Learning and development (L&D) is a core area of HR management. L&D professionals need to ensure that employee skills and performance align with a company’s goals and objectives – both in the short and in the long term. To do this, they create training programs – offline and/or online courses that help to develop the needed skills. Offline training programs usually involve classroom sessions, practical tasks, and assessments. And online training programs typically consist of ecourses that you upload to your LMS and assign to employees, then track learner progress, and collect their feedback to make the program even better.
If you’re starting in learning and development or looking for a way to enhance your performance, you might need employee training tools. Here, we’ve collected the 19 best learning and development tools that we hope you’ll find of use. Check them out!
Course Authoring Tools
The essential part of building an online L&D program is eLearning content creation. With an authoring tool, you can create interactive courses that will help you enhance the learning experience, increase employee engagement, and make your corporate online learning effective. Check out the best content creation tools available:
1. iSpring Suite
iSpring Suite is a fully stocked authoring tool with an intuitive interface. It works as a PowerPoint add-in. So, you can enhance your existing PowerPoint presentations with interactive eLearning content and create courses from scratch using the features of both PowerPoint and iSpring Suite.
Here are some of iSpring Suite’s features:
- Assessments. Create quizzes and surveys with 14 question types, including hot-spot, drag-and-drop, and Likert scale questions to check how well employees acquired and retained new knowledge, and to collect their feedback on the course.
- Screencasts and video lectures. Create compelling training videos with the robust in-built video studio to let employees meet experts whenever and wherever they have an opportunity.
- Dialogue simulations. Build conversation modules for your eLearning courses to help employees develop their communication skills, or create storytelling-based courses to engage your learners.
- Interactions. Use a set of ready-made interaction templates to create glossaries, catalogs, timelines, references, and FAQs that will make your employees’ learning experience more entertaining.
Price: $770 per author/year
Get a 14-day free trial to see iSpring Suite in action.
2. Articulate Storyline 3
Articulate Storyline 3 is another robust authoring tool that allows you to create interactive ecourses. It has lots of great content creating capabilities, such as powerful animation and interaction options that help to engage learners, which is both its main advantage and disadvantage. If your company has a learning and development department with advanced course developers employed, then Articulate Storyline 3 might be the right fit. If not, you might find this tool too complicated for a start.
Price: $1,398 per perpetual license
3. Adobe Captivate
Adobe Captivate is an authoring tool that allows you to create advanced eLearning content. The unique features of this tool are that it enables you to create Virtual Reality projects, interactive videos, and publish courses as iOS/Android apps. Adobe Captivate is a potent tool, but it will only be a good fit for very advanced developers. Beginners may find it too complicated.
Price: $33.99 per author/month or $1,299 per author/year
If you want to dive deeper into these authoring tools’ capabilities, read our detailed comparison Adobe Captivate vs Articulate Storyline 3 vs iSpring Suite.
Learning Management Systems (LMSs)
Let’s suppose you’ve developed an eLearning course. How do you deliver it to your learners? That’s where an LMS comes into play. A learning management system helps you keep all educational materials in one place, enroll learners in online courses, get analytics reports on their progress, and much more. Here are some of the best LMSs to choose from:
4. iSpring Learn
iSpring Learn is an easy-to-use cloud-based LMS. With it, you can implement any training scenario: new hire onboarding, subject training, refresher training, and others. iSpring Learn offers many features and has an intuitive interface that allows you to use all the capabilities trouble free – even if you’re a beginner.
Check out some of iSpring Learn’s features:
- Learning tracks. Build step-by-step training programs and automate the learning process.
- A built-in authoring tool. Create simple adaptive online courses and quizzes right in a browser.
- iSpring Suite. Create advanced interactive courses with dialogue simulations and quizzes, video tutorials, and screencasts – all with the powerful course authoring toolkit included for free.
- Reporting system. Receive advanced reports on learner progress and course effectiveness.
- Integrations. Provide instructor-led training via Zoom or Microsoft Teams – iSpring Learn has seamless integration with both of them.
- Mobile app. Make training more flexible for your learners by letting them take courses on their mobile devices – even when offline.
