Monday, July 9, 2018

My Top 10 Learning Tools - 2018


It is that time of the year when Jane Hart (http://c4lpt.co.uk/) polls learning professionals around the world to weigh in on their top 10 learning tools.

I submitted my vote via the form available on this website. But I also wanted to use this blog post to share my submission with my peers and friends in the L&D community.

Here are my Top 10 Learning Tools for 2018 (in no particular order):
  1. Google Search - This tool has made it to my list for the last few years. If there is something I want to learn, Google Search is almost always my first tool of choice. 
  2. Blogger - All that search is of no use if I am unable to learn from it and then reflect on what I have learned! This tool is the home for my blog and my sanctuary to reflect and learn.
  3. Twitter- Over the last few years, I have developed my PLN even more strongly via twitter. This is my go-to place for new ideas and thoughts and to share my own discoveries and insights. I use Tweetdeck and especially enjoy using 'lists' to create streams of conversations on things that matter the most to me. If you are looking for people to follow, Jane has a public list here: http://c4lpt.co.uk/learning-resources/top-100-tweeters/ 
  4. LinkedIn - I have found myself using LinkedIn more than ever before. With access to more video-based and curated posts rather than 'reshares', I find myself drawn to my LinkedIn feed every morning. I am especially enjoying getting to know people as they are and not just as a 'list of skills and recommendations'. This year, I also used LinkedIn Articles to cross post my blogs and found a different type of audience. 
  5. Podcasts - I have always loved listening to podcasts but I have subscribed to more professional podcasts this year than before. I am so glad to see many learning/training/human performance topics being discussed in the airwaves and I especially appreciate real-world examples. Sam Rogers is currently curating a list of L&D podcasts: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1F7-7zjfpZR3cPAfqCZuUVg_GIqNOYt_8p8M2qLBdB7s/edit#gid=0
  6. YouTube - This is my 'how to' tool. I use it for microlearning when troubleshooting tasks. I also find it extremely useful to discover and watch important talks and conference excerpts. Following specific Youtubers feeds my 'need for information' around my hobbies and interests. 
  7. Meetup - Over the last year, I have found myself being drawn to more F2F conversations and engagements. I have discovered several members of my own tribe through local meetups. It is also easier to engage with people from different fields with diverse experiences through meetups. In that sense, I have found this 'tool' as a useful way to consciously break my filter bubbles, engage with a wider variety of people and stay open to learning new and different things. 
  8. Instagram - I started using this tool primarily to share and publish nature photography. However, I have been able to meet a few local instagrammers who share the same interest in photography but work in diverse professional fields. This is another way to connect with people who share some things in common with me (hobbies and interests) but are not necessarily related to my professional area of work. The conversations are getting refreshing and engaging. 
  9. Dropbox - I have discovered some neat features over the years and rely on this tool for working in the cloud, collaborating with clients and teams, for synchronizing my work across various computers/laptops. I have even got my 14-year old hooked on to Dropbox for her collaborative school assignments with other students!
  10. Microsoft Word - I do all my professional work using Microsoft Word and can almost 'forget' about this tool since it has become seamless with my work. I use Word to create design documents, content and complete other client projects. I especially enjoy the 'Track Changes' feature to keep a sense of all review feedback and track each item to closure.
Other mentions:-

Email - While most email is transactional, ever so often, I do find myself pondering about deep questions related to my work that come to me via emails from clients and other teams. I often type long responses to such emails and these responses eventually make way into a blog post! I specifically use Gmail as it allows me to work with other Google services including calendar, drive and photos, etc.   

WhatsApp - I don't know what I would do without Whatsapp! Not only do I use this tool for personal reasons (connecting with family and friends, etc.), I have increasingly started using this tool as a way to connect with my teams, mentees and mentors. It is a handy tool for quick questions and answers or to plan group chats on common topics of interests. There is certainly some untapped potential to use Whatsapp for learning.    

Skype - This has been my tool of choice for conversations and collaborations with my clients and teams. But I am increasingly exploring other options like Zoom. 

Facebook - Although this is a tool I continue to use, I now find myself drawn away from Facebook. It certainly doesn't fit into my top 10 list. I still use it to remain connected with family and friends but it is getting challenging to find any meaningful content worth engaging with other than scheduling local events, festivals and activities into my calendar; for which I find it most useful. 


As I was reflecting about my tools, I realized that some of these tools may not appear to be strictly 'learning tools'. But for me, conversations and connections are opportunities for learning and that's what made me include these tools in this list.

I also realized that there are some tools that I use exclusively on my mobile including Podcasts, Instagram and Whatsapp and some that I exclusively use on my laptop/computer including Microsoft Word and Blogger (to publish my posts). Finally, there are some tools that I use equally on both my mobile and laptop including Youtube, Google Search, Twitter and LinkedIn. It will be interesting to see how I access and use these over the next few years.

Voting for the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2018 is now open. You can share your favourite tools here. The Top 200 Tools for Learning 2018 will be released on 1 October 2018.

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