10 Apps all E-Learning Professionals need to have

In the constantly evolving field of E-Learning, it’s essential to keep up-to-date with all of the latest technologies, to be surrounded by enthusiastic people and keep on top of your task list. To help you stay on top of your game, in no particular order, we’ve compiled a list of apps that will help you stay connected, current and enthusiastic about E-Learning:

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You can download this infographic here.

1.  MindNode MindNode
£6.99
iTunes App Store
MindNode is a brilliant mind-mapping tool that will allow you to record and organise your ideas into an intuitive visual format. As you input information, it will begin to arrange itself so that you can focus on the content instead of the layout. Featured by Apple as an “App Store Best”, it is well worth the price.For those on an Android device, check out Mindjet.
2.  GotoMeeting GoToMeeting
Free to install, In-App Purchases     
iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store
The GoToMeeting app means that you can attend meetings and connect with your colleagues or clients wherever you are. It is easy, convenient and reliable, with screen-sharing capabilities that enable you to view your colleagues’ presentations and reports.
3.  Trello Trello
Free
iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store
Trello is an organisational tool that will allow you to easily manage your to-do list, break down bulky projects into simple steps and most importantly serve as a focal point for organising the division and completion of tasks on a group project.Trello makes it easy to share pictures and links as well as communicate obstacles and progress between team members. Because everything is instantly synced and saved to the cloud, all of your devices will be kept up to date.
4.  Instruction Design Guru Instruction Design Guru
£1.83 on Google Play, £1.99 on iTunes
iTunes App Store, Google Play
Instructional Design Guru is a reference and performance support app designed by E-Learning Guru Connie Malamad. It is great for both Junior Instructional Designers and for those who have been in the complex and constantly evolving field of Instructional Design for much longer. Connie has defined over 470 terms from the areas of Instructional Design, Cognitive Psychology, Social Media, Multimedia, Technology and Law and shares great tips from her many years of experience.
5.  Reeder 2 Reeder 2
£2.99
iTunes App Store
Reeder 2 is the must-have app for viewing RSS feeds from all of your favourite websites in one place. Reeder 2 is simple and easy to use, making it perfect for RSS newbies and pros alike. For Android users, gReader has been referred to as “Hands down the incomparable king of RSS readers for Android” by AndroidPolice.
6.  Learnist Learnist
Free    
iTunes App Store, Google Play
The Learnist app is a lively knowledge network. Learnist enables you to follow experts, tags and topics which interest you, making it perfect for sharing and finding out new information.Learnist allows you to pose burning questions to specialists and to access and share a range of information related to E-Learning in an interactive multimedia format.
7.  Evernote Evernote
Free    
iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Blackberry World
Evernote is the ideal app for helping you to remember all of the big and small things from your day to day life. It can store entire webpages, notes, files, images, audio and much more so that it can be accessed by you whenever and wherever you need it.
8.  TED TED
Free
iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store
The TED app delivers over 1700 talks and videos recorded at TED conferences worldwide. These talks feature some of the most innovative movers and shakers in the fields of Technology, Entertainment and Design.The TED app presents a great opportunity to tap into the knowledge of some of the world’s most brilliant thinkers. The ‘My Talks’ section will allow you to download talks so you can tap into informal learning and new ideas even when you have no connection to the internet. As a learning and development professional, If you’re not learning yourself, then you’ve missed the point.
9.  Scoop it Scoop.it
Free
iTunes App Store, Google Play
Scoop.it is a handy content curation tool that will enable you to keep up to date with industry trends and insights. With this app, you can select, edit and publish content curated from suggested posts, other curators and from all over the web. You can then share interesting content on a variety of social media platforms.
10.  Fruit Ninja Fruit Ninja
Free    
iTunes App Store, Google Play
There are few better ways to wind down after a day of hard work than to slice some virtual fruit with a ninja sword. You deserve to have some fun!

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

A Day in the Life of an Instructional Designer.

Maresa Malloy IDMaresa Molloy is an Instructional Designer at Aurion Learning. Maresa is also an avid fan of hill-walking and would love to be stuck in a lift with Andy Murray! But mainly she is an Instructional Designer who loves providing people the best learning experiences.  If you have ever wondered what an Instructional Designer is or what they do, then you are in luck! After some persuasion, Maresa has agreed to reveal all about how a typical day at Aurion Learning shapes up.


