Top 10 Tools for Learning

This post was originally found on my business blog and has been reposted here in May 2015.

So Jane Hart is currently compiling her annual Top 100 tools for Learning list, as voted for by learning professionals worldwide. It includes tools used for both personal or professional learning, as well as tools used to create or develop learning in all forms, so it is often an eclectic mixture of online, productivity and creativity tools.

Below you can see my vote – it has a social feel to it, with a touch of academia. For me, the best learning is social, preferably online and on demand. These tools are just a few of the many tools that help facilitate that.

1. Google Chrome
Without a browser, the internet is somewhat useless. Chrome is my browser of choice across my phone, ipad and PC. Syncing accounts, apps and tools across these platforms is a piece of cake with Chrome. Having multiple users helps me split my professional and personal lives. Add-ins I love include ColorZilla and Google Hangouts.

2. Google Search
If I don’t know something, I Google it. Somewhere out there on the big world wide web is the answer and if you want to find it, Google is inevitably the quickest way to get there. Rarely am I disappointed.

3. Twitter
Twitter directs new learning opportunities to my finger tips every single day. My personal learning network grows all the time and evolves as my learning needs change and develop. Twitter really comes into its own at conferences, where the back-channel helps to highlight the salient points and adds a level of interactivity often missing from keynote speeches or presentations.

4. Hootsuite
My preferred twitter app, this helps me to manage multiple accounts and to follow key hashtags at events or during twitter chats. Hootsuite makes learning through twitter easier.

5. WordPress
Blogs are powerful tools for disseminating knowledge and opinion. No other blogging platform comes close to WordPress. With a wealth of flexibility, you can create any website you want on WordPress. Possibilities are pretty much endless.

6. Youtube
Practical skills can be taught easily through video and you can pretty much find tutorials for anything you wish to learn. Any time I want to look up a new knitting technique, the first place I go is Youtube.

7. Google Scholar
Completing a literature review has got a lot easier since the arrival of Google Scholar – combine this with number 8 and you have easy access to the academic world’s knowledge.

8. Shibboleth
For those that don’t know, Shibboleth is the gateway to the world of online journals (similar to Athens) and many e-books. Providing a single sign on service for institutions world wide, it is the way I get access the majority of journal articles for free.

9. Yammer
As a social learning enthusiast, I think Yammer is the best Enterprise Social Network I have used. If you want to build a community for learning in your workplace, Yammer will do the trick. Getting the most out of it though is a community effort.

10. LinkedIn
To be honest I have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn – it is a terrible platform, clunky and frustrating to use, but it is still a great resource for professional learning. Keeping connected to my network is a must and when you meet new people at face to face conferences and events, staying in touch afterwards is easier with LinkedIn. There are a few groups I check into regularly and I read the odd post on there since their publishing platform has been opened up wider. I expect LinkedIn will continue to develop as a learning tool in future.

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