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Online Learning Tools For Employee Training - 5 Best Picks

Ready to start an eLearning course for your business but not sure which online learning tools you need?

Understandable. After all, a quick googling of “best online learning tools” will turn up…

best online learning tools google search

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…quite a few results.

Going forward without knowing where to start only has two outcomes: buying the wrong tools or getting lost in research and never flinching.

We don’t like either option.

We’ve gathered all the info you need to start your online educational software journey. We’ll go over what constitutes an online learning tool, corporate eLearning software case studies, the top considerations when choosing the best learning tools, and our picks for the top software.

Ready? Let’s begin.

What is an Online Learning Tool?

“Online learning tool” is a broad term that encompasses any app, technology, program, or system that can enhance how an instructor presents content and educates a learner.

All the following are online learning tools:

  • LMS software
  • Communication programs
  • Educational websites
  • Educational games

Although those extra three bullet points are a little redundant if you just opt for the LMS software. 

Why? Because a good LMS like Tovuti will offer the same type of content as educational websites, the ability to create customizable educational games, and unique ways to communicate with learners and instructors alike.

We’re talking virtual classrooms, slides, quizzes, videos, pre-built courses, libraries – we could go on. And we do go on in our blog post on the LMS Meaning, where we dig into industry use, types of LMS, and typical features.

But for now – on with the online learning tools.

How Online Learning Tools Can Be Utilized for Employee Online Training

Corporations can use online educational software for compliance, safety, health, upskilling, onboarding, etc. Online learning is certainly not just for kids and university.

The corporate online learning industry is expected to be worth $50 billion by 2026.

Toyota’s customer-first message taught through interactive video

Leading car manufacturer Toyota has a powerful, important “customer-first” message. And they want every new employee to know the impact of that mission.

Initially they had a face-to-face presentation on orientation day, but they realized it delivered an inconsistent message, failing to clarify how every role encouraged and forwarded their idea.

To better immerse their new starters in this core principle, they created an interactive eLearning video to educate them on Toyota’s important customer-first message, featuring how different functions throughout the business add value to the customer’s experience.

As the learner moves through the video, they can click on points to watch videos with experts and bring up quizzes to check their know-how as they progress.

online learning interactive tool at Toyota

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What were the results?

This online learning tool resulted in:

  1. Consistent onboarding for new employees
  2. 87% of learners were satisfied and got up to speed more quickly
  3. 5-hour orientation condensed into one hour
  4. Time saved, enabling instructors to give trainees more one-on-one support

This solution was more engaging, more interesting, and kept not only time but money, too.

Additionally, it was so successful that they started giving refresher courses to existing employees.

Amazon used eLearning to teach dangerous goods handling

Health and safety training is a very delicate subject – it’s the difference between success and disaster. So you need to implement it effectively.

Amazon needed to deliver HAZMAT (hazardous material) training to their pickers and packers, and they wanted it to be more than a “tick the box” document. They wanted the knowledge to be thoroughly digested; and the more engaged an employee is, the more the knowledge is retained.

Their current solution wasn’t working. A face-to-face training session that takes 30 minutes may not seem like a long time – but when you have to remove your staff from the shop floor, it translates to hours of lost time and reduced productivity.

Amazon decided to try utilizing virtual learning tools, modernizing their training style with engaging immersion and better knowledge absorption.

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Their new training program used a combination of:

  • Gamification
  • Microlearning
  • Mobile learning

This style of learning allowed their employees to digest bite-size bits of knowing exactly when it suited them, which benefited not only knowledge retention but productivity.

Their learners had nothing but good things to say. The course was understandable and approachable – well, one of the learners said it best:

“This kind of training is better and more interesting because it is interactive.”

Gamification is the future of learning. It promotes knowledge retention and absorption, learner engagement, and boosts productivity.

That’s why we love gamification at Tovuti.

Things to Consider When Picking an Online Learning Tool

Online learning tools are outstanding resources for employee training and onboarding – but that doesn’t mean we want you to run out and buy the first thing you see.

Here are the top considerations when picking out the best virtual learning tools.

Usability

Your online learning tool is only good if your admins can easily create courses and your employees can easily take them. The learning curve is everything.