- Gamification. Motivate learners with leaderboards, badges, and points.
- 24/7 technical support. Whenever you have questions about your LMS, you can reach out to iSpring engineers, who are real people, not chatbots.
Price: Plans start from $3,66 per user/month billed annually, allowing up to 100 users
Test all these features yourself by getting a free fully functional 30-day trial of iSpring Learn.
TalentLMS is an intuitive learning management system that offers all the essential features you might expect from an LMS. There is a built-in authoring tool that allows you to create online courses with quizzes and surveys. A great option that TalentLMS offers is its e-commerce capabilities that enable you to sell your courses. However, it might be relevant for freelance instructional designers, and not L&D managers.
Price: Paid plans start from $59/month billed annually, allowing up to 40 users
Docebo is a multifunctional LMS that allows you to create and manage online learning and buy courses from their Marketplace. This feature might be an advantage for companies that can’t afford to spend much time creating online courses from scratch. Besides, Docebo LMS has excellent social learning capabilities, such as QA threads within learning modules, curated content sharing, and user-generated content. Unfortunately, no authoring options are available.
Price: Upon request
Learning Experience Platforms (LXP)
Unlike a learning management system, a learning experience platform (LXP) focuses on individual employee involvement, meaning it’s not trainers who decide what skills and knowledge an employee needs to acquire, but the employees themselves. Using an LXP, you might create and nurture a culture of learning that is a solid foundation for ongoing employee skills and knowledge development. Check out some of the best learning experience platforms:
Valamis is a learning experience platform that offers LMS capabilities and an option to sell online courses via its ecosystem. One advantage, for learning and development, is that learners can purchase lots of different training programs and not limit themselves to the ones designed by their company. Valamis also has an AI system that recommends relevant eLearning content based on employee learning preferences.
Price: Upon request
8. Stream LXP
Stream LXP is a learning suite by Learningpool that offers most of the functions you might want for your online learning. The advanced search function allows employees to discover relevant eLearning content, and gamification features motivate them to study more. Stream LXP also has some basic authoring capabilities for creating simple online courses.
Price: Upon request
NovoEd focuses on providing collaborative learning. Using this LXP, learners can comment on and discuss modules, receive points, and create private workspaces to design collaborative projects. Analytical reports can help you see how effective training programs are for the business.
Price: Upon request
Not all companies might need a full-fledged LMS or LXP. If you don’t have hundreds of employees, and you’re not going to create complex training programs and receive detailed analytical reports, then you might be interested in microlearning platforms. They allow you to build bite-sized content and deliver it to your learners quickly. Take a look at some of the best microlearning platforms:
10. iSpring Page
iSpring Page is a cloud-based authoring tool that allows you to create microcourses that look perfect on any device. You can make a course the same way you create a post on Facebook:
- Type in or paste the text.
- Add images and training videos.
- Build quizzes to check how well learners acquired new knowledge.
The interface is modern looking and intuitive. iSpring Page supports collaboration on courses: you can have your colleagues help you with content creation or ask a subject matter expert to make their edits while the content is still under development. Your colleague can add images or videos as you write a text.
Price: $97/year per author
OttoLearn is a microlearning platform for creating and delivering bite-sized content quickly. It allows you to provide learner-centered training by giving the learner an opportunity to choose which topic an employee should study and how deeply they should study it. The software will automatically assign the necessary activities for each employee, ensuring they get engaged in online learning by showing them their progress and status on a leaderboard.
Price: Plans start from $250/month billed annually
Gnowbe is pretty similar to the other microlearning platforms. It also allows you to build microcourses, create quizzes and surveys, and receive reports on learner progress. Gnowbe also provides you with ready-made templates, which makes content creation much easier.
