Training and development tools play a crucial role in upskilling and reskilling your workforce. From onboarding new hires and initial skill gap analysis to designing and delivering an effective employee training program, a good L&D tool can enable your training team to perform several roles in a seamless and hassle-free manner.
However, choosing and investing in the right training and development tool is not a straightforward process. The training needs of an organization can vary depending on the products/services offered, size of the workforce, geographical distribution, diversity of workforce skill sets, and a host of other factors.
Complicating the process further, the L&D tools market is vast with hundreds of products and services each trying to cater to your company’s training and development needs in its unique way.
How do you consider your requirements and then map them to the features offered by an L&D tool so you choose the one among several that’s just right for you?
That’s the question this article aims to answer.
Why Invest in an Effective Training and Development Tool
Investing in the right training and development tool can have various benefits. Whether it is increasing the effectiveness of your training program or reducing the costs involved in rolling out a course, L&D tools when chosen right, will result in a highly skilled workforce created with optimum utilization of resources.
Interactive Training Experience
One of the significant benefits of having an LMS is creating highly interactive and engaging content. By using various elements such as images, in-training videos, background audio, presentations, and role plays, training can be made an interesting experience.
Standardized and Uniform Training Content
Since training content is created by a single L&D team for a target group, the delivery is standardized and consistent. This ensures that your workforce is uniformly trained and every employee receives the same information.
Cost-Effective Training Delivery
The costs involved with having the trainer train several batches is significantly higher than recording a video and using that for all the sessions. This reduces your L&D costs considerably without compromising on the quality.
Flexibility in Time and Place of Training Delivery
Since training content can be accessed anywhere and anytime, your training program can be flexible in terms when and where your employees choose to go through the sessions. This results in fewer hours of productive time allocated to training and development programs.
Types of Training and Development Tools
Not all L&D tools are created the same way. There are several types of training tools each with its unique features and nuances. By having a clear understanding of various types of tools, you can invest in a tool that’s just right for you.
Learning Management System (LMS)
Learning Management Systems are typically comprehensive and offer end-to-end learning solutions. From design and planning to content creation and monitoring employee progress, an LMS is your one-stop solution for all your L&D needs.
Training Management System (TMS)
The principal difference between a Learning Management System and a Training Management System is the former is learner-centric and the latter is trainer-centric. TMS typically have all the features of an LMS in addition to administrative tools that a trainer needs.
Knowledge Base Platforms
Knowledge base platforms are another type of employee training tools that’s essentially a repository of all necessary process documentation and other resources that employees at all levels of hierarchy require to perform their roles and responsibilities. This is highly dynamic and collaborative so every piece of information is updated almost in real-time.
The fundamental purpose of micro-learning platforms is to complement other learning tools with the primary objective of helping employees retain their knowledge and skills acquired through full-fledged training and development programs. As the name suggests, each training program is offered through bite-sized modules for easy recollection and retention.
Digital Adoption Tools
In an era of increased adoption of digital tools, it becomes imperative that your employees use all the digital tools to maximum extent and in the most effective manner to achieve optimum ROI on your tech investment. Digital adoption tools offer unmatched software and application training in several ways - software simulations, in-app training and sandboxes, and self-service. In addition, these tools also help you improve your L&D programs based on user behavior and automate any repeated steps and processes.
Training Experience Platforms
Learning experience platforms are new-age tools that integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning concepts with traditional learning and training management systems (LMS and TMS).
Top Features in an Optimum Training and Development Tool
Choosing the right training and development tool is no different from choosing the mobile phone. For someone who doesn’t use high-end apps or graphics-rich games, a powerful process and a large RAM may not be useful. If you are using your mobile heavily throughout the day, a large battery might be very handy.
It’s important to understand the key features of a good training tool so you can prioritize your specific needs and zero in on the most optimum tool.
Personalized Training Content
Several L&D tools offer highly personalized content to each target group. For example, a training program to use your accounting software can be delivered separately to your accounts payables and accounts receivables teams.
Skill Gap Analysis
Assessing your new hires or existing employees for different roles is critical to understanding their current skill vis-a-vis their desired skill set to develop an effective learning program.
Assessments and Tests
An L&D tool should offer a variety of assessment and test templates so your employees find them engaging. That you not only measure their learning accurately but also enhance their overall experience.
Monitoring and Tracking Employee Progress
An ideal L&D tool should accurately record an employee’s assessment and test results, and collate and categorize these records based on individual teams or any other categorization. Further, these results can be presented in the form of dashboards and infographics so your L&D team can effectively interpret the results.
Mobile-Friendly and Remote Access
The keyword in delivering effective training and development solutions is ubiquitous. Employees today not only prefer but expect to up training and upskilling programs at their convenience. To that extent, a good L&D tool should be mobile-friendly and accessible remotely.
Integration with Other Systems
You might have a great LMS in place already but only looking for a content authoring tool. Or, you might want to integrate your L&D tool with your productivity monitoring tool such as Zoho People. It becomes extremely useful to go for a tool that integrates with other critical tools that you have already invested in.
Robust Info Security
Most modern L&D tools come with built-in info security features. However, it’s critical that you test this feature so all the critical information you share via your L&D tool is secure.
Scheduling a training session and integrated invitation and registration options from the click of a button can reduce a lot of administration activities. It also helps your L&D team monitor the participation, especially mandatory and critical training programs.
Top 5 Training and Development Softwares
1. iSpring Suite
iSpring Suite is a course authoring tool that’s compatible with most Training Management Systems. It’s designed to convert existing PowerPoint presentations into highly interactive and media-rich training modules. With over 2300 course templates, and a media library with practically unlimited resources, your L&D team can create training modules that exactly deliver your course plan and design. What’s more, the modules are created in an HTML5 format making collaboration, review, and delivery efficient and easy.
iSpring Suite lets you create video lessons and screencasts with its built-in video studio. Whether you need just background audio or a picture-in-picture head-talks to supplement your content, the video studio is all you need to create classroom-like training material.
