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here’s nothing more exciting than finding that one new tool that makes your life 10x easier (or at least it feels that way)!

Unfortunately, most resource lists for creators and designers in the eLearning and instructional design industry tend to recycle the same 10 free stock image sites without offering anything new. So we asked our local learning designers what tools they’re using to find some fresh resources to share with the community.

One thing we loved? Just how many accessibility-focused features and options there are.

Random name generator

Stories, scenarios and examples are the lifeblood of engaging learning experiences, but after writing the first couple, you might find yourself racking your brain for new character names without resorting to using your cousins.

Don’t waste precious brain space on decision fatigue over something as simple as a name - use a random name generator instead. Even better, it can help you to avoid unconscious bias by supplying a diverse range of names.

Everybody Writes

You can’t be a good learning or instructional designer without also being a good writer.  Whether it’s crafting a compelling story, or simply writing clear instructions, skilled writing is at the heart of every effective learning experience. As such, you can’t afford not to hone your writing skills.

Everybody Writes, by author Ann Handley is your go-to manual for improving your writing skills. It is full of bite-sized chapters packed with wisdom, delivered in a wrapping of relentless inspiration that makes it an essential read for learning designers (even though it’s written for marketers).

Pick up a copy online from around $30.

Book cover of Everybody Writes by Ann Handley
Image source: Amazon

WCAG 2.1 color contrast checker

Did you know that 1 in 12 men are color blind? If you’re designing infographics, or even just using a coloured background or text, it’s essential to check that your colors are accessible.

A WCAG 2.1 color checker uses the WCAG 2.1 digital accessibility guidelines to ensure that overlapping colors have enough contrast to be easily perceived by vision impaired individuals.

Subly

If you’re creating video or audio content for your eLearning courses (and you should!), then a fast and accurate way to develop closed captions for those pieces is essential.

Closed captions aren’t just important for hearing impaired learners, they’re also crucial for giving learners the flexibility to complete their training in quiet or loud spaces like on a train, while the baby is sleeping, or out in the field.

Our favorite captioning service is Subly. Starting from just $14/month with a 7 day free trial, Subly uses AI to quickly generate captions and transcripts for audio or video files.

Biteable

A strategically placed, well designed video can work wonders for engaging learners and improving knowledge retention. Unfortunately, creating videos can often feel prohibitively expensive or difficult.

Fortunately, you don’t need to film the next Netflix blockbuster to create a quick and effective video. With an online platform like Biteable, you can easily combine text and editable graphics to create on-brand videos. Start on their free plan, or upgrade to a paid plan from $69/month.

HowToo's accessibility checker

With the rise in awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion in business, it’s never been more important to be sure that your eLearning courses are accessible for people with disabilities.

While a range of eLearning authoring tools on the market are capable of producing courses compliant with the WCAG 2.1 Level AA guidelines or 508 legislation, most place the full burden of compliance on the creator.

In an industry-first move, HowToo designed and implemented a checking feature to help users identify non-compliant elements in their design, making it quick and easy to improve the accessibility of your courses.

HowToo offers a free Starter plan, with paid plans beginning from $50/month for ten users.

Podcastle

Podcasts continue to increase in popularity as a training tool as they are easy for learners to consume on the go. They can also be more budget friendly to produce - assuming you have the right setup.

Podcastle makes recording and editing audio easy, even for beginners, with AI and collaboration features. You can use it to record podcasts, interviews and even character-based scenarios.

Podcastle offers a free plan, with paid plans beginning from $12/month.

Pexels

Okay, this one might be a little more well known, but it’s still worth a mention. If you don’t have the budget or a team of graphic designers on hand to design custom graphics for your courses, stock images and footage are a great shortcut to a modern professional look.

There are a host of free image sites on the web, but Pexels stands out for also supplying a wide range of stock footage that can be used to whip up quick videos to spice up your courses and drive a point home.

Learner persona template

Developing a persona to accurately describe the people who will be undertaking your learning experiences is an essential early step in the learning design process.

Taking the time to write a persona pays dividends by helping you to create courses that are focused and truly meet the needs of your audience. Make the process quicker and easier by using a template designed by a learning expert.

Download HowToo’s free, printable learner persona template here.

Google Fonts

While there are many free font sites, the one worth paying attention to is Google Fonts. While other sites can make it easy to get lost in other sites offering an overwhelming number of artistic fonts, Google Fonts focuses on clean and business-appropriate serif and sans serif styles. 

Tap into over 1400+ fonts with complete packages, APIs and many of the fonts used by contemporary businesses.

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Posted 
Jun 22, 2022
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