Any organization opting for face-to-face and virtual training as part of their learning strategy will need to use training software of some description. Training software can meet all sorts of training requirements and be used in all industries and use cases.
Below, we will explore various types of training software, the features and benefits, how to decide which training software best meets your specific needs and more!
In this guide we’ll cover the following:
- What is training software?
- What is training software best for?
- Who uses training software?
- Advantages of using training software
- Training software use cases
- How to decide which training software best meets your needs
- Questions to ask when choosing a training software provider
- Bottom Line
What is training software?
Put simply, training software is any program you use for the management, organization, delivery and tracking of training and educational programs. More specifically, training software can be categorized into three different subsets that compliment one another in delivering training. These include the Learning Experience Platform (LXP), a Learning Management System (LMS) and a Training Management System (TMS).
- Learning Experience Platform – used to manage informal online learning, such as group discussions, collaborative work and collections of external resources
- Learning Management System – used to manage formal online training, such as eLearning courses, certifications, resources and multimedia content
- Training Management System – used to manage live Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT) operations such as session and resource scheduling, managing tasks, monitoring budgets and profitability, tracking attendance and much more.
What issues does training software solve?
Training software aims to bridge the gap between two parties: the back office administration and the user. What are those exactly?
Back office administration: These will be the training administrators or senior course program managers responsible for developing the courses to your learners. Everything from selecting course resources to managing instructor schedules. The back office is also responsible for managing the health of the training program including the organization’s bottom line and recommending improvement in delivery and execution.
Learner: Sitting on the other side of the screen taking notes or in a chair in an old-fashioned classroom, this is the person both the software and back office are trying to push through learning. As the user of the software, the learner serves as the customer or technically speaking the user of the software. Their satisfaction with the delivery of the course material will decide how well the back-office administration has deployed the course.
The development of training software applications wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a disconnect between training back-office and the learners. Companies and organizations look to technology to organize and deliver training to employees/students as it can get messy quick if they choose to rely on spreadsheets for course scheduling. Training software ensures that instructors, administrators, and students are aligned on when, where, and how training will be deployed in the most cost and time effective way possible.
Most organizations will choose to implement all or part of the training software stack shown at right because of their ability to significantly improve the learner’s experience and streamline administrative rollout of training. Training software allows instructors and training administrators to execute a variety of tasks from scheduling in-person and virtual courses, managing learning resources used in the course and even optimizing the financials needed for the training. Whether it’s using one or all components of the training software stack, an organization can improve their training program easier than before.
Who uses training software?
Training software is used by a variety of organizations to better manage the delivery of educational courses and programs. Anything from a large university to the smallest business uses a training software in one form or another to train their learners in the easiest way possible. Training software with regards to a Training Management System (TMS), will be utilized mostly by a L&D department, a training company, or an association who is training their employees, clients, members or their customers, partners or distributors, also known as extended enterprise training.
Training software is useful in a wide variety of organizations and contexts, and is useful throughout the training process. It should support learners, trainers, administrators, managers and c-levels alike. In addition, it should support instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training operations as well as eLearning delivery.
Training admin teams have the capability to modify their training software platform based on the needs of their operation. For example, while many teams may utilize training software to release a series of eLearning courses to clients (i.e. LMS), other teams may use it as a backend operational tool such as a course management system to service the logistical/resource needs of their instructor-led training programs.
Examples of training software in action
Organizations of all sizes in all sectors use training software to more easily manage, organize and track their training. From global financial services companies to national utility unions and international communications groups, everyone from L&D Departments, to training businesses, associations, and those training their extended enterprise use training software.
In fact, virtually all of the organizations you interact with every day almost certainly use training software. From your internet provider to your nearest grocery store chain to your local hospital group, the vast majority of businesses use training software to streamline the training process, reduce manual tasks and save time and money.
Advantages of using training software
The popularity of training software systems such as the LXP, LMS and TMS is a testament to the huge benefits they bring to organizations and training departments. Just some of these advantages include:
- Maximize your training budget potential: With in-person and virtual classroom training being the most highly effective and the preferred model of training, training admins want to ensure the training budgets are used to the fulest extent for optimal ILT and vILT delivery
- Saving money – opting for online training, whether that’s vILT or eLearning, helps minimize costs associated with in-person training, including venue, trainers, catering and resources
- Saving time – training software helps automate many of the manual processes associated with training. Instead of complex spreadsheets and manual calendars, trainers can manage everything online in one place and in real time
- More accessible training – instead of waiting months for the next suitable in-person workshop, learners can sign up for online vILT sessions or get started right away with eLearning, videos and online resources, whenever and wherever suits them
- Easy tracking and reporting – managers, administrators and trainers have 24/7 access to reports about training activity and learner progress, which can be customized to contain the exact information needed by the organization’s stakeholders
- Consistent, up-to-date training – it is much faster for the L&D team to update a course or resource on training software such as an LMS than to distribute resources physically. It also ensures that the training experience remains consistent across your entire audience
- Wider reach – training software opens up learning to a much wider audience. Instead of just addressing the needs of the audience you can reach in person, you can extend your reach nationally or even internationally, bringing your training to many more people
- Increased compliance – managing compliance is a key use case for training software. Most training software comes with features to ensure compliance, such as certifications, assessments and reporting, ready for your next compliance audit
- Increased learner engagement – training software gives learners the opportunity to learn at their own pace and explore your content fully, and trainers can send out reminders and notifications to ensure that everyone stays on track with their training
- More profitable training – whether it’s an eLearning course or live ILT or vILT, training software gives you the opportunity to monetize your training and increase profitability. This can all be managed directly through the software, making it much more user friendly for trainers and administrators than manually processing payments and managing budgets.
