In a previous article on ‘How Technology is Helping Students and Changing Ways of Learning’, we talked about the numerous benefits of e-learning in schools and other educational sectors. Specifically, how it can make quality education more accessible from the comforts of their own home. However, e-learning isn’t limited to students and undergraduates. There are plenty of resources available online for those who want to learn new things. It is also the perfect way to get productive, now that you are indoors most of the time due to the global health crisis.
Fortunately, there are many tools available that can help you maximize e-learning. From feed readers to screencasting software, here are four tools every e-learner needs moving forward.
Online Research Tool
If you prefer to do research on your own, then an online research tool will serve you well. Software such as EndNote and RefWorks, for instance, are multi-functional research programs that can help you look for relevant studies based on their abstracts. This way, you won’t have to go through the titles one by one. There are even tools like Zotero and Mendeley which can be programmed to recognize content. They will automatically notify you when it has found relevant information as you browse.
While you can take notes on any typing program like Microsoft Word or even Notepad, a dedicated notetaker will make compiling information a lot easier. Business professional Bill Gluth recommends Evernote for its simple, yet effective system. ‘Individual Notes’ can be tagged and collected into ‘Notebooks’, which can then be collected into ‘Stacks’. Alternative notetaking software like Quip and Scrble are also good options. Most of them are compatible with PDF files, so you can use them if you need to annotate your documents.
To get the most out of your e-learning experience, it is best to attend some live classes for the opportunity to ask questions after. To this end, you will probably be required to download screencasting software to view them. According to HP’s article on screencasting software, options such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams are very popular right now. After all, they boast a lot of great features, including dedicated chat boxes, screen-sharing capabilities, and easy-to-read interfaces to help facilitate smooth communication between the teacher and the students. Plus, they are all free to download.
RSS Feed Reader
Every e-learner will have their favorite sources. However, it is very tedious having to manually check if they have posted new content, especially if you are following several publications at once. What you need is an RSS reader. In Lifehacker’s feature on the best RSS feed readers, they cite Feedly as one of the best choices, as it is available cross-platform. This means that you can monitor your favorite authors both on your PC and on mobile. RSS Feed Readers will also have the option to store the articles in a “Read Later” folder, so you can go through them at your own pace when you get some downtime.
There is a great tool for every learner. It all depends on what kind of resources you have, and the requirements of your own curriculum. But rest assured, there’s no shortage of apps and software out there, you just need to know where to look.
Image credit: Pexels