Did you know, for every dollar spent on online training, companies make back $30 in productivity?
The online training industry continues to expand, offering an ever-increasing array of training software to companies, government bodies, and individuals. By 2026, the global e-learning industry is projected to touch $375 billion.
The combination of low cost, high convenience, and accessibility is making more and more organizations turn to online training.
In this guide, you’ll explore what a training software is and why it is important for your business. You’ll also look at the key features that online training software must have in order to yield maximum return on investment (ROI).
What is Training Software?
A training software (also known as a Learning Management System) is a software application that facilitates online training. It is used by organizations - small to large - in various industries to train employees, customers, and partners.
Organizations use it extensively for the administration, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses and training programs. It gives you the ability to create courses, organize employees into groups, assign training to users, and run tests and assessments.
Importance of Training Software
It is crucial to provide efficient and effective training for your business to be successful. New hires need to be properly trained on policies and procedures while existing employees need to keep their skills up-to-date. Customers need to be able to understand your product or service to reduce churn. Lastly, partners need to be familiar with what you are selling to drive revenue. Training software supports all of the use cases mentioned above, helping you transform your training and setting your business up for success.
The right online training solution allows you to streamline and improve the ways your organization prepares employees to excel in their roles. It also provides the necessary education to ensure employees comply with industry standards and regulations.
Compared to traditional classroom training, employee training software programs offer a wealth of advantages. It organizes courses and learning materials in one central location so that you can quickly access no matter where you are. It also enables you to easily track learner progress and performance, helping you stay on top of your training program.
Your training time and costs will also decrease putting more money back into your wallets and giving your team more time to complete their tasks. It comes as no surprise that more and more businesses are using software for online training.
Online Training vs In-Person Training
Online training primarily includes learning over the internet, while in-person training is a traditional experience in an actual classroom setting. But which one should you choose? Here are a few key differences between the two:
- In-Person Training
- Online Training
In-person training has a limited reach, which makes it challenging if you have many employees working in different locations or have a remote workforce. Moreover, it is tedious and time-consuming to manage and deliver training.
In-person training is costly because you need to hire a subject matter expert and arrange infrastructure and equipment to deliver training. It can also be difficult to track learner progress and performance as this has to be done manually.
Lastly, in-person training often takes time away from work. This interrupts employees’ daily tasks as they have to be physically present during the seminars. It keeps each employee learning on the same timeline, even though not everyone learns at the same rate or in the same way. As a result, those who aren’t good audio-visual learners or unable to consume a significant amount of information within the span of a single hour or day often get left behind.
Online training solves the above challenges by making courses and materials available online that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. You can use training software to automate your training processes, eliminating manual work and redundant tasks.
Moreover, online training is very cost-effective. You don’t have to book a venue, arrange transportation, bear food costs, get printed handouts, and spend time managing the training program. An online training software also makes it easier to track key performance indicators (KPIs) as everything is done through reporting capabilities.
Online training also provides greater flexibility. It is often an excellent option for individuals that work remotely or have responsibilities that make it difficult for them to attend in-person sessions.
Even if the course is somewhat structured, the employee can finish work according to their time frame. For example, if some module of the course needs to be completed each week, the employee can still finish work at any time during that week. They can log on throughout the day and even at night, from anywhere, to complete their work.
The Benefits You Can Achieve Using a Training Software
The logistical challenges of training employees - especially remote - are difficult to address if you try to deliver training in-person. Having a platform for online training is a great way to continually train people, offer them quality training, and see them succeed.
Some key benefits of online training software are:
- Low Learning and Development (L&D) Costs
- Easy Access to Training From Any Location
- Minimize Manual Work
- Easy Tracking of Progress and Performance
- Shorter Training Time
- Increased Learner Engagement
- Easily Stay Compliant with Regulations
An online training software eliminates expenses associated with travel, venues, instructors, and printed materials. It also saves you the effort from having to handle the logistics of organizing live, in-person training sessions. A single session alone can save you thousands of dollars.
Moreover, often employees aren’t hired in batches. Therefore, companies need a training method that works all the time, and having it online holds the answer.
With training software, you can store and organize courses and materials in one place. This makes it easy for your team to access their training materials whenever they need it. Also, it makes it convenient for administrators and instructors to create and manage courses.
An online training software automates your learning and development processes. Everything is done via the software to create, manage, and deliver training. You can automate time-consuming tasks such as reminder emails and course enrollment. For example, you can automatically send an email out when a training deadline is approaching.
Online training software provides reporting capabilities that will make it easier for you to track KPIs. You can quickly generate reports with a few clicks of a button to track key metrics. Examples can include the number of learners who have passed or failed a course, or a list of learners with a training deadline approaching.
You can also see if your team is meeting their targets and if there are areas they are struggling in. Eventually, you can use all this data to improve your training initiatives.
Online training software reduces training times as content is delivered in a more direct and organized manner. This makes it easier for learners to go through training, shortening the learning curve.
58% of employees prefer self-paced learning over instructor-led learning. This is because they can go at their own pace rather than at the pace of an instructor or waiting for the next scheduled training session.
Using corporate eLearning results in an increase of 18% in employee engagement. That’s because online training boosts learner engagement.
Many online training tools have features such as gamification, online whiteboards, and breakout rooms that make training more engaging and interactive. This helps to motivate learners, increase course completion rates, improve knowledge retention, and boost employee productivity. By increasing training engagement, you will be able to enhance your online employee training programs.
There are features in an online training tool that can help ensure your team remains compliant. For example, automated email alerts can be set up to remind learners of compliance training that is due.
Auto-enrollment ensures your team is assigned to the right training and makes it easier for them to know what training they need to complete. You can also auto-enroll learners into the same course before their certification expires.
Moreover, you can generate detailed and summarized reports to see who in your organization is compliant or needs to complete their training.
The Basics Needed For Running Online Training Software
Training employees isn’t one-size-fits-all. There isn’t one simple answer to building perfect employee training programs. However, there are a few things that are consistently present in companies with the best eLearning initiatives.
Thinking about implementing online training across your business? Here’s what you need to have a solid foundation for running training software:
- Users and Groups
- Learning Models
- Learner Evaluation
You will need to prepare your training materials and resources. Examples can include documents, images, videos, guides, and slides. It is ideal to have different types of content to make training more engaging and not tedious. You will need to have these ready in order to create your courses.
Offer your employees relevant content by personalizing and tailoring the learning experience. Focus on providing helpful, problem-solving content so that they can grow their skills. Equip them with performance-improving tools, such as visual guides, single-page job aids, and easy expert tips to follow. You can then offer deeper dives of content.
You need to determine who will be the ones responsible for creating content, managing and delivering training, as well as tracking the performance. Will it be one individual or will there be a few people who will split these responsibilities?
Administrators are responsible for planning and executing all training initiatives within an organization. An ideal training admin is open-minded, motivated, and invested in developing employees’ skills to help them reach their potential.
Also, this person is usually tasked with marketing the training program internally so that employees are aware of development opportunities. Other important skills include problem-solving, business acumen, and leadership skills.
You need to determine who your audience is and how you will organize and segment them. Will you split them up by role and/or department and provide specific training by that criteria? Or, will you provide general training and group your team into one bucket? Also, will users register themselves or will an admin do this for them? These are some questions that need to be answered.
Decide on a learning model best suited for your organization. Some of the common learning models include: eLearning, blended learning, and instructor-led training (ILT).
In eLearning, employees are trained only online. In ILT, instructors deliver training in a lecture or classroom format, or virtually through video conferencing tools. Whereas, blended learning combines the two models. Part of the training is done online, but they still have to undergo in-person and/or hands-on training.
It’s important to define the objectives of the training program because certain training methods for employees are better suited for each one. Likewise, you should keep the target audience in mind when choosing a learning model.
To best judge for yourself how the class is doing, you should be able to access attendance, course completion rates, and other markers in the training software. You need to figure out how you are going to evaluate and measure learner performance.
It’s important to have this set in place so you can see how learners are progressing and if they are struggling in a particular area. Will it simply be just passing a course? Or, will you have assessments in place that they need to take and achieve a certain score?
Reporting will help you to see the success of your training program. You need to set up KPIs that are important to you and create reports that showcase these metrics. Overall, you will be able to see how your team is performing and if there are any improvement areas that need to be addressed.
When setting KPIs, make sure metrics give the whole picture. It is important to include quantity, quality, time, cost, and effectiveness. You’ll want to develop a benchmarking strategy for evaluating your progress towards your KPIs. Also, ensure that data and reports are easily available to provide you with the information that you need.
Average Cost of Running an LMS
Those looking for online software for training programs need to assess the cost of running it. LMS solutions often use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model, which means customers pay a subscription fee for the features they actually use. Some LMS vendors also offer an annual or one-time license fee or have a free version of their software.
Online training solutions are usually cost-effective and can fit into almost any budget, large or small. Your organization can save money as you won’t need an in-house data storage system that requires expensive technical infrastructure. There is also zero installation and maintenance costs associated with a cloud LMS.
The only cost you need to consider is a monthly subscription. Depending on the number of employees you need to train, you can expect to pay starting from a couple of hundred dollars a month.
Training isn’t just important to any company, it is vital. It provides both the individual and organizations as a whole with benefits that make the cost and time a worthwhile investment. The ROI from training and development of employees is really a no brainer. Here are a few use-cases of training in organizations:
- Internal (Skills Development, Role Specific) Training
- Compliance Training
- External (Partner & Customer) Training
- Mobile / Remote Workforce
Training new hires can impact the success of the company. It is important to provide the training and resources they need in order to be more familiar with their roles and the company policies and procedures. For this, you need to have a formal and comprehensive onboarding plan that streamlines your initiatives.
Company training software not only facilitates this but it also creates lasting impressions. It helps new employees reach a greater level of comfort, improve productivity, and become more engaged with the company.
Internal training can be diverse. For example, you may have to upskill your employees with training on new products and services. Or you may need to deliver new process training so that you can educate staff on security measures.
When it comes to delivering internal training, an LMS does the hard work so you don’t have to. It enables you to either upload your pre-existing training materials or to create new ones. You can create quizzes and surveys within the system so that you can assess learner performance and gather feedback.
As compliance training is mandatory and often legally enforced, it demands a more formal process than other L&D activities. LMS features that manage course content and reporting make the delivery and completion of compliance training easier.
Training program software allows you to conduct employee assessments, particularly for compliance training. You can create workflows that simplify assessment for compliance and other types of training. Without training software, it's harder to prove what courses were completed by which learners and when.
External training ensures that each partner has sufficient familiarity with the products they’ll be selling/manufacturing/distributing. They should understand how to use the catalog, access ongoing training over time, and have the right resources needed for long-term success. Likewise, customer training ensures your users know how to use your product correctly.
If the course materials are not updated in time to reflect new products or standards, your partners and customers are left with misinformation. Online training offers the ability to upgrade content in real-time and reflect those changes the very next time a user logs on.
If you have employees that work remotely, in-person training might not be a feasible option. Online training solves this challenge by providing access to training materials and courses at all times, from wherever your employees feel most comfortable. As long as they have an internet connection, they can get the information they require whenever they need it from anywhere.
Also, if you operate at a multinational level, chances are your remote workforce is multilingual. This means you need to ensure that they understand the online training content provided. Using an LMS platform, you can deliver content in different languages.
