How To Evaluate Your Online Training Software
Choosing the right online training software solution that offers the features and functions you want can be a daunting task, to say the least. The good news is that there are a few key questions you can ask to compare and evaluate your online training software options and narrow down your list of choices based upon your organization's training needs and expectations.
- What training activities does the online training software support?
Every organization requires a different Learning and Development approach. While interactive scenarios might be great for customer service skill development, multimedia presentations might be best for training tech support staff. Your online training needs are specific, and the online training software that you ultimately choose should have all of the training activities you need to meet these particular needs, or else it just isn't going to offer a good ROI. Ask the vendor about which multimedia elements and learning activities are supported by the online training software. If you haven't narrowed down your list of performance goals and objectives as of yet, then do your research beforehand to get an accurate idea of what features your online training software needs to include.
- How is the training going to be deployed?
How are you going to be delivering your content? Would you like to install it directly onto your internal network, or would you like a cloud-based solution that gives your employees convenient access to their training modules? Many of the online training software solutions available today are cloud-based, which means that your staff will have the opportunity to learn even when they are out of the office.
- Does it offer the flexibility and usability you want?
When you compare training software, one of the key things you'll want to consider is the skill level of your team, as well as their talents. The online training software you ultimately choose should be the perfect blend of usability and flexibility, so that you can take full advantage of every feature it offers. For example, if you choose a software solution that is easy to use but doesn't give you the design control you need to create immersive and interactive online training experiences, then you may want to opt for online training software that is more flexible.
- What reporting and/or analytics capabilities does the online training software offer?
The reports and data you receive from your online training courses are essential, as they will allow you to gauge their effectiveness. As such, it's important to verify what types of reporting features the online training software offers. Do they allow you to track learner completion, scores, and site visitor counts? Can you see how long it took an employee to complete the online training course or how many times he/she accessed a particular module?
- Can you brand your online training courses?
Does the online training software allow you to personalize the online training courses, so that you can integrate your organization's branding? If you would prefer an online training software solution that allows for easy customization and brand integration, then you will want to ask about this feature when selecting your online training software. Better yet, ask the vendor to walk you through the brand customization process, so that you are able to deploy your newly personalized online training courses as soon as possible once you receive the online training software.
- How much support do you need?
There are certain online training software providers who offer round-the-clock support to their customers, while others may only offer an online FAQ or forum to address your questions or concerns. It's important to determine the level of support that you truly need when considering your online training software options. Many who offer advanced support services, such as email and telephone support 24/7, may come with a higher fee. However, if you are comfortable with minimal support and have a dedicated IT staff who can work out any glitches, then this may result in lower costs.
- Does the vendor offer a free trial?
Many online training software vendors will offer you the chance to try out their products before you buy it. However, there are some that don't let you take it for a test drive before you click that “buy” button. Ideally, you should opt for an online training software that at least offers some sort of live demo or trial that will give you the chance to determine if its features are really going to be of use to your organization. After all, some online training software may look great on paper, but they just don't live up to your expectations once you have the opportunity to get a firsthand look.
- Do they offer varied pricing options?
All online training software vendors offer different pricing options. While some require a monthly subscription fee, others may only charge an upfront fee when you install the online training software. In addition, some might offer stand alone products, while other providers only offer packaged solutions. After determining your budget for the online training software, do your research to find out which vendor has the features and functionality for the best value. If you are unsure about whether the online training software will work for your organization in the long term, then you may want to consider a month-by-month subscription.
To evaluate your online training software doesn't have to be time consuming or stressful. Keep this online training software questions at-the-ready to insure that you ask the right questions and make the best choice when choosing your next training platform.
Want to know if your eLearning authoring tool offers you the features and functionality that you truly need? Read the article Evaluate Your eLearning Authoring Tool: 6 Questions You Need To Answer where you'll discover some tips and tricks on how to choose the eLearning authoring tool that gives you the most value for your money, and help you to create meaningful eLearning experiences by balancing budget with versatility.
In addition, if you wonder if your current LMS carrying its weight, or is it time to start looking for another one, read the article Evaluate Your LMS: 6 Questions You Need To Answer. In this article I offer some tips that will help you to evaluate your current LMS in order to determine whether your current LMS is really the ideal solution for your learning and development needs.