You Should Be Using These 3 Amazing (FREE!) Tools for Training Prep

Don't start with an open PowerPoint screen. 

PowerPoint forces you to think linearly. This is boring. Zzz...

Here are 3 incredible free tools that will revolutionize the way you plan and prepare for legal training: 

1. MindMup - www.mindmup.com

Individual brainstorming can be incredibly powerful. Let MindMup help!

MindMup is a simple-to-use "mind mapping" or "brainstorming" application which works seamlessly with your Google Drive account. I use MindMup to develop creative training concepts and break outside of the normal structured, analytical process that many corporate counsel use to create employee training.

Here's what a simple brainstorming session might look like: 

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I also use MindMup to organize key training modules around a common goal. This allows corporate counsel to think clearly about what they hope to accomplish with the training session. 

Ultimately, using the power of brainstorming tools such as MindMup leads to a more effective and enjoyable training experience for your employees. 

2. Evernote - www.evernote.com 

It's likely you've heard of Evernote - a remarkably powerful tool I use primarily for source gathering and note taking. 

Often it is difficult to collect and organize resources for legal training sessions. I previously used Google Chrome bookmarks and my hard drive as storage devices for such information. I found these methods to be clunky and difficult as I was later forced to individually search through and reread all the resources to find relevant information I had previously discovered.

Evernote has a better solution.

When you upload documents directly to Evernote from your hard drive, or use the Evernote Web Clipper tool on your browser, Evernote will automatically create a searchable "note" database of all documents inside a "notebook" of your choice. This allows you to use keyword searches to find relevant information instead of reading all the way through each document for a second time. 

Here's the search bar on Evernote for Windows:

And the search results indicating which resources contain the selected keywords:

And the final product of the search:

There are a huge number of Evernote features you can use in your daily practice. If you don't mind shelling out $50/year, Evernote will even let you markup and take notes directly on pdfs uploaded to a notebook. But, if you are looking for free tools for storing and organizing training resources, there is nothing better than Evernote.

3. Draw.io Pro - www.draw.io

As highly-trained attorneys, we often don't take time to show exactly how we get from steps A to Z during employee training. Failure to "show your work" will cause confusion.

This is where Draw.io can help. 

Flowcharts are a fantastic way to organize processes in an easy-to-understand method. They are also incredibly useful planning tools. I use Draw.io to create flowcharts for legal processes. It helps me visualize the steps I need to show employees during training to create an effective learning environment.

Here is an example that shows the first few steps in the notoriously difficult Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") reasonable accommodation analysis: 

See how easy that looks compared to reading (and rereading) through DOL guidance for training prep?

You can also use these flowcharts as great handouts for employees to consult in the future. One more key feature: Draw.io integrates seamlessly into your Google Drive account for easy access and storage. 

What tools do you use?