The Dark Side of Toolkits

by | Oct 18, 2021 | ICT4D, Learning


The toolkit outlines the how to do something – how to use an analysis tool, conduct an assessment, and so on. A manual tends to explain how to use a product or system. We conduct training on how to do ‘X’. The idea is to empower people to be able to do things on their own. And often we succeed with this. But often the ‘how’ we do the training results in compliance. There is only one ‘right’ way to do the activity or use the product.

Toolkits and manuals help codify knowledge, which is a good thing. However, as we train and share with others, we need to frame the toolkit within the process of ongoing learning. Without this framing we perpetuate the fixed mindset rather than the growth mindset. Toolkits and manuals might just be starting points rather than end points. Otherwise the unintended consequence of toolkits and manuals will be diminished thinking, especially creative thinking.

The choice is up to us.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina


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