12 Incredibly Useful Blogs for Learning Cool Stuff

12 Incredibly Useful Blogs for Learning Cool Stuff


It is no secret that I’m a huge proponent of learning. I make time every day to learn something new and am always on the lookout for useful takeaways from my experiences. One of the coolest things about learning is when you find something super useful and learn something you didn’t even know you needed to learn. These are some of my favorite sites that have given me those types of “Aha! Learning Moments”

Plug these into your favorite RSS/Feed reader and never miss a trick!

If you don’t have one or even know what the heck that means, jump over here to learn more and try Feedly. You’ll be glad you did!

PowerPoint, Slide Design & Elearning

Bright Carbon



Nuts & Bolts – Taylor Croonquist



Articulate E-Learning Heroes



Canva Design School



Save time and subscribe to all of these* by plugging this into your favorite feed reader:

* Articulate doesn’t have any feeds available, which is a bummer. 8-(


Chandoo – Purna Duggirala



General Awesomeness

Digital Inspiration – Amit Agarwal



Steve Dotto



Better Cloud




Check with your library for FREE access to Lynda.com courses.






Microsoft’s Office Blogs



Mike Tips

Yes, these are mine. 😎



This is post #6 in a series of 12. See them all here. 


L&D People You Should Be Following on Twitter

L&D People You Should Be Following on Twitter

Is it safe to assume that if you’re reading this post you are also on Twitter? If not, you are missing out on a great opportunity to connect with and learn from a lot of super smart people. Take a quick hop on over to learn a bit about tweeting professionally. Really, go ahead. We’ll wait right here until you get back.

I admit that when I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t really know what to do with it. The light bulb finally went off after I discovered #lrnchat and the amazing conversations happening there among that wonderful group of people.

Over the years I’ve learned a lot from the connections I’ve made via Twitter. Here are some of the people I consistently learn the most from. If you like, you can follow them all in a single click via this Twitter list.


If you’re looking for even more, here are a couple of other lists for you to check out:

Ajay Pangarkar’s (@BizLearningDudeTop 20 Learning And Development Value Tweeters

Jane Hart’s (@c4lpt) – 100 people who tweet about L&D
Follow them all with a single click via her Twitter list  Workplace Learning Twitter list

This list is over 5 years old now, but still has lots of good people on it – The first 99 people you should follow on Twitter.

Thanks for reading! Who is your favorite person to learn from on Twitter? If we’re not connected there yet I’m @tmiket.

This is the fifth post of a 12 part series. 

Where to Find the Best Presentation Templates & Design Inspiration

Where to Find the Best Presentation Templates & Design Inspiration

At some point, nearly everyone needs to design slides. Whether for an online elearning course, a training workshop, a conference presentation, a sales pitch or a whole host of other reasons you always want to look your best. Instead of staring at a blank screen trying to come up with ideas, why not tap into some of the great templates and resources that are available to you.


Here is a collection of my favorite sites for presentation templates and slide design inspiration.

  1. Slide Model
  2. Slide Shop

    Don’t miss out on the free slides available from Slide Model and Slideshop. Subscribe to their email list and you’ll get free slides in your inbox every week!

  3. Slides Carnival
  4. Elearning Heroes
  5. Site2Max
  6. Canva
  7. SlideGeeks
  8. Graphic River
  9. Envato
  10. Creative Market
  11. Duarte Diagrammer
  12. Duarte SlideDocs

Want even more? You can find some templates and tons of inspiration on design sites like Dribbble and Behance. I’ve even got a few of my own to offer here.


Thanks for reading! Do you use any of these or maybe there are some others that I missed?  Let me know with a comment below or via social media using the hashtag #12×12

Day 4 of 12 | Check out the entire series here

#12×12 Day 3 Books

#12×12 Day 3 Books

I’m a big fan of books and today I’d like to share 12 of my favorite professional books. These are the books I’d recommend to anyone who does anything related to learning , training delivery, instructional design, etc.

If you’d like to connect with me on Good Reads, you can see other books that I’ve read or want to read as well as find out what others are saying about the books you’re interested in. You can find this list over on Good Reads too.


