Pst. Yeah. Hey, you.
Wanna buy some learning tools? They’ll help you train your employees better.
Oh, you want some proof? Ok, let’s take a look at how learning tools can benefit businesses, shall we?
As time goes on, more and more businesses are embracing technology in a bid to improve their overall business. One of the technologies that companies are embracing online learning tools. These tools help train employees faster, increase productivity, help with employee retention, and provide professional development opportunities, all while positively impacting a company’s bottom line.
This article explores business learning tools from the ground up, providing a comprehensive overview of what learning tools are, how exactly they help your business, and why you should seriously consider implementing them into your company’s tech stack.
What are Learning Tools for Business?
Business learning tools refer to any piece of software that aids in employee training or professional development, such as:
- Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- Learning Experience Systems (LXP)
- Online learning sites (HubSpot Academy, Code Academy, etc.)
Learning Management Systems
In a business setting, LMSs provide a way to create, manage, track, and deliver content to employees in the form of courses, training programs, and more. Learning management systems provide an easy way for companies to centralize their training materials, and provide employees with effective training that isn’t hindered by differing work schedules, time zone differences, or the availability of a manager or senior employee.
Employers or managers can also use LMSs to track employee progress with a course or set of courses, giving them the information they need to measure the effectiveness of training courses and identify any gaps in skills or knowledge with employees that need to be developed further.
Learning Experience Systems
In a business setting, LMSs provide a way to create, manage, track, and deliver content to employees in the form of courses, training programs, and more. Learning management systems provide an easy way for companies to centralize their training materials and provide employees with effective training that isn’t hindered by differing work schedules, time zone differences, or the availability of a manager or senior employee.
Tovuti provides features that fall in both the LMS and LXP category, with gamification, built-in course authoring, SCORM compliance, and more that you would expect an LMS worth its salt to have, but also provides social learning features, like breakout rooms, social profiles, forums, and communities.
Online Learning Sites
You’ve likely heard of some of the more popular online learning sites, including HubSpot Academy, Code Academy, and LinkedIn Learning. These sites are designed to aggregate content from subject matter experts and instructors and provide a way for them to share their knowledge with others. Many companies use online learning sites as a way to provide additional professional development opportunities for their employees at a low cost.
Here is a chart that summarizes the difference between these different learning tools:
Importance of Learning Tools in Business
It’s a no-brainer that employees are a company’s most valuable asset, and the ability for a company to retain top talent is a process of continuous improvement. You might not immediately think of learning tools as a valuable asset for keeping your best employees happy, but the opportunity for professional development and enhancing skills while at work is an essential part of making your company a great place to work.
A recent study by the Work Institute found that the top reason that U.S. employees were leaving a company was due to a lack of career development. To put that into perspective, that means more than 22 out of 100 employees left their job because of their company’s lack of focus on providing them with the opportunity to develop their skills and career.
While this issue doesn’t necessarily mean that companies can just implement tools for learning and then be done with it, professional development for these employees also refers to things like promotions and advancements within the company. However, implementing learning tools is a step in the right direction for meeting employee needs.
The right tools for learning in a business setting can have the following benefits:
- Helps employees develop their professional skills
- Helps employees feel like their company cares about them
- Increases employee retention
- Helps companies easily train large numbers of employees
- Helps companies attract the best candidates
Helps Employees Develop Their Professional Skills
The struggle is real for workers these days. Not only do a significant percentage of job openings require at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, but there’s also an increased focus on communication skills as well. Paying for school is expensive, so when a company can offer professional development through learning tools as part of an employment package, it makes sense that employees would find that attractive.
Even if your company doesn’t offer the ability for an employee to earn a bachelor’s degree or pay for college while an employee is working for you (although that isn’t off the table as an option), providing training through eLearning courses still offers value to employees through general skill development.
Helps Employees Feel Like Their Company Cares About Them
When a company invests in professional development for their employees, it shows the employees that the company is committed to them, as an individual and as an employee, by helping them hone and develop skills that are essential to the job. When workers can do their jobs better, they become more confident, leading to increased job satisfaction.
Increases Employee Retention
It’s simple, really: if an employee feels like they are valued, they are less likely to leave your company than if they don’t feel valued. Learning tools can be a valuable part of employee retention by providing employees with the knowledge and support they need to be successful in their work.
Helps Companies Train Large Numbers of Employees
As your company scales and grows, it can become increasingly difficult to train employees, especially when you’re hiring multiple employees at a time effectively. With learning tools, you can not only provide employees with training materials and courses that they can get started on immediately (doing planning that first day or week of employment that much easier) but you can also set up virtual live training sessions, create set learning paths, and provide a space where employees can connect with each other and ask questions, all with the use of learning tools like an LMS.
