Top 10 tools of a Learning & Development CEO

Each year, Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies compiles a list of the top 200 tools for learning as voted on by thousands of learning professionals from around the world. Over the past several weeks, my colleagues have been sharing their top 10 votes for this year’s list. Today, it’s my turn to share the 10 tools I find most helpful when I’m working on learning programs.

Brian‘s Top 10 Tools for Learning

1. Google Docs and Drive (https://www.google.com/drive/)

The Google Docs/Drive suite of tools is the best collaborative set of tools I’ve used. So much simpler than Sharepoint, although you do lose some functionality of the various Google apps compared to Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel. So much learning comes through social interactions and collaboration, which makes this one of the most important tools for learning I use, year in and year out.

2. PowerPoint

While I just sung the praises of Google over Microsoft applications, when it comes to putting slides together for a presentation, Microsoft still sets the standard.

3. Pixabay (https://pixabay.com/)

Need royalty-free images for your slides (or any other visual medium you’re using)? Pixabay offers a large selection of free, royalty-free images. (Although you can always buy a cup of coffee for the artist if you so choose!)

4. Zoom (https://zoom.us/)

We were using Zoom, regularly, prior to the pandemic and ensuing lockdown, and we continue to use it for presentations, webinars, sales presentations and meetings. It’s intuitive, secure, has all the features we need, and relatively cost-effective. I even use it to record the audio for my podcasts!

5. Kahoot (https://kahoot.com/)

While they’ve changed their pricing structure over the years, it still seems to be the easiest audience interaction and gaming tool I’ve had the pleasure of using.

6. LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianwashburn/)

As I mentioned above, social learning is a lot more natural, happens in the flow of daily work and is much more convenient than taking a formal training course on something. LinkedIn is where I go to connect with other learning professionals, find people with whom I can have virtual coffee, identify potential podcast guests and simply read articles that others have shared.

7. Soapbox (https://soapboxify.com/)

Even though I’ve been developing in-person training programs for two decades, Soapbox lets me quickly enter some information about a presentation and gives me new ideas for training activities I wouldn’t have really thought to use. While it develops an entire lesson plan (which may be helpful for folks newer to the field of learning and development or perhaps subject matter experts), I simply take some activity ideas away from Soapbox when I use it and integrate them into my own session ideas.

8. Articulate Storyline (https://articulate.com/360/storyline)

It’s been a few years since I’ve actually created an elearning module using Storyline, but it’s still the easiest, fastest and most robust tool out there. Plus, it’s the software that most of our clients use, so it makes it easy on us to talk their language and also allows us to hop right in to their existing programs and simply make some updates to their source files.

9. Google Search (https://www.google.com/)

I use this every day, to find information, research, answers to questions and other organizations who might be good resources.

10. YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/)

It’s one thing to read about how to do something, it’s another thing to see it in action. YouTube is filled how-to videos, explainer videos and all sorts of other videos. Plus, it’s a good place to put your own explainer and how-to videos and send a link out to your colleagues or learners.

If you’d like to share the top 10 tools you’re using, you can cast your votes for this year’s list here. Be sure to vote prior to August 25!

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