JD’s Top Tools for Personal Learning (2021)

In Technology by JD Dillon

Again?!?! Wow has the past year flown by … and thank goodness for that!

Jane Hart’s annual Top Tools for Learning survey is open until August 26, 2021. It provides a snapshot of the tools L&D pros rely on most for their work. The final results are broken down by application and include personal development, workplace learning and formal education. This process also helps me reflect on how my tools have evolved (or not) over the years (2020, 2019201820172016).

Here are my Top 10 Tools for Personal Learning for 2021.

  1. Zoom. You know this is on top of your list too, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter if I’m attending a meeting or delivering a virtual conference session. I always seem to end up in Zoom.
  2. Axonify. Every day begins with 3 minutes of microlearning. This year, we’ve explored a wide range of meaningful topics, including resilience, empathy, identity and bias.
  3. Google Drive. Everything I create – articles, blogs, podcasts, presentations – begins in Drive.
  4. Slack. This is my everyday conversation hub now that my team is fully engaged in hybrid work.
  5. Overcast. Podcasts have been a lifeline for me during the isolation brought on by the pandemic. I listen to one per day during an hour run around my neighborhood. Hopefully, I’ll be back to listening to more podcasts while on flights and long drives soon.
  6. LinkedIn. You have to dodge an unrelenting onslaught of sales pitches, but you can also establish connections with very smart people who share great insights and opportunities.
  7. Peloton. This may seem like an odd entry, but their bike and mobile app have helped me rediscover at-home fitness activity and learn how I can improve my personal wellness.
  8. YouTube. I spend more time on YouTube than I do Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime combined. It’s more for entertainment nowadays, but it’s still reliable for quick overviews.
  9. WordPress. I’ve spent a little more time upgrading this website over the past year and had to get more into WordPress functionality than ever before. I’m a big fan of the X Theme.
  10. PowerPoint. I rarely finish a work day without touching PPT. Building solid visuals to support my stories helps me tell better stories.

Note – the is the first time Twitter has not appeared on my list (#1 from 2016 – 2019, #10 in 2020). LinkedIn may be overloaded with sales pitches and unnecessary polls, but the professional conversation is still growing there while Twitter has stagnated. I’m also seeing more and more member-based professional communities pop up via platforms like Discord, Slack and Mighty Networks.

What’s your top 10 list nowadays? How have the tools you use helped you adapt to the changes you’ve experienced in the workplace over the past year?

  • JD Dillon is the world’s foremost expert on frontline learning and enablement. He is also one of the most prolific authors and speakers in the workplace learning community. For 20 years, JD has worked in operations and talent development with some of the world’s most dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. He is the founder of LearnGeek, a workplace performance advising and insights group. He is also Chief Learning Architect with Axonify, where he builds technology, content and services that enable frontline employees around the world to do their best work every day.