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Top 5 Performance Support Apps for Learning Designers


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Connie Malamed was one of the first in the learning industry to design and develop an app for learning designers. Naturally, during our interview with her, we were eager to probe and find out more about her inspiration and the thought process that went into the making of her app. This is also one of the many things that we were left wondering about after our interview. We set out on a journey to explore and learn more about other apps that are available for learning designers. Read on...

THE QUOTEInstructional Design is complex and overlaps with many fields. That’s why Instructional Design Guru defines terms from Instructional Design, Cognitive Psychology, Social Media, Multimedia, Technology and Law. It defines over 470 key terms for instructional designers.”- Connie Malamed (The eLearning Coach), on ID Guru, the performance support App for learning designersTHE JOURNEYConnie was one of the first in the learning industry to design and develop an app for learning designers. Naturally, during our interview with her we were eager to probe and find out more about her inspiration and the thought process that went into the making of her app. This is also one of the many things that we were left wondering about after our interview. We set out on a journey to explore and learn more about other apps that are available for learning designers.Below are the questions we had in mind when we embarked on our journey:

  • What is the significance of performance support apps for learning designers?
  • What are some of the interesting performance support apps available for learning designers in the market today?

THE GREAT FINDSMobile apps are among the best forms of performance support available today, and just like any professional for whom ‘information’ is the key, learning designers too could greatly benefit from mobile app solutions.

Here are the top five most interesting performance support apps specifically designed for learning designers that we were able to find in the market:

  1. ‘Instructional Design Guru’ AppThe Instructional Design Guru is an amazing performance support mobile app for instructional designers designed and developed by Connie Malamed. It is powered by a glossary that carries over 450 terms on subjects related to learning design (including Cognitive Psychology, Instructional Design, Learning Theory, Online Learning, Multimedia Development and Social Media), along with definitions. The definitions are linked (cross-referenced) to other related terms. As it claims, this app, with its numerous examples and powerful search features, truly helps put the information instructional designers need for their day-to-day jobs at their fingertips.Connie is in the process of updating the app with new terms and definitions. To know more about the Instructional Design Guru app, here’s an interesting article from Connie on the story behind the making of this app.The Instructional Design Guru is available for $2.99 for both iPhones and Android phones.
  2. ‘Design Jot’ AppDesignJot is an iPad app (from Allen Communication Learning Services, Inc.) that creates high-level training designs based on the results of Allen’s proprietary Answer rapid needs analysis, thereby empowering learning designers to build engaging and impactful courses.To know more about the Design Jot app, here’s an article (that includes a quick video) from Allen Communication Learning Services, Inc.This app supports only iPhones and iPads and is available on the App Store for $4.99.
  3. ‘Kineo e-Learning Top Tips’ AppThe Kineo e-Learning Top Tips app (from Kineo Ltd.) offers 40 short practical sessions on business aspects, instructional design, graphics & multimedia, and social media. It helps learning designers apply these best practices to e-learning projects quickly. The app, with its dynamic tips (from automatic updates), also helps them stay up-to-date on the latest trends and thinking in the field of e-learning, and to share these with their professional network. Here’s an article from Kineo detailing the features of this app.The Kineo e-Learning Top Tips app is available for free download on the App Store.
  4. ‘The Instructional Design Wizard’ AppThe Instructional Design Wizard is another just-in-time learning tool targeted at instructional designers. It covers the most important aspects of instructional design right from the basics, and spans subjects such as evolution, application, learning styles, and instructional theory. The information is carefully packaged in the form of 50+ topics under different categories, and presented in a simple and concise format. It also includes a section for those who are just getting started with instructional design. To know more about the Instructional Design Wizard app, check this short video. And, here’s an article from Madhuri Dubey on the story behind the making of this app. The app is available for free download on Google Play.
  5. ‘Float Mobile Learning Primer’ AppThe Float Mobile Learning Primer app (from Float Mobile Learning) is a performance support solution for learning designers intended to help them understand and leverage the power of mobile learning. With its vast glossary of mobile terms and definitions, resources curated from some of the best blogs and websites (along with a few interesting tools from the publisher), inspiring examples, and a lateral thinking tool, this app will be greatly helpful for today’s learning designers who face challenges when it comes to designing mobile learning interventions.   To know more about the Mobile Learning Primer app, check this article from Float that details the features of this app.The Float Mobile Learning Primer app is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play.

OTHER INTERESTING APPS

Here are a few other interesting apps that we think will be of help to learning designers:

  1. ‘Intellectual Property Rights’ AppThe Intellectual Property Rights app is a mobile performance support solution (from Jasmine Renner) that acts as a valuable reference tool on issues related to the legal aspects of copyright, patent and trademark. Learning designers may find this helpful whenever they encounter questions related to these topics while designing learning solutions for clients.The app is available for download on Google Play for Rs. 309.95.
  2. ‘Task Analysis Job Aid’ AppThe ‘Task Analysis Job Aid’ app (from Orion Beadling) aimed at instructional designers is a job or task analysis aid to reference the core elements of Duty-Task-Activity-Step statement development during the analysis phase. The app is available for free download on Google Play.
  3. ‘Bloom's Revised Taxonomy’ AppThe Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy app (from Orion Beadling) is a reference tool for instructional designers on the core elements of Bloom’s revised taxonomy.The app is available for free download on Google Play.
  4. ‘Marzano’s Learning Goals Job Aid’ AppThe Marzano’s Learning Goals Job Aid app is a reference tool for instructional designers on the core elements of Marzano’s Learning Goals - an evaluation model currently being used by the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and other organizations.The app is available for free download on Google Play.
  5. ‘Kirkpatrick's Evaluation Model’ AppThe Kirkpatrick’s Evaluation Model app is another support app from Orion Beadling that is designed to act as a convenient job aid to reference the core elements of Kirkpatrick’s Model of Evaluation. The app is available for free download on Google Play.
  6. ‘ID Drops’ AppFinally, to add color, here’s an app that is designed to help learning designers think creatively and spark new ideas. The ID Drops app (from Sprout Labs) is intended to do just that... nothing more, nothing less!The app is available for free download on Google Play.

OUR LEARNINGSAs we came to the end of our search, we had the following learnings as ‘take-aways’ from our little journey:

  • Due to the nature of the work involved, performance support apps play a significant role in assisting learning designers in their daily work.
  • Presently, there a very few performance support apps available in the market for learning designers. Most of the available ones are reference apps that make use of the basic instructional design models and strategies, and leverage only the basic mobile functionalities and technologies. 
  • We foresee a bright future for performance support apps for the learning design community with workplaces dominated by performance support apps (both public and in-house ones) in the near future. These (apps) will be built upon more effective instructional design models such as spaced learning and distributed practice that can help make learning more effective. Just like any other areas, we’ll see these apps also finding creative ways to leverage the enormous potential of mobile features and technologies for bringing more context to learning and performance support (such as augmented reality, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), geo-location, and Near Field Communication (NFC)). More on this in one of our future posts... 

What other performance support apps have you used in your work? What apps would you like to see that could benefit learning designers?