Taking on the Unexpected

Many of us are being asked to do things that we don’t normally do. Maybe it is working from home while the dog barks at the mailman or coaching children through school while taking online meetings. If you are in the L&D space, you’ve probably been asked to convert a classroom session to in-person delivery, deliver a session via an online platform, or support others in your organization to deliver sessions online.

If you are like me, the request to help others have come in more frequently. Even RFP’s are asking that we build in coaching on their chosen tool to get the presenters comfortable with a session they’ll have to deliver. It’s a great idea! And it takes time. To help us address this hurdle we’ve started building guides for trainers that speak directly to the challenges of using these tools and maintaining what we know to be best practices for adult learning. The latest guide is the Trainer’s Guide to Microsoft Teams.

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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.

Voice User Interfaces and Training

“Alexa, play the podcast Train Like You Listen from Spotify” .

Voice-activated digital assistants are household items for many of us. Smartphones, speakers, even watches can be voice-activated to help us with any number of things. My mom and her 81-year-old neighbor spent the weekend setting up and activating skills for several smart speakers in her house. They set up entertainment, reminders, asked questions, and set up some safety features. What else can we do with devices with a voice user interface?

On episode 30 of Train Like You Listen, Myra Roldan, author of Design A Voice User Interface, sits down with us to talk about how she leverages voice user interfaces as a training tool. In this short podcast, Myra helps us to understand more about what a voice user interface is and some examples of how they can be used to train in a variety of situations. For more information from Myra, be sure to visit her website http://myraroldan.tk/.

 

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Taking a Conference Virtual (podcast)

Conference season is coming! What do conferences look like during the time of Covid-19? One of our favorite conferences, Learnapalooza, is taking things virtual this year and we sat down with Chief Innovator Erin Peterschick to hear what she and her team are planning.

This conference is typically set in the Seattle area and offers an affordable and engaging conference experience. Facing the disruption of Covid-19, Erin and her team have moved quickly to create a virtual experience accessible by anyone while still keeping the cost reasonable. To learn more about the speakers, panels, and engaging activities at  Learnapalooza, please visit LapJam 2020 or keep up with real-time updates on their Twitter feed.

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When technology attacks (Virtual Training Edition)

What happens if there’s some sort of technological glitch (or worse, a catastrophic freezing up of your computer) when you’re delivering a virtual session?

This week, my colleague Lauren Wescott offered a series of virtual sessions focused on the role of a producer (there’s one more session tomorrow in case you’re interested in signing up!). A producer exists to ensure your presenter can focus wholeheartedly on presenting information and engaging the participants.

One important way a producer can do this is by helping troubleshoot issues with the technology while the facilitator focuses on delivering a high quality session. Below is a guide that may help you identify some potential issues your participants are having specifically with Zoom (we’re working on a similar job aid for other platforms).

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Trying New Things with Mel Milloway (podcast)

In a post last week, Brian asked a variety of questions, including whether people are inclined to experiment with new technologies or if they’d prefer to use their old stand-by’s. 83% of respondents said they like to experiment with new technologies.

Recently, Brian had a chance to sit down with Amazon’s Melissa Milloway to discuss how she pushes herself and others to experiment and try new things. Mel not only falls into that 83% category of people who are interested in trying new things,  she takes it to an extreme. In today’s podcast, we talk about how experiments can lead to big wins… and sometimes big fails (but always big lessons), and the support system that is needed to keep pushing yourself further.

If you want to know more about Mel, check out her website Mel’s Learning Lab which contains a wealth of information about her adventures trying new technologies and best practices.

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A tool to help design strategic planning workshops

In about a month, my team will be launching a tool we’ve developed to help create better presentations, faster. Our original concept was to dramatically reduce the amount of instructional design time spent on developing training sessions.

I’m currently working with several clients on facilitating strategic planning sessions, which got me to wondering: would our tool be useful in helping to design elements of strategic planning sessions?

After three or four minutes of playing with the tool, here is the lesson plan it generated for me Continue reading

Computer Tips for the Learning and Development Professional

In what seems like a former life, I worked in IT departments monitoring the health of Linux servers, and keeping people’s work computers up and running. While a gratifying choice of work, I soon came to find that people are rarely happy to see the computer repair girl because it means they are about to have a frustrating day/week. I also found out I like training people to use their computer more than actually fixing it. Continue reading