Microsoft Learning Tools

Free tools that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability

a girl reading on a tablet
“I saw my little boy read, and realized here was something that could change his life.”
Mitra Nikram, parent

About Microsoft Learning Tools

Microsoft Learning Tools are free tools that implement proven techniques to improve reading and writing for people regardless of their age or ability.

The Microsoft Learning Tools set is natively built into the Office 365 and Microsoft Edge applications, and help improve reading, writing and comprehension. The immersive reader capability in Learning Tools gives users the ability to have content read aloud to them, and lets them adjust settings to break the words into syllables, adjust text size or background colors.

Features:

Enhanced dictation – improves authoring text
Focus mode – Sustains attention and improves readng speeds
Immersive reading – improves comprehension and sustains attention
Font spacing and short lines Improve reading speed by addressing “visual crowding”
Parts of speech – supports instruction and improves writing quality
Syllabification – improves word recognition
Comprehension mode – Improves comprehension by an average of 10%

Immersive Reader is also available on these platforms:

  • OneNote Online
  • OneNote Universal App
  • OneNote Desktop as a free add-in
  • Word Online
  • Word Desktop
  • Outlook on the Web
  • Office Lens
  • Edge Browser

Video

Journey

Learning Tools for OneNote captured the Grand Prize at the 2015 Hackathon, and we used the Garage as our platform to work on the initial concept, as well as early interactions with schools. Since the concept originated as an add-in for OneNote, we learned a lot about taking an early stage “Start up” concept, and iterating quickly with real customers, as we simultaneously expanded the concept more broadly and into other Microsoft products and services. We also benefitted from talking with experts in the field of dyslexia, teaching and learning experts, as well as a great deal of students of all abilities.

There have been many exciting moments along the journey, including seeing dyslexic student reading speeds increase dramatically, and struggling students learning to read for the first time in their lives. Seeing the inclusive design focus come to life has been amazing to watch, as we originally focused on dyslexia, but are seeing broader benefits, including dysgraphia, ADHD, english language learners, and emerging readers. With our most recent 3rd party Learning Tools study, reading comprehension scores went up for all students. This is the true outcome of inclusive design, and helping every student achieve more.

Learning Tools is now available in 30 languages, and we’ve built these capabilities into apps and platforms across Office and Windows, including Microsoft Word and the Edge browser.  As of February 2018, Learning Tools has earned 10,000,000 monthly active users.

Based on direct feedback from educators and students, the team continues to expand the capabilities and availability of the tools that help students of all abilities be successful.

Team

people looking happy

Team: Mark Flores, Sebastian Greaves, Greg Hitchcock, Daniel Hubbell, Reza Jooyandeh, Kevin Larson, Scott Leong, Rob McKaughan, Dominik Messenger, Pelle Nielsen, Alex Pereria, Jeff Petty, Chris Quirk, Ari Schorr, Mira Shah, Mike Tholfsen
not pictured: Valentin Dobre

See it here: