Tools for Freelance Instructional Designers

Tools for Freelance Instructional Designers

Note from editor: This post updated with new tools 6/3/11.

A recent LinkedIn eLearning Guild Group member asked “What are the top tools for freelance elearning design and development?” and 100 comments later, there was quite a list.

The result was a nice mix of both specific software for getting the work done and advice and suggestions related to running a freelance business.

Here is my attempt to categorize and capture all of the recommendations, in no particular order of course. While I tried to include everything that was mentioned, my apologies if I may have missed one or two.

The Tools

  Open Commercial
Software Suites and Packages Open Office, Google Apps Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe eLearning Suite, Articulate Studio, Microsoft Office
Rapid Development Screenr Captivate, Lectora, Cam Studio, Camtasia, Articulate. Snap
Screencapture/Screencast Jing, Screenhunter, Screenr Snagit, Snap4
Image/Photo Editing GIMP, Picnik PaintNet,PaintShop Pro
Video Celtx Script Writing Sony Vegas Pro, Sorenson Squeeze, After Effects
Audio Audacity, Levelator Soundbooth
Delivery WordPress, Moodle, Drupal Blackboard
Synchronous Communication Skype, DimDim, Oovoo, Google Talk/Voice Elluminate, WebEx, Centra, LiveMeeting,
Project Management OpenWorkbench, Evernote Gantto, MSProject, LotusLive
Business Operations Dropbox, PrimoPDF, FreshBooks,, BullZip, Zoho Harvest, Adobe Acrobat, QuickBooks, FastTrack, PDFPen
And more… Notepad++, iSpringFree, Prezi,Xtranormal,, Tokbox, Adobe Kuler, Wampserver, Color Schemer, Fireshot Firestarter, SwishMax, MindManager, Balsamiq, Questionmark,Madcap Flare, Prezi

Programming Skills PHP, HTML5, CSS3, SCORM
Professional Development Advice,, Twitter, #lrnchat
Networking and Mentorship professional associations recommended: American Society for Training & Development, International Society for Performance Improvement
A few absolutes to close: Internet access, a powerful computer with multiple monitors and a good microphone and webcam, coffee, aspirin, a sense of humor, and a support system!

Add Your Tools to the List

Do you have comments, corrections or suggestions for this list? This post is available in Google Docs for anyone to consult, edit or update. We appreciate your suggestions!

Melissa Venable is an instructional designer and project manager with experience in industry and higher education (public, private, and for-profit). Her background includes working in student services as a career counselor, academic advisor, and instructor for first-year students. She holds a doctorate in instructional technology, focusing on the online delivery of career services. Read Melissa’s blogs at DesignDoc and Inside Online Learning or follow her on Twitter: @Melissa_Venable.

Image thanks to keepthebyte on Flickr.