Analysis of MindTools: management and leadership online course

Let’s pretend that today I want to learn about how to better manage my time. Let’s google that.


And… I land here:


Lots of stuff going on in the page.

Up left the toolkit with the list of skills stand out in particular. Good to know time management is just part of a bigger system of training.

Going down the page…


The page collects 61 of what they call “tools”. They’re organised in categories. Luckily for me there’s a “start here” category.

I’ll skip the what is time management page because it’s kind of obvious. I like the second tool, that looks like a quiz.


Here I’ve yet another call to action in the right sidebar. I’ll ignore it for now.

Let’s take the test.

It’s a multiple choice kind of quiz with 15 questions.


While I’m taking it a popup asks me to join the newsletter in exchange of a workbook.


It’s a bit annoying but at the same time look like this is a good quality site. I’ll join and later I’ll check the email.

Then while I’m continuing to take the quiz this happens:


I wonder how many of these do they have?

I’m not ready to start the trial, I haven’t even tried a single page. Can I finish it? Thanks

I continue the quiz then when I submit for results:


Wow. Here we go with number 3. I see the point of saving the progress, so I’ll create an account. Actually I’ll also start a free trial so that they won’t interrupt me again (hopefully 🙂


The landing page to start the trial asks for a credit card. Here I also find about the business model. No big surprise it’s a monthly membership in the lower 2 digits price point. Something that goes unnoticed in the credit card bill of most companies or busy professionals.

Back to our quiz, finally, and its results.


Here I have a score and a synthetic summary. I’m so close to being in the top tier (except I didn’t really think about the answers).

Below I also have a series of analysis broken down by area. In the screenshot you see the goal setting area and my rating in it. It’s nice that they recommend me some resources.

Also can you see the small plus icon next to the links? What is that?


When I click it a small message pops up. I’ve added this item. Where? I guess to my personal area. I’ll look for it later. Now let’s see how the page ends.


No big surprise. A gigantic list of 672 comments. It’s good that they are monitored though, as we can see Carol got a reply from the team. I wonder how useful and worth is this section to the user? Probably not much.

Speaking of community and social element, I remember there was a link to the community in the sidebar. Let’s scroll up again and have a look


It looks like a thread of recent posts. Not really linked to this page content. Actually some of those look like customer support requests. Anyway let’s join the conversation.


There we go. From the look and feel we’re back to the 90’s bulletin boards 🙂

(from the source code I can see phpBB forum system, if you’re wondering)

Seeing the timestamps of the last post it’s not a particularly active community. The organisation of the sub forums isn’t too articulated and that’s good. Also browsing the posts I can see the staff is very active and replies to people by linking to the relevant tools on the main site.

Let’s move back to the time management quiz.


On the top of that page I can expand a section called “My Learning Plan”. I’ve collected these items from the results of the quiz. (remember that small plus icon?).

Let’s see the action priority matrix to see a page that’s not a quiz.

Here’s how a typical content page starts:


Typography is good and there’s a nice intro and headings system.

Down the page here’s how it looks:


And at the end I can mark this as complete to make it disappear from my learning plan:



The navigation system: what else is there?

Now that I’ve tasted the system behind the skills, let’s explore the navigation system.



Home: we’ll look at it later.

Toolkit: is just a link to all the other skill areas.

Bite-sized training looks new.



I try to enter one of the time management trainings to see what’s the difference from the other tools I’ve just seen.

Here’s the explanation:


Unlike the quizzes and tools we’ve seen before, that can be completed in minutes, this experience will fit into one hour. How does it work?


Basically I download and follow a pdf workbook first; then I can ask questions if needed.


The workbook is well designed and it has clear actions and tips.

There are also fillable templates. But honestly doesn’t “feel good” to type in there. I would rather print and write by hand.


That’s how bite-sized trainings work. Let’s go back to the navigation.


Learning streams. After looking into it, those are just another way to group the quizzes and tools we’ve seen above. An information architect, or a biologist, would say this is just another taxonomy.

Other resources. Here we’ve a mix of things that couldn’t fit into the menu.

Again we have other ways to group quizzes and tools. This time by format (videos, worksheets, infographics).

Then we have brand new formats not seen before like Book insights, Expert interviews and App reviews. They aren’t worth an analysis but I wish they were a bit more visible in the navigation since I believe they’re useful and convenient (e.g. the interviews can be listened as a podcast).

My personal area

Let’s finish this analysis by seeing what’s in my personal area. We’ve already seen the “my learning plan”

Another notable feature is the annotation system. With that I can highlight any text of any page and leave a comment.


They’ll all show up in my annotations page.


It reminds me of the Kindle highlight system. I take a lot of highlights and notes but never review them.

So here’s my suggestion for this analysis: regularly send email with random annotations, to refresh my memory and kind of surprise me.

That’s all for now. See you at the next analysis!