Top Ten Learning Tools for 2016

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As a part of the Modern Workplace Learning Challenge, Jane Hart tasked us with listing what we believe to be the top ten tool for learning for 2016.  I thought I’d share mine with you.  Every year, Jane compiles a list of the Top 100 Learning Tools by surveying learning professionals world wide.  This year’s list will be released October 12.

Take a look at my list and please comment about changes you’d make to my list.

In no particular order, my Top Ten Learning Tools are:

  • Google Docs, Sheets – These are my two default tools for basic, everyday document and spreadsheet creation and sharing.  And their functionality for larger, more complex projects rival Word and Excel.
  • Google Drive – I know it’s heresy in some corners, but I like Drive over Dropbox.  It’s integration with other Google tools and it’s totally free pricing synch it for me.  I will say that Microsoft’s OneDrive is a major contender,  IMHO.
  • Gmail – gmail is hands down my favorite tool – learning/non-learning.  Simple but powerful.  The labels keep me hyper-organized (which is saying something).
  • Feedly – This is my favorite content reader.  I know there are fancier aggregators out there.  But Feedly is simple to use.  I have all the blogs I follow in Feedly and go to it at least once a day.
  • Blogs – No matter the platform, blogs a powerful tool for personal expression.  Creating our own content, having a space for reflection, and the community aspect of blogs is at the core of social learning.
  • Powerpoint – While Prezi has made a good run at it, Powerpoint, in my mind is still the best presentation tool out there.
  • Mindmeister – This mindmapping tool is the cream of the crop.  I use it constantly.
  • Microsoft OneNote – I had been an Evernote advocate, but the Window 10 version of OneNote has won me over.
  • YouTube – Clearly the standard for video storage, curation, and retrieval of anything in a video format.
  • Internet Search – No matter which search engine used, it’s undeniable that the ability to search the Internet has had a massive impact on society as a whole – let alone learning.

I also thought it would be fun to  dig up one of my lists I created for Jane’s survey from a few years back and do a status check on those tools.  Here is my list from 2007 as published on eelearning.  7 still exist and concepts from the other four have been incorporated into numerous of today’s social media and social media tracking tools.

  • Vyew (web conferencing) – gone.  If I recall, it was purchased and folded into a competitor.
  • (social bookmarking) – seems to be hanging on by a string after having 5.3million users in it’s peak in 2008.  Downfall was that browers incorporated social bookmarking.
  • Zoho Creator (database) – Still going strong.  Custom application creation tool (process automation and data management apps)
  • CoComment (social media tracking) – After peaking at 1.3million users in 2010, CoComment folded January 25, 2014.  One of the first social media tracking tools available.
  • LinkedIn (social networking) – Quoting myself, “This social networking site for business minded folks has been compelling from its start and remains so today.”  Understatement!
  • Google Documents, Page Creator, Gmail – Odd to image, but Google’s products like Docs and Sheets were just starting their drive to where they are now.  They were rudimentary and not integrated with each other as they are today.  Cloud based tools were still a novelty.
  • Ning (community platform) – is designed so that you can build a community website from scratch by combining modules.  It was alot of fun – if you had the time to learn it.
  • Firefox and it’s Extensions and Add-ons (web browsing) – Still is a leading browser.  Their extensions and add-ons were a game changer in the browser market.
  • Trailfire (social media) – This was a fun Firefox extension that enabled you to place “trailmarks” on any webpage that were then linked together.  Trailfire never took off, but concepts from it are all over the place in today’s tools.
  • Mind42 and Mindmeister (mind mapping) – both of these tools are still leaders in this market.

Let’s hear from you about today’s tools and how far things have come in the past 10 years!



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