Free Elearning Storyboard Template

A lot of my work focuses on instructor-led training – whether in person or virtual. Over the past year, I’ve returned to elearning design as well. Just like a lesson plan is the cornerstone for helping me to organize all of my instructor-led thoughts into a coherent, engaging learning experience, I’ve found the elearning storyboard template to help me in the same way as I design tightly-focused, engaging elearning.

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Blogs as a Learning Tool

A few weeks ago I released a podcast about using podcasts in learning programs. To keep with such a “meta” theme, today’s blog post focuses on using blogs as part of a learning program.

While I’ve come to love (and sometimes hate) that writing a post every week forces me to stay on top of new developments in learning and development just so that I have something to write about, blogs can be used for more than a platform for individuals to write articles.

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Podcasts in Training

As learning and development professionals, we are always looking for new ways to deliver content to our learners. One approach to this challenge is to consider how you like to have content delivered.

Podcasts are a great way to have content delivered. Many of us listen to daily news podcasts, enjoy stories or sports entertainment via podcasts, and even learn more about our own industry or other new and interesting things from our favorite podcasting service.

This week, Betty Dannewitz from If You Ask Betty joins us on our very own Train Like You Listen podcast to talk about how you can incorporate podcasts into your next training program.

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Learning Campaigns

What is it like to be on the other side of the training? In other words, do your participants have a working world that lives beyond attending your training? In all of my experiences, the answer to that question is a resounding yes. In fact, often I have to account for not only meeting the training objectives, but also making sure there are several ways for the learned to access information and find various was to prompt them to engage with those tools, events,  and resources.  

The more we can access our learners, the more likely we are to be successful in our training outcomes. This week on the Train Like you Listen podcast, Amy Lou Abernethy, President, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Strategist at Amp Creative, stops by to talk to us about how we can use learning campaigns to increase learner engagement and promote a learning culture.

Top 200 Tools for Learning in 2020

Last week I shared several tools that I’ve found my children’s teachers using for online school activities that I thought could be helpful for those of us in the L&D field. Today I want to continue with the theme of tools we can use by talking about Jane Hart’s annual list of top tools for learning, which was released at the beginning of September.

New Technology in L&D

I’m always intrigued by Jane Hart‘s list because this is where I have a chance to see what technologies others are using, and I am sometimes inspired to bring something new into my daily practice.

miro whiteboard - top 200 tools for learningI was intrigued to see both Netflix (for documentaries) and Spotify (for podcasts) break onto the top 200 tools for learning. There are also a variety of new tools that made the list that may help with virtual staff meetings, strategic planning sessions and presentations, such as Mural and Miro, which are both online whiteboarding tools.

I’m kind of wishing I had written this post last week so that I could have discovered ilovepdf.com earlier. This is a quick and easy way to convert pdf files into editable documents such as Word, PowerPoint or Excel files with, as stated on their landing page, “almost 100%” accuracy.

There are also several new mindmapping, email and game/survey tools to check out as well.

Old Favorites

When you consider that this list of top 200 tools are tools used by both corporate trainers and classroom educators, there is nothing on highest ranked, most popular 20 tools that surprised me. YouTube, Zoom, Google Search, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, Word, Google Docs/Drive, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, Wikipedia, Facebook, Excel, WordPress, Google Classroom, Google Meet, Slack, Canva, Skype and Trello make the top 20.

Other tools that are still popular in use among the Top 50 (in case you were wondering if some of your old stand-by’s were growing out of date) include Kahoot (for games and quizzes), Prezi (this actually surprises me that it’s still so popular, coming in at #39), Snagit (for screen captures) and Vyond (for animated video creation).

Further down the list, at #182, you’ll find Pixabay. It’s a site I use every week when I’m looking for imagery for this blog or for my PowerPoint decks. If you haven’t stumbled upon it yet and you’re on the lookout for free stock images, definitely give it a look.

Tools for Learning I Plan To Try

mentimeter polling  in top 200 tools for learningMy favorite audience participation tool is PollEverywhere, though I was recently exposed to Mentimeter (which comes in at #26 on the list). I’m not sure if it’ll give me something extra, but I’d like to check it out and see why it’s so popular.

