Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies’s site is a good repository of various learning tools. Jane Hart invites contributions to identify top 10 learning tools that the learning professionals use. These are not elearning development tools but tools that allow us to learn ourselves. Jane’s summary of top 100 tools for learning from her 2007 survey makes an interesting reading.
Here are my top 10 tools for learning. Actually some of these might just be techniques. While I have listed some specific tools, in many cases, it is the technique that I found important. I have found very little difference in many of these tools and usually my favorites are the ones that I starting using first.
- Google – an astonishingly simple interface, this search engine is the place where I go first when I am trying to know more about something.
- Blogging – not a particular blogging tool, but just the fact of blogging has helped me know more and forced me to learn. It is a bit like teaching is the best method of learning. I use Blogger for my blog.
- Blogs – I find that I am reading and learning more from blogs than from other sources like magazines (online or paper), social networking sites, or company/product websites.
- Google Reader – RSS actually. I use Google Reader manage my feeds. RSS has really helped me stay up to date with new articles of various blogs and sites that I track. I really like this tool.
- del.icio.us – I work on three computers (if I include my mobile phone) and del.icio.us really makes it easy for me to track my bookmarks. But more importantly, I learn from the community to see what others are reading.
- Right click-Open in New Window/Tab – Okay, so you may argue this is not exactly a learning tool, but I find hyperlinks very distracting and if I click on a hyperlink I lose the flow of what I am reading. So I always right click and open the hyperlink in a new tab or window. This enables me to continue reading and if I do view a hyperlink, this allows me to return to my original document easily.
- Web-enabled mobile phone – I resisted getting a GPRS phone for a very long time for the fear of being chased by emails all the time (is there a phobia name for that, I wonder). But ever since I got my iPhone I have been absolutely hooked to its full browser Safari. This allows me to learn when I am not the move anywhere. Given our travel times now a days, I would recommend people getting a GPRS enabled phone with a browser. And the company deal from my service provider at Rs. 99 ($2.50) per month for unlimited usage is an absolute steal.
- Online conferencing (WebEx, Adobe Acrobat Connect) – I don’t have any particular software that is my favorite. WebEx was the most used online conferencing but I am seeing the usage of Adobe Connect increasing. Online conferencing for meetings and training is a great tool for learning and collaboration.
- Slideshare – In my view, the YouTube of presentations. This is a great social networking site for sharing presentations. You can access some really interesting presentations here.
- Wikipedia – Great place to find almost anything here.