Top 5 collaboration tools

Posted on Sep 25, 2015

Great teams are not enough, they have to be able to work together. Creating effective elearning requires many different skills and collaboration between team members is crucial to success.

Collaborating effectively should be part of every day at all organisations. The apps and technologies have come a long way in recent years and it pays to be aware of the various options you have.

Here we present our 5 favourite collaboration tools, perfect if you’re looking for some inspiration for your own L&D team’s workflow.

Slack

Slack messenger helps us communicate quickly and easily with other team members and other tools

Communication is key, making it quick and easy to get in touch with any other member of the organisation can make a huge difference.

With flexibility and powerful extension capabilities, Slack allows colleagues to interact with each other and the various other tools they use more easily.

Creating groups for different teams is easy and provides a great way to get input from a team of people quickly and efficiently.

You can integrate many different services and tools with Slack, allowing you to get real time twitter updates in your messaging application, or share Google documents easily amongst a team.

We've talked about how we use Slack and how it can be part of the natural social learning strategy at your organisation in our webinar “A well bee-hived workplace: Learning socially from nature”.

Brayley Pearce, Instructional Designer at SpongeUK

“Slack is a messaging tool, a file sharing tool, a community tool… we are able to come to meetings more prepared and have an understanding of the holistic points of view from everyone within the group because we’re creating communities.”

Brayley Pearce, Instructional Designer

Dropbox

Dropbox have announced a new team sharing feature making collaboration even easier

All elearning projects involve digital files; Dropbox has become one of the most popular services for storing and synchronising all types of files across multiple devices and locations.

Having the right files available when you need them makes for better collaboration. Dropbox stores your files in the cloud and synchronises them across all your devices automatically.

If you use a connected device like a Samsung Galaxy camera for photos and video in the office, you can upload straight from the camera to a Dropbox account, internet of things style.

The latest update to the service gives you a team option, making it clear that Dropbox is focused on making collaboration even easier in the future.

Chris Houden - Digital Marketing Executive at SpongeUK

“Everyone knows and trusts a Dropbox link, which is important when you’re sharing sensitive files.”

Chris Houlden, Digital Marketing Executive

Toms planner

Tom's Planner is an easy to use online Gant chart app

Project managers need something simple and effective to manage their team’s time. Tom’s planner is an easy to use Gantt chart style web app.

In an area like project management you have so many different tools available it’s easy to let analysis paralysis set in. The immediate availability of a cloud based tool like Tom’s planner reduces the barriers to trying it out.

Having an application online makes it easy for multiple people to update and view a chart. Project managers can create or edit work for various teams and make it available for everyone to view easily and quickly.

It’s important to have a scalable solution for this kind of tool. Having your tool grow with the company is an essential requirement for a modern application.

Finding the right tool for the job might involve testing out a variety of options before finding the best option for you. Thankfully it’s never been easier to try out the different tools available.

Richie Harrison - Project Manager at SpongeUK

“Tom’s planner makes it easy to schedule people’s time. Any changes made to a project are immediately available to everyone involved so even if circumstances change we’re all on the same page.”

Richie Harrison, Project Manager

Pinterest

Pinterest allows design teams to collaborate by collecting ideas on a theme

All creative teams need some inspiration, and Pinterest is a great way to collect images based on a theme together.

The real strength of Pinterest for inspiration gathering is that it’s so easy to collaborate.

Group boards are an integral part of the Pinterest ecosystem and they can help you gather ideas that will drive the design for your project forward.

You can create private boards for confidential projects so you can control who can see your inspirational content.

Consistently being ranked in the top 15 social media sites also has its advantages, ensuring that the mobile apps and website is cross platform compatible and up to date.

Pinterest is most useful for visual design teams who can easily collect a searchable archive of images on a theme for inspiration in a project.

Glen Harling - Senior Designer at SpongeUK

“The design department will often collect ideas for elements of a design on Pinterest. Collecting images in themed boards that anyone can contribute to makes finding inspiration much easier.”

Glen Harling, Senior Designer

Invision

Invision is an online tool for mocking up designs and getting input from all the stakeholders in one place.

Designs go through many iterations with input from instructional designers, developers and clients. Traditionally this process resulted in many versions of files with associated notes from various different teams.

Invision takes your original design files and allows you to create interactive prototypes that are updated automatically when the original source file is saved. Comments are easily added by anyone with access to the link and revisions of the files can be saved at every staged for reference throughout the process.

Recent news from Invision will be especially useful to people who are also using Slack, with updates from Invision projects automatically being added to Slack chats.

Paul Messenger - Senior Designer at SpongeUK

“Invision has increased collaboration in so many ways. From sharing early design concepts with the wider team, to sharing with end clients for review. The comment system keeps everything in one place and clients particularly love the ability to pinpoint areas of a design they want to give feedback on.”

Paul Messenger, Senior Designer

Collaboration is always going to be a part of business, technology is making it easier and more efficient every day. Issues that could have held you back a year ago can now be overcome with free web apps.

In a fast changing industry like elearning using the smartest technology and services helps give the best experience for your customers.

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