Usability can be defined by intuitive design, easy interface, mobile accessibility, and straightforward, streamlined processes – anything that makes the course author, admin, and trainee’s tasks simpler.

It’s a broad term and can mean different things to different organizations, but some key features to look for are:

  1. Mobile compatibility
  2. Media library access
  3. Pre-built templates and third-party content
  4. Integration with other commonly used systems
  5. Non-coding options for course authoring and customization

You want your online educational software to be approachable with a shallow learning curve. Your course is supposed to train employees on business practices, not how to use the software.

Cost

It isn’t hard to be more cost-effective than in-person training – after all, in 2018, the US alone spent $87.6 billion on face-to-face training.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look at the price tag of your virtual learning tools.

Consider your company’s budget, the size of your project, and your number of trainees when determining the tech you need. Smaller businesses will require a more straightforward, cheaper tool than a global company with hundreds of locations and thousands of learners.

This would also be the time to consider scalability and company growth. It would be a shame to purchase the perfect online educational software only to outgrow it in two months.

Comparing prices to features and features to prices will ensure you get the best software for your money. There are excellent, affordable options, but taking your time examining the cost will make sure you still get something high-quality.

Collaboration

You might think that collaboration between admins, course authors, and learners to relay feedback is pretty handy. But collaboration is so much more than “handy” – did you know that regular peer feedback makes an eLearning course 27% more helpful to learners?

That means a more effective eLearning experience is as easy as utilizing your employees – as long as your LMS supports it.

Collaboration features in online learning tools provide progressively better courses and content due to feedback from rating lessons and classes and leaving comments. That way, your employees (who are taking the lessons) can give you first-hand commentary on what works and what doesn’t.

Collaboration can also come in virtual meetings, breakout rooms, and document sharing – but we’ll talk about that in-depth in “Communication” shortly.

Resources

best virtual learning tools

The best virtual learning tools are not only resources themselves but contain them, too!

The right learning management system (LMS) will include many resources to boost your training program. Resources like:

  1. Pre-built courses and templates
  2. Extensive libraries
  3. Professional services
  4. A comprehensive third-party marketplace

With Tovuti, you can easily access content libraries on our marketplace. Like Syntrio, which delivers high-quality business compliance and standards training. Or Traliant, which provides training to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination.

Templates for courses and lessons will not only make your training program easier to build. They’ll ensure consistency across your system, so each class doesn’t look different. Templates unify your program into one solid experience.

Online learning tools can seem intimidating and daunting, like being thrown into an expansive ocean. But having reliable resources at your fingertips will ensure you have a life-preserver in that big ol’ blue.

Engagement

Chances are, you aren’t researching online learning tools because you want a black-and-white PDF that’s 40 pages long.

lack of engagement while online learning simpsons gif

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One of the best parts of eLearning is the engagement and immersion it offers. Studies show that employee engagement can rise up to 18% by using online learning.

And trust us, you want that employee engagement.

Online learning should be exciting, and there are plenty of ways to do it. Our top choice is gamification. By activating the reward centers in a learner’s brain and making the lesson fun, you entice the employee to participate in the course actively and absorb more knowledge.

It’s a better overall learning experience, and 90% of employees say that gamification makes them more productive. Read our blog post on the exact Gamification Definition for a deeper understanding.

Communication

The more options you have for clear communication, the better your training program becomes. Confusion and misunderstandings will only slow you down, and an online learning tool with communication features will provide clarity and reassurance.

Communication is not only the base for solid collaboration. It’s also the base for an average day at work. Which new hires have taken Course 1? How’d they do? What did your testers think of your brand new Course 9?

An LMS with a wide variety of features, like Tovuti, offers many forms of communication, like:

Feature

In-depth

Virtual meetings

  • Video meetings are facilitated through Tovuti’s many integrated conference platforms
  • Integrations include Zoom, Webex, GoToMeeting, Join.me, and more

Pop-up notifications

  • Personalized pop-up messages
  • Customize when they go out, who they go out to, and how long they last

Communities

  • Your very own social media network
  • Learners can communicate, form discussions, break off into groups, post pictures, and more

Forums

  • Your own structured, searchable forums
  • Learners can ask questions, search for answers, or provide information.

