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Heather’s Top 10 Tools for Workplace Learning

Earlier this week, Brian outlined his top ten tools for 2018 to vote in Jane Hart’s top 200 of 2018. I’d also like to take a chance to share my list. While there is frequent overlap in our job roles at Endurance Learning, my tasks can be a bit different with my focus on instructional design of Instructor-led and eLearning course. I use several tools to work remotely as an instructional designer. Here are the top ten I am using this year.

1. Notepad

As in the super simple text editor from Microsoft. Notepad has no XML or HTML formatting and strips any text you paste of formatting. While I write in various tools, I frequently copy and paste into Notepad to scrub out formatting to ensure clean text whether it is going to print, a Google Doc, to Storyline, or on a webpage.

2. Camtasia

In previous posts, I have sung the praises of Camtasia. As a screen/video capture and video editing tool, it is easy to use and chalk-full of tutorials. I feel like it gets better with every release. I can’t wait to see what they have next.

3. Audacity

I love free tools. Maybe it is my love for open source software like Linux or Mozilla, but I have huge respect for any well-constructed and useful tool that doesn’t cost a thing. Audacity is a simple audio-editing tool with no frills and excellent functionality. When I am developing video, all of my audio is separately edited in Audacity and then imported into my Camtasia file.

4. Gimp

Speaking of free tools, the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is Adobe Photoshop’s open-source cousin. People familiar with Photoshop will have a learning curve with the functionality, but once you catch on, you can find most of the functionality you need from an image manipulation program.

5. Twitter

I have met a lot of great people on Twitter and learned a lot of interesting things about our industry by following the right people. From conference back-channels to eLearning Guild Chats to article shares by my favorite L&D bloggers, I have found Twitter to be the most powerful social media tool for my job.

6. Grammarly

I love to write, and I spend most of my days doing so at my dream job. That said, I am a horrible speller and a bad proofreader. When I write something that does not go through a copy editor, I need a tool to give my stuff a once over. Grammarly, even the free edition, does a great job catch things you may overlook when you are proofing your own documents. I have Grammarly plugins on all my documents, email, and WordPress. It doesn’t catch everything (obviously), but it does a great job for a free tool.

7. WordPress

Contributing to this blog introduced me to WordPress, and I am impressed. Posts are easy to publish, analytics are clear, and I have enjoyed finding other WordPress bloggers through the interface.

8. Google Docs

Working remotely is not nearly as easy as it sounds. If you don’t have the right infrastructure for collaboration, your employees may not have the opportunities they need for teamwork. Google docs allows me to make real-time edits while on the phone with our COO in D.C. while a client asks questions or makes comments in Seattle.

9. Zoom

I have yet to find the perfect, affordable online conference solution. I have to say the Zoom is the closest so far. Screensharing, video conferencing, chat, and annotation functionality works as well as any of the competitors for a fraction of the price or free. I also find it more reliable than competitors.  I use Zoom client and team meetings.

10. Slack

Oh, how I love Slack! Working remotely can be an email nightmare. Our team has all but replaced emails by chatting in Slack giving me more time to focus on work. The channels in Slack allow us to talk shop when necessary and gives us a bit of a water-cooler zone where we can keep each other up on things we would normally discuss if we shared an office.

If you’d like to submit your own list, here is the link to C4LPT’s ballot.

Here is the list of the top 200 tools from 2017.


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