100 Hand-picked Freebies for eLearning Designers

freebiesTen sets of ten freebies for the wonderful instructional design community. Some require registration to download. Please be careful when downloading freebies to be sure there is nothing malicious. Also, read license agreements when appropriate.

Download version 4 of the list here: 100 Freebies. It includes all the new bonuses.

1. Keep Learning

  1. Instructional Design Starter Kit: Introduction to Instructional Design
  2. Creating eLearning that Makes a Difference (Kit): Instructional Design help with a focus on interactions
  3. Understanding the Adult Learner’s Motivation and Barriers to Learning: A research overview at what motivates adult learners
  4. Blended Learning Today: A look at how to do blended learning in today’s environment
  5. Implementing Mobile Learning: What to consider in this space
  6. Understanding Mobile Learning: eBook discusses why there is growth in mobile learning and what areas are best suited for mLearning
  7. Chapter from Billion Dollar Graphics: Good introduction on how to turn text and graphics into a focused and persuasive design
  8. How to Ensure Website Accessibility:  How to apply accessibility guidelines
  9. HTML5 with Javascript: Download of free Dummies book
  10. How to Be Creative: 26 Tried and True Tips

BONUS: List of Free eLearning and Instructional Design Books

2. Graphic Assets

  1. LA County Museum of Art: 20,000 free images. Click image and if it displays “Download Image,” then it’s in the public domain.
  2. The Getty: 4600+ art images in the public domain.
  3. Public Domain Image Resources: Extensive list on Wikipedia
  4. eLearning Brothers: Click Freebies in the menu bar and sign up for their free membership for a variety of assets
  5. NuggetHead Studioz: Hand-drawn curved arrows by Kevin Thorn
  6. Articulate Community: Free templates, graphic elements and fonts. Registration required.
  7. 65 Cutout People: From an architectural visualization site
  8. eLearning Art: Check out their eLearning asset library free for 7 days
  9. Open Clip Art: All kinds of free clip art
  10. eLearning Asset: Download several office characters

Bonus: eLearning and PPT templates from Trina Rimmer

3. Icons and User Interface Elements

  1. IconFinder: Possibly the best site for variety of free icon choices.
  2. Hand-drawn Icons: Within the IconFinder site, there’s a great set of hand-drawn icons
  3. IconDock
  4. Clean Black Icon Sets
  5. IconShock: Bright and colorful
  6. 600 Free Icons: Small icons good for mobile and other uses
  7. Modern UI Kit
  8. Flat UI Kit
  9. Flat UI and Icons
  10. UI for Gadgets and Devices

Bonus: The Noun Project: Added by popular request

4. Backgrounds

If any of the backgrounds are small tiles, you need to bring them into a graphic program and repeat them to the size of your choosing. For a web page, they will repeat automatically.

  1. Grunge Textures
  2. Subtle Grunge Textures
  3. Blurry Textures
  4. Seamless Paper Patterns
  5. Fabric Textures
  6. Metal Textures
  7. 149 Free Paper Textures and Backgrounds
  8. Subtle Backgrounds
  9. Abstract Backgrounds
  10. 6 Colored and Textured Tiles

5. Fonts

  1. Favorite Fonts from Font Squirrel
  2. dafont
  3. Urban Fonts
  4. Type Depot
  5. Lost Type: Donation
  6. Impallari: Donation
  7. Open Font Library
  8. 12 Hand-written Fonts
  9. Fontcab
  10. Adobe Edge Web Fonts

6. Audio

  1. Ardour: Audio editing and recording for Mac.
  2. Audacity: Cross-platform audio editor and recording software.
  3. Levelator: Evens out the audio levels within an other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next.
  4. NaturalReader: Converts written text to spoken words.
  5. Wavosaur: Audio editing and recording for Windows.
  6. Brainy Betty: Limited selection of free music and sound effects.
  7. Freesound: A collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds to download and share.
  8. Jamendo: Several hundred thousand tracks to download.
  9. Musopen: Public domain library of music from a nonprofit.
  10. Soundjay: Selection of well-recorded sound effects.

7. Variety of Design/Development Tools

  1. Inkscape: Open source vector graphics editor
  2. Gimp: Popular free image editor
  3. Scorm Cloud (10 uses): Hosted version of a SCORM player.
  4. Storyboard Depot: Free visual and text-based storyboard templates
  5. ScreenLeap: Instantly share your screen to help others learn.
  6. Handbreak: Media conversion for all platforms
  7. XnView: Cross platform media browser, viewer, converter
  8. Gliffy: Create diagrams and charts
  9. Adobe Story: For creating scripts
  10. Flash Roll Over Tool: A little app that makes rollovers in case your authoring tool doesn’t.

BONUS: eLearning Character Chart: A way to flesh out the details of an eLearning character

8. Authoring Tools and Learning Management Systems

  1. MyBrainShark
  2. CourseLab Free
  3. authorPoint Lite
  4. Udutu
  5. Jing: Screen recording and capture
  6. Free Quiz Maker from iSpring: Flash-based quizzes
  7. Classmarker: Web-based quizzes
  8. Moodle: Most popular free LMS
  9. Coursesites: Free LMS (up to 5 courses) from Blackboard
  10. eFront LMS: Open source

BONUS: 13 Tutorials for Learning Udutu (free authoring tool)

9. Social Media for Learning

  1. Google Hangouts: You know about the hangouts. Now use them for small discussion groups.
  2. Skype: Record podcast interviews
  3. Blog Talk Radio: Broadcast your own radio show
  4. Buffer: Schedule social media
  5. HootSuite: Schedule social media
  6. LaterBro: Schedule Twitter and Facebook updates.
  7. Twubs:Enter a hashtag and start chatting.
  8. Poll Everywhere: Collect feedback from learners
  9. Elgg: Open source social networking engine
  10. Wikispaces: Collaborative way to build/share content

10. Get Things Done

  1. Kindle Reader: Read Kindle books on your PC or Mac
  2. Trello: For organizing projects
  3. timeEdition: Desktop platform independent time management tool
  4. Yast: Modern online time tracker
  5. Rescue Time: Shows how you spend your time on the computer
  6. Asana: Shared team task list
  7. AutoHotkey: Automate repetitive tasks by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks.
  8. Doodle: Simplifies scheduling
  9. Dropbox: Sync files on all devices or just use for backup storage
  10. LastPass: Password Management

Please list your favorite freebies in the Comments section below.

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  1. Beth says

    Keep Learning #6 is not free unless you’re a member of the eLearning Guild, which is $99 a year. The free membership doesn’t get you access.

  2. Connie Malamed says

    I had checked in with them awhile ago and was told that the free membership does get you the research reports. I’ll email someone right away and remove these if I’m wrong. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. dayna says

    Your whole resource list is great…specially the graphic assets and the audio. I just happened to need those findings for some ecourses I;m creating

  4. Craig Hadden – Remote Possibilities says

    As your graphic says, “wow” indeed! Thanks for sharing all these neat resources Connie.

    I just checked out Adobe Story, and it sounds great for writing video or audio scripts.

    You asked what other resources we’d add. Well if you’re using a PowerPoint converter like Articulate Presenter (as I do), you can access tons of high-quality photos within PowerPoint itself:
    Get 1000s of free photos for your PowerPoint presentations

    And if you’d like to be better at presenting to stakeholders or speaking in meetings, try these:
    5 free public-speaking courses (available online or via email)

    Lastly, if you have Excel, here’s a template and how-to article by MVP Glenna Shaw for managing small project timelines:


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