Bookmark This! 5 Useful Websites for New Instructional Designers & e-Learning Developers

Six months ago, I took a bit of a career pivot and entered the world of Instructional Design and e-Learning. As a newbie, the industry seemed vast and at times overwhelming. Almost every day, I had some form of information overload. There was much to learn and many resources to learn from. 

My ID world has gotten smaller and smaller with each passing week. Often times, blogs, podcasts, and YouTube pages are suggested by Instructional Designers again and again. It's hard to find information that starts at the most basic level - 100% green. As a newbie, it’s helpful to have a few go-to resources that are simple, user-friendly and easy to navigate.

When I came across a website that I knew would be a resource to me, I bookmarked that bad boy immediately! Around month three, I ran out of bookmark space and started a Word Doc that was ALWAYS open for my go-to websites. Don’t worry, I won’t list them all.

Here is a list of my 5 Useful Websites for New Instructional Designers & e-Learning Developers. They’re not the BEST sites or the BEST resources. But, they were the most helpful as I was starting out!


  1. Go Design Something 

What is it?

Go Design Something is a website that gives you project ideas for Instructional Designers. As creator K. Anthony put it, “if you've wanted to get started on a project but you couldn't figure out how to get started, this is the site to get you going.

Why Bookmark This?

When you’re a new ID, it’s hard to get that initial drive and motivation if you’re experiencing information overload. Simply click the “Gimme Another” button and trust me, you’ll be motivated with ideas in less than 5 minutes. Go Design Something is a wonderful resource for IDs to build their portfolio and to get their creative juices flowin’.

How has it helped me?

In all honesty – I’ve never designed anything from an idea on Go Design Something. So, why is it my number one? Because it fueled other ideas and got me googling away. It was a catalyst that helped me learn, and it forced me to research! It gave me prompts that resulted in me saying “hmmm”! We all know that good ideas start with “hmmm” the aha moment!

IDOL Bonus: The IDOL Academy has Templates & Toybox is full of wonderful resources to get your creative juices flowing with an abundance of inspiration and examples!!

                              

  1. Adobe Color Create

What is it?

Adobe Color Create is a free color palette generator. You can browse thousands of color combinations, view and save colors on a color wheel, hex or image.

Why Bookmark This? 

This is a great go-to resource when you’re trying to find color combinations that mesh well visually. It’s quick and easy! You can enter your HEX code and find colors to match, extract from a photo or start fresh and find the perfect combination!

How has it helped me?

I’ve used this site countless times over the past few months. Especially to extract colors from a photo to find the perfect color scheme.

IDOL Bonus: IDOL Academy’s Build Your Portfolio Live Workshop Recording will also teach you ways to use color effectively as a Designer.


  1. Grammarly or Hemingway App

What is it?

Both Grammarly and the Hemingway App are free website editors. They help you write (almost) error-free by highlighting adverbs, passive voice and complicated wording. They seamlessly edit your writing by highlighting wordy sentences, misused words or simple grammatical mistakes. 

Why Bookmark This?

As Instructional Designers and e-Learning Developers we’re always writing, something! These tools allow you to paste your scripts and writing samples directly into the app. You can format your writing and it gives you readability feedback by grade level or overall score with a distraction-free screen. No adverts or pop-ups!  

How has it helped me? 

So far, I like Grammarly. Although the good thing about Hemingway is it gives you feedback by grade-level which is great for Designers and Developers in Education! These apps have helped me edit quickly with minimal grammatical mistakes. 

IDOL Bonus: The IDOL Academy has an informative lesson on Scripting Learning Content with Nicole Papaioannou Lugara.

                          

  1. e-Learning Challenges

What is it?

If you're new to ID then you likely already know exactly what this is. A one-stop-shop for inspiration, imposter syndrome, and creativity – this site needs to be on your bookmark list as a new Instructional Designer and E-Learning Developer! Every week a new challenge is posted with instructions and examples.  

Why Bookmark This?

Keeping this site bookmarked will not only remind you to participate in challenges as it’ll help grow your skill-set and knowledge of Articulate 360. It’s also a wonderful resource of examples when (not if) you get stuck on a design. You can jump in at any time and participate in challenges. A huge perk is some designers upload their challenge as a downloadable file so you can dive in and see exactly how they developed and executed the challenge and their design. David does a great job with newbie inclusivity with clear explanations of each challenge. Users are respectful and friendly – don’t be scared to dive in! 

How has it helped me?

I’ve completed about four challenges so far. Not quite my goal of once a week, but I jump in when I can. Participating in the challenges has not only added to my portfolio, but it has helped me learn and glean from other designers. Simply viewing what they create is enough inspiration to keep this page bookmarked and continually going back to!

IDOL Bonus:  The IDOL Academy has an entire module for Storyline Tutorials if you get stuck!

                 


  1. Trello

What is it?

If you’re an IDOL Academy member then you know all about Trello. Trello is a FREE project management app. It works great for the Instructional Design industry because there are so many moving parts. With Trello, you can engage with stakeholders, stay productive and individualized boards for each project. It keeps you focused! 

Why Bookmark This?

This site is my productivity winner! If you’re collaborating or working solo - it’s an excellent tool to use. You can create lists, cards, set due dates, checklists, upload files, download files – prioritize and stay organized with this site. Plus they have an app that is really user-friendly! 

How has it helped me?

I first learned about Trello through IDOL. I was a Slack user – and I love slack. But Trello, it’s different. Slightly a little intimidating at first but it’s a bookmark I visit daily!

*Special Note

I am strongşy considering switching over from Trello to Click-up. I’ll do a follow-up to my decision and subsequent experience in another blog post!

IDOL Bonus: The IDOL Academy has an entire – incredibly USEFUL module on Project Management & Productivity


So, there you go! My top 5 bookmarked websites for new Instructional Designers and e-Learning Developers. If you're new, I hope this list has been helpful (let me know in the comments). 

Stay encouraged, focused, and productive! Your world will get smaller, the lingo easier to follow and your industry colleagues are usually helpful and supportive! 

If you’re not new but just curious about what was on my list, do me a favor: comment with your top 3 most useful websites and resources! If you could go back in time - 2, 5, 12, 20 years ago when you were a new Instructional Designer and Developer, what were the most helpful tools used during your early career? Do you still use them (an updated version of course) today? Let us newbies know! We want to hear your story.

Next post I’ll write about My 5 Most Helpful Instructional Designers & eLearning Developers. Have any blog requests? Comment with those too!

By: Mallori Steele

Hey, I’m Mallori. I’m an Instructional Designer, eLearning Developer, and CEO of Growductive Consulting. I help businesses by designing and developing engaging interactive training solutions. I love working on small business strategy and design. I’m best at helping SME’s identify ways to uncomplicate the complicated. I have a passion for supporting female entrepreneurs and women in tech! I’m always on the lookout for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are interested in effective, engaging and learner-focused training. 

When I’m not helping small businesses grow, you can find me with my hubby & Netflix, my 8-year-old and a game of chess or my 2-year-old and the classic One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess. Let’s connect on LinkedIn! I’m a minimal poster but avid lurker on Instagram.
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