My Top 10 Tools for Learning

Last Thursday I shared the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’ (C4LPT) 2015 list of the top 100 tools for learning.

If you want your voice heard for 2016’s top 100 list, there are several ways to do it: 1) you can vote here, 2) you can email your choices to C4LPT’s Jane Hart at jane.hart@c4lpt.co.uk, or 3) you can write a blog post about your top 10 choices.

By way of this blog post, I’m casting my votes for the 2016 list. Following are my top 10 choices (in no particular order): 

  1. HipChat. Some people prefer Slack. I’ve tried them both and I prefer HipChat, although I’m not sure why. This tool has dramatically reduced the number of emails in my inbox and helps me keep communications, files and links about specific topics organized and easy to find. If you’re looking for a communication tool for a group working on a project or simply trying to iron out communication issues within a team, I say give HipChat a try.
  2. Kahoot! This is an online game tool that I first learned of from C4LPT’s Top 100 list two years ago. I’ve just recently begun using it to engage people in meetings and data presentations. I’m loving it. Here’s a more in-depth look at how I’ve used it to transform my organization’s monthly all-staff meetings.
  3. Pixlr. I’m not a graphic designer nor have I bothered to master Photoshop, but sometimes I just need to make small edits to an image or photo. Pixlr is a free online photo editing tool that’s easy to use and does exactly what I need to remove a little thing or blur out identifying information in a photo.
  4. Articulate Storyline. I’ve never used a rapid authoring tool that’s so intuitive to use, with so much online support, with an amazing online user community, or that’s so easy to get others excited about. It doesn’t take long to put together simple job aids, like this C4LPT Top 100 Tool Counter so you can see how many of these tools you use, or this Holiday Party Outfit Selecting Wizard.
  5. Google Search. I’m not going to insult your intelligence explaining why this is an essential tool for learning. If you’re going to use the image search for pictures for your PowerPoint slides, just make sure you do an advanced search and filter by usage rights.
  6. PowToon. This is a great tool to make short, animated videos fairly quickly. There’s definitely a learning curve when it comes to inserting voiceover and navigating the timeline, but once you’ve mastered those things it’s fairly straightforward. If you want to see PowToon in action, here are four examples to get you thinking of the possibilities.
  7. Slideshare. I’m a big fan of Slideshare when I’m looking for inspiration on how to design my own slides. Here’s a recent post I wrote to showcase a variety of lessons that can be learned by looking at someone else’s slide decks. It also integrates smoothly with LinkedIn for you to showcase your best presentations on your profile.
  8. PowerPoint. For as much grief as PowerPoint gets in the business world, it’s quite a powerful tool… if only presenters would learn how to use it better. I didn’t include PollEverywhere as one of my top 10 tools this year, but when you integrate that online, SMS-based polling system into your PowerPoint, you have instant engagement with your slides. Or see #7 above and peruse Slideshare for better ways to visually engage your learners. Just remember: PowerPoint doesn’t bore people. People bore people.
  9. WordPress. Sure I use WordPress to bestow my wisdom and ingenuity with you, dear reader. At the same time, blogging forces me to stay current in my skills and knowledge in order to have something to write twice a week, every week. Plus, WordPress hosts amazing blogs from people like Mike Taylor, Michelle Baker, and Christy Tucker (among others).
  10. Twitter. Sometimes when I need a break from work for a few minutes, I’ll pull up my Twitter feed and scroll through for 140 characters of inspiration. When I’m looking for a more in-depth learning experience, I’ll join in a Tweet chat. Here’s a longer description of how Tweeting for an hour on the topic of onboarding helped unjam a project at work with several specific, actionable ideas to take forward.

What tools are you using? I’d love to hear in the Comment section… and I’m sure Jane Hart at C4LPT would love you to drop her a line with your tools of choice.

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