Whether you’re onboarding new employees, providing sales staff with new on-the-job product training, or educating your thought leaders on soft skills, the right tools for the task are essential. We’ve selected and compared some employee training tools to help you, whatever type of training method or content you use or intend to use.
1. Learning Platforms
Learning platforms are one of the key corporate training tools that allow you to host and deliver your learning packages to employees. Whether you decide on a traditional LMS, a hosted course platform, or a microlearning platform, you will definitely need one of these employee training tools.
Learning management systems (LMSs)
This is perhaps the most important, or at least the most well-known, of all staff training tools. If you have ever delivered an online course to your employees, chances are it was hosted on an LMS.
You can think of an LMS as a virtual space where employees go to learn, collaborate, and assess their knowledge. The most suitable platform helps to automate different aspects of the training process and combine all of your content into a structured learning path for your employees. However, systems vary widely, so it’s essential to choose carefully based on features that meet your organizational training needs, eLearning standards supported, pricing, and customer support. To learn more about LMS features and how to choose a learning platform, check out our LMS selection guide and a guide on how to create an LMS RFP.
Your own unique needs will determine which platform is best suited to your organization, but here are a couple of popular LMSs that you may want to check out:
Moodle: Free open source and very flexible LMS. Moodle does trade flexibility for ease of setup and maintenance, and you will likely need specialists to help you implement and manage it.
iSpring Learn: A simple to use LMS solution that lets you manage employee training without having to learn any technical features. So, it’s easy to deploy your training, load courses, setup learning pathways, and generate reports. What’s more, iSpring Learn has a built-in authoring tool for creating courses online.
To get started with iSpring Learn, just sign up for a free trial.
Hosted course platforms
Hosted platforms offer online courses from many different providers. They serve as a storefront and allow individuals and companies to display and sell their products.
These platforms typically let you create your courses from different content items or upload ready-made courses. They also handle learner registration, marketing, and the eCommerce side of things for you.
To dive deeper, read a comparison of 8 of the best-hosted course platforms.
A microlearning platform is designed for narrower training objectives and enables you to deliver content to learners in easily absorbed bite-sized chunks. Microlearning platforms usually feature a fast and easy-to-use authoring tool integrated within the software, which allows you to build up bite-sized content using text, images, video, and other existing assets.
Microlearning is an increasingly popular corporate training tool due to its cost benefits and ability to leverage existing technology, such as online messaging.
Some popular microlearning platforms include:
Learner Mobile: A versatile platform that allows you to create beautiful, bite-sized content in a flash. It provides ready-to-go templates for building simple eLearning courses with videos, images, and quizzes.
EduMe: Another platform with a built-in authoring tool for creating microlearning courses designed for mobiles that works across all devices. You can also use the templates to create courses consisting of text, images, videos, links, and quizzes.
2. Web-Conferencing Tools
Web-conferencing, in general, and webinars or virtual classrooms in particular, are extremely powerful modern training tools that enable you to train staff remotely. The line is sometimes a little blurred when these platforms are discussed as they share very similar functionality, and often the same core technology. Let’s compare them and analyze which tool you may wish to use in a particular training situation.
Tools for videoconferencing
Video conferencing needs no introduction – chances are you already use some form of video conferencing at work, and you may have even worked it into some of your training programs.
Standard video-conferencing software is often enough to run one-on-one or small group training sessions, perform live demonstrations, and conduct real-time software walkthroughs. Most popular platforms now have features such as screen share, on-screen annotations, ‘raising a hand’ to ask questions, and even whiteboard features.
Video conferencing can be particularly useful when your online training courses could benefit from live support from a subject matter expert. Platforms would allow you to live-stream the subject matter expert online and let learners interact via voice or chat. Almost all of these tools offer screen sharing and recording functions.
Most platforms work seamlessly with an LMS. For example, iSpring Learn LMS is integrated with Zoom.
This means that you can host web meetings and provide training sessions directly from your learning portal. iSpring Learn automatically notifies learners about online events and collects the statistics on visits and viewer activity.
Webinar technology is best suited for training large groups of learners. It’s a specific type of web conference – a lecture, presentation, workshop, or a seminar – that is typically one-way (speaker to the remote audience with limited interaction). The restrictive interactive elements that help learners to receive and discuss topics in real-time typically include a shared screen, a live chat, and polls.
These generally include features to facilitate learner engagement like tests and polls that can be given by the instructor, interactive whiteboards, screen-in-screen views, media sharing, and in-session activities. They also allow you to gather stats on learner attendance, engagement, session activity, and more.
3. Knowledge Repositories
A knowledge repository or knowledge base is a dynamic storage place for information. It allows people to connect, collaborate, and contribute. This type of software is a great addition to your employee training toolkit, allowing staff to access the information they need to get work done at any time and from any device.
Knowledge repositories are often included in other software platforms as a discrete module, for instance, in a learning management system (LMS), customer management system (CMS), and customer service (CS) software packages. However, a lot of standalone options also exist that you can integrate into your existing structure.
Knowledge bases commonly allow you to set up a knowledge structure with several levels or tiers; for example, Category > Section > Topic, and these structures can be customized to suit your organization.
Some popular CMS systems that include highly regarded knowledge-base modules are Zendesk and Freshdesk. Standalone options that integrate well with almost any platform and have unlimited customization options include Knowledge Owl.
4. Content Creation Tools
There are many different types of content creation tools, and they will often excel at creating particular learning materials: e-courses, training videos, images, schemes and infographics, and more. So, you should choose your tools according to the needs of the training program you want to develop.
Here are some solutions you may want to consider for various types of content creation.
Course authoring tools
Authoring tools are designed to create specific types of content and, nowadays, that often means interactive eLearning. Course authoring tools will let you create eLearning courses from existing content easily and quickly.
One such tool is iSpring Suite: This allows you to build online courses with quizzes, dialog simulations, and other truly interactive elements. Though it has a lot of authoring options, it’s an easy-to-use solution for fast course creation.
This is how an eLearning created with iSpring Suite looks:
You can start a free 14-day trial that is a fully functional version of iSpring Suite.
Graphics & Design
Capturing static screenshots and screen interaction sequences is useful when developing systems training, guides to online tools or resources, or even for onboarding. Here are some helpful tools:
Canva: This allows you to create tailored graphics and infographics for custom eLearning development, or use one of their many templates.
Hypersnap: A powerful tool for screen capturing and manipulating static images from your screen.
Photoshop: No mention of a graphics editing tool is complete without mentioning Photoshop. An incredibly powerful tool that has a steep learning curve.
Placeit: A web-based platform that lets you quickly place your own images onto backgrounds and create mockups.
Video and audio
Video is the ‘now’ format, and the chances are you already use it somehow in your training programs.
Some authoring toolkits have all the necessary options for creating training videos. For example, iSpring Suite has a built-in video studio that allows you to record screencasts and webcam video. So you can quickly train employees to work with software systems or provide video tutorials on other topics.
Here are some other tools that will help you create, edit, and host your training videos:
Wistia: A tool for securely hosting video and high-speed streaming. Wistia is often used by organizations that have invested in developing great training content and don’t want to be ripped off.
Audacity: If you need to get a bit more creative with your video or eLearning narration, this free, open-source audio editor is a good bet. Normalize, clean up, cut, paste, and export. This is also a great tool for creating audio for podcasts, webinars, and other training content.
You will still need to create nicely designed text documents for most training programs.
Microsoft Office: Word, Powerpoint, and Excel online, plus various other ancillary apps, make it easy to create traditional training type documents, collaborate, and share them with employees.
G-Suite: Google sheets, docs, and slides let you create notes, FAQs, presentations, worksheets, and templates with the added benefit of being online and shared.
5. Communication Tools
Communication is essential in every stage of the training process. For example, Instructional Design teams, project managers, and SMEs need clear communication to produce high-quality content. Instructors need to communicate with learners to answer questions and offer guidance and support. And, of course, learners need to communicate with each other to collaborate and share their knowledge.
Connections and communication can be achieved using many different tools, from the traditional to the latest in cutting-edge tech. Here are some options to consider.
Email: Old? Yes, but still an effective mode of communication.
Social media: From Facebook groups and LinkedIn pages to tools like Facebook Workplace, social media is where employees already spend a lot of their time online. So, it makes sense to leverage their preference for social media and use it to communicate with learners in a timely and natural manner.
Skype: The granddaddy of VOIP platforms, Skype is still used by millions of users per day to communicate, video call, message, screen share, and share documents and files. Almost everyone has a Skype account, so it’s a great way to keep in touch with and manage remote members of a training team if you don’t want to invest in a standalone communication platform such as Basecamp.
Slack: Slack is essentially a chat room for your whole company. It’s designed to replace email as your primary method of communication and sharing. It allows you to set up channels and organize communication by group and private chats.
6. Project Management Tools
To manage and deliver your training projects on time and within your budget is not easy. Here, a project management tool can help.
Trello: The most popular ‘Kanban’ based online platform, Trello lets you build boards, add cards, collaborate, attach things, add tasks and subtasks and automate things with third-party integrations.
To Sum Up
There are so many great employee training tools available, and it would be impossible to list them all. However, this article has recommended some key solutions within each category that we’re sure you will find useful.
Which staff training tools do you and your organization use? Are there any you simply couldn’t live without? We’d love to hear about them in the comments.