Training software use cases
There are many different reasons why an organization may adopt training software. Very often, an organization will use their training software for multiple purposes concurrently to maximize the ROI of their learning technology spend. Training software usually has built in capability meant to streamline some or all of the processes listed below a part from any external spreadsheet or CRM.
Some notable training software characteristics include:
- Compliance – training software is a powerful tool when managing and ensuring compliance, whether it’s health and safety, industry regulations, anti-bribery, security, data protection or something else entirely
- Onboarding – organizations use training software to ensure the smooth, efficient onboarding of remote and in-person employees. New employees can access vital training and resources in their first few days, weeks and months to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to perform in their roles
- Skills development – existing employees can hone and improve their skill set with training software by registering for training sessions, completing eLearning, discussing workplace challenges with coworkers and more
- Product knowledge – organizations in sectors such as retail, finance, manufacturing and more use training software to roll out product and sales training for their new product lines, ensuring all employees are upskilled and well informed
- Extended enterprise training – many organizations use training software to train people outside the organization, such as third-party vendors, partners or even the general public to maximize the impact of their program
- Remote workforce – training software can be used to more efficiently train remote employees without requiring them to attend in-person workshops, which is more convenient, cost effective and sustainable
- Customer education – organizations use training software to create distinct programs for their customer organizations, without having to manage, organize and track everything manually
- Managing training as a business – training companies and those training their extended enterprise often use training software to increase revenue, develop customer loyalty and optimize your training company performance
- Instructor-Led and Virtual Instructor-Led training operations – often the largest part of the training budget, organizations use training software to automate and optimize back-office operations and decrease spending for their ILT and vILT training programs
How to decide which training software best meets your needs
There are vast differences between different types of training software, and not every type will be right for your organization’s learning needs. For instance, some vendors specialize in specific industries or use cases, while others take a more “catch-all” approach. And, some software, like the Learning Experience Platform (LXP) and Learning Management System (LMS) serve eLearning, whereas the Training Management System (TMS) focuses on instructor-led training and virtual instructor-led training (ILT/vILT).
Choosing a training software that will maximize ROI
Training software tends to be one of the biggest investments that any organization will make, and this is particularly true for training companies looking to meet the needs of multiple distinct clients. To maximize your ROI, you first need to establish your goals and objectives. What do you want to get out of your training, and how can your training software help you support this? Do you want to boost compliance, increase sales or reduce customer churn? Whatever your goal, some training software will be more useful than others.
Understanding your audience
Understanding your audience is a vital part of assessing potential training software options. The size, location, technical know-how, job roles and more of your audience will determine the best training software for your needs. Also important is what type of training you will deliver to this audience. Your best-fit learning technology will rely heavily on whether you are delivering instructor-led training (ILT), virtual instructor-led training (vILT) or eLearning – as different software are designed for the different training delivery modalities.
Establishing your budget and timeline for implementing training software
Finally, you need to establish your budget and desired timeline to implement your training software. Do you need something more cost effective, or are you happy to spend more to customize your solution to your exact needs? Do you need training software that works out of the box or are you working towards a specific launch date?
Knowing what you want to achieve, who you are training and any budget or time constraints will help you narrow down your options to find the best fit for your organization.
Questions to ask when choosing a training software provider
If you’re looking for new training software, you will no doubt have lots of questions to ask any potential providers. This will help you make the right decision and achieve your training goals, whether that’s securing 100% compliance, boosting sales, reducing customer complaints, improving customer satisfaction scores or anything else.
Whether this is your first time implementing a training software platform or you’re switching from one you just don’t like, some of the questions you and your training team should ask are:
- How quickly can a chosen solution be implemented?
- Can the software manage the complexities of instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training?
- Can the training software be customized to meet our exact needs, or do we need to compromise?
- What support packages does this software offer?
- How much does the software cost? Is it subscription based or paid in full?
- What IT infrastructure do we need in place?
- Does your training software integrate with any of our systems in use? i.e. CRM, schedules, databases, etc.
- What training can you offer our team?
- How often is the training software system updated by your engineering team?
- What clients has this training software serviced in the past? Large and well-known, or small and industry-specific?
- Can my team add custom features to the training software to cater it to our needs or liking?
- What help documentation is available if we need guidance?
Of course, there’s no need to stop here. Every organization will have different requirements from their training software, and you should feel comfortable asking as many questions as necessary to find the right software for your needs.
And, if you’re looking specifically for the right questions to ask about the features and functionalities of a Training Management System provider, download the free Training Management System RFP template here.
Choosing a training software platform that suits the needs of your training company or L&D department can be a little tricky depending on what your training team wants to accomplish. Nonetheless, it’s clear that utilizing training software as a part of your training program can help make planning and deploying a training program easier than ever!
Still curious? To find out more about how Training Orchestra can become your best partner in optimizing training operations, get your free demo!
About Training Orchestra
For over 20 years, Training Orchestra has provided training software for 600+ organizations worldwide to help them automate and optimize their ILT and vILT training operations, addressing the complexities often found in: session scheduling, resource management, instructor collaboration, cost tracking and reporting. As a complement to your LMS, LXP and learning technologies, Training Orchestra’s Training Resource Management System can replace all XLS spreadsheets and manual tasks, so you can better manage training as a business.