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15 Powerful Online Apps to Change the Way You Approach Student Life

15 Powerful Online Apps to Change the Way You Approach Student Life

Back to school time! Soon enough, you will be occupied with classes, academic projects, exams, and of course, a social life. That’s completely fine as this academic year you will have a perfect chance to make yourself more effective in every aspect of your life. There are so many powerful online applications you can use to change the way you approach student life.

You probably own a smartphone and tablet, so you should try to use the potential they offer. Below, you’ll find a collection of 15 apps that will change the way you deal with the daily struggles and joys of student life.

Apps that Change the Way You Study

1.iStudiez Pro
istudiez screenshot

    Are you prone to procrastination? It’s time to start using iStudiez Pro – an app that enables you to organize your courses, assignment deadlines, and exam schedule. You can organize your entire homework within a single app, as well as up to five courses with the free version.

    2.iTunes University

    itunes u screenshot

      This app enables you to learn anything you want. You might even locate the exact course materials for your school, so you’ll save tons of money on textbooks. In any case, you will find great content for the courses you attend, so you can boost your knowledge through textual, video and audio studying material.

      3.Google Keep

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      google keep screenshot

        This pin-board app enables you to organize photos, lists, and notes on a sleek homepage that you can access on any Android device. You can also speak a voice memo; Google Keep will automatically transcribe it. You are not an Android user? No problem; you can use the online version of the app!

        4.Quizlet

        quizlet

          This popular study tool provides millions of flashcards sets, so you’ll find materials on any topic you can imagine. You can also create your own sets and share them with the community. The flashcards can be empowered with audio and images, so you’ll enhance your ability to remember the information.

          5.Coursera

          coursera screenshot

            Every student should start using Coursera! This project enables you to access awesome courses from the world’s top universities. For free! You can learn from the most reputable professors and understand the most complex concepts with ease.

            6.Brainscape

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            brainscape

              You think you’re too old for flashcards? Nope, this studying method is still the most effective one when it comes to memorizing tons of facts in the shortest time possible. With Brainscape, you can create your own sets of flashcards, but you can also download pre-made sets that save you tons of time.

              Apps that Change the Way You Organize Your Time

              7.MyScript

              myscript

                You still like taking notes by hand, but you don’t want to bother with notebooks and pens? MyScript is your type of app! It enables you to write down notes when you study, but you can also use it during class. The best part is that you can edit your handwriting, use a drawing mode, adjust the palm fest, add math equations, and do much more!

                8. Wiggio

                This application is made for group work. Once you get over your internal eye rolls at the assignment of a group project, take charge of your assignment by making use of this application that allows you to conduct virtual meetings, create task lists, and share files. You won’t miss a group deadline ever again with this app on your side.

                9.Listatic

                listatic

                  This tool enables you to create shareable lists. Thus, it’s perfect for completing team projects on time. You can use the simple interface to create any daily list, so it will also serve you well for planning your daily purchases and social events.

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                  10. Todoist

                  todoist screenshot

                    Forget about Evernote; it’s too complicated with its functions that you never use. With Todoist, you can bookmark important web pages, set reminders, and track assignment deadlines.

                    Apps that Boost Your Focus and Productivity

                    11. 30/30

                    3030

                      Your to-do list is too busy and hard to manage? Use this online app that enables you to plan the length of time for each task on your list. Manage your writing tasks and plan ahead, keeping up with the strict deadlines and syllabus requirements.

                      12. Focus Booster

                      focus booster

                        Your brain cannot work non-stop; you need to arrange the work according to its productivity levels. Focus Booster works according to the Pomodoro technique: it reminds you to take short breaks after each distraction-free working session.

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                        Apps that Change the Way You Complete Academic Projects

                        13. Mind42

                        mind42

                          Mind42 is a fast and simple mind-mapping tool. It enables you to jot down early ideas and develop them into more complex plans. Start every academic project with a Mind42 map that you’ll develop as you progress, and soon you’ll notice that you’re becoming a more successful student.

                          14. Prezi

                          prezi

                            You need to create a presentation for class? Forget about the plain old PowerPoint; Prezi is much better! You can work on the project from any device and make it really appealing with graphics and surprises that will keep the viewers entertained. I suggest using the pre-made templates as you get used to the program.

                            15. Sugar Sync

                            sugarsync

                              This multi-functional platform enables you to create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and diagrams. Your projects will be safely kept in the cloud, so you can access them from any device connected to the Internet. You’ll save tons of space on your computer and your work will become much simpler when you start using great alternative to Google Drive!

                              Do you use any other apps that make your life as a student easier? Share your recommendations, but don’t forget to try the tools listed above!

                              Featured photo credit: Matylda Czarnecka via flickr.com

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                              Last Updated on November 5, 2019

                              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                              5 Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Effective Learning

                              Businesses rely on talent to generate and sell value. Without skilled people to create its products, manage its operations and execute its strategies, a business would inevitably fizzle out of the game and leave better-staffed competitors to take the field.

                              This is the reason why ambitious companies go great lengths to attract top talent,[1] shelling out millions of dollars in the process and bending traditional work policies just to bring highly skilled but demanding candidates into the fold.

                              Clearly, the contours of business are changing. But so are the demographics of work.

                              Millennials have become the dominant generation in the job market in terms of population, and some have already transitioned into leadership roles. Most millennials consider opportunity to learn and grow more important than overall compensation.[2]

                              Companies also today expect employees to come equipped with razor sharp business acumen.[3] Unfortunately, there is an alarming discrepancy between the actual skills businesses need and those currently possessed by job candidates.

                              To stay in the game, employers need to continually upgrade their training and skills development strategies to cover the entire employee lifecycle.

                              What are Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

                              Learning management systems are software-based solutions for authoring, presenting, consuming, storing, and tracking educational content and training materials. These systems aim to centralize all instructional content (e.g., lessons, training modules, instructional videos, presentation slides, worksheets, online quizzes, ebooks, takeaway notes, etc.) in one place.

                              LMS enable instructors to design and deliver learning experiences to students, with the added capability of evaluating the effectiveness of the instructional materials and grading the learning progress of students.

                              On the other side of the equation, learners use LMS to develop skills and acquire new knowledge virtually anytime and anywhere via the different channels and content formats made possible by digital technology.

                              Over the years, a wide range of features and technologies have been integrated into learning management systems to help enhance the experience of training designers, instructors, and learners. These include cloud and mobile technology, artificial intelligence, responsive design, scheduling, gamification, data analytics, and interoperability with other applications.

                              5 Best All-Purpose Learning Management Systems

                              There are dozens of LMS vendors catering to the general market or to specific segments such as K-12 learning, higher education, and corporate training.

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                              With so many options available, selecting the right LMS solution for your needs can be complicated and costly, especially when you end up adopting a platform that doesn’t exactly match your goals or requirements.

                              Short of conducting a comprehensive audit of your needs and finalizing a learning roadmap, the safest bet would be to adopt full-featured but affordable LMS solutions.

                              Based on user reviews, here are the 5 best LMS to help people gain knowledge, build skills, and achieve mastery:

                              1. Canvas Network

                              Launched by Instructure as an open source software in 2011, Canvas is an end-to-end cloud-based service originally engineered for the education sector.

                              Widely adopted for K-12 and Higher Ed learning, Canvas can be repurposed for anything that involves an instructor, a subject matter, and a student.

                              Used around the world by people of all ages and organizations of all types, Canvas arguably has the largest learning and support community in its class. It works on desktop computers, tablets and mobile phones.

                              To get a glimpse of the platform’s fresh interfaces, you can visit the Canvas Network, a learning community that provides educational and instructional materials created by colleges, universities, corporate businesses, independent course developers, and other knowledge-sharing entities around the world.

                              Hosting hundreds of interesting topics from data science to horticulture, the learning network also serves as evidence to the scope, capabilities, and popularity of the Canvas LMS platform.

                              Canvas is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure, which enhances the platform’s reliability, speed, scalability, and overall online performance.

                              Additionally, platform adopters enjoy a low-risk environment since cloud-based solutions require no hard stops for version updates, upgrades, or system migrations.

                              The Canvas website does not show a price matrix but says the service adopts a simple formula for computing fees: a one-time implementation fee and an annual subscription fee based on total number of users. It also promises free basic services for teachers who want to use the platform.

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                              In addition to Canvas, Instructure also offers Bridge (an LMS designed for corporate environments), Arc (a video platform for online learning), and Gauge (an assessment management system).

                              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Canvas Network:

                              2. Google Classroom

                              This free service from Google aims to improve the teaching and learning process using cloud technology, web apps, workflow simplification, and seamless communication between students and instructors.

                              Using Classroom, educators can easily create and schedule classes, distribute assignments, send feedback, and grade quizzes all in one place. By streamlining processes, Classroom helps teachers save time and organize classes more effectively. Both students and teachers can also work using any device anytime and anywhere.

                              Classroom works perfectly with other Google tools, having been launched initially as part of Google’s G Suite for Education. This LMS solution taps Google Drive for content storage and distribution, as well as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for the creation and sharing of instructional materials. Meanwhile it integrates Google Calendar for scheduling and Gmail for communication.

                              With G Suite, other communication channels such as chat messaging, video conferencing, and a dedicated website are enabled.

                              Easy to set up and manage, Google Classroom is free to use. One of my very first courses was actually hosted on Google Classroom.