Your online training effectiveness is only as good as the online training software you employ. Be sure to choose an LMS that offers the following features:
- Course & Content Management
- Intuitive and Easy-to-Use Interface
- White Labeling
- Reporting and Analytics
- Assessments and Quizzes
- User Management
- Certification and Retraining
The primary objective of an LMS is to produce, store, and distribute training materials. This makes content management an indispensable part of any successful eLearning initiative. Using an LMS, you can create rich content directly in-app. You can also link courses together to form learning paths, and create tests with automatic grading.
An online training tool allows you to upload any file type, such as audio, visual, PDF, and SCORM. You get the capability to create assessments and documents from within the platform. Once content is added to the platform, you can use it as many times as needed, without having to re-upload it.
The success of your training software depends on how your employees use it. A difficult interface will make it challenging for your team to go through their training. As a result, you’ll experience poorer course completion rates.
When choosing an LMS, ensure it’s designed with non-technical users in mind. It should offer simplified navigation and customizable layouts so that your learners can complete their training seamlessly. This will also make it easier for admins to deliver and manage their organizational training.
White labeling allows you to tailor your platform to reflect your brand’s unique voice. You should be able to add your company’s logo and branding to create a stronger identity. It should also provide you with a custom domain so that you can customize your platform URL.
Additionally, an LMS should provide pre-designed templates so that you can personalize notification emails and certificates. Plus, it should allow you to create your own unique certificates from scratch in HTML.
Thorough performance reporting is key since it will help you to identify any knowledge gaps, areas of improvement, and keep track of learning initiatives. This will help you stay on top of your learners’ performance and get insight on their engagement, course completions, passed exams, and overall training activity.
An LMS should have an automated assessment process to test your learners’ knowledge and see how they’re progressing. Automatic exam grading and feedback will save you time and effort. You’ll also be able to quickly generate reporting on assessment results.
An online training software should give you the flexibility to add and manage users in a way that reflects your organizational structure and preferences. You should be able to customize permissions and define user roles (such as Admins, Managers, or Learners) and course accessibility. It should also have notification and messaging features so that trainers can send deadlines and course reminders to learners.
Gamification features including leaderboards, points, and activity badges are great ways to spark engagement and participation. This will help ignite friendly competition by highlighting top performers and motivating your learners to do their best.
You should be able to track the success of your training by observing the number of points and badges collected and the leaderboard rankings all in one dashboard.
An LMS should allow you to automatically generate certificates upon course completion. You can use pre-built certificates or create and customize your own.
Using the retraining features, you will be able to auto-enroll learners into the same compliance course before their certification expires.
A training software should allow you to streamline your processes and automate repetitive actions to save you time and effort. This includes course auto-enrollment, automated notifications, and scheduled reporting.
Types of Training Software
You’ll find plenty of online training software on the market but how do you choose the right one? Here are the different types of training software you can invest in:
Best of Breed vs Best of Suite Training Software
- Best of Breed Training Software (Standalone)
- Best of Suite Training Software (Integrated)
Industry analysts define a best of breed system as the best system developed to address a specific niche or functional area. The application performs specialized functions better than an integrated system. These systems are developed and sold by separate vendors.
A best of breed LMS solely specializes in LMS features and functionality. It can fulfill all your feature requirements and provide continuous improvement in the product. It's also easier to configure and offers better customer support from eLearning experts. Lastly, you will have access to advanced reporting capabilities. On the downside, maintaining multiple systems provides little cross-connectivity, which may create integration challenges.
A best of suite LMS is an LMS module that is integrated into a more extensive system like an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Human Capital Management (HCM) tool. It’s better suited when you want many solutions from a single vendor rather than using multiple vendors.
The main benefit of this type of LMS is the convenience as you have to work with fewer vendors. It offers a single user-interface experience, enabling ease of training. However, as LMS is part of the other solutions you use, it can be difficult to replace it due to vendor lock-in. Plus, there are potentially less options when you need additional and advanced features and functions.
