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 sectors and use cases.
Below, we will explore what training software is, the features and benefits, how you can use it to address your training needs and more!
- What is training software?
- What is training software best for?
- Who uses training software?
- Training software features and benefits
- Training software use cases
- How to decide which training software best meets your needs
- Questions to ask training software providers
- Next steps
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. Examples of training software include a Learning Experience Platform (LXP), a Learning Management System (LMS) and a Training Management System (TMS) and each has its own distinct role in your training software tech stack:
- 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.
With training software you can do everything from assigning eLearning to managing groups of learners to scheduling ILT and vILT sessions. With the right training software stack, an organization can manage and deliver all aspects of a training program.
What is training software best for?
Training software is useful in a wide variety of organizations and contexts, and can be used throughout the training process. It should support learners, trainers, administrators and managers alike. In addition, it should support instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training operations as well as eLearning delivery.
The training back-office
On the back-office side, administrators, managers and trainers have the power to create courses, assign them to specific groups of learners, schedule training sessions, build targeted training programs, create quizzes and assessments and more. These training management solutions will also enable administrators and stakeholders to automate classroom and virtual classroom training resource scheduling and operations, collaborate with trainers, generate reports to track costs, learner progress and the success of the training program and optimize the training investment.
The learner facing front-end
On the learner side, learners will have access to their eLearning, be able to register for live training sessions, explore a course catalog, take assessments, submit assignments and work towards certifications. They can also check their progress and see which training activities have been assigned to them.
Who uses training software?
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.
As mentioned above, a major user group for training software is training companies. Training company software is ideal for these complex use cases, including multitenancy, different branding and theming, distinct audiences, public and private course management, and multiple learning programs, libraries and course catalogs.
Training software features and benefits
The popularity of training software systems such as the LXP, LMS and TMS is a testament to the huge benefits they bring to organizations. Just some of these benefits include:
- Reducing the training budget – in-person and virtual classroom training is highly effective, preferred by many and required in many cases. Training management software can optimize resource use to help reduce the costs of 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. Some of the key training software use cases 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 training software providers
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.
Some of the questions you should ask your training software providers include:
- How quickly can our chosen solution be implemented?
- Can your software manage the complexities of instructor-led and virtual instructor-led training?
- Can your training software be customized to meet our exact needs, or do we need to compromise?
- What support packages do you offer?
- How much does your software cost, both upfront and on an ongoing basis?
- What IT infrastructure do we need in place?
- Does your training software integrate with our existing systems?
- What training can you offer our team?
- How does the software upgrade process work?
- What other clients do you have?
- What if we need a specific new feature?
- 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.
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.