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The Complete Guide to List and To-Do Apps

The Complete Guide to List and To-Do Apps

Are you a list-maker? Probably. Do you make to-do lists? If so, do you also make other types of lists such as reading lists, checklists, shopping lists, and reference lists? Undoubtedly. Do you find it difficult to find the list app that best suits your method of list creation? There are many different tools out there that help you to create lists: most of them are focused on “to-do” checklists, and each have their own specialties to match the different ways in which we create lists.

I’ve spoken with approximately 200 people so far, and  have discovered both a wide range of different techniques that people us to create and manage their lists, and a variety of tools that are used. This is a breakdown of some of the most popular tools, and how they are used, so you can determine which list-creation app is best suited to your needs.

Wunderlist

    Wunderlist is a straightforward, uncomplicated task management to-do list app that works on multiple platforms, and syncs seamlessly across them all. It’s ideal for people who make task lists and check lists, as you can create notes for each task if you need to add a more detailed description, prioritize, share the main task list, and even set deadlines. It’s one of the few tools out there that has a downloadable Mac and PC app as well as web, android, iphone, ipad and blackberry versions. This is a great tool for task management.

    Asana

      Asana is ideal for more complicated projects and collaborative task management. You can create different projects and assign many tasks to them, and each task can be assigned to an owner who will then see it under their list of responsibilities. Deadlines can be set, tags can be created for easier searching, files can be attached, and you can create sub-tasks for each responsibility. Tasks can even be set to be repeated as needed. Essentially, it’s a highly effective collaborative task management tool.

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      Remember the Milk

        Remember the Milk provides pre-built list categories such as inbox, personal, study, work, with options to sort your outstanding tasks by due date. You can add notes to each task, and can easily postpone an assignment with a tap of a button. Tasks can be prioritized, set to repeat, or moved to different lists. The main feature from the mobile app is its ability to see what tasks are due by day, whereas the website version is a lot more difficult to navigate, with many features that are hidden and difficult to find. This is another app that is highly focused on task management and to-do lists, and is available on Android, iPhone, and iPad, as well as the website.

        Any.do

          Any.do is set up to help you organize when your tasks need to be completed. You list tasks under headings such as today, tomorrow, this week or later, with different lists categorized in various folders, and then create sub-tasks using the notes feature that lives under each task. By default, any task created in a folder is set to today and you have to switch to the timeline view to change the date. It’s an aesthetically pleasing to-do task management app that’s available on Android, iPhone and a Chrome Extension.

          Todoist

            Todoist focuses on projects instead of lists: tasks are created under different projects and you can create reminders, tags, repeated tasks and all the usual to-do features. Tasks are prioritized using color coding, can be moved across projects with due dates, and adding notes to a task is a premium feature in this app. There are some preset views where you can see which tasks are due today, or see tasks arranged by their priority level. Todoist is also available across most platforms.

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            Evernote

              Evernote is not limited to to-do; it’s a note taking app that lets you create many types of lists. You can consider each list as a personal notebook: inside each notebook, you can create multiple notes/list items with the  WYSIWIG editor that helps you create different types of formatted notes for a wider variety of lists. On the free plan, you can attach up to 10 files to each note—up to 25MB in total. Available across most platforms, this is more flexible than a to-do list app and definitely a great one to help you remember and store details, but it’s not the simplest app available if you’re just looking for something to help you create lists.

              Listible

                Listible is still in beta: it’s a list-making app, and in its current form, is not only about creating to-do list apps, but also for a wide variety of different lists. This tool comes with a bookmarklet that lets you clip text, URLs and images into your lists. There are some to-do features available such as archiving (i.e. completing) a list item, but currently it does not have due dates, reminders or repeating tasks. Currently there is a web version available, with mobile apps in the pipeline.

                Workflowy

                  Workflowy takes list creation in a different direction: it’s aimed at people who like plain documents, nesting and bullet points. When opening the app, you are presented with a blank sheet, similar to a piece of paper. From here, you can start creating lists and indenting list items to create sub-lists, and when you complete tasks, they’re marked as finished by being struck through. It’s great for jotting things down quickly as well. This app is still under development, so some to-do related features are still being polished up. Currently it’s web only, with mobile apps in the works.

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                  Google Tasks

                  Google Tasks is a web app that’s built into Gmail. To see it, click on Mail in the top left corner of the Gmail screen, and a drop-down menu will appear from which you can select Tasks. It’s a simple task management tool in which you can create different tasks, check them off, and organize due dates for each assignment. It’s a basic task management tool—the main bonus being that it integrates with Google calendars quite easily to synchronize your tasks that have due dates assigned to them.

                  Reminders

                    Reminders is a default to-do app that comes with your Mac, iPhone, iPod or iPad. It’s a task management tool that integrates with the alarm system of your device. It’s easy to use and simple to create a list of tasks that need handling, with a default view for today, and the ability to create repeating tasks. This app is only available on Apple devices.

                    Toodledo

                      Toodledo is another one of the task management app specialists. Focused on productivity, it has 5 levels of priority for your tasks and has most of the same features as the other task management tools listed earlier. Like some of this others, this app uses folders for different lists, so you can move tasks into different folders to organize the assignments you have to complete. It provides multiple views that you can select to organize your tasks by due date, calendar, folders, or priority. This app also has a notebook feature in which you can create different types of notes, but unlike Evernote, it uses HTML markup for formatting the notes. It’s available on iOS and web, and there are a bunch of third party apps on Blackberry and Android that integrate with Toodledo.

                      Which App is Right for You?

                      If you only ever create task lists, there is a plethora of apps beyond those listed here that you can use. Most of them accomplish the job quite well, so your preference will depend a lot on your existing task-making habits and the aesthetic of the app itself. The features that most have in common are generally due dates, and task prioritization. There are some slight differences in them, however, as some apps will use numbering for prioritization (like Toodledo) whilst others will use color (Remember the Milk, Todoist, any.do). Due dates are also used as method of prioritization ( by Wunderlist, Reminders, Google Tasks, and Asana).

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                      Task sub-lists are another feature differentiation:  Workflowy is particularly optimized for nesting and creating sublists, as are Asana and any.do. In terms of collaboration and assigning tasks to team members, Asana is specficially designed with this in mind and is much more convenient for group projects.

                      If you want to create a wider variety of lists, then Listible and Evernote are your best bets. Evernote isn’t strictly a list-making, app so it’s not as easy to create lists, but its great for adding a lot more detail into your lists. Toodledo also has note-taking features, so if task management and note taking are your main needs, Toodledo would be your best choice. Listible is particularly useful and easy for creating a wide variety of lists clipped from around the web due to its bookmarklet, and also because it can display the images and links in your list.

                      Each of these list apps has its own group of fans, because we all create different types of lists in different ways. There are a bunch of different techniques you can try to optimize how you organize your lists… but that’s an article for another day. Feel free to share any list-organizing tricks that you use, and what you favorite list-making app is.

                      Featured photo credit:  Office desk via Shutterstock

                      More by this author

                      Hoi Wan

                      Hoi is a mobilist who blogs about technology trends and productivity.

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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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