Elearning : Introduction to “Toolkit Concept”

Elearning : Introduction to “Toolkit Concept”

Please note this will be a very long post with many examples and references , and I will keep updating it .

So I want to talk about a new idea, That I discovered after realizing the limitations of books , Lets Start this by first defining what a book is xp

I know you are wondering why do we need a definition of a book? Well I just want to emphasize on few key points and limtations .

Books are Published content that authors write to communicate with their target audience which are based on certain assumptions .

That assumptions word is very important here

  1. Book Doesnt Teach How to “use/read” a book ? Why is this important? Well it might sounds very simple and stupid but every book has certain basic assumptions that they expect from readers/users. Imagine Starting over  with chapter 5 from a algebra book , which has a chapter on quadratic eqations, while most books will mention the dependencies of that chapter some badly designed books wont .

2.   Books assume readers have good memories (especially maths textbooks) , Open up a chapter on Trigonometry or Properties of Triangles and just look at the “Ocean” of formulas they expect us to “remember” , While some brave souls might remember all of them , most of like me dont .

3. Books Dont check if what you have “read” you have actually practiced that when did you practice that, Books Dont provide you powerful analytics .

4. Books dont help you realize patterns and dependencies among different entities.

5. Books dont give you the intuition that is very human friendly (they are very static ) , It can be the case that ever since the book was published or even before it was published there were other intuitive explanations of a particular concept that were way simpler that what book provided but the author never cared to research over those before writing the book.

Even though we have a lot of limitations Books still remain one of the widely used resource to “learn” concepts . They are cheap and widely available.


Alrightly , In this post I want to specifically magnify upon the 4th point and why I have realized its so important (atleast from mathematical perspective ) .

Imagine how hard it is to just rote learn all those hard formulae, but thats we are trained to do , I reject this way of learning things because of the following reasons :

  1. Not every student/person has a capacity to store a large number of formulae in his/her LTM (Long Term Memory)
  2. Jumping directly to formulae can eliminate intuition and reasoning
  3. Formulae are limited and most often we need to chain them in order to solve a problem , remembering the exact sequence is also challenging.

So How Can we solve this problem ? I introduce ” The Toolkit ” , It’s a very simple abstract model which you can think of as “virtual memory” .

Toolkit enumerates all the rules (not necessarily formulae ) that a student has learnt . But here is the catch , It also includes “Patterns” that books fail to realize.  Each Rule/ Pattern has a Index number , Title , Description , Date Added Fields

We can either make use of a diary to make our “Toolkit” or just use any text editing software like notepad, Thats what toolkit model really is , Its just text .

Why are patterns so useful , Lets take up an example in properties of triangles unit.

My Book has 3 formulae :

sin(A) = area / 2bc , and similarily quivalent versions for sin(B) and sin(C)

Now , I am sure most of you must have simply “learnt” it and stored it in your LTM ( Thats what we assume ) . Imagine that after 1 year you changed your major and started learning “Cooking” , and around that time I give you a problem that heavily depends on these formulae , will you able to solve it ?

Here is How Our Toolkit Model solves this problem , We first proof this to convince our selves and notice that the proof takes less than 1 minute . We realize a pattern/rule of the following form :

SNo. 1

Description :  For relating Sine < A > to area of triangle => Consider general triangle => Draw perpendicular => Apply law of sines in the subtriangle .

Thats It.  You know whats nice ? The first time you did this on your own , It provided you confidence that It is not that hard and simpler that directly rote learning the formula. Try the same problem after 1 year referring to your “Toolkit” I am sure you will solve it.

Some things related to Patterns/Rules :

The “Toolkit” doesnt enforce any constraints on writing style/form of productions , they depend on the person who is going to “use” his/her “toolkit”

The entries/rules in your toolkit cannot be proved but are based on your “assumptions” , Thats why you should only add entries when you first make sure you are confident deriving them. The whole point of introducing toolkit is to remove burden of memorizing “everything” .

The Toolkit is dynamic in nature and you must expand entries , You can even generalize rules/patterns.

Here is one practical use case of toolkit concept , So I was solving some problems, I noticed that many problems were strikingly similar in nature, and there was a “pattern” in them that seemed recursive, I couldnt find any specific formulae to solve these kinds of problems that were simple .

So Here is What I did I solved the first problem , It gave me the confidence , I continued solving similar problems and identified the pattern , You can watch these in this videos -> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHGgmgAeJ_o

Then I added another entry in my toolkit , which looks something like this :

SNo. 2

Description: Relating Sides of a triangle with tan/cot of half angle -> Law of Sines ->Trig Transformations -> Result 🙂

Just look at the above entry that I added in my toolkit , It is so personal , It is so informal , and It gives me the confidence to solve any problem of similar nature. In fact I solved more problems by applying rule 2 of my toolkit and reached out at a correct solutions.

User have to firmly believe in the entries added in their toolkit .It may rarely occur that you added a slightly misleading / incorrect rule , You must first challenge the toolkit , If you fail , you must modify/remove your entry.

The feature image of this post shows one example of my toolkit entry

Toolkit Model Directly Endorses / Appreciates The wonderful concept of Constructionism because Users must solve the problems on their own , Get the confidence , Identify Patterns and Store that very confidence permanently in form of Toolkit entry .


Comment ( 1 )

  1. ReplySarthak
    Interesting idea. I guess this can be easily done using Microsoft OneNote and a touch pen to make/edit notes. You should also check out this coursera video series on Learning How to Learn. The second part of the series talks about Chunking, which are really pieces of information stored as neuron patterns in your mind. Chunking helps learning as one chunk can aid building other chunks (called Transfer). Your idea of having a Toolkit seems like a visual representation of how some of the Chunks stored in our brains might look like. Pretty cool. Contact me if you wanna talk more about the Tool-kit :)