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12 Tools To Get Ahead With User Generated Learning

How can L&D teams find the right solution while also keeping up with their companies' fast-paced, business-driven learning needs? The answer is informal learning, using a broad range of new, tech-driven tools.

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12 Free Educational Technology Tools For L&D Professionals

Instead of waiting for one universal tool that fixes everything, edTech should be about getting the most out of a wide range of tools.

A recent survey by Deloitte [1] found that limited budget is the top challenge Learning and Development (L&D) teams face when planning new learning programs (CGS report). To make matters even more difficult, spending on new learning tools and technologies has dropped.

According to the survey, more companies are now eager to replace traditional learning infrastructures with affordable tools that tap into the power of innovative technologies. This forces L&D teams to rethink their current approaches and look for cheaper, lower-maintenance solutions.

Informal Learning Rules The Workplace

The survey found that 85% of L&D managers were interested in creating so-called collaborative learning environments [1]. That means empowering "Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the workplace community to share their expertise directly with their peers".

This approach clearly reduces spending on high-end learning tools, but how can L&D managers enable Subject Matter Experts to share their expertise quickly so that they keep up with the fast pace of business?

A strong teacher can share knowledge successfully using only their voice and a chalkboard. In L&D terms, it takes knowledge and a platform. Going forward, knowledge-sharing platforms must be accessible, connected, and easy to use. Thanks to new technological innovations, the buying process has become easier than ever for L&D professionals in search of the right tools. The internet is loaded today with choices of free/cheap visual, audio, video, and media tools.

Empower Your Subject Matter Experts With These Intuitive Tools

We are witnessing a boom in new, free, or cost-effective tools with zero learning curve. Take photo editing, for example. Instead of tweaking hundreds of settings in Photoshop to improve a picture, we can now simply apply a preset, which is as easy to use as an Instagram filter. All we need are image templates, which are now readily available online. The same goes for creating learning content: SMEs need a tool that a) offers many templates, b) has zero learning curve for modifying the templates, and c) allows SMEs to integrate media from other zero-learning-curve tools.

In almost every aspect of their work, SMEs can now replace previous steep-learning-curve tools with easy-to-use web-based options. Here’s a list of some of the new tools empowering SMEs to create and share learning content:

12 Free Educational Technology Tools To Kickstart Corporate Knowledge Sharing

  Heavyweight tool Low learning curve solution
Visuals Photoshop Canva, Pixlr, PixTeller
Data Excel, Tableau Google Sheets
Design prototypes Paper prototyping, Adobe Illustrator InVision, POP or Sketch
Podcasting, audio broadcasting Recording Studios, project studios Anchor
Iconsets, Graphic Design Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop Canva
Infographics Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop Venngage
Project management Excel, Gannt Trello
Video editing Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro Animoto
Photography DLSR Camera's iPhones, Samsung Phones
Real-life simulations Video productions Easygenerator + branchtrack
Sharing knowledge / Courses Learning Management Systems Slack
Creating training, courses Adobe Captivate, Rise Easygenerator

Which tools do you use? If you have any suggestions, place a comment and we will update this resource list.

If you want the agility to keep on top of dynamic business changes, you cannot waste time getting used to slow, hard-to-use tools. The new generation of tools enhances knowledge-sharing and helps SMEs communicate more effectively. The focus is on converging these tools and disciplines to collaboratively create and curate content.

Capitalize On Available Knowledge Of SMEs And Converge It Using A Selection Of New Educational Technology Tools

Save yourself the hassle and expense of giant learning systems. Now is the time to go lean - in terms of costs, labor, and time.

A Few Tips For Achieving This

  • Shift your thinking from courses to resources.
    Resources can be anything from an image to a  PDF, an infographic or a video. These media enable SMEs to share their experience in their own way.
  • Create resources.
    Create resources using quick, inexpensive tools like those listed above.
  • Package the resources.
    Compile or arrange resources into a series, or let them stand alone. SMEs should be able to decide the order or form that suits the resources best. After all, they know the business better than anyone and can easily speak the learners’ language.
  • Publish and distribute among your peers.
    Don't bother with transferring files. Just share a link.

The idea is to kickstart learning, using knowledge that exists in the minds of SMEs and tools that exist online. There's no need to become entangled in meticulous planning or excessive design.

Looking For A Low-Learning-Curve Authoring Tool? Go SaaS.

Like the tools listed above, Easygenerator belongs to the new generation of e-learning tools. It's designed to support the flow of knowledge from SMEs.

Creating Content Using Easygenerator Follows A Three-Step Process:

  1. Determine why you need to share knowledge.
    What are your learning objectives
  2. Decide how you want to present this information.
    Choose a template or start from scratch. Then write the content, upload documents, and add media. Pep up your content with simple tools like scenarios or hotspot linking.
  3. Add assessments (if desired).
    Build a quiz or questionnaire to allow learners to practice their new knowledge.

Sign up for your 14-day free trial of Easygenerator.

 References:

1. CGS 2017 Enterprise Learning Annual Report

2. 10 Social Media Tools For Learning

3. 12 Design Tools To Make Your e-learning Course Look Good

 Want to learn how Nielsen developed a company-wide, employee generated learning approach? Click on the banner below to find out:

The Nielsen Case