With such a buffet of communication options, you can easily minimize mistakes and mix-ups, boost productivity, and improve lesson outcomes.

Our virtual meetings are one of our favorites. If you want to learn about them in-depth (and we sure love to teach!), check out our blog on how an LMS needs to have a virtual meeting platform.

Flexibility

online learning tools for students

Online learning should be flexible – it’s one of its biggest advantages. And flexibility is a huge advantage to have. 43% of employees say that flexibility helps them achieve better productivity.

According to a Gallup study, flexible work environments also drive engagement. And that engagement caused 40% fewer quality defects, 41% lower absenteeism, and 21% higher profitability.

So it’s to your benefit that your LMS has features like:

  • Mobile learning - Access education content anywhere at any time
  • Microlearning - Bite-sized pieces of knowledge whenever a learner has time, like standing in line at the DMV or waiting for dinner to cook
  • Learning paths - Custom-tailored checklists to personalize a trainee’s journey with lessons, assessments, and milestones
  • Asynchronous learning - Education that allows you to do your work in your time, as long as it’s done by a deadline

And that’s just the employee trainee perspective of flexibility.

Tovuti has flexible course design and customizable websites, learner portals, logos, thumbnails, and more for admins. Having an adaptable design will ensure your training program suits your business.

Support

You can have the best virtual learning tools – intuitive, easy interface, etc. – but there will always be things you can’t control.

It could be a simple glitch, or maybe a “PROGRAM doesn’t recognize FILE” even though you could swear the system supported that file type…

This is where an outstanding support team comes in. Even once you feel you know the ropes, it’s good to have a strong support team to answer any questions. 

Taking the time to consider your LMS’ customer support team before deciding will help you immeasurably down the road. How many methods of contact do they have? Do they have any testimonials or merits attesting to their support?

With Tovuti, help comes in many forms. Email, phone, we even have a comprehensive support portal with a library of information.

Trust us, and there’s a reason that Tovuti was awarded “Best Enterprise Support” by G2.

Industry

Not all online learning tools are created equally, so it’s good to ensure it’s optimized for your industry. You don’t want a learning tool that’s made for universities (or worse, K-12).

Why? Well…do you need to track grades, homework, enrollment, and graduation?

An LMS designed for your industry will give you the features and benefits you need for your organization. It’ll be different for everyone, but it never hurts to have virtual meetings, discussion boards, and white-labeling.

If your online educational software matches your industry, all its templates, libraries, and third-party content will be relevant—compliance courses, health and safety courses, non-discrimination courses, etc.

Focusing on your industry will ensure you’re getting the features you need, but it’ll also ensure you aren’t paying for ones you don’t need.

Implementation time

learning tools online

When are you starting your training program? A month from now? Two months?

LMS takes time to set up, so knowing the implementation time for any given online learning tool will help you choose.

Some online learning tools may take a month or more to implement. What if you need your training starting in a month? You certainly won’t have the courses ready.

There are tools. However, that can be set up more quickly.

Tovuti is prepared to use in days, so you can use that month or more to learn the ropes, building courses, and beta testing lessons.

Our Choices for the Best Tools for Online Learning

Before we dive in, here’s a quick scan of our picks for the best online learning tools:

Online learning tool

Notable features

Tovuti

  • Cloud-based LMS
  • Course authoring
  • Course management
  • Gamification
  • White-labeling

LinkedIn Learning

  • Open online course provider
  • Video-based learning
  • Extensive library of information
  • Courses fall under the categories: business, creative, and technology

Udemy Business

  • Online learning platform
  • Integrates with LMS
  • In-depth courses
  • Learner tracking

Pluralsight

  • Online education website
  • Technology-focused
  • Learner tracking
  • Extensive course library

Uqualio

  • Cloud-based LMS
  • Video-based learning, primarily
  • Course authoring
  • Course management

1. Tovuti

Tovuti online learning

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Tovuti is a powerful LMS with detailed course authoring so you can design, deliver, and update engaging training programs for your employees. It’s made for corporations, so it has necessary features like white-labeling and web conferencing, without any of the K-12 school stuff.

Being both an authoring tool and an LMS, Tovuti makes it fast and easy to create courses, then deliver and manage them. That means you won’t have to juggle multiple programs.

It’s also fast because Tovuti can be set up in days, not months.

Here are some outstanding features:

  • Gamification
  • Mobile access
  • Microlearning
  • White-labeling
  • Communities, forums, virtual meetings
  • Vast third-party libraries
  • Course and lesson rating
  • Easy interface and shallow learning curve

Plus a lot more.

Pricing starts at $700 / month (accurate as of 04/2022).

2. LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn Learning online learning tools

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LinkedIn Learning is an open online course provider that offers video courses taught by industry professionals. Every course they offer falls under three categories: business, creative, and technology.

Many of the courses have additional helpful options like video transcripts and assessments. LinkedIn Learning also allows the user to provide course feedback and download courses for offline viewing.

And, being a subsidiary of LinkedIn, it’s easy to add skills and completed courses to your LinkedIn profile to display your success to your connections.

Pricing starts at 2-20 seats for $379.99 / seat/year (accurate as of 04/2022).

3. Udemy Business

Udemy Business

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You’ve probably heard of Udemy – but this is specifically for corporations, not universities, entrepreneurs, or freelancers. Udemy Business is designed for, well, business!

Udemy Business is a cloud-based online learning platform emphasizing video courses led by subject matter experts in the industry. Its biggest audience is mid-sized businesses, primarily in the information technology sector. But it’s for many more companies than that.

They also offer courses on honing soft skills, like business etiquette, emotional intelligence, and listening skills.

Udemy Business also has great testimonials of its support team and how helpful they are. It’s also mobile-enabled.

And you know those are two boxes checked for us.

Pricing starts at $360 / user/year (accurate as of 04/2022).

4. Pluralsight

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Pluralsight is a privately held online education business that offers courses to software developers, IT administrators, creative professionals, and more. They pride themselves on helping businesses keep up with tech, trends, and the ever-changing modern era.

They have two main course libraries. Their starter library contains over 2,500 courses on in-demand technology topics like cloud, data, software development, and security. Pluralsight’s more extensive library (available in both the “professional” and “enterprise” packages) contains its full 7,000-course lineup, including niche topics for more advanced projects.

It also includes learner tracking and assessments to watch who’s done what and how well they absorbed the information.

Pricing starts at $399 / user/year (accurate as of 04/2022).

5. Uqualio

Uqualio online learning tools

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Uqualio is a cloud-based LMS focused on video course creation. It can be used to create lessons for employees, sales partners, and even customers. They want to use immersive education methods like gamification and microlearning to engage learners and help them be their best.

We can relate.

It also has the admin side to manage lessons, create dynamic reports, manage team communication, add personalization and branding, and manage analytics.

Uqualio is also browser-based – so no downloading!

Pricing starts at $89 / month (as of 04/2022).

Frequently Asked Questions

“Where can I find online learning tools or resources?”

In this day and age? Nearly everywhere! Even Google Docs and YouTube count as online learning tools. :)

But if you want a wealth of the best tools for online learning, look no further than Tovuti. It’s not only an LMS and a course authoring tool but has many optional downloadable lessons and libraries as additional resources.

“What’s an example of an online learning tool?”

A piece of technology that facilitates education online, such as online quizzes, documents, videos, and games. This could be anything from an LMS to an educational website to a virtual classroom.

“What are the basic online learning tools?”

The basics are course authoring, course management, and communication tools. This means you can cover the necessities with an excellent LMS.

An LMS with all the right features will give you everything you need to get started. This includes course authoring and management, communication - and even more, like data, analytics, reporting, and pre-built templates.

You can read all about this essential online learning tool in our blog post What Is LMS: Ultimate Guide on Learning Management Software.

It’s Time to Choose Your Online Learning Tool

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It’s Time to Choose Your Online Learning Tool

Today, we’ve dug into what a virtual learning tool is and hope you’re feeling more confident in your knowledge. We also hope you take note of the considerations so that when choosing your LMS you look for a good learning curve, an excellent support team, and wonderful collaboration and engagement features.

A flexible, industry-specific LMS can be just the thing to boost your employee training to the moon. And we don’t think you’ll ever look back.

For more on this topic, read more about online learning platforms for businesses that want to level up their training program and improve their workplace. Or, if you’re ready to take a look at a powerful LMS, watch our demo.

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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