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Gift Recommendations for Trainers and Instructional Designers

Gift boxes

Are you looking for that perfect gift for the trainer or instructional designer in your life? Perhaps you feel you’ve done enough to earn a spot on Santa’s “Nice List” and you want to drop some hints to the people who may be buying gifts for your this season. Either way, we can help!

Our Endurance Learning team had some fun this past week putting together a group of our favorite things – tools, hardware, software, gadgets and just fun items – that we’ve found useful in our work, at a variety of price points.

Happy holidays everyone!

For the trainer who travels (or just tends to work from coffee shops)

Tri-Screen Laptop

Xebec Tri-Screen Laptop Extender

I do both – I travel and work from hotels or conference rooms, and I also do a lot of my work from coffee shops while I’m waiting for one of my kids’ sports practices to finish. Having a second and third screens that are small, portable and very helpful has been a huge time saver for me and has allowed me to be as productive on projects as I am when I’m working from my home office set-up.

– Brian Washburn

For the trainer who needs some fashion in their lives

Facilitator Tshirts Designed and Sold by Shit Facilitators Say

Sticky Note Shirt

This @ShitFacilitator Twitter account might be my favorite thing about Twitter, and now she’s come out with a t-shirt line that offers words and images that will resonate with any classroom facilitators.

– Brian Washburn

For the eLearning developer who wants a place to read and reflect

Elearning Designer's Handbook

The Elearning Designer’s Handbook, written by Tim Slade, offers guidance in building elearning from start to finish.  Beginning with types of eLearning and learning theory and ending with how to best evaluate your course, this book is a great resource to jump into and out of to reference the process of eLearning development.  Tim provides great insight into his own experiences as a developer, and visuals for guidance as well.  The book also contains spaces to reflect along the way to note your thoughts and keep track of what you are learning.

-Hannah Radant

For the trainer/developer who needs to visually organize tasks and ideas

Google Jamboard


Whiteboard tools can be handy for visualizing workflow, team, collaboration, and group brainstorming.  While some that are available for purchase have more bells and whistles for layouts and markups like Miro, Stormboard, or Mural, Google offers a simple, free option called Jamboard that allows for visualizing tasks or ideas with virtual post-its and a few other markup options.  We use this to organize projects on our development team and keep track of their movement between development, edits, and QA.

-Hannah Radant and Lindsay Garcia

For the less digitally inclined trainer

Tru Red Pens

As much as I like working in the cloud, I find great satisfaction in making to-do lists and keeping track of notes the old fashioned way, with pen and paper. These Tru Red pens from Staples are my favorite pens. The variety of colors is fun for color coding or just adding a little flair to otherwise boring writing.

I also find that dotted paper is easier to use for brainstorming than lined paper as I don’t feel like I am “going out of the lines” when I draw a visual representation or make a less traditional list. I like thick paper, a spiral binding, and an elastic loop to keep it closed when I toss it in my bag on the go. I own several of these notebooks and recommend them for any Trainer or Instructional Designer who likes to write things down old school like me. 

– Erin Clarke

For the trainer who needs to edit images or create gifs at a moments notice


I often find myself in situations where I need to do some scrappy image editing, video editing, or gif creating. Snagit is a relatively inexpensive tool for those who are not visual designers, but still need to get basic editing tasks done. While being simple and easy to use, it’s jam packed with awesome features that I use daily

– Lauren Wescott

For the trainer who needs to add some engagement to their online trainings or webinars

Interact and Engage

For someone who delivers a lot of online training, check out  Interact and Engage! by Kassy LaBorie and Tom Stone. This book is jam packed with activities to add engagement for your learners. While grabbing the Amazon link, I just noticed that they released a second edition with a bunch of new activities! Score! 

– Lauren Wescott 

For the trainer who owns a dog

yak cheese chews

I work from a home office and so does my dog. Our daily schedules aren’t always aligned — I need to jump on a serious Zoom meeting or hunker down over a detailed elearning QA or script, but she’s on her break and wants to play. In these moments I love to have some of her favorite treats on hand because they can occupy her for hours, or even days, when nothing else can…EcoKind Yak Cheese Dog Chews. Just be careful not to step on small chunks of it left behind on the floor because it’s as bad as stepping on a Lego!

– Rachel Niles

For the instructional designer who stares at a screen all day

Gunnar Glasses

Gunnar blue light eyeglasses have literally saved my life. All of my work, communications, and research happens via the computer screen. This puts a huge strain on my eyes and since I’ve found these glasses, my eye pain and migraines have lessened. They offer eyeglasses available in a blue light filter lens tint ranging from clear to amber max, as well as reading and prescription eyeglasses.

– Lindsay Garcia

For the trainer who has way too many sticky notes and nowhere else to stick them

Remarkable 2

reMarkable 2 is a paper tablet that can replace notebooks and printed documents for personal and professional use. I use this tablet to jot down notes for specific client projects as well as create budgets for my household. The coolest thing about this tablet is its ability to convert my handwritten notes into text and share them via email or access them on different platforms (such as Google Drive).

– Lindsay Garcia

For the trainer who has a sweet tooth

Lily's Baking Chips

By the afternoon, I need a little pick-me-up so I grab a cup of iced coffee and a handful of Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips. The little morsels are Fair Trade Certified, gluten-free, and made with stevia, so I don’t feel guilty when I am craving more than just one handful. 

– Lindsay Garcia

For the instructional designer who just needs to make lists


The Rocketbook and Rocket Planner are reusable notebooks that comes in a variety of sizes and prices. There is an app that pairs with them so that the user can save documents in the app, email it to themselves or others, text, etc. It’s incredibly useful for the on-the-go lists or if you, like me, enjoy physically writing something down. This is ideal for the trainer who loves to take notes at conferences, during meetings, have a reusable planner for scheduling meetings, and overall organization. I love that I can write, scan it, and erase it for the next time I need it. It puts an end to buying notebooks, new planners every year, and thousands of sticky notes hanging around my computer monitor!

– Jess Jagielski

For the trainer who needs a plan

Phoenix Project

I spend a lot of time planning. When I am not planning, I am thinking about how to make my next plan more efficient. When I read The Phoenix Project this spring, I learned not all plans are created equal. My favorite way to plan and keep projects moving is to use Kanban boards like Trello. I’ve also been known to grab a set of sticky notes and an open wall to make a lower-budget Kanban board. 

– Heather Barry

For the Elearning Developer Who Needs to Showcase Their Work

Elementor 1

I have been lucky to work with a lot of new elearning developers who are trying to showcase their work. There are lots of ways they can choose to do that. I’m in favor of using tools that also give you experience that could help customers. Pairing a tool like Elementor with WordPress gives elearning developers to build a portfolio they can share with prospects. While WordPress started as a blog platform and became a website creator, it can now be almost anything you want it to be. Elearning developers who choose a set of tools like this will be able to build a compelling portfolio and could learn some lessons that will help in their next customer interaction or job interview.

– Tim Waxenfelter

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