My Favorite ID Things

So Excited to Help You On Your Journey

The other day I had a wonderful conversation with a friend who is considering making the move from being a college instructor, into the wonderfully wacky world of instructional design.

As I excitedly chattered on about trending topics and skills in the instructional design realm, she soaked it all in, but I realized I was probably overwhelming her with info and there was soooo much more that I wanted to share.

In addition, I am preparing for an upcoming speaking engagement where I will be talking to a cohort of current Instructional Design students at my alma mater Saint Leo University in the MSID program. So, with all of these ideas whirling around in my head, I decided to share it on a wider scale.

Today I’m going to share a few of My Favorite ID Things in the area of Tools, Books, and People. Heads up there are a few affiliate links here to help support this blog. Don’t worry, you won’t be charged extra, I just earn a little bit when some clicks on an affiliate link that I share. I guess they like to reward us for helping people find the right resources.

Here are just a few of My Favorite ID Things


My all-time favorite platform to create eLearning courses is Articulate 360. Yes, I know it is expensive, and for those just starting out in the ID world the cost might cause a little apprehension. But don’t worry, they have a wonderful 60 free trial AND very comprehensive training is available through the e-Learning Heroes website, which is the Articulate Community platform. Plus, you can find a wealth of knowledge on YouTube.

My second favorite is Camtasia. Okay, full disclosure, Articulate 360 does have Peek and Replay 360, which are great for creating and editing screencasts, but when it comes to creating and editing videos for eLearning, Camtasia wins hands down in my book. With Camtasia you can insert quiz questions and make the video interactive. And let’s face it, good learning must have a certain level of interactivity, beyond just pushing the “Next or Play” button.

Powtoon is probably my favorite animated video maker. I like to use it for intros and teaser videos. Sure there are many other great ones like Animaker and Biteable, to name a few, but you know how loyal we can become to our firsts. So, while I do gravitate towards Powtoon, I have cheated on them a few times and tried others. Luckily, they are forgiving and as long as I pay my subscription bill, they always welcome me back.

Here is a video I created for a client using Powtoons.

*Just FYI, all the tools, platforms, and resources are either free or have a free trial. Subscriptions usually just mean removal of watermarks and more perks or assets included.

Speaking of free, there is another all-in-one tool on the market, called Activepresenter by Atomi Systems. Most people who actually know about ActivePresenter think of it as just a screen recorder, which it is, but did you know that it is also an eLearning authoring tool that you can even create AND edit videos?

So, you might be thinking if I like Activepresenter so much, and you create eLearning courses, edit videos, and create animated videos with it, why bother with Articulate 360, Camtasia, and Powtoon?

Honestly, I don’t know.

Okay, actually I do. It’s because ActivePresenter seems to be one of those best kept secrets and Articulate and the others are much more recognizable on a resume. However, taking the time to learn a variety of platforms makes you able to learn others more quickly.

Here is a video to help you explore a little bit more about ActivePresenter

ActivePresenter Tutorial

Not much is different from one tool to the next (unless you are working in Captivate, that’s a whole other beast that I chose not to tackle) once you get the hang of the basics. Sure, some things will be in a different place, or have a different name, but for the most part, the skills you learn in one area, are always transferrable to another!


Anybody in the ID world would probably rave about the following books. Some of them I already have in my ID toolkit, others I have in my cart, just waiting to push the button.

One of the great things about being an affiliate is that I get to share with you a free preview of My Favorite books.

This first book on My Favorite ID Things list, was actually an assigned book during my master’s program. It is full of great information and practical examples. If you are sensitive to somewhat foul language, I would avoid this one because Julie Dirksen does use a few mild curse words here and there, but if you can get past that, you’re going to treasure this book.

This next book by Cathy Moore is great for helping anyone working in or interested in creating performance-based learning. It provides tools and templates to help you get to the root of the problem and create strategic learning. I regularly refer to the strategies and resources she provides.

This final book on my list has been described as our entire master’s in instructional design program condensed into one book. Tim Slade has done a marvelous job of sharing the instructional design process from A to Z, including some overlooked aspects like project management. This book is a must read for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the eLearning arena.

I know I only listed a few and there are literally thousands of books covering every aspect of instructional design, from theory to practice. I definitely have a few more that I would love to share, but out of respect for your time, and just to help you build up your ID toolkit, I’m going to keep it short. Send me a comment if you would like a more extensive list.


I spend a ton of time grabbing images from and, but sometimes I just use the images available right within a Word doc or Powerpoint (make sure you pay attention to the Creative Commons attribution).

When you need music for your eLearning courses or training videos, I have found the YouTube creator studio to be quite acceptable. You can also try Bensound or

All offer royalty free music for your videos. Just make sure to pay attention to the attribution criteria, if any.


My favorite people is actually an organization, not a single person. That would be the Association for Talent Development or ATD, formerly ASTD. For those who don’t know about them, and even those that do, this organization is GREAT! I’m a member of the national chapter and my local chapter. There are so many opportunities to learn about instructional design, talent development, and a host of other topics. The conferences, webinars and meetings are a great way to network with like-minded people, and even expose you to different career or knowledge paths that you may have never considered.

I thought I was going to stay with higher education after I finished my degree, but because I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with my local chapter by creating the onboarding program for their executive board, I was led down a completely different path into the corporate world of talent development and I LOVE IT!

If you haven’t already checked them out, give it a chance. Just go peek around on the website, find your local chapter (or join mine) and see what could happen.

Another great source for knowledge is Devlin Peck. I regularly seek out Devlin’s advice for all things ID related. He has created so much content and freely shares it with the world. He was a true godsend when I was trying to figure out what all this ID stuff was about, and I seek his wisdom on a regular basis even now!

The final person on My Favorite ID Things list is the IDOL Academy and Dr. Robin Sargent. Now some people have joked that they seem like a cult, but I will say, they seem like a group of very supportive and knowledgeable people who have a GREAT marketing department and plan! There are plenty of resources available from the IDOL brand, I have personally purchased the Business Box and it was not only a GREAT deal, but there is a ton of info for anyone who wants to freelance or start a consulting business as and ID.

All-in-all, there are a ton of tools, books, and resources available for aspiring instructional designers, eLearning authors, and talent developers. The best thing you can do for yourself is get out there and look around. Ask people, join groups, network, and most importantly don’t be afraid to learn something new!

Leave a Reply

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: