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My Picks for the Top 10 Learning Tools (2015 Edition)

Each year, Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) publishes a list of the top 100 learning tools as nominated by more than 1,000 learning professionals from across the country. Earlier in the year, I had some fun with Articulate Storyline and this list to help you find out how many of the top 100 tools from 2014 that you’re using.

How Many Tools

Here is how I’ll be casting my ballot this year (in no particular order of importance):

1. WordPress: It’s the platform I use for blogging. It’s the platform many of my favorite bloggers use. And beyond a blogging platform, it’s the front end of our organization’s LMS. It’s super easy to use. And it’s my outlet for reflecting on lessons learned, sharing experiences and ideas and engaging in longer-form discussion. Which brings me to short-form discussion…

2. Twitter: It’s amazing how much you can learn in 140 characters. Twitter is my go-to place to catch a quick glance at what’s on the minds of hundreds of other L&D professionals at any given moment. Weekly tweet chats allow me an opportunity to engage with thought leaders and practitioners around the world. And I’ve met some great people via Twitter who I’ve later met at conferences or elsewhere in my travels. It’s nice to be able to find people to have pizza with and to geek out over training… all made possible because of Twitter. Shameless plug: if you’re not yet following me on Twitter, what are you waiting for? Now’s the time! Do it!

3. PowToon: I was slow to warm to this little tool, which helps you create short cartoons in a relatively short period of time. But the spirit eventually grabbed me and now I have a lot of fun with this tool – whether to promote a new learning module or just goofing around. Looking for something that’s a little different – not quite a full-on elearning module but much more fun that a plain old email announcing the roll-out of a new training offering? Give it a try!

4. Articulate Storyline: Hands-down this is the easiest elearning authoring tool I’ve ever used. And the Articulate community is second to none – welcoming, active, helpful and just a collection of fun people. Want to get the most out of your Storyline experience? You should be following these people on Twitter: Tom Kuhlmann, David Anderson, Nicole Legault and Trina Rimmer.

5. LinkedIn: I’m connected to some very smart people who are very active on LinkedIn and post some very timely articles which help me stay current on trends and debates within the L&D community. I’m not as impressed with most LinkedIn groups, which I’ve found to be more populated by vendors than actual discussion. I did, however, recently work through my network and LinkedIn to land a gig as a part-time instructor for a new University of Washington certificate program in Workplace Learning & Professional Development, which further proves LinkedIn’s value for me.

6. PowerPoint: For all the grief this tool gets, it’s just a tool. A very powerful tool. A tool that’s abused much more often than it’s used for the forces of good. No list of training tools could be complete, however, without it. It’s the visual foundation for lots of presentations – in person and online/webinar. Speaking of webinars…

7. Adobe Connect: Honestly, I still have a special place in my heart for WebEx (my first true webinar love), but Adobe Connect is functional. And helps make the world much smaller. And it’s the tool I’ve been given to work with by my employer. So it makes the list.

8. PollEverywhere: If you haven’t tried this puppy out in front of an audience, I highly recommend setting a goal for yourself to use it sometime soon. Even if you’re working with an audience that you don’t feel would take too kindly to being invited to participate in your next presentation, this is such a non-threatening technology to incorporate into your presentation – whether in front of 20 people of 2,000 people. It’s a web-based survey tool that can be embedded into PowerPoint and which will display poll results on the large screen, in real time, as your participants vote (or type in short answers) using their smart phones or texting feature of a not-so-smart phone.

9. Google (Search): Want to know something? Anything? Google it. Just for fun, hit the “I’m feeling lucky” button and see what happens. Beyond the obvious, on-demand search for any information ever published, it’s also a great tool to find images for slides or elearning projects… just be sure to filter your image search results by license and find the images that are free to use or share.

10. TED Talks: Yes, I could have been more broad an voted for YouTube, but honestly I find TED Talks to be an extremely valuable subset of online videos. Not only are some of the talks exciting and thought-provoking and idea-inducing, but I also refer people to TED in order to study how to begin a presentation, how to grab the audience’s attention, how to hold the audience’s attention, and how to wrap up a presentation with punch.

What’s missing? Let me know in the comment section. Or better yet, go here and vote for yourself!

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