Are you an accidental trainer: someone who was given the additional responsibility for training employees because you have a knack for connecting with people? Or, maybe you’re a small business owner and spend time each day training new and current employees. In either case, training takes up a lot of time and probably is one of many other things you do. If this describes your situation, maybe it’s time to consider using an online training software system. There are many learning management software options available. Here are nine tips to help you find the online training software that fits your needs.
1. Know what you need – Before reviewing online training software options, identify your goals and requirements:
• What is the purpose of employee training? For example:
° Do you want to make sure new hires understand the company’s vision and policies, and their job responsibilities?
° Do you have product updates that employees need to know?
° Do you need to show employee competency for certification?
° Do you want to verify that employees understand the material taught
• How often will you train employees, or provide refreshers and reminders of training information?
• How many employees will you train?
• Where are employees located? Are they in-house or scattered in different office locations?• Do employees have access to digital devices for training?
• What type of training materials do you have access to, or plan to use?
2. Compare your budget and the software costs – There are different types of online learning software tools available for a range of costs. Compare the prices to your goals. Figure out how much can you afford to spend on the software. Look for hidden fees charged to update content or limitations on the number of users or admin accounts included with the price. Find out if there are additional setup or support fees.
3. Check ease of use – Some online learning software systems are loaded with advanced features. But, these systems can often be complex to master and require considerable time to configure and get started. Other training systems feature a design that is focused on simplicity and ease of use. Explore these questions:
• What type of training materials does the software support, such as videos, PowerPoint presentations, audio recording, photos, or infographics?
• Is it simple to include these materials in the training modules?
• Do you need to learn special design techniques?
• How easy is it to create quizzes or compliance tests to track employee understanding?
• What is the process for adding or deleting users, updating content, or tracking employee progress through the course?
4. Keep it simple – After finding the software that fits your needs, don’t get caught in the features trap. It’s easy to be lured by extra features to enhance the training program. But, these additional features can increase the cost and complexity of the software, requiring more time for setup and management. Often these extra features are not used.
If training is not your full-time job, start simple and keep it simple. The easier it is to create online training modules and update course materials, the more likely you will regularly use the software and experience the rewards of online training success.
5. Test the software – Does the software company offer a free trial? How long can you use it? You’ll want to try out the software to make sure it fits your needs.
6. Customization options – Can you customize the training system with a design that represents your brand, including your colors, and logo?
7. Verify customer service support – When learning any new software, you’ll have questions. Ask when customer support is available. Find out how quickly the company responds.
8. Evaluate accessibility – Can employees use the training program from any digital device, browser platform, from anywhere in the country, and at any time?
9. Review online comments – When trainers find a good learning management software system, they tend to let other trainers know by leaving a review of their experience. Read those reviews to determine whether the experience described matches your expectations.
Make a list of the pros and cons of each online training software option you review. Talk with other trainers at businesses of similar employee size to find out the learning management system they use. Get their feedback and recommendations. Then choose the eLearning software that fits your needs now, and in the future.
Learn tips on developing an employee training plan by reading this blog.