Got a Word or PDF document as a part of your training content? This L&D tool lets you convert these documents into highly engaging flip-books with brilliant page-flip animations. These flip-books are completely responsive meaning they can be opened on any device.
Create assessments and quizzes to track your employees' learning like never before with 14 different question types. From simple multiple choice questions to more advanced drag-and-drop, you can test your training outcomes in several ways while maintaining high engagement and completion rates.
iSpring Suite is compatible with all modern eLearning systems such as xAPI, SCROM2004, SCROM 1.2, and AICC. Since the final output is in HTML5, you could upload the content to your existing LMS, use it on your website or blog, or even directly upload it to YouTube straight from the tool.
Trainual is a knowledge sharing platform that helps your business maintain and organize all the necessary training material and other process-related information in one central location. The platform lets you categorize various standard operating procedures (SOPs) based on departments, teams, or just any other ways that you deem important.
Trainual is powered by a powerful search engine that helps your employees find what they need when they need it. Being a process-oriented training and development tool, it has hundreds of templates to document various processes and policies and takes your standard employee handbook to the next level.
Another way Trainual differentiates itself from other L&D tools is through its focus on people. As much as it is important for your employees to understand their roles and responsibilities clearly, it is important for everyone in the organization to have a clear picture of who does what. Trainual has a dedicated section for people with clear definitions of each role. This way, employees know exactly whom to approach to get a piece of work done.
Another important feature of Trainual is its ability to integrate with a host workplace applications. From project management applications such as Asaana to cloud-based enterprise applications such as Microsoft Azure, Trainual seamlessly integrates with almost any software so you can get the most out of every penny you have invested in IT infrastructure.
This Learning Management System is created exclusively to train your sales team. It’s a part of the broader Seismic Enablement Cloud, Lessonly claims to train your new hires in their sales roles up to 2.3 times faster than other other training and development tools. Their website claims that typically a new hire will be ready to hit the sales fields in as few as 10 days and with 76% more closed deals. Impressive figures for a new joiner.
The platform allows you to recreate real-life sales scenarios and role plays so your sales team is fully equipped with practical tools to handle any query your prospective buyers might have. The media library comes with hundreds of characters each with unique buyer personas that enable your sales team to make an effective sales pitch no matter who is on the other side.
One of the unique requirements that a sales team needs more than any other departments is their ability to quickly adapt to product changes and market conditions. Lessonly content library helps you tackle this challenge through its unique sales playbooks leaving your workforce confident when facing potential customers.
This platform is highly data-driven which translates into totally actionable training programs that can be fully customized to meet your specific coaching goals.
Integration with your existing CRM software, email client, collaboration tools, content authoring platform, and several other applications creates a seamless environment for your L&D team to deliver just what is expected of them.
4. Articulate 360
One of the most comprehensive training and development tools available, Articulate 360 offers you everything and more to create a training module in the quickest possible time. With over nine million media assets and course templates, creating best-in-class training material has never been easier and quicker. Whether your training design requires images, videos, characters, icons, or just about anything, this platform provides you with all the tools. In addition to creating content that matches the best in the industry, you also cut down on design costs.
With Articulate 360, the entire process of designing, planning, creating, and delivery happens on cloud. That means, key steps such as stakeholder reviews, feedback, and approval is carried out online without the need to install additional software. Since the final output is completely responsive, every step of the process can be executed on device and even remotely.
Another way Articulate 360 stands out from the competition is through dozens of content creation videos delivered by experts. With these videos, you get better and eventually become a pro at training content creation. The platform also conducts frequent and regular live webinars to hone various skills required to create highly engaging and effective content.
Articulate 360 Teams is a built-in collaboration software through which various L&D team members can collaborate at various stages of content creation. This results in a cohesive team with real-time feedback and ideas exchange.
It’s no surprise that with all its amazing features Articulate 360 has won several awards and accolades in the L&D tool business.
5. Talent LMS
Another complete Learning Management System (LMS), Talent LMS is a no-code platform that any member from your L&D team can use to create content with minimal training. Various elements such as images, videos, and presentations can be dragged and dropped in desired sections of the template. Whether you want to create content from scratch or reuse content you have already created, this platform makes it easy for you.
Talent LMS supports various eLearning formats such as xAPI, SCROM and cmi5 so you enhance the interactivity and boost engagement. You can create both online and live in-person training sessions to suit your specific needs. Send your employees bulk emails to register for a training or inform them about upcoming sessions with the click of a button.
Since measuring the training outcomes is one of the critical activities that an L&D team carries out, Talent LMS allows you to create both in-video quizzes and end-of-course assessments. You can also create surveys to evaluate the training experience and effectiveness of training material in providing the necessary knowledge and skills required by your workforce.
One of the features that Talent LMS is widely known for is the analytics tool and high-quality reports that it generates. The dynamic dashboard is automatically updated so you get highly actionable data in real-time. What’s more, you can get all the information in various formats such as infographics and exportable spreadsheets.
While investing your resources in figuring out an ideal training and development can be a relatively tedious process, cutting corners and hurriedly going for one can result in you paying a hefty price in the long run. “Get it right the first time” is the mantra that you should stick to as the damage a wrong tool can inflict can be multi-pronged.
Most service providers have a trial period and you could leverage this option for your L&D team to test multiple tools. Also, ensure that you clearly define your priorities in terms of the features so you only pay for the ones you really need and use.
So, what are you waiting for? Go for that optimum learning tool and watch both your training team and employees enjoy each and every step of the all-important training and learning process.