From product training to compliance, getting the best employee training software in place is important in helping your L&D team succeed. But choosing the right option for your team can be difficult. While there are many tools and options available, not every kind of training software is born equal. So, how do you know which one is right for you? Here’s a few to look at in 2021!
From product training to compliance, getting the best employee training software in place is important in helping your L&D team succeed. But choosing the right option for your team can be difficult. While there are many tools and options available, not every kind of training software is born equal. So, how do you know which one is right for you?
Before we look at the most popular tools out there, let’s start with the foundation – understanding the complex elearning technology landscape.
Employee training: LMS, authoring tools, LCMS or something else?
Producing employee training with today’s tech can be a minefield. Should you go for a Learning Management System (LMS), an Authoring Tool, a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) or something totally different (yes, there are more!)? And what’s the difference?
We have previously written more in depth about the differences between the three. Here, let’s just do a quick and dirty overview of the main points so we can get on with comparing the most popular tools out there.
- An authoring tool enables you (and others within your organization) to produce your own elearning, or digital learning content.
- An LMS provides you with a way to host, store, organize and distribute the elearning content you create.
- LCMS allows you to create and deliver content, but you cannot host it.
Most large organizations usually have an authoring tool and an LMS in place for their employee training needs. There are also several tools in the market that offer a suite of tools – combining elearning production and distribution, for example. Since this is a prevalent setup for companies looking to train their staff, in this blog we’ll focus on LMSs, authoring tools and the combination.
Let’s jump in…
9 popular employee training software choices – quick review
Here’s a quick overview of nine of the popular employee training software platforms available right now. We look at three authoring tools, three LMSs and three tools that combine the two learning platforms. You can check out the deeper analysis below as well.
Employee training authoring tools:
- Elucidat – Elucidat is perfect for large, ambitious teams looking to create high-quality, responsive elearning at scale, quickly and easily. The platform also goes beyond simple authoring – enabling distribution and tracking of learning!
- Adapt – Adapt is a good option for technical authors who want to dig deeper into the workings of a tool, to create HTML5 content.
- Easygenerator – Easygenerator is for teams who need to create relatively simple elearning content quickly.
For more info on authoring tools, don’t forget to check out our Top 10 authoring tools comparison!
Learning Management Systems:
- Docebo – Docebo is best suited for educational institutions and small/medium-sized companies. For larger organizations, the robustness, reporting and customer support areas might be lacking.
- LearnUpon – This is another learner-oriented cloud-based LMS with popular integration features like API, Webhook and SSO.
- Cornerstone – Cornerstone has lots of capabilities and is great for creating simple assignments. But it’s not as sophisticated and user-friendly as other tools available.
Combination tools: LMS + authoring tool
- TalentLMS – TalentLMS combines an LMS with basic authoring. It’s a great option for teams that need to build basic courses by re-using Presentations or Videos. However, customization is very limited.
- iSpring suite – another tool that combines an LMS with an authoring tool