                              Going beyond the classroom environment, Google offers G Suite Enterprise for Education for large institutions. This suite provides enhanced search and analytics capabilities as well as advanced tools for enterprise communications.

                              3. Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)

                              If budget and capability equally top your list of LMS adoption criteria, then Moodle might just fit the bill. Which is to say there’s none (i.e., bill).

                              Moodle is a free and open-source learning solution for distance education, workplace training, flipped classrooms, and other pedagogical environments.

                              It is also a full-featured LMS supported by a robust community and a thriving developer ecosystem. Not surprisingly, Moodle is used in more than 15 million courses by more than 130 million users in 230+ countries.

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                              Among other things, Moodle enables administrators and educators to create a dynamic and dedicated website to host organic, easily accessible, and highly customizable courses that can be experienced on desktops and mobile devices anytime and anywhere.

                              Moodle provides a personalized and intuitive dashboard as well as a host of collaboration tools for content designers, teachers, and learners. A universal calendar, an efficient file management system, an automatic notification system, multimedia integration, and a progress tracking tool all come with the package.

                              Check out this video if you want to learn more about Moodle:

                              4. Absorb

                              This platform recently bagged PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice Award for Best LMS.

                              Co-designed and built by former course authors, Absorb takes learning experience to the next level. This turnkey LMS solution is responsive, full-featured, and highly customizable for maximum impact.

                              Course developers can orchestrate a wide range of experiences depending on audience or learning situation. In addition to surveys, polls, and e-commerce integration, Absorb supports formal online learning and certifications standards such as AICC, SCORM, and Tin Can.

                              The user interface can also be modified to match the learner’s location, group, or department, allowing for a different look and feel for customers, channel partners, management trainees, and newly hired employees.

                              Absorb supports all personal computing devices from desktops to mobile phones. There are also native or hybrid apps for iOS and Android.

                              The only possible drawback to the platform’s powerful feature set is its pricing. The service reportedly implements a flat, one-time setup fee depending on your business and training requirements. According to the site, any plan comes with a dedicated success team for your account.

                              Although small companies are welcome to try, midsize to enterprise-scale organizations are probably the best segment to readily adopt this LMS solution.

                              Take a look at some examples of Absorb in this video:

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                              5. Watershed Collaborative

                              Created by a group of educators, this nonprofit rethinks the priorities of an LMS, asserting that too many systems miss the most essential elements of what makes learning stick. They promise a better user experience – emphasizing Learning before Management and System.

                              Watershed aims to support an inquiry-based learning experience through an integrated mix of online and in-person learning strategies and interactions designed expressly for teams – including collaboration, reflection, and dialogue.

                              While Watershed was founded initially to serve the K-12 education market, the company has since expanded its scope to cater to all types of teachers and learners with its video-rich, state-of-the-art platform.

                              If you’re a mission-driven educator, content creator, institution, or business, this LMS may be the one for you.

                              Watershed specializes in assisting you with the instructional design of courses and provides content production services to ensure top-quality video assets with lasting value. Their LMS makes it easy for course creators to continuously update and tailor content to support small and large groups, while ensuring the technology and instructional strategy supports communities of learners.

                              Pricing varies based on products and services, but revenues support the nonprofit’s ability to make its platform and courses available at little or no cost for high-need educators and educational settings.

                              Honorable Mentions

                              There are dozens of LMS vendors in this growing market and the brands included in foregoing list are by no means the only viable options for companies or learning institutions looking to upgrade their learning infrastructure.

                              Many other excellent services are worth checking out. These include:

                              1. Docebo is an LMS designed for hyper-engaging students, employees, customers, and other learners. The system helps organizations identify and resolve competency gaps with strategic learning interventions.
                              2. Cornerstone OnDemand is a talent, training, and performance management solution offered as an SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). This service enables learners to create personalized playlists of instructional content.
                              3. Lessonly is an LMS solution that makes it easier to recall and reinforce whatever skills or knowledge you have learned through quizzes, coaching, and constant practice.
                              4. Skillsoft is an online training and corporate learning platform developed by a two-decade old and billion-dollar company with the same name.
                              5. D2L BrightSpace is a learning management system that has all the basics for delivering excellent, rich-media experiences for classroom or workplace training.

                              Conclusion

                              There are many ways to learn but some are more effective and meaningful than others. Whether you are a teacher looking to enhance classroom learning or an HR manager creating a long-term talent development plan for employees, the key to impactful learning is to understand and bridge the needs of learners, the goals of your institution, and the actual capabilities of the learning tools you are considering.

                              Note that using multiple LMS platforms is possible although not recommended. On the other hand, adopting other learning solutions beyond LMS (such as podcasts, mentoring, and onsite in-person workshops) may significantly improve learning outcomes. Always go for products and plugins that seamlessly integrate into your core LMS tool.

                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                              Reference

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