Helps Companies Attract the Best Candidates
Attracting top-tier rockstar candidates for a position is every company’s dream. Sure, you can offer them a competitive salary and benefits, which are essential, but you should also look beyond that to attract the best candidates: professional development, career advancement, and opportunities for promotions are all ways that you can show good candidates that they can grow their career with your company.
How Can Learning Tools Have a Positive Impact on Businesses?
When it comes to implementing tools for learning for your business, it’s important to understand the value that these tools provide, not just for your employees but also for your business’s bottom line. It can be hard to put a quantifiable value on learning (i.e., convincing your boss that, yeah, this actually does have a positive impact, and no, I can't tell you the exact dollar amount of that impact). We can say that the top tools for learning will help companies achieve their business goals, but it can be difficult to quantify exactly what that means.
So how can learning tools make a positive impact on your business? Let’s take a closer look at some of the main ways:
- Makes training more efficient
- Standardizes training
- Reduces the cost of training
- Helps employees learn faster
Makes Training More Efficient
Need to train one employee or a large number of employees at one time? Tools for learning like LMS platforms are flexible tools that allow you set up clear training paths for employees, whether you’re training one individual or dozens at a time. In addition, employees can integrate learning while they are working, so rather than having them complete hours of training all at once (which can be a drag), they can schedule training throughout their workday. This means that employees can learn on the job while being supported by additional online training.
When you have multiple people training one employee at a time, it can quickly become confusing because different people are going to explain tasks and concepts that differ from each other. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but can be confusing when you’re a new employee that’s trying to correctly understand a company policy or procedure.
With online learning tools, you can create standardized training courses that outline the correct company procedures in one way so that new employees can feel confident that they are getting the right information the first time. From there, they can ask questions and engage with managers and senior staff for clarification if needed.
Reduces the Cost of Training
There’s no question that effectively training employees is going to have a costly investment, but that doesn’t mean that you have to throw endless amounts of money at training. One of the ways you can ensure that your training investment is spent wisely is by implementing online learning tools.
When you compare instructor-led training or in-person training to online learning tools, the costs associated with online training are significantly less, even when considering the ongoing costs associated with maintenance of the learning tools and keeping course content up to date.
Helps Employees Learn Faster
There’s no question that training new employees requires a significant time investment, but what if that could be reduced? When compared to in-person training, IBM found that online training helped employees learn 3-5 times faster. And when you think about it, it makes sense — especially when you’re considering onboarding and training on company policies and procedures.
Rather than dig out dusty old company binders on policies and procedures and have new employees read them word for word, online learning tools like an LMS provide an engaging and fast way for them to learn. In addition, if they want to refer to any information later, training documents are easily searchable on the LMS.
Common Challenge Scenarios in Business e Learning
Just because the top tools for learning are a great investment for businesses of all sizes and in all industries doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges with them. Anytime you’re adding a piece of software to your company’s tech stack means there are going to be questions about how the investment will pay off.
Common challenges for determining the success of learning tools include:
- Measuring ROI
- Implementation of learning tools
- Keeping employees engaged with learning
- Ongoing maintenance of learning tools and training materials
It can be difficult to measure the ROI of something that you can’t equate a monetary value to, but that doesn’t mean that the top tools for learning don’t provide measurable cost savings. Sure, you can come up with your own measurement that gives you an actual ROI percentage to work with, but overall you’ll likely see evidence of your return on investment with training that isn’t so easy to assign a specific dollar value to.
For instance, the typical ROI on implementing online training usually include:
- Increased sales. When employees have better sales training, they are able to understand their customers better, which helps them build stronger and more effective relationships. Being able to effectively build rapport with customers organically leads to more sales.
- Preparing employees for growth opportunities. Do you find that you’re hiring outside of the company for higher-level positions? If so, then you need to take a look at how you can train your internal employees to move up in the company. It’s no secret that recruitment costs money, and if recent hiring trends continue, then companies will have to get creative to attract the right candidates. So why not invest in your existing employees? After all, it’s easier to retain staff than hire new ones.
- Improved project outcomes. This one is kind of a no-brainer: employees that are better trained at their jobs are likely to perform their jobs better. When you invest in training, you’re getting a better end product, whether that be a project or better customer service.
Implementation of Learning Tools
Implementing new learning tools into your business’s existing tech stack requires time, gathering of training materials, and development resources (if you’re creating eLearning courses). This can pose a bit of a challenge, especially for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to get everything up and running.
Thankfully, most online learning tools like Tovuti provide professional services and a comprehensive help center that assists with content creation or set up initiatives.
