20 Tech Tools and Apps for Distance Learning

20 Tech Tools and Apps for Distance Learning
20 Tech Tools and Apps for Distance Learning

There was a time when people couldn’t even imagine the idea of getting an education or advancing their careers without taking a hiatus, but online classes are now allowing people to access a world class education from wherever, whenever they want. However, with this comes a variety of challenges.

Students have to be better at self-discipline, and have to be able to keep track of assignments and time constraints on their own. Thankfully, there are tons of tech tools available to online learners who want to increase their chances of succeeding. Here are some of the best tech tools and apps available for online students.


Procrastination is probably the number one obstacle to productivity, and this is something people studying online need to pay extra attention to. If this is an issue for you, you should consider trying the Unstuck app.

This app will look at various mind states you might be stuck in, and give you the tools and motivators to get out of them. You’ll have different choices to choose from like uninformed, indecisive, unmotivated, etc. Each card will have a clear set of instructions to help you in that situation. The app is available for both Android and iOS and should definitely be on your list if you need someone to kick you in the back from time to time.


While online students will rely mostly on online support, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have no need for physical manuals. If you ever want to access a book you can’t get online and want to get the paperback version, a tool like Chegg could help. Chegg will not only ship books directly to you, but you can use their mobile service while you wait for delivery. They will allow you to access digital versions of books for 7 days following your purchase, and they also sell eTextbooks.

Dragon Dictation

Dictation tools are the best thing if you want to take your note taking to the next level. Dictation tools like Dragon Dictation allow you to record audio and transfer them to text. You can use these tools to write notes or even complete essays. These are great if you’re not the fastest typist, and want to take notes that you’ll be able to access and use in different formats.

Concentration Tools

Concentration is also a big issue when learning online, especially if you’re in a busy household. So, you will need tools that will help you improve your concentration.

For instance, you could use an app like Noisli or myNoise to clear ambient noise and help you focus. If you’re more on the spiritual side, there are also apps like Insight Timer that will give you some guided meditations for when you’re feeling mentally exhausted.

You have to watch out for physical exhaustion as well. Staying in front of your computer for work and courses can take its toll on you after a while. You could invest in a screen shield to block some of the tiring light that is emitted from your screen, or use an app.

Apps like Screen Shader, for instance, will be able to tint your screen into a color that will be softer on your eyes, and adapted to your time zone. This will not only help you work longer, but will also allow you to reduce the effect of blue light on your circadian rhythms. Blue light is emitted by virtually all computer screens and could disrupt your sleep cycles. So, getting this app could be both a study and sleeping aid all wrapped in one.

Scanner Mini/Pro

Online courses will also require that you scan some documents at some point. This is especially important for classes that rely heavily on clinical case studies like social work. Those pursuing a masters in social work have to deal with a lot of social theory, practice and research, and policy, which is often only available in scannable form. A tool like Scanner Mini or Pro would be invaluable for people in programs like these.

It allows you to rapidly scan any documents using a mobile device with a camera. You could use it to scan everything from a few pages in a book, to notes you’ve taken, or something you may have seen in a publication, for instance. The scan can then be converted into PDF and shared through the cloud.


If you’d like to extend your vocabulary, then Vocabla could be a great app to pick up. This is also a great option for people still getting acquainted with the English language.

The app will automatically propose some new words and phrases you could be using and help you practice their usage through word games and flashcards. The tool even gives you the opportunity to engage, share, and practice with other users all over the world. A perfect tool for anyone trying to get their writing skills to the next level.


If you’re an online student, then you have to be prepared to do a lot of on-screen reading. But a lot of people experience discomfort after having to read lots of text on a vertical screen.

A tool like Spritz could help you by changing the delivery approach and making it easier for students. It not only allows students to read faster, but to retain the information as well. This is a great tool for students who have difficulty concentrating on a long page of text and often need some extra time to assimilate everything. It also has a browser extension that allows you to read web text in a format that is more suited for you. This tool should definitely be on your list if you find yourself having to reread certain sections over and over.