I mentioned Mural as a whiteboarding tool. When I’m in person, I love to use a flipchart, whiteboards, and sticky notes to help organize my thoughts and play with ideas during meetings. In this world of COVID and virtual meetings, this could be a handy tool.

I’ve also just downloaded Snip & Sketch, which appears at #86 on this list. It’s a free download if you have Microsoft Office on your computer, and is Microsoft’s replacement to their Snipping Tool.

If you have a chance to check out this list of top 200 tools for learning, I’d love to hear which tools you’re using, and which tools sound like they could help you with your learning and development programs!


Want to try out a tool that can help you generate training activities – whether you’re delivering virtual sessions or you’re returning to in-person training? Perhaps Soapbox will appear on this top 200 list next year.

What can trainers steal from online, k-12 instruction?

Back in March, schools abruptly closed and went online. It was a messy experience for students, teachers and parents. This fall however, many schools and teachers have done an amazing job finding new educational technologies and navigating their classes through less than ideal circumstances. As I sometimes catch myself spying on my children in school to see what online school looks like these days, I find that some teachers are using technologies I’d never thought to use (or hadn’t even heard of).

I think there might be some lessons and technologies we, in the world of learning and development, can adopt from these online school experiences. Here are two recent examples that I’ve seen my children’s teachers use.

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5 Good Books for Trainers

Over the past several weeks, I’ve had the good fortune to be able to speak with a number of authors who have written books on various aspects of training and development.

In this age of COVID, with conferences and training events either being cancelled or going virtual, you may be looking for other ways to hone your craft, and one of these books may be just what you need.

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Real Cost of Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-left training costs can come in many forms. Financial costs are the traditional way in which this question is answered. “We were able to develop this training program for about $2,500.” But what’s the cost to you?

real cost of instructor-led training includes time

Just because you develop a training program in-house, doesn’t mean it was designed for “free”. Yes, your time is already budgeted and paid for, but it’s certainly not “free”.

If you didn’t have to spend so much time coming up with original activities and thinking of new ways to engage people, what else could you be doing with your time? Another way to think of it might be this: if you had an extra 4-8 hours of work time this week, how would you invest that time? Would you get one more project scratched off your to-do list? Would you shut down a bit early on Friday?

The Big Question

When someone (usually around budget season) asks: “How much does it cost to put together your training programs,” what do you tell them? Are you able to come up with a good answer? Do you know the true cost of instructor-led training?

We put this little calculator together to help determine the real cost of instructor-led training.

Cost of Training Assumptions

As you can see, our Cost of Instructor-Led Training calculator is making a few assumptions. It assumes that:

  • It takes about 8 hours of development time to put together a plan and materials for one hour of training (including background research, activity development, facilitator materials, participant materials, PowerPoint slides, etc).
  • Your labor hours are the only costs involved in training. Costs go up even further if you’re using graphic designers, purchasing off-the-shelf content or videos, printing participant materials in full color, etc.

Lower the Cost of Instructor-led Training with Soapbox

Yes, this particular training cost calculator brings Soapbox into the equation and offers an idea of how many labor hours you could save by automating some of your instructional design process, but there’s a bigger point to be made here.

The saying “time is money” is only partially true. Yes, when you’re at work, your time equates to labor hours, which have a cost to your business. Unlike money, however, your time cannot be saved. So the real question is: how do you want to spend it?

We would love to help you determine how to lower your cost of instructor-led training with Soapbox. We only need 15 minutes (we know your time is valuable!).

Stop Stressing About Virtual Training Activities

The United States went into lockdown mode as it responded to COVID-19 back around St. Patrick’s Day of this year. It’s been about 6 months since the world of learning and development has gone almost exclusively to virtual design and delivery, and there’s really no end in sight.

Are you still able to come up with original virtual training activities to keep people engaged?

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Are there instructional design lessons to be learned from Married At First Sight?

Perhaps I’ve been quarantined too long and have run out of “good” shows to watch, but when I recently stumbled across Married At First Sight (Season 9) on Netflix, I couldn’t resist.

As I began to watch it, I noticed something. I found myself rooting for certain people on the show. I wasn’t rooting against anyone on the show, but I definitely found myself rooting for a few of the people more than others. As I reflected on this more, I wondered if there was a lesson for us in the world of instructional design.

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