Articles / Top 10 tools for learning – a corporate perspective

Jane Hart is currently collating this year’s list of Top 100 tools for learning. As usual, most of the tools that hit the top 10 list are likely to be those that are best at supporting personal learning – ie. those that bring most benefit to the individual.

Certainly my own list, already submitted via Learning Conversations, is heavily geared towards that:

  1. Flipboard – one of the best mobile apps I’ve seen for consuming and filtering content.
  2. Jing – a free tool, from the makers of Camtasia, for creating quick annotated images or 5 minute screen capture movies
  3. Evernote – I’m starting to use this as my sole note-taking and thinking tool. The way it synchronizes across all my devices is almost magical!
  4. Google Chrome – I haven’t found a browser yet that matches it for simplicity and speed – essential for a knowledge worker
  5. b2evolution – one of the most powerful multi-user, multi-blog platforms out there. I don’t use even 50% of that power, but it’s been the basis of my blog for many years. Its spam control measures are great.
  6. WordPress – the website/blogging platform of choice for new projects. It’s just so simple to use and to tweak. Spam control is a bit rubbish though!
  7. Yammer – after considerable research, this is still the best corporate social platform available. Great multi-platform capabilities, and they really understand what drives conversation.
  8. Google Reader – even though the interface has now lost quite a bit of “social’ functionality, it’s still the place where I maintain the list of RSS feeds from people and organisations that keep me up-to-date. It’s where I go for deep-thinking. The link with Flipboard is excellent.
  9. Twitter – Perfect for quick breaks to have a conversation with people who are around at the same time. Anything more extended than a couple of lines doesn’t work on Twitter (IMO), but nice to feel you’re part of a wider community. The link with Flipboard brings Twitter posts to life.
  10. Yed Graph Editor – I’m still playing with this, but it’s becoming an extremely useful tool to me; for organising thoughts and ideas.

There’s not a trace of anything that a large organisation would consider a learning tool (apart from, perhaps, Yammer).

So, here’s a different list, with a more “corporate” perspective (Wyver Solutions currently has no commercial relationship with any of these products/organisations). The list really highlights those that are best of breed, and do not necessarily mean these are automatically recommended. Each organisation has different constraints and needs – which means a pragmatic and considered approach to tool selection is essential.

  1. Yammer – as above. If you understand the value of conversation as a mechanism for learning you’ll be looking for something like Yammer.
  2. Moodle – most corporates seem to think Moodle is just a cheap way of delivering SCORM content, but it’s capable of so much more. The fact that so many people use it means that support is always available.
  3. Salesforce – not just the product (which is a great tool to help you understand your company), but also the organisation, which is exemplary in the way it markets itself, provides support and builds an open product.
  4. Twitter – if you’re not encouraging the use of Twitter in conjunction with your internal network, then you and your employees are missing out on the wealth of knowledge about what you do that sits outside your firewall.
  5. Google docs – at the moment, no “office” suite comes close in terms of working collaboratively on documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Perfect as part of the wider Google Apps suite.
  6. Fusion Universal – Fuse – until Yammer comes up with a way of recording video from within the browser, if you need to disseminate video materials privately Fuse is the easiest way to do it.
  7. Webex – every organisation needs some way of holding virtual meetings and training sessions. I’ve used a few, and Webex is currently cream of the crop.
  8. Camtasia – so easy a child can use it (I know, I’ve seen it!) – but also very sophisticated. Ideal for any situation where you need to create a “show &tell” movie quickly.
  9. iLife suite – assuming you use Macs, these tools (Garageband, iPhoto and iMovie) are by far the easiest ways to be creative with sound, images and videos. The most recent incarnation of the suite is both powerful but simple. (Although they cannot compete with high-end software used by professional artists).
  10. Enterprise Study – a well thought out SaaS training administration suite that makes full use of the “network” to source training events from multiple suppliers.

As I’ve said, if you come to me for help with finding suitable technologies, I won’t necessarily recommend any of these. Your needs and constraints (eg. cost, existing systems etc) may dictate a different solution. However, these do represent (in my opinion) the best of the current breed of tools that can help learning and development.

Posted: 20 September 2012

Tags: Technology Learning