Describe your job:

My job as an Instructional Designer involves helping clients to identify the knowledge, skill and attitude gaps of its staff, and designing learning materials to help close those gaps, based on learning theories and best practices used in my field.

Sometimes the knowledge, skill and attitude gaps may seem fairly obvious. For example, a client may to provide all new staff with a staff induction programme or they may want to introduce completely new Fire Safety procedures.

For other projects, the knowledge, skills and attitude gaps are not so obvious. For example, a client may ask us to develop a leadership portal for a multi-disciplinary team – where the knowledge, skill and attitude gaps vary greatly amongst learners. For the most part – we present completely new learning content.

However, as an Instructional Designer you can’t assume to really know the gaps until a training needs analysis is completed that defines our target audience. Part of our training needs analysis involves what we call a ‘DIF analysis’, this involves sitting down with the client – and often with the learners themselves – to identify three things:

1. What is difficult for the target audience to understand?
2. What is important for the target audience to know or be able to do?
3. What questions are frequently asked about his content?

Only then can we target the areas which staff need the most help with, and design training materials that help them to perform better in their jobs.

The training materials can be delivered in a variety of online formats, but I specialise in the design of e-learning programmes.


Describe your typical working day?

A typical day usually starts off with a cup of freshly ground coffee – one of the many perks of working at Aurion and then onto our daily team ‘scrum’ where we discuss project progress, some design and programming details and release schedules. I’ll then throw on my headphones for some “work mode” music and get on with projects. Personally, I enjoy what I do, life at Aurion is fast paced, and we are usually working to tight deadlines and have several projects on the go at any one time. As part of this, I typically work with my team to produce e-learning programmes and other training materials on time. So in any one day, I could be:

  • liaising with the client and meeting Subject Matter Experts to assess project requirements, assess learner needs and discuss learning strategies
  • meeting with the learner to gauge any difficulties or challenges they may have with the subject area
  • designing and writing the content using storyboards
  • writing supplementary content such as help sheets and job aids
  • producing online training videos
  • learning new tools and techniques in Instructional Design.

For the most part I take a proper lunch break, we are actually encouraged to do so as it is really beneficial to step away from the computer. There are a good few team lunches at Aurion and we are regularly treated to the curry, pizza and sandwich houses that the Ormeau Road has to offer! Aurion also hosts monthly Lunch and Learn sessions for the team, it’s a great way to find out what’s going on in other parts of the company and find out what exciting e-learning and digital media projects that we will be working on!

My afternoons usually comprise of talking directly to clients, team meetings, discussing a project and trying to get the best solution for it. A good thing about my role is that I get to talk to the entire team about a project – there is little hierarchy or chain of command – all team members are included in the decision-making process, from how we will design a client solution, to how projects will be managed.


What qualifications or special qualities do you need for your job?

It is beneficial to have an Instructional Design related degree. I did a Masters in Technical Communication and e-learning, and learned a lot about learning theories and methodologies from this course. However, if you don’t have a degree, it is still possible to get a job in Instructional Design if you have the skills to design and write content.

I also think you need to have the ability to write creatively and to have a passion for how people learn. It also helps to have skills in technology as you get to work with various software tools.


What do you find most challenging about your job?

The most challenging aspect of my job is getting the client to agree to the creative delivery of the learning content. It is usually the case that I am given pages and pages of content that the client wants the learner to read and ‘understand’. My job involves convincing them that we only need to use the content that helps the learner to perform better. All of the other content can be placed on the Learning Management System (LMS) or sent out in an email. We then need to do something creative with the content to ensure that the learner wants and is motivated to read your material.


What aspect of your job do you enjoy most?

I love the actual writing of the content. By the time you get to this stage, you usually have all of the source material and it’s a case of taking pages of content and trying to do something creative with it. I enjoy the challenge and also the pressure to work towards deadlines.


What advice would you offer any Instructional Designers who are interested in joining the Aurion team?

At Aurion, there is a growing focus on continuous improvement and pushing the perception of what learning is and where it can happen. If you’re an Instructional Designer who is looking for a new challenge then be sure to get in touch. As a growing team, we’re always on the lookout for talented people, you can view our jobs at http://www.aurionlearning.com/who.aspx#jobs

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.