Every year Jane Hart publishes a top learning tools survey to share the diverse ways people learn digitally. This annual event has grown into a fascinating yearly list of the apps and programs that people use to explore, learn, create, collaborate and share.
What are the benefits of participating in the survey? Like a fish in water, you may not realize the breadth of tools you use and how and why you use them. Also, responding to the survey adds data to the current state of learning. I encourage you to participate in the Top Tools for Learning 2019 Survey before it ends some time in September and to stay tuned for the results. It’s a learning process in itself.
Dimensions of Your PLE
There are three categories in the survey and the list below includes the top tools I use for personal and professional development, which I consider my personal learning environment (PLE). I find that every aspect of one’s personal learning environment contributes to learning.
The discovery process exposes you to new ideas, new people and new ways of thinking. Integrating new ideas into your current base of knowledge provides understanding. Producing media to share your ideas helps you clarify your thinking. And sharing your work and that of others initiates conversation, relationships and contributes to the overall network of knowledge. (Read more about personal learning environments.)
My Top Personal Learning Tools for 2019
These are the top ten learning tools I use to discover, understand, produce media, share and collaborate.
- Netvibes: This is my feed reader of choice. It creates a magazine-style display of the latest articles from the blogs I follow. I set up tabs with different categories and import RSS feeds for each topic. I’ve got nearly 20 categories ranging from Creativity to Infographics to Travel.
- Twitter: Dipping into the flow of Twitter for just a few minutes can be exhilarating. I find learning resources, new ideas and interesting people. Twitter is a top tool because of its flexibility. You can share and discover links to new ideas, chat with groups, search for specific topics and have private conversations. I am active on Twitter at @elearningcoach.
- WordPress: I’ve been using WordPress since 2009, when I started this site and my Breaking into Instructional Design email course. Writing, researching and sharing the content for this website continues to be a significant learning experience in my personal development and hopefully is valuable to others.
- Evernote: I use this for note taking during webinars and conferences. Evernote is also good for organizing and storing research and ideas to save for later. I organize my sundry notes, PDF files and screen captures in Evernote’s notebooks and stacks (groups of notebooks).
- Diigo: This cloud-based bookmarking app is part of my system for saving resources I find on the topics I’m researching.
- iTunes (to become Apple Podcasts): This is the app I use for finding, subscribing and listening to podcasts, one of the least intrusive ways to learn. There may be better apps out there, but I haven’t gotten around to making comparisons.
- LinkedIn: Over the years, LinkedIn has become a preferred place for professionals to publish articles and converse. The feed is as good as your connections. I dip in here to learn and engage. I am active on LinkedIn at Connie Malamed.
- Facebook: I’ve joined a few Facebook Groups for professional development. Similar to Twitter and LinkedIn, these groups provide resources and discussions. I have an active eLearning Coach Facebook page.
- PowerPoint: I often use PowerPoint to produce content to share, like eBooks, slide docs, presentations, simple infographics and PDF files. It’s easier to do a layout with graphics in PowerPoint than in Word.
- Google Scholar: I use this search engine to find research in academic journals. Surprisingly, some of the results are in open journals or can be accessed outside of a firewall.
- Zoom: appears to be replacing Skype for calls, collaboration and webinars
- Medium: blogging platform that facilitates in-depth articles. I increasingly find myself on this site.