Hello learning professionals! When you’ve been working in training for a while, you get attached to the stuff you work with (and the people too I guess). In this blog post, I want to share about some of the tools that have become part of my everyday work and why I think every instructional designer should consider them.
The laptop is the main workhorse in your kit; it goes with you to the office, out in the field and at the café. The MS Surface Book was first released in 2015 and immediately became an instructional designer’s dream machine.
Its big selling point was a detachable screen and pen input. That meant that you could flip the screen around and use it as a digital notepad. The fact that the pen input feels accurate and natural means it’s great for sketching storyboards, outlines, workflows, diagrams and more.
Add to that great battery life and enough power for most instructional design work (writing, web administration, light graphic design) and it’s a great fit for any instructional designer. You’ll definitely be bringing it to any brainstorming discussions, info collection meetings, and authoring crunch sessions.
Sometimes you need some good old fashioned power from your machine and that’s why I still keep a decent desktop PC handy.
A desktop is still the best way to get the most power for your dollar and as an instructional designer, I put that extra power towards compiling Storyline projects, rendering video, processing graphics, and more.
My current build has an AMD Ryzen 5 2600 CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and an NVIDIA RTX 2070 graphics card running it. That’s enough to cut lots of time off rendering video and provides a smooth experience on even the most processor-intensive jobs.
Every instructional designer needs a reliable camera. It is there with you for formal video shoots whether it’s documenting procedures, instructions, lectures, or an interview. You might need it for capturing information in the moment while out in the field.
A good camera means clear results that look professional and gives you lots to work with if you are editing videos, creating technical documentation, or programming interactive applications.
I use a Panasonic GX85 because it is a great compact mirrorless camera that is easy to carry along for still photos, but also produces excellent video. That’s due to high quality image stabilization that you usually don’t get in a small camera. Remember if you are shooting video to bring a good tripod, microphone, and lights to get the best results!
A big part of an instructional designer’s job is delivering live or recorded video presentations. Nothing is less professional than a bad sounding presentation with distorted, hard to understand audio. A good microphone gives you clear, professional sounding audio and makes your voice sound even better.
The Blue Yeti is a classic microphone that sounds great and is easy to use. Just plug it into your USB slot and it works on almost any device.
Lastly everybody needs a good phone for work. Your phone often becomes your primary emailing, messaging, calendar, and meeting device. It might not be an exciting choice, but I use an Asus Zenphone because it does all of the above without breaking a sweat and doesn’t do much else. The Android ecosystem means that I have every app I need for emailing, web browsing, scheduling, and more.
That covers my daily devices and how they fit into my daily routine. Do you have tools that you use that you feel every instructional designer or LMS admin needs to hear about? Do you have questions about any of the devices about and how they might fit your everyday work? Write us a comment below or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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