What would a Google Pack for elearning look like? Are there free or open source equivalents for common elearning developer tools? What about administrators and learners? Here's my quick stab at these ideas. Those using RSS feed will likely need to read this post on the web site to view the HTML tables that follow.

For those who don't know, Google Pack is a Free collection of essential software, with a few more niceties thrown in too. It includes Firefox, Google Desktop search, Norton Anitvirus special edition, Ad-Aware SE (anti-spyware) and Acrobat Reader. It also includes Google Earth and the Picasa photo organizer and more. A pretty good start.

Learners, Developers, and Managers/Administrators alike will need other basics- web browser, email, IM, word processor. Developers will likely want the latest and full versions, and some development tools. Its a similar list for administrators, but I'll hold back on editors and development tools. For learners I'll go on a limb and recommend the portable versions. Smaller footprint, easily installed on a desktop and offers the option of a USB thumb drive for mobile learners. Though it looks like I'm picking "lesser" tools for learners, I actually use those tools myself in many cases, and I think other developers should use them too.

I'll cheat a bit and fill out some "development" tools in the learner category. This allows learners to create content, and gives developers a Fee or Free option; use the free "learner" tool if you like. For administrators, I'm going to just go with what likely comes with their machines and open-source where appropriate/applicable. Note that sometimes the SME (subject matter expert) can be a learner and sometimes a manager or administrator.

The table of software applications and links follows below. My own choices appear in bold.

A Google Pack for Elearning
Google/Internet Explorer/Norton Antivirus
Office tools (Word processing, presentations, spreadsheets)
Document processing (more than memos)
Instant Messaging
Learning Management
Desk phone (POTS/VoIP)
Elearning - General
Elearning -Rapid Elearning
Articulate, Breeze, Captivate
Web editor
Web server technology

1-Heavily customized with lots of great extensions.
2-I use this as a PortableApp running off a USB thumbdrive when it's handy to do so.
3-Very interesting, very free, very beta.