While this tool won’t help you study per se, it could be of great help for you as a student. You will often have to keep a clear tab on your finances, and keep track of your expenses. Mint is a great management tool that can help you build and stick to a budget, even if you have never done one before.

Study Tracker

A lot of people also need to keep track on how much time they actually spend studying. Some may have difficulty keeping track of time, and might cut corners because they want to get out and do something else. But a tool like study tracker could help you in many ways. Not only does it allow you to calculate exactly how much time you’re spending on any task, but it also has tons of analytics tools that could help you become more productive and efficient.


Another app that could help you manage your time better is RescueTime. While Study Tracker will help you track time when studying, RescueTime will do the same for everything else.

It will help you see where you spend the most time on the web, and automatically send you alerts when you may be spending too much time there. This could be anything from a website, to things like social media or even games.

World Atlas HD

This one is a must for anyone who’s in a course that demands a good understanding of geography. This app was released by National Geographic, and is their version of the Google Earth map. It is much more advanced however, and allows you to quickly access important data and statistics about different countries.


Online courses try to make it as easy as possible for students to access teachers. However, there are some limits to online communication, and you might need immediate help on a certain topic. This is where Brainly.com comes in.

This app is more than just an app; it’s a community that will connect you with thousands of experts in different fields, including PhDs and college professors. You can ask direct questions to people and have them answered by someone who’s qualified. A great tool if you need urgent help. The community is also heavily moderated to make sure that all the information you get is legitimate.


Getting started on a project is often the most difficult part. But the reason why it often feels difficult is because of a lack of proper preparation. A tool like Mindmeister could be a great option if that’s an issue for you. This tool allows you to take you thoughts and brainstorm them in a constructive and organized matter. You can then use these mind maps and organize them accordingly.


Trying to stay focused when you have virtually the whole world at your fingertips is one of the biggest challenges of studying online. And while you might have all the discipline in the world, it is easy to fall victim to distraction, even for a few minutes.

However, you could block any chances of getting derailed by using a tool like Self-Control. This app will allow you to take sites that you usually drift off to when you’re feeling distracted and put them on a blocked list. These sites can be put on this list for a predetermined period of time, after which you’ll be able to navigate the web like you usually do.


If you’re feeling like your brain is drained in the morning and can’t get to work, a tool like Lumosity could help. This is a tool that will allow you to sharpen your cognitive skills and give your brain a good jump start. The exercises feel more like games than anything, and can help you with things like memory, processing speed, and more.


There have been plenty of studies that show the difference between handwriting notes and typing them up. It has been shown that students are better able to retain information when it is written than when it is typed. However, online students often have to transfer documents and notes across a variety of platforms, and that can become a hassle. An app like Penultimate will make it easier for you to write down your notes on any tablet and quickly store, transfer, and share them.


You will also need something better than your default calendar app if you want to keep track of everything with your online courses. An app like Sunrise, for instance, could be a great choice if you’re having trouble keeping track of important dates. What makes this app so great is that it will sync notes and events across other services like TripIt, Evernote and Google calendar, which will save you a lot of trouble.


If you want to take things up a notch, you can use an app that will allow you to regulate your everyday activities even more precisely, like Studious for instance. Studious can not only notify you to remind you of important deadlines, but even do things like automatically shut down your cell phone during critical study times.

Open Culture

If you want to access a library of thousands of free documents for research or essays, then you have to give Open Culture a try. What’s great about this app is the wide variety of formats it offers. You can access podcasts on all sorts of topics like culture, music, or science for instance. You can also access full classes and free audiobooks.


Instagrok is one of the best tools you’ll find if you need help with research. What the app does is automatically search for the most relevant pieces for research, and present them in a way that is more engaging. In addition to providing links, it will also pull out some interesting facts and statistics about a particular subject, and even quizzes on some cases. The app also makes it easy to bookmark pages for note taking.


All of these tools are a must if you’re trying to get things done and are truly dedicated to your online studies. Make sure that you give them all a closer look, and see which ones would work best for you.

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