Two Types of Tools Every Digital Learning Professional Needs in Their Toolkit
A digital learning professional without eLearning tools is like a surgeon without a scalpel, or a chef without a skillet. Not having the right tools would not only make it difficult to do the job, but nearly impossible.
From designing learning content, to delivering instruction, to managing the courses, eLearning tools play a central role in digital learning. And thankfully in this day and age, digital learning professionals have a whole array of various types of tools at their disposal.
However, with all the different types of tools out there, it can be difficult to know which ones you really need. This is why we’ve broken down the two essential types of tools that every digital learning professional should have in their arsenal. With these tools, you can be sure that you have a good foundation of technology to create, deliver and manage effective and engaging learning content.
One of the most fundamental tools for any digital learning professional is a learning platform. In online learning, a learning platform is analogous to a schoolhouse. It is the central location where all courses, materials and support are stored.
A learning platform is the tool that is shared by both the digital learning professional and the learners, so it will typically include a learner interface as well as an administrator interface. It is common for digital learning professionals to be the administrator of the learning platform for their organisation.
Within the learning platform, the administrator would be responsible for creating courses, maintaining the system, troubleshooting, assigning roles, and various other duties to support the smooth operations and learning outcomes. Therefore, digital learning professionals must be well-versed in the particular type of learning platform that their organisation uses.
While most digital learning professionals will have a learning platform in their toolkit, there will be variances in features depending on the industry. For example, a learning platform used in academic or school settings will vary from a learning platform used in a corporate setting. Therefore, it is important for digital learning professionals to find a platform that fits their industry, types of learners and objectives.
For more detailed information on learning platforms, check out the highlights from our webinar on the role of an LMS in implementing digital learning experiences.
Content Authoring and Creation Tools
Along with a learning platform, the second type of tool every digital learning professional needs is a tool to author and create the learning content. Keep reading for more information on various types of content authoring and creation tools.
Along with a learning platform, another important tool for any digital learning professional is a course authoring tool. A course authoring tool is essentially the canvas that digital learning professionals use to design the eLearning content and materials.
A course authoring tool enables digital learning professionals to create content in a way that will be engaging and interactive for the learner – and more effectively achieve learning outcomes. Along with course templates, some additional features that are included in many course authoring tools are gamification, simulations, videos and assessments.
Although some learning platforms have a built-in course authoring tool, they are oftentimes not as powerful or comprehensive as tools that are specifically designed for this purpose. Therefore, many digital learning professionals choose to pair their learning platform with a course authoring tool.
When choosing a course authoring tool, it’s important to make sure that it is SCORM-compliant. SCORM is an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model; and it indicates the ability of the course authoring tool to sync with learning platforms and track learners’ progression within a programme.. Some of the most popular course authoring tools are Articulate, Elucidat, and Gomo Learning.
Microlearning Content Creation Tools
Digital learning professionals typically use a range of various techniques and approaches when designing content. One particularly effective approach that is increasingly growing in popularity is known as microlearning – and depending on the format, it may require different tools to implement.
Microlearning refers to delivering content in small chunks that can be completed at the convenience of the learner. The benefits of microlearning are that it is self-directed, reduces cognitive overload, and can increase knowledge retention.
Some examples of microlearning include mobile learning, digital flashcards, short videos, quizzes and interactive PDFs. Microlearning content can be created in video, visual, text or interactive formats.
Although some LMS and content authoring tools may have functionalities for microlearning, many digital learning professionals find tools specifically designed for microlearning to be more beneficial. Some examples of specific tools with microlearning functionalities are iSpring, EduMe, 7taps, and mLevel.
Additional Content Creation Tools
In addition to creating the interactive course, digital learning professionals are in many cases responsible for creating materials to supplement the course. For example, they may find that user guides, checklists, process maps or infographics could help to achieve the learning objectives. For this reason, content creation tools are often part of a digital learning professional’s toolkit.
In terms of types of content creation technology, there are a range of various tools depending on the needs and skill set of the digital learning professional. For example, a digital learning professional with graphic design skills may create course materials using a graphic design tool, such as Adobe Illustrator. If a digital learning professional has videography skills, they may avail of video editing tools, such as Adobe Premiere Pro.
However, many digital learning professionals do not have specialised video creation or graphic design skills, and prefer to use less specialised tools for content creation. For example, documentation tools, such as Word or Excel can be useful in creating documents or checklists to supplement the learning material.
When it comes to content creation tools for digital learning, the possibilities are limitless. So finding a tool that fits your individual skill set and supports creating content to meet the learning objectives is key.
The tools that a digital learning professional keeps in their toolkit will play a large role in their performance and achievement of learning outcomes. Whether you are just starting out with digital learning or are already an experienced professional, the above tools can provide you with a good foundation for success.
Learning platforms and tools for course authoring, creation and delivery are two types of tools you’ll want to have in your tech stack. This way, you can ensure you are continuously designing and delivering content that will engage your learners and meet the learning objectives.