Over the past few weeks, you’ve heard perspectives from Tim (COO), Heather (Director of Project Success), and Lindsay (L&D Manager) as part of the effort by Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) to compile a list of the top 200 technology-based tools in Learning & Development.
This week, I’m sharing the top 10 tools that I utilize as a Learning and Development Manager to interact with and support customers and to create engaging in-person and virtual learning experiences.
Lauren‘s Top 10 Tools for Online Learning
1. Zoom (https://www.zoom.us/)
Zoom is a tool that I use every single day. As someone who must use all the top meeting platforms with some regularity, Zoom is hands down my favorite. It’s the easiest to log in to and meeting participants tend to have fewer issues with Zoom than other platforms in my opinion. I also appreciate the versatility – Zoom is great for meetings with just a few people as well as for large webinar groups.
2. Google Docs (https://docs.google.com/)
Our team lives on Google Docs. As a collaborative virtual team, we can effortlessly share documents and integrate them with all our other tools seamlessly. In my role as Learning and Development Manager, I do a lot of writing and client relations work. I love how Google Docs makes it so easy to share documents internally and externally, and track versions, edits, and suggestions touched by several people.
3. Slack (https://slack.com/)
Communication is key, and slack is where it’s at. I’m super thankful that my team doesn’t communicate over email. Additionally, I love having slack on my phone. As a working mom, I’m often needing to work from swim practice or a preschool lobby, and Slack allows me organized access to everything I need to communicate with my team or clients on the go.
4. Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/)
I spend a lot of time writing learning experiences. Grammarly has become my best friend. I now have Grammarly on all my devices, and I choose to have it integrate whenever possible (Gmail, Google Docs, etc.). Nothing is worse than a slew of bad typos heading off to a client. Grammarly is an excellent first line of defense for all materials before sending any materials to a human editor. (Fun fact: Grammarly automatically edited this blog post for me!)
5. Snagit (https://www.techsmith.com/store/snagit/)
My boss suggested Snagit as a tool for creating gifs in a project I was working on this last year. I downloaded the trial and I’ve never looked back. I’ve been surprised to find that I now use Snagit every single day! My favorite new Snagit discovery is the text grab tool, which allows someone to grab text from screens that don’t allow you to copy and paste and quickly capture the content as plain text.
I may be the only person on my team who puts PowerPoint on their list. I still find myself opening good ol’ PowerPoint with regular frequency. I use PowerPoint most often as a tool to storyboard eLearning ideas (since Storyline is essentially fancy PowerPoint). I also occasionally find myself in front of virtual audiences and need to use PowerPoint creatively to engage learners.
7. Breeze (https://www.breeze.pm/)
We use Breeze for a variety of purposes at EL, but my favorite use is for eLearning QA. Breeze makes it easy to track minor issues and communicate with contractors and internal employees alike. I discovered recently that Breeze allows you to upload videos from your phone or device for quirky bug tracking purposes which has been a lifesaver for our team to get courses across the finish line without so much back and forth to developers.
8. Articulate Storyline (https://articulate.com/360/storyline)
I’m certainly not a pro, but I have been learning to use Storyline over the last year and it has helped me greatly. What I appreciate about Storyline is that with a bit of skill (ok, a lot of skill) there are endless opportunities to create engaging and interactive learning experiences.
9. Articulate Rise (https://articulate.com/360/rise)
I’ve just begun playing with Rise but I’m a big fan already! Rise makes designing eLearning so approachable as well as quick. I also appreciate how clean the Rise templates are, and how bug-free Rise is compared to its cousin Storyline. The thing about Rise is that if you are creating a course in Rise, it needs to be built within the confines of what Rise provides for optimal effectiveness (aka: don’t try to get too fancy). However, for someone without crazy Storyline chops (or maybe someone looking to cut down on your development timeline), Rise is an excellent tool to get you designing effective eLearning, quickly.
10. Soapbox (https://soapboxify.com/)
Soapbox is an all-in-one presentation creation tool developed by Endurance Learning. I use Soapbox most often as a brainstorming partner to find new and creative ways to create virtual or in-person learning experiences. Another thing that Soapbox helps me with is brainstorming actionable language to use in learning objectives.
Voting for Your Top 10 List
Not only are professionals using Soapbox every day to create better presentations, but we use it internally to help better think through how activities can align with outcomes. Whether Soapbox is on your list or not (we hope it is!), I encourage you to visit https://www.toptools4learning.com/voting/ and enter your top 10 tools.
You can also check out Soapbox by scheduling a 15-minute demo.