Top 10 Tools 2016

top10tools

Time to participate in Jane Hart‘s annual Top 100 Tools for Learning survey for 2016!

As I did last year, I will note 5 tools I use for my own development and 5 tools I use for developing resources for others.

Top 5 tools used for my own development (one change from last year):

  • Twitter– Still my top choice. Following amazing people makes me learn amazing things. Also, insights from respected colleagues yields better results than searches.
  • Google– Despite my prior comment about references being trusted more than search, Googling is a daily activity.
  • Youtube– What you can learn from YouTube is astounding. Last week, my kid somehow jammed a door bolt on a bathroom door so it wouldn’t retract. A quick search got a 5 min video that provided a 10 min fix.
  • Delicious– Delicious is probably not the best social bookmarking or notetaking tool (OneNote and Evernote have stronger features), but after 10K indexed links, it is a large repository I have at my disposal.
  • Stretch Goals (new for 2016)– I actively set stretch goals for myself. Some are short-burst, others are very large, ambitious goals. I use a countdown widget on my phone to track progress and hold myself accountable.

Here are the top 5 tools I use to develop learning resources for others (a few new players this year):

  • Powerpoint– I do bi-weekly lunch and learns, and I have often used Duarte Slidedocs format for key deliverables from Onboarding Guides to full-fledged proposals.
  • Storyline– I remain a Storyline fanboy. It just works. Folks like it (learners, developers, and SMEs). I keep trying to push what I can do with the tool and have a very ambitious ecosystem project where Storyline plays a key role.
  • MadCap Flare– I maintain documentation for a software system. The documentation must play on many devices, and print, and update easily, and work nicely with other products. Flare has given me the most leverage to effectively manage a large document set with continually evolving content (I will more formally review it in a few months).
  • WordPress/LearnDash– A few months ago, I started hacking my site to see how effectively I could integrate WordPress with exports from MadCap Flare WHILE securing it AND enabling the potential for key documentation to be part of a larger learning program we could track via XAPI using LearnDash. We got all the answers needed, so 2016 promises to show a lot of development in WordPress and LearnDash with Flare and Storyline partnering and XAPI giving us some insight on what is working.
  • Excel– In my new role, I do a lot more analytical and reporting work so my use in Excel has increased sharply. Powerful pivot tables and charts can communicate complex and dense information providing key insights- especially if the user can manipulate the variables and see how it impacts results.

Many more arrows in my quiver (Photoshop, SnagIt, Audacity, Trello), but those are my top 5. Participate in the survey and let others know about the great tools you use.

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