  1. Visual Design by Connie Malamed
  2. Elearning Science of Instruction by Ruth Clark and Richard Mayer
  3. Design for how People Learn by Julie Dirksen
  4. Work Out Loud by John Stepper
  5. slideology by Nancy Duarte
  6. Performance Consulting by James and Dana Robinson
    (Check out the third edition with new contributions from Dick Handshaw & others.)
  7. Beyond Bullet Points by Cliff Atkinson
    (Check the website for some useful templatesto help you organize your presentations.)
  8. Made to Stick by Dan & Chip Heath
  9. Make it Stick by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, Mark A. McDaniel
  10. Analyzing Performance Problems
  11. 100 Things Every Designer Should Know About People
  12. Nobody Wants to Read Your SH*T! by Ste

Thanks for reading! What books have you found the most helpful? Reply with a comment below or via social media using the hashtag #12×12

Upgrade Your Work with These Add-ins #12×12 Day 2

Upgrade Your Work with These Add-ins #12×12 Day 2

Let me start by admitting I’m not quite sure what to call these. Add-ons? Plug-ins? Extensions? If you know the difference I’d love to hear what it is. 😎 Regardless of what you call them, all of these will help you work smarter.

Why would anyone want to use add-ons?

  • Integrating with tools and services.
    For example, apps like Diigo, Evernote and lots of others offer add-ons that let you easily save bookmarks, clip pages, etc right within your browser
  • Getting add additional features.
    For example, adding features that don’t already exist in your browser or application. Like the image searching features in the Pexels PowerPoint add-in below.
  • Adjusting how you interact with websites.
    For example adding, removing, or modifying content like blocking ads or providing additional providing information for shopping websites, etc.

Regardless of what you call them, all of these will help you work smarter and fall into two categories–browser add-ins and application add-ins.

Browser Add-ins

These are Google Chrome add-ons but you can also get them for other browsers. You’ll find these and others in the Chrome Web Store, while Firefox extensions are available on Mozilla’s Add-ons site.  The options for Microsoft Explorer are much more limited but you can check the Internet Explorer Add-on Gallery website if you’re really stuck with IE.

1. The Great Suspender
(Memory Manager – Chrome add-in)

Lots of open tabs can really bog down your browser. This handy add-in automatically suspends unused tabs to free up system resources. And you can easily get them right back whenever you need them.  Check out last year’s post for more details on how this works and why you need it.  | Get it here.

2. Feedly
(News Feed reader app)

Feedly is a feed reader that allows you to subscribe to the news sources you want and have them all come to you. (Think Amazon Prime vs racing around to a zillion different stores for your holiday shopping!) Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

* Easily add websites to your feedly
* Save pages for later
* Email pages
* Tweet pages
* Share pages on facebook
* Save pages to Evernote
* Curate and tag pages

3. Buffer
(Social Media sharing)

Buffer is the best way to share great content to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn from anywhere on the web, with just one click. Get it here.


4. Grammarly
(Writing -Chrome add-in)

Grammarly’s free writing app makes sure everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. Grammarly will check your spelling and grammar  on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Tumblr, and almost anywhere else you write on the web. They’ve also got an add-in for Microsoft Office so you’ll be covered there too.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

5. Hemmingway App
(Writing app)

Hemmingway is another tool that helps you up your writing game. Like Grammarly, Hemmingway also has apps for Mac, Windows and Office. As you can see below, this app calls out suggested improvements with color coded highlights.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

6. Dropbox for Gmail
(Chrome add-in)

Dropbox for Gmail helps you share files from your Dropbox via your Gmail account. This adds a Dropbox icon at the bottom of your compose messgage window that connects you via a pop-up window to the contents of your Dropbox account. Select a file to share it via Dropbox and avoid the hassle of email file attachments. My favorite part is the recent files list that helps me avoid wasting time looking for the file in Dropbox.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

7. Lastpass
(Password manager)

How to you keep track of passwords? Sticky notes or spreadsheets? LastPass is a dead simple, no-brainer option for making your passwords more secure and easier to use. Just do it!  If you don’t think you need it, think again.  Your  password solution probably isn’t as good as you think!)

Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

8. Google Chrome Remote Desktop
(Remote access)

This one is great for anyone who does any kind of support or wants to remotely access a computer in some other location. The best thing about this one is how easy it is to setup and use.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

PowerPoint & Windows Add-ins

9. PollEverywhere
(PowerPoint audience participation add-in)

If you do any presenting at all you need to get this free addition to PowerPoint right now! Yes, seriously. It is that good.You and your audiences will be glad you did! After installing you’ll get a new tab right in PowerPoint for creating and inserting a variety of poll questions that your audience can respond to via the web or SMS.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

10. Google Drive for MS Office
(Office add-in)

Want to share your files via Google Drive but still, work on them in Office? This one puts your Gdrive files inside Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc right at your fingertips!


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

11. Power User
(add-in for PowerPoint)

If you’re looking to upgrade the work you do in PowerPoint, check out Power User. With features not otherwise available in PowerPoint, it can be a big time-saver.


Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

12. PowerPoint Labs
(add-in for PowerPoint)

PowerPoint Labs is another add-in for PowerPoint that you’ll want to have when you see all that it can do. Check the video to see some of the superpowers you’ll get with this one.

Check out last year’s post for more details. | Get it here.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what else is on your list. Reply with a comment below or via social media using the hashtag #12×12

Day 2 of 12 | Check out the entire series here.

#12×12 Day 1: Learning Tools

#12×12 Day 1: Learning Tools

I can’t tell you how important I think learning is to everyone. Regardless of your age, your career or anything else if you’re not continually learning new things, you’re falling behind. So in that context, I’d like to kick-off this #12×12 series with 12 of my favorite learning tools.

For the past several years I’ve shared my Top 10 Learning Tools as part of Jane Hart’s awesome Top 100 Learning Tools project.

This list is very similar with a couple extras for good measure. How does your list compare to mine? Reply with a comment below or via social media using the hashtag #12×12


While Twitter fell from number one in Jane’s list this year, it still holds the top in my list. There is no better place to discover, connect, and learn with smart people in your field.  If we’ve not connected there yet, you can find me on Twitter as @tmiket.

If curious about how I use Twitter, take a minute to listen on this podcast where I talk about how I use Twitter and how a few other tools on this list relate connect with my personal knowledge management (PKM) system.



Feedly is the best way  to keep up with everything I want to keep up on. Feedly allows me to set up my own personalized flow of information, keep it organized exactly the way I want and makes it easy for me to share the best things I find with others via Twitter and other social media platforms.  Feedly is the hub for my personal knowledge management system (PKM).


Watch the video above to see how Buffer fits into my PKM system. In short, Buffer really simplifies how I share most of my social media posts and saves a lot of time by removing the inefficiencies of a more manual approach.


PowerPoint often gets a bad wrap. To steal a line from David Anderson “Blaming #PowerPoint for bad #elearning is like blaming #Word for poor instructional design.”

PowerPoint is an excellent option for:

If you’re interested in digging in deeper, I curate a continuously updated collection of PowerPoint resources over on Zeef.


WordPress is such a super useful tool with a wide variety of uses including  personal websites , grad school portfolio project, newsletter websites, and even a type of online “course” like this online social learning course, Learn Camp,  that has attracted participants from around the world.

Google Drive/Docs

Often the simplest tools are the ones that get used the most. Also, I am a big believer in removing as much friction as possible when collaborating with others. The Google suite of apps hits the sweet spot for capabilities and ease of use while allowing everyone to work right from their web browser. The co-authoring / file sharing features alone should make it part of your personal toolkit.

Friends don’t let friends email file attachments! 😎

If Google isn’t an option for you, check ot Office Online.


YouTube ranks high for me when I need to learn how to do something fast. From fixing lawn movers to replacing the lift gate struts on the family mini-van YouTube is often there for you in your time of need.


There is very rarely a work day that goes by without me using SnagIt. I’ve used a lot of other tools for capturing and annotating screen shots but none compare to SnagIt.


Need a professional looking graphic but you’re not a designer and you don’t have much time? No sweat! Pop over to canva.com and use one of their fantastic templates to crank out what you need in no time. They’ve got you covered for everything from social media graphics to presentation designs and much, much more.


Almost everyone has some kind of mailing list that can benefit from using Mailchimp. This is a huge time-saver and for L&D types you can extend and supplement your existing training/learning content; even tap into a self-running email course like this one for a recent Online Training Conference session I did with Brian Washburn.

Sign-up for the free “What L&D Should Steal from Marketing” email course. 


For a long time, I’ve been searching for a good way to organize and share the best resources around a particular topic. Zeef is designed to help people cut through the noise and help you point them to the best resources. For example, check out my pages:

Another really good one is Tracy Parish’s Free E-Learning Tools page.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what else is on your list of top tools. Reply with a comment below or via social media using the hashtag #12×12

Day 1 of 12 | Check out the entire series here

12×12 Days of Christmas

12×12 Days of Christmas

Last year I shared my 12 Apps of Christmas and I’m happy to say that those apps have passed the test of time and are still humming along in my browser today. This year I’m challenging myself to kick it up a notch and share 12 items for each of the 12 days of Christmas.

So be sure to follow along the next 12 days for your super-sized dose of recommended learning tools, books, apps and more. Check back tomorrow for day 1 and the first list of 12–my favorite tools for learning.

Even better, join in along the way and share your favorites using the hashtag #12×12

Happy Holidays!