriate to the kind of learning you need, usable and effective.

Learning does not depend on being able to get into a particular course or university. Learning tools are now available in many different forms, in many locations and often online. The doors of learning are indeed open to all. The difficulty lies in choosing the best learning tool for what you want to know and for your style of learning. This site explores how to make information about fine learning tools available for anyone who wants to learn.