Last week Tim (our COO) introduced our approach to picking our top ten lists 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.
I love reflecting on my top 10 tools every year. It gives me an opportunity to compare my list to previous years and see what has changed and how I am growing. This year’s list looks a little bit different than other years, but not a ton. I recently took on the responsibility of Director of Project Success at Endurance Learning. In my new role, I work a lot on keeping projects moving toward deadlines and keeping resources balanced. Within this new role, I continue to touch all aspects of the eLearning project, and many tools I have used in years past continue to be essential to do my job.
Heather’s Top 10 List
Adobe Audition (https://www.adobe.com/products/audition)
I edit a lot of audio files. I have used several tools to edit audio, but my favorite is Adobe Audition. I am by no means proficient in all that this tool can accomplish, I mostly use it for cutting or converting files. I find it easy to use and really like how clearly it shows audio waves when cutting.
I am pretty sure Camtasia is in my top five every year. Video is an important asset for any eLearning developer. I like how much easier Camtasia is than other video editing tools, although, Camtasia is much more than a video editing tool. Anyone on my team can tell you that I also love to use the screen recorder to record “how-to” videos whenever I see the opportunity. And, after a recent Train Like You Listen podcast, I have been inspired to use the gif output to at gifs to eLearning modules.
Articulate Rise 360 (https://articulate.com/360/rise)
I am an eLearning developer, but not a great one. I get by, don’t get me wrong, but visual design isn’t really my thing. Enter Articulate Rise 360! Rise makes it easy to put content in a predetermined layout for rapid development. A few words of caution if you are considering Rise; I have not seen good results when you try to skip any steps in the instructional design process and try to just dive right into Rise. Also, don’t try to make Rise do stuff it wasn’t designed for. If you need custom interactions or visual design, use Storyline.
A recent role change (that’s right, I am now the Director of Project Success, yay!) at Endurance Learning has me thinking a lot about how we communicate and meet as a team. For a while, we had standing Zoom calls, spreadsheets, project management software, collaborative Google docs, and lots more to keep each other updated on projects. Last week, we scrapped all of that, it wasn’t efficient. We have a culture where Slack is how we communicate. Now status updates, requests, brainstorming, etc.. all live on Slack and we have ad-hoc meetings when necessary.
I have a feeling Descript will be on a lot of our lists this year. We put CC on all of our training, and transcribing videos is a time sink. I have saved so much time using Descript to transcribe videos, and it is surprisingly accurate. I also use it to transcribe recorded meetings, so I don’t have to search the videos for any nuggets of wisdom that I want to capture.
Articulate Storyline (https://articulate.com/360/storyline)
Storyline will probably always make my list as well. I use Storyline every day and touch most eLearning we produce. I have been using this tool off and on for like 7 years and I am still learning new approaches regularly. My favorite recent discoveries include the icon gallery and using the lightbox features for course menus.
Before 2020, I use to talk about Zoom to friends and was often met with curious faces. Now, practically everyone has a Zoom account. I particularly like the meeting recording options and the Google calendar integration.
I am pretty sure I am the only Endurance Learning employee who will have Breeze on their list. I love a good Kanban tool, which we use for QA and bug tracking. I also love Gantt charts, and Breeze exports a decent Gantt from our PM boards. There could be areas to improve this tool, but it works for us for now.
Google Docs (https://docs.google.com/)
We are an entirely remote team, and we work together on projects. This could be tricky if we worked locally on our machines. Collaborating in Google Docs makes our work much more efficient. I also find it to be an added bonus if our clients also work in Google Docs, it is such an easy way to work through feedback.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without Soapbox. Being on the team that built this tool forced me to think of instructional design from a completely new perspective. Soapbox looks at the basic information of a training (objectives, audience, room, and time) and puts together a lesson plan that gives me nearly everything I need to be successful for my next training. Because of Soapbox, I also spend more time thinking about my objectives, which has really increased my ID skills. 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. We think it will be on your list next year!