The Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 list is revealed

UPDATE: The Top100Tools Club opening January

This year’s Top 100 Tools for Learning list (the 6th Annual Survey) has been compiled from the votes of 582 learning professionals worldwide – 55% working in education, 45% working in non-educational organizations.

The top tool for the 4th year running is Twitter, with both YouTube (2nd) and Google Docs (aka Google Drive)  (3rd) retaining their places for the 3rd year in succession.

Once again the list is dominated by free online social tools. However, what struck me when compiling the list this year (and reading many of the notes added to the individual contributors’ lists) was the huge difference between the tools that are now being used in education compared with those in workplace learning.

Whilst there is a clear differentiation between the personal/professional tools and the enterprise tools being used by workplace learning professions, in education teachers are frequently making use of the same toolset for both their teaching and their own personal learning.

In their jobs, workplace learning professionals continue to make heavy use of e-learning authoring tools as well as web conferencing tools (which are on the rise this year by the way), whereas their own personal/professional toolsets include a wider range of social and other tools.

I suppose the difference between educational and enterprise workplace learning tools is inevitable  -  although it has not been so obvious in previous years – since education is about teaching cohorts of learners whilst corporate learning is still focused on creating self-paced online courses. Although security and privacy concerns are preventing many organisations from making significant use of public social media tools, there does appear to be an increased interest this year in enterprise social networking and collaboration tools (viz Yammer and Sharepoint). But,  in general, my analysis suggests that whereas education is embracing social technologies, corporates still have a long way to go. Having said that, it is clear that (a) there is quite a lot of unsanctioned use of social tools for both productivity and performance support purposes as well as for collaboration within enterprises, and that (b) many are getting significant value from their personal toolsets to organize their own professional learning activities.

In terms of tool trends, this year’s list has seen an increase in the popularity of curation tools and social magazines for the iPad (like Scoopit, Flipboard and Zite).  We also see the appearance of  visual, virtual pinboards on the list – and Pinterest is in fact the highest new entrant (in at #36) – with Learnist also making a late appearance. There is therefore a clear trend this year in using tools to “organize” digital resources, as well as a continued interest in notetaking tools; Evernote continues its rise up the list, and MS OneNote makes its way back up the list again too (probably due to its new mobile apps).

But now for the complete 2012 Top 100 Tools list. I have prepared a number of resources that not only provide detail about the tools but that also help to analyze the list.  This includes:

- a shareable slideset, (via Slideshare), which I have embedded below
- a textual list, where you can also see at a glance, how the tools are commonly being used (ie for Personal/Professional use, in Education or in the Enterprise)
- a list of the Winners and Losers in 2012 - compared to 2011
- and a categorised list of tools, called Best of Breed 2012

And, if you want to compare the rankings across the six surveys, there’s the Top 100 Tools 2007-2012 list too.

Enjoy!

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Jane Hart

Founder at C4LPT
Jane Hart is an independent Workplace Learning Advisor, Writer and International Speaker. Every year she compiles the Top 100 Tools for Learning activity. She also offer a number of online workshops on modernising workplace learning. Find out more about Jane and her work.