Tips for Choosing the Best Training Software
It simply comes down to which training software can provide everything you need in a way that is easy and affordable.
- By Leah Brown
- Feb 01, 2021
Conducting employee training is one of the most important things any organization can do. New employees need to be trained on processes and procedures that may be unfamiliar, while all employees must stay up to date on regulations.
As any corporate trainer can tell you—even before the COVID-19 pandemic introduced social distancing and widespread working from home—gone are the days of packing large groups of employees into a conference room to sit through a day of long, monotonous training presentations.
Now, online training is king. If a company doesn’t offer an online learning library, it is assumed their resources are limited and the training content may not be fully compliant with standards and regulations.
So how do you decide which training software is right for the needs of your team? Here we will highlight some of the things you should consider and questions to ask yourself before making such an important investment.
Different Types of Training To Consider
As career experts at Indeed note, there are a few different types of training an organization may need, or want, to implement. Each of these have their own benefits, and an ideal training platform will make it easy to cover each of these topics.
Orientation. This is typically the first interaction a new employee has with the organization as a whole and with their specific team. New hires will learn important things like the organizational structure and company policies and administrative procedures, and will likely use this time to review and complete required paperwork for the HR department.
Onboarding. While orientation does include the onboarding process, this type of training is more focused on the specific role of the employee. Getting plugged into any software and platforms that will be used, understanding personal and departmental goals and being introduced to more technical aspects of the job take place during onboarding.
Soft skills. With many jobs becoming more dependent on, and sometimes eliminated by, technological and AI advancements, soft skills become increasingly important, as these cannot be automated. There are a wide variety of useful soft skills, but things like communication and time management are universal and can help boost individual, team and company-wide performance.
Safety. One category of training that is often seen as the most boring, but is arguably the most important, is safety training. Every employee in any industry should receive safety training, because you can never be too careful. From basic first aid and workplace evacuation plans to PPE and working with hazardous materials, employers should always make safety a priority.
What to Look for in a Platform
If your organization decides that an online learning management system is the right direction for you, then you need to select the best LMS for your needs. With hundreds of platforms available, there are many different features you should look at to find your ideal match.
Top-Tier Content. To be effective, training material must be able to keep the learner’s attention. Illustrating interesting visuals, implementing user-friendly navigation and utilizing relatable scenarios can help keep the training content fun and engaging, which in turn increases knowledge retention.
While training courses need to be engaging, they would of course be worthless if the content is out of date. Make sure any training content you decide to use is regularly reviewed and updated to be consistent not only with industry trends but, more importantly, with changing requirements and regulations.
You may also want to find out if the system can seamlessly integrate custom courses. Ask about SCORM/AICC compliance, which refers to two different learning technology standards that communicate with an LMS. Not all training platforms offer this feature, but it can be useful for any industry or company-specific training you may already have created that you don’t want to lose.
Cross-Device Functionality. According to the Pew Research Center, 93 percent of Millennials, 90 percent of Gen Xers, and a whopping 98 percent of Gen Zers now own a smartphone. The pervasiveness of always-connected mobile devices means learning should always be available and accessible from anywhere.
Having the ability to complete training on mobile devices also makes it easier for your entire workforce to be compliant. No matter if you have office employees now working from home or oil workers needing to train while on a rig, online courses make both required and optional training fully accessible by employees at any location.
Multiple Language Options. Most Americans have probably heard the old phrase that says the United States is a melting pot of different cultures. In fact, in 2013, the Census Bureau found that more than 350 languages are spoken in U.S. homes, with Spanish being spoken by roughly 1 in 6 Americans.
A study conducted by the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights found that workers with limited English proficiency either did not understand a large amount of the provided English-language safety training, or they did not have the language skills to ask questions. Unsurprisingly, when training is offered in an employee’s native language, it is far more likely they will understand and retain the important information.
It makes sense, then, that any training service would need to have courses available in more than just English. Spanish might be the obvious first thought, but don’t forget languages like German, French, Portuguese or even Mandarin.
Flexible Pricing Models. As with any software, pricing for LMS platforms can be somewhat confusing. You want to find a system that not only offers a package that works for your needs, but one that is transparent in their pricing and does not carry a lot of hidden fees for unneeded extras.
Typically, high-quality learning management systems will offer pricing levels per user, per course or for course licensing. You may also find additional costs for things like implementation and support, but be sure to do your research so you’re aware of every part of the service you will be paying for.
Unmatched Customer Service. One aspect that is often overlooked—until you need it—is quality customer service. Most, if not all, of us have had an issue that we needed resolved and can appreciate the importance of a quick, effective customer service team.
Now, this isn’t something that every company will talk about on their website or in their sales pitch, but it may be something you want to ask about. Do they have quick response times? Are agents available at all hours? Will you be added to a long service queue every time you call? This may not be the most important aspect of an LMS, but it just might tip the scales toward one competitor over the other.
The Best Thing You Can Do: Take A Test Drive
For any purchase we make in our lives, from buying a pair of jeans to picking out a new car, no one prefers to buy things based on one view. We want to try on those pants and make sure they fit, and we take the car for a test drive to make sure we like all the features. Choosing a training software for your business should be no different.
Any reputable company should be more than happy to let you “test drive” their product, ideally with no limitations. It is in both of your best interests. After all, if you buy and implement an LMS only to discover it’s missing features you wanted or it isn’t very user-friendly, you are unlikely to renew your service. No company wants to lose a customer like that.
Once you have your software choices narrowed down, chat with a sales team member from each company and ask about a demo option. Make sure you can complete a few training courses and try to get all decision-making parties involved in the demo process. You want to be sure everyone is comfortable with the choice you make.
Taking training online is convenient and can save your company time and money, as online training does not require a physical classroom or bringing an in-person trainer to your jobsite. Employees can complete virtual training from anywhere with internet access.
However, it is important to remember that some in-person training may also be required for certain roles or specific safety regulations. For instance, anyone can take online forklift safety, but until an employee has gotten in a forklift and demonstrated how to safely operate the machinery, they could be considered a liability.
Another benefit to utilizing online training is how easy it is to go through training as often as it is needed, or as often as you’d like to. Repetitive learning opportunities increase the likelihood of retaining the information, which makes for a more effective employee in a working environment.
In the end, it simply comes down to which training software can provide everything you and your team needs in a way that is easy and affordable. Decide what is important for you, consider some of the features discussed above and do your research on the highest-rated and most-common LMS platforms available today.
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.