Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Top 100 Tools for Learning list

banner-1193261_6402016 marks the 10th year of the annual Top 100 Tools for Learning list.

Back in 2007 I was asked to create a list of my own top tools for learning, but I realised it would be much better if I compiled a list of tools selected by others, so I asked the late Jay Cross to kick off the activity, and in a two week period in the summer of 2007, 250 people contributed their top 10 tools for learning, from which I generated the 1st Top 100 Tools for Learning list. The list received a lot of attention – and in fact there were so many hits on it I had to upgrade my servers!

I remember too that I received a lot of questions from librarians why I hadn’t included any library databases on the list, since they considered them the most important learning tool for students, as well as from others why I had chosen Firefox as the No 1 tool for learning – as they couldn’t understand what it had to do with learning. I answered those questions – like I have done all similar ones subsequently – that this is not MY list but a list generated from others, so it shows what OTHERS find useful and valuable for learning.

And it is precisely for this reason that the lists have actually become a unique longitudinal study not only into the popularity of TOOLS for learning but into the evolving HABITS, APPROACHES and ATTITUDES to learning – which I have tried to highlight in my annual analyses (e.g. see my 2015 analysis here).  In particular, that increasingly, individuals are relying more and more on free, online tools to organise and manage their own approaches to learning, self-improvement and performance support – in the ways that suit them best. This is something that other recent studies have now confirmed.

slide-108I share the annual lists as slidesets on SlideShare and these have collectively now been viewed by millions of people worldwide. The 2011 slideset, for example, has had over 1.1 million views itself. The lists have been quoted widely, and in fact, the 2012 list was included in the 2013 edition of the venture capitalist, Mary Meeker’s hugely influential Internet Trends report (see slide embedded right).

If you want to take a look at what tools have appeared on the list over the last 9 years, you can view all the presentation slidesets here, as well as view an alphabetical list of ALL the tools here.

Looking back at the lists it is clear to see that the same tools have dominated the list for a number of years now, so for 2016 I am going to make a few changes.

First of all, the list will be extended to contain 200 tools this year so that more tools can be included.

Secondly, in order to understand how these tools are being used in different contexts, I will generate three sub-lists:

  1. Top Tools for Education (K12 – Adult Ed) 2016
  2. Top Tools for Workplace Learning (Training, Performance Support & Social Collaboration) 2016
  3. Top Tools for Personal Learning & Productivity 2016

The number of people voting in the survey has steadily increased over the last 10 years – from 250 people in 2007 to over 2,000 in 2015 – so it would be great if for this special 10th list, there were a record number of voters.  So please do take the time to vote.

Voting is now open and will close on Friday 30 September 2016, and the 10th annual list – the Top 200 Tools for Learning 2016 – will be released on Monday 3 October 2016. You can find out HOW TO VOTE HERE.

And if you have any further ideas how I can enhance the list to celebrate its 10th anniversary, please do leave a comment below.