Melissa’s post in response to a LinkedIn eLearning Guild Group discussion “What are the top tools for freelance elearning design and development?” has prompted me to round up my list of top tools. So here is a quick peak into my toolbox…

  1. Content Creation:
    PowerPoint – This is my primary tools for authoring courses and obviously presentations. I love the familiarity and with the capabilities of recent versions I find myself needing other tools such as image editors, less and less. | http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint/
  2. Course Publishing:
    Articulate – I love the integration with PowerPoint and they have *THE* best support for anything I have ever used bar none. | http://www.articulate.com/
  3. Screenshots:
    FastStone is for ordinary, quick & dirty type stuff and SnagIt comes out when I’m getting serious and want something full-powered. | http://www.faststone.org/FSCaptureDetail.htm | http://www.techsmith.com/snagit/
  4. Screencasts:
    Jing is for my quick & dirty stuff and most of my recordings which I will then edit/enhance and produce in Camtasia. | http://www.techsmith.com/jing/ | http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/
  5. Narration/Audio Editing:
    Audacity is free, easy to use and it just works. Levelator is a handy utility to help get the sound levels of your audio files to match. | http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
    (Building one of those portable recording boxes is on my to do list.)
  6. Video Editing:
    Windows Movie Maker certainly isn’t anything fancy but it does the job. Especially for converting Articulate content into a DVD format for those without computer access. | Windows XP: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/default.mspx | Win 7: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-movie-make
  7. Image Editing:
    I rarely need to do much heavy-duty photo editing so you won’t find Photoshop on my PC. Any basic tool you’re comfortable with will probably suffice. For quick & easy there are even online editors like Aviary’s suite of tools, Picnik.com & FotoFlexer (I love their tool to cut out the back ground…no Photoshop needed.) As I mentioned above PowerPoint has more and more of this stuff built right in.
  8. Miscellaneous:
    Notepad (html, css, editing for those times when you need to roll up your sleeves and work on the ‘plumbing’ aka code. )
    Word- I use the find & replace function to handle data manipulation and cleanup more than anything else.
    Google-need I say more?
    Color Cop-I use this to grab the exact color of items for exact matches. | http://colorcop.net/
    Picasa Photo manager-Fab-U-lous for handling your photos. | http://picasa.google.com/

I’m always on the look out for better ways to do things so if you have any suggestions fire away! What’s in your toolbox?

PS – Icon search for finding great icons