Keeping Employees Engaged with Learning
Workers are busy. Employees with full schedules can find it difficult to dedicate time and energy to learning when they have other, seemingly more important tasks to complete. Using learning tools that have proven positive effects on learning motivation, like gamification, is a great way to keep your employees engaged with learning and also make it a fun experience.
How else can you ensure employees are engaged with learning? According to a recent LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, one of the best ways to measure how employees feel about the learning tools you’re giving them is to — big surprise — ask them directly.
Giving employees surveys as a chance to provide their feedback is increasing in popularity, so companies can not only measure the impact of learning but also provide valuable insight into how exactly employees are engaging with provided learning tools.
Ongoing Maintenance of Learning Tools and Training Materials
To keep learning tools effective, they need regular maintenance, and course content needs regular updates. Depending on your business’s resources, it can be a big task to keep up with everything, especially if you don’t have dedicated IT staff and developers to keep everything in line.
Some learning tools obviously require no maintenance, like LinkedIn Learning or other online course platforms, but if your company implements an LMS or LXP, then regular attention will be required to keep the platform running smoothly. This means that you may have to seek out professional assistance through the company that owns the platform you choose or hire IT staff and development staff if you don’t already have those types of professionals employed at your business.
For initial onboarding and getting started with the LMS or LXP platform, most companies provide an idea of what an implementation timeline looks like and what the costs associated with that will involve.
5 Factors in Deciding Which Tools for Learning Your Business Needs
You’ve got the information you need, and you’re convinced that your business needs some sort of learning tools — but how do you make a decision about which ones?
There are a number of factors to consider when you’re choosing between the top tools for learning for your business, including:
- Business goals and objectives
- Ongoing training needs for employees
- Type of workforce (e.g., remote)
- Budget constraints
- Implementation with current business tools
Business Goals and Objectives
If you rolled your eyes and said “well duh” at this section, then you probably understand the assignment: your business goals and objectives are going to be a major factor in influencing what learning tools you provide for your employees.
If your main objective is to give your employees professional development opportunities, then you’re likely to look to a platform like LinkedIn Learning or even budget for continuing education courses through universities or colleges. Keep in mind that an LMS or LXP can also provide third-party courses (that you can white-label or not) that offer certifications as well.
If you need to train your employees on internal policies, procedures, and even products, then an LMS or LXP is a perfect tool for your business. These learning tools provide engaging learning experiences for your employees and are much better at actually teaching them than a boring PowerPoint presentation.
Ongoing Training Needs for Employees
Look, training is an ongoing process. Nobody can claim they’ve learned everything they could know about a job or career. Ongoing training is essential. Regarding business goals, you’ll likely need to train your employees on any changes in the company, including policies and procedures, sure, and new products.
An LMS or LXP is great for supporting ongoing training for employees, as it provides a centralized location for course material, while also letting you retain full control over learning paths and which lessons can be taken at which time (great for staggering learning or testing out new courses before releasing them to staff).
Type of Workforce (e.g., Remote)
Here’s a consideration in choosing a learning tool that you may not have thought of: does it support your business’s workforce? These days, remote workforces aren’t a new and unusual thing. In fact, if trends are to continue, then it will likely become the norm, not the exception. If you’re wondering what the best learning tool available is to train a remote workforce, well, what it’s not is emailing them word docs and powerpoints to read over.
To train a remote workforce, you’ll want to invest in an LMS or LXP, like Tovuti. A learning tool like Tovuti provides a ton of benefits for remote employees, like the ability to create engaging, interesting online courses, as well as social learning opportunities through connected communities (like a mini social network built into the system) forums, and video chat.
It’s tempting to go with the most expensive, fully-featured learning tool, but many businesses don’t have the extra capital to throw around. And even if you did, why would you? To start with setting a budget for a learning tool, investigate the cost of several tools that have the features and benefits you’re looking for. From there, you can set a budget that makes sense but also keeps spending in line.
Implementation with Current Business Tools
Does the learning tool that you’ve chosen play nicely with the other tools that your business uses? Learning management systems typically have the ability to connect with popular tech that businesses use every day, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet, just to name a few. When the learning tool that you choose connects seamlessly with other tools in your business, it makes the software experience that much better.
Learning tools for business refer to any type of technology or software that provides a way for your employees to gain new skills (or hone existing ones), stay up-to-date on the latest company policies and procedures, and learn about new company products. Common learning tools for these purposes include learning management systems, learning experience systems, and third-party course websites like LinkedIn Learning.
Choosing the right learning tool for your business requires a close examination of your business goals and objectives and how those goals and objectives fit with training your employees.
If you’re ready to pick the best learning tool that serves all the training needs your business can throw at it, then look no further than Tovuti. As a top-rated LMS platform, Tovuti provides an easy, efficient, and delightful way to train employees. Watch our demo today to learn more!