Proprietary vs Open-Source Training Software
Proprietary software is the one for which the software's publisher or another person retains intellectual property rights. This usually includes copyright of the source code, but sometimes patent rights.
Vendors typically limit the number of computers on which software can be used, and prohibit the user from installing the software on extra computers. It requires licensing fees per user, usually on an annual basis.
It’s a type of software in which source code is released under a license. The copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
Open-source doesn’t require a licensing fee but you will incur costs with implementation, support, and maintenance, which can add up and be unpredictable.
An LMS delivers countless benefits to improve the learning experience, but how do you justify the outcome? Here’s how you can demonstrate the ROI of training software:
- Time-Savings Versus Traditional Training
- Review Previous L&D Expense Sheets
- Employee Retention Rates
- Assess Costs of Running an LMS
- Determine the LMS Learning Curve
An LMS allows employees to easily access training courses and resources whenever they need it and from any location, helping them to complete their training more efficiently. It also reduces the time your training and HR managers spend in managing and delivering courses as it’s done all online in one place. Plus, it reduces the paperwork involved to find information and to calculate data.
You can calculate time savings by comparing payroll hours or seat time for each online activity to in-person training sessions.
Online training ensures cost savings as a user only needs their computer or mobile device to access training. You can review your L&D expense sheets to determine how much you paid for on-site training including logistics, infrastructure etc. and simply eliminating those costs when you’re calculating your ROI.
A single employee leaving your company can cost you between 16% and 20% of their salary. By providing employees with the training they need to succeed in their roles, you can reduce employee turnover and save money from having to hire new staff.
You need to understand the running costs of an LMS to properly demonstrate accurate ROI. When using a cloud-based LMS, you don’t have to worry about installation, maintenance, and data storage costs. The only costs you have to take into account are ongoing subscription costs.
Just like any other software, your team may need extensive training on how to use an LMS. You may have to offer online training tutorials or in-person training sessions. But if the tool is intuitive and user-friendly, your employees won’t need comprehensive training and they can get up to speed quickly.
How to Choose the Right Training Software
Ready to buy an LMS for your business? Here are five key areas to assess before you finalize one vendor:
- Establish Goals and Objectives
- Identify Your Audience
- Determine Essential Features
- Evaluate Vendors
- Test Drive It
The key success of effective eLearning is not only to set goals but to set the right goals. So, set goals that are attainable and measurable. Also, set a proper timeline for the accomplishment of the goal. For example, ask yourself: what skill sets are you hoping to improve? What kind of end result are you hoping to implement? Will you be training the whole team simultaneously?
At the core of any effective training program is correctly identifying who needs to be trained, and on what skills or topics. A ‘training need’ is the gap between current performance and required performance. For instance, if you find that you have unsatisfied customers, there might be a need for customer service training for your sales team.
The LMS market is growing, and technology is changing every day. With a myriad of services and features available, it’s important to know which ones to prioritize. Go for LMS features which most directly benefit your business. Which features will be most useful in meeting the objectives you’ve set for your learners? Be careful though, you should never base a purchasing decision based on features alone. You risk paying too much for the bells and whistles you will not need. You also risk selecting a tool that is cumbersome and difficult to use. You won’t get much value from it if the tool is hard to use and no one is using it to its full potential.
Implementing a new LMS is a major financial decision. Think of your LMS provider as your partner. You should evaluate different vendors and what they offer in your decision-making process. Examples can include, testimonials and case studies, customer support, knowledge base, and system uptime. Also, evaluate the company as a whole by looking at market experience, awards received, company culture, and so on.
Going through the list of features will let you know what capabilities the LMS has, but nothing can compare to experiencing them first-hand. Ask for a demo or request a free trial of the LMS you’re considering. This will give you a chance to test the setup in the context you will be using it. And you’ll get an opportunity to identify any potential issues that might arise before you invest.