Digital Tools

Digital tools offer unique opportunities to support remote and collaborative MEL.

We highlight tools we have used and note additional tools.

All the tools listed here are free for basic use unless otherwise noted.

Video and audio conferencing tools have opened up opportunities for remote communication and are accessible over the internet for smartphones, tablets and computers.

  • Zoom is a popular web conferencing tool that allows participants to communicate live over audio and video. The host of the meeting needs a zoom account. Zoom is free for meetings up to 40 minutes. Zoom also has a recording feature.
  • Skype is a popular audio and video call communication tool. Users must download a free program to use on their smartphone, tablet or computer. Users can also call land-line phones using Skype for a fee. Skype includes a recording function but deletes recordings after 30 days.
  • Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft Teams
  • GoTo Meeting (USD59 per month for up to 100 participants)
  • Whatsapp

Social media is well known and easy way to share information with both small groups and large groups of participants using the internet. However, the ethics of sharing information online are important to review. Who will have access? Closed or open groups? Will there be ground rules? Who will moderate the group? Are there concerns about security or sensitive content? Social media platforms can be accessed on smartphones, tablets or computers.

  • Padlet is an online notice board that participants can use to post content such as photos, text, audio and video. The host requires an account and can make up to three notice boards for free. Participants do not need an account to post. All notice boards can be password protected and accessed through link or QR code.
  • Facebook is a popular social networking platform. Users require a personal account to post or connect. Many individuals already have facebook accounts.
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Microsoft Stream
  • YouTube

Messaging applications are a commonly used easy way to share information over the internet or telephone. However, the ethics of messaging groups online is important review. Ideally Who will have access? Will there be ground rules? Who will moderate the group? Are there concerns about security or sensitive content? Messaging is most often accessed on smartphones.

  • Whatsapp -Whatsapp is a popular messaging application for Android and Apple smartphones. Whatsapp allows users to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, documents, user locations, and other content.
  • Messenger – Facebook Messenger is a popular messaging application available on Apple and Android. It can be used to share to send text messages and voice messages, make voice and video calls, and share images, and other content. It can also be used on computers and tablets. 
  • Signal
  • Telegram
  • WeChat
  • Threema
  • Google Hangouts
  • Microsoft Teams

Collaborative platforms are a fun and interactive way to connect across remote teams using the internet. Each platform has strengths and limitations and should be tested with possible participants prior to use. Most are best used on a computer.

  • Miro is an online web-based whiteboarding platform that helps teams to digitally brainstorm and work together with digital sticky notes. The host requires an account to build a whiteboard, however users can join anonymously without an account. Non-anonymous users must register. Hosts can make up three whiteboards for free.
  • Google slides is an online web-based slideshow program hosted by Google. It can be used to create a whiteboard page with moveable sticky notes. The host must have a Google account to make a presentation. Other users can join anonymously or with their Google accounts. Use a master template to create a non-editable background.
  • Padlet (Accessible on smartphone, table and computer)
  • Mural
  • Google Jamboard
  • Creately
  • Stormboard
  • LucidSpark

While often seen as a quantitative tool, surveys can be a great way to quickly collect information from a wider group of people using the internet. Many can be used on smartphone, tablet or computer.

  • Mentimeter is an interactive poll and survey platform. Hosts will need to make an account that is free for a maximum of 2 questions. Mentimeter can be used for live polling in presentations or workshops, or as self-led surveying. Participants can respond on their smartphone or computers with a QR or number code.
  • Phonic is an online survey platform that supports both audio and video responses. Hosts can make 3 surveys with up to 10 questions and 50 responses for free. Transcription in 32 languages, sentiment analysis, emotional classification and energy levels is also included in the free version. Phonic can also connect into systems such as Qualtrics. Respondents can use a computer, tablet or smartphone to respond through an internet browser.
  • Google Forms
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Kobo
  • Airtable
  • Survey Monkey

While not perfect, auto transcription and translation can speed up analysis processes for qualitative data (text, audio or video).
Be sure to review the ethics of uploading material online and if using YouTube or Stream, ensure that videos are not openly accessible. These tools require a computer with internet access.

Text translation

Video or audio auto transcription or auto caption generation

There are many useful analysis tools for qualitative data using both free and paid services. As always, consider the ethics of sharing data and who will have access to materials. All these tools require a computer with internet access. 

All links were valid in May 2021.