Price: Plans start from $4,20 per user/month
Virtual Instructor-Led Training Tools
Education has always relied on face-to-face training, and the digital era is enabling new ways to provide it. You might be familiar with tools like Skype and Zoom – they allow you to connect with learners who are thousands of miles away from each other. Being extremely popular as communication tools, these programs have some limitations in terms of training. Here are some other tools that will help you conduct webinars and interactive online training:
13. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams aims to recreate a feeling of being together during an offline meeting, but in a digital environment. And with Microsoft Teams, participants can react with emojis to help an instructor understand their attitude to eLearning content. It’s beneficial at large meetings – this tool allows up to 1,000 participants to interact and up to 20,000 to view. Video conferences can be transcribed automatically in real-time, and you can download a transcript afterward. Microsoft Teams also offers its whiteboard, where learners can create projects, draw, and brainstorm together. By the way, iSpring Learn LMS has integration with this tool, so the two of them might make a great pair for your L&D projects.
Price: Free basic plan. Paid plans start from $5 user/month, billed annually
WebEx is a CISCO tool for webinars, conferences, and other online meetings. WebEx makes sure everyone can hear what you’re saying with its noise reduction feature. It engages learners by enabling them to send emojis using their body language: hold your thumb up, and the thumb-up emoji will appear on your screen, for example. And it makes the learning process more inclusive. Apart from automatic meeting transcription, WebEx can provide learners with real-time translation.
Price: Upon request
GoToWebinar is a virtual instructor-led training tool specifically designed for holding webinars and enhancing them. Some of its most remarkable features are creating polls, surveys, live Q&As, and receiving reports on learner engagement. You can use this data to track the strong and weak points of your content and fix weaknesses accordingly. GoToWebinar also allows you to award certificates to your attendees and advance your presentation by drawing right on the screen during your performance.
Price: Plans start from $89/month, billed annually, allowing up to 100 participants
RecRoom was initially designed for building and playing games together. But during the pandemic, Cass Coomber, a K-12 teacher, started using this software and some other games to teach lessons online. Some of the videos went viral, and many learners worldwide wished they had such a teacher. Perhaps your learners won’t mind if you use RecRoom for corporate training.
With RecRoom, you and your learners can choose a game location, build whatever you want there, hold classes using game objects like a blackboard where you can write down main ideas and illustrate them, if necessary. You could also build your office there and teach a fire safety course, for instance. Or you can use this tool for team building. You name it! The most important thing is that you’ll be able to engage your learners in online learning.
Check out Cass Coomber’s YouTube channel to see how it works.
Communication is an essential part of learning. Learners need to exchange their thoughts on new knowledge, discuss topics, and share ideas. Emails are not effective in this manner. As for social media, well, some people might prefer to keep their private life to themselves. To help learners communicate, you might need one of these communication tools:
Slack is a quick and straightforward corporate messenger with all the features you might expect from a messenger, plus a data privacy guarantee that’s critical for companies.
Price: Free basic plan. Paid plans start from $6,67 per active user/month, billed annually
18. Troop Messenger
Troop Messenger is another great communication tool that offers unlimited messaging history and self-destructing “burnout” chats. Audio and video messages are available. Besides, you can invite people (experts, for example) from outside the company.
Price: Plans start from $2.5 per user/month
Workplace is a Facebook communication tool that inherits many Facebook features. Here, you don’t just get a messenger, but corporate social media where employees can create posts and surveys, leave comments and reactions, and much more. Therefore, this might be a perfect learning and development tool for learner communication.
Price: Plans start from $4 per user/month
How to Choose the Right eLearning Tools for Your Company
Now that you know the best learning and development tools, you should choose the best matches for your company. To do this, you should take the following 3 steps:
Step 1: Assess your needs
Think about your eLearning goals and objectives, the preferred format of learning content, and your audience. Let’s say you need both thorough online courses and microcourses. In this case, choose a tool that allows you to create both of them. Or, for example, your learners are fond of computer games and regularly play together after work; so try to find a way to use this interest. You might prefer an LMS with gamification features, and maybe even try RecRoom.
Step 2: Consider resources
Consider how much your company can spend on eLearning. And make sure that most of the tools you choose can integrate with each other.
Step 3: Test-drive
Once you have a list of the best learning and development tools for your company, test them. Most of the tools mentioned above have free trials. So, see them in action, and decide which ones are right for you.
If you need to create interactive online courses, such as onboarding or refresher courses, quickly and easily, iSpring Suite might be the best fit. Download the iSpring Suite 14-day free trial and launch effective learning and development right away. Good luck!