It was March of this year when I last highlighted the great work that Jane Hart does on behalf of the Learning and Development industry. So it is high time that I give an update, and Jane has provided me the perfect excuse as she recently announced the final results of the 2009 edition of her survey of Tools for Learning. The final list of 100 top tools was compiled from the contributions of 278 learning professionals worldwide—from both education and workplace learning—who were each asked to provide a list with descriptions of their top 10 learning tools (broadly defined). As always, Jane provides her valuable data in multiple formats, this year providing both a SlideShare presentation that walks you through the list one tool at a time, as well as a complete listing from 1-100.
So what learning tool tops the chart? It is one that will come as no surprise to those who have discovered its power and value: Twitter. I have several times posted here about the value I and many others in our industry get from Twitter on a daily basis, so let this top ranking serve as a wake-up call for anyone reading this posting who hasn't yet given Twitter a serious try. I'll note also that Twitter didn't just come in first place, it did so by a very wide margin! Here are the top 10 tools for 2009, with the number of votes each received.
- 159 Twitter
- 95.5 Delicious
- 79.5 YouTube
- 79 Google Reader
- 78.5 Google Docs
- 69 Wordpress
- 64 Slideshare
- 56 Google Search
- 54 Audacity
- 54 Firefox
Jane's full listing table provides the rankings for each tool in the 2008 and 2007 survey results, which allows us to learn that, for instance, Twitter has climbed the list from 43rd place in 2007 to 11th place in 2008 to finally taking the top spot away from Delicious (which had been first in 2008, and second in 2007). The growth of YouTube—not just in terms of the number of videos it serves up daily, but in how people perceive it—is evident by its climb from a modest 18th place in 2008 to 3rd in 2009. And another big climb is evident for SlideShare, which went from 31st in 2007 to 20th in 2008 to 7th in 2009. Outside this top 10, a few other tools rising sharply from 2007 to 2009 include Ning (31 to 11), VoiceThread (101 to 19), Jing (unranked to 20), and Google Apps (101 to 38). Jane also gives her own review of the biggest gainers and losers in this year's survey results, and separately wrote to highlight 10 of the tools that made their first appearance in the list and that she thinks "are useful, innovative, cost effective, and certainly worth considering for 2010."
Jane further provides a useful alternate approach to organizing the results: by category. Here, she separates the tools into 27 different categories, such as blogging tools, micro-blogging tools, presentation tools, productivity tools, and so on, allowing you to quickly see the top-X in each category.
You can also view the complete list of the professionals who participated, and read their individual top-10 lists—a great deep dive for those of you who closely follow particular industry experts. If you are curious, you can see my top-10 listing, which was posted very early in 2009 (I was the third person to participate this year.)
As if doing the annual survey exercise wasn't enough, Jane also maintains an overall tools directory which this year has topped 3,000 different tools! As Jay Cross recently remarked at his blog, I don't know how Jane does it!
If you find these resources as valuable as I do, be sure to send Jane a note to thank her for her hard work in creating and maintaining these and the many other resources at her website: Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. It's great stuff!
— Thomas Stone (Tom_Stone@elementk.com)