My Top Ten Tools for Learning 2009


I’m updating my Top Ten Tools for Learning for Jane Hart’s Top 100 list. I decided this year that I wouldn’t look at my 2007 or 2008 lists first and would just start fresh. I’m also organizing my list into tools for personal learning and for developing courses.

Personal Learning

Google Reader is my main tool for personal learning right now, as it’s the hub where everything I read comes in. is my blog host, which is still a primary tool for my personal learning even when I’m not posting as regularly. When I’m actively working on new ideas, this is where I collect my thoughts.

Diigo is the tool I use to collect all the interesting sites I find through Google Reader and elsewhere. Being able to highlight, keep cached copies of the pages, and post to my blog automatically makes it much more valuable for me than just bookmarking.

Wikipedia is the first place I check for basic, “good enough” information on many topics. If I want to learn more about something when I have little or no background information, the reference lists for each are often a good place to start. I’ve also learned through editing and updating articles.

Developing Courses

Google Docs is where I do most of my collaboration with SMEs. This is where the planning, drafting, and revision of content happens.

Dreamweaver is the tool I use to build the html content of my courses. It’s definitely a primary tool for developing learning in our process. The web pages house all the reading, interactive content, and activity directions that is eventually housed in our LMS.

Captivate is what I use for creating interactive content. I’m still on Captivate 3, but it’s a great tool. We would never have been able to create orientation tutorials for our LMS in such a short time if we didn’t have Captivate, and I’ve had good success using Captivate for simple branching activities.

As of January 2009, Sakai is our LMS, a great improvement over our previous system. It’s not perfect, but the process of building courses is much smoother and the tool options give us more opportunities to vary the type of activities.

Wikispaces is where we house all of our documentation of course development processes. Being sure that everyone always has access to the same information is critical. Wikispaces is also my preferred wiki for small group work in courses, unless the work is simple enough to use the internal Sakai wiki.

Skype is how our team talks every week for our team meeting, and it’s a great tool for quick questions of SMEs or other colleagues.

Image: Number 10

7 thoughts on “My Top Ten Tools for Learning 2009”

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  2. We create each module of a course (1 module = 1 week) in Dreamweaver, including all the internal navigation for that module. Then we post that on a server and link to it within Sakai’s navigation. In Sakai, we have a left navigation bar for everything that we can customize, and that’s where the links to each module are placed. Students click “Module 1,” which opens up our web content (within the Sakai frame). Then, they use the dropdown menus within the web content to get to the content, activity directions, etc.

    When we evaluated replacements for Blackboard, Moodle was one of the two top contenders. We ultimately went with Sakai instead, and one of the major reasons was because it was hard to do this kind of web content within Moodle. It was clunky, frankly. So I’m not sure I can provide a great method for doing something similar within that system.

  3. Hi there. I’ve been using Moodle and Dreamweaver for years now, but I find them very difficult to use together- outside of just basic html page creation that I cut/paste into the Moodle app. Would you mind elaborating on just how you use these two solutions together?

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  5. I use some of the Dreamweaver specific features pretty heavily though. Our navigation for every page is done with library files for ease of updates, and I have a nice collection of code snippets in Dreamweaver to speed up course creation. But, Dreamweaver is expensive, and you’re right that you can do a lot with a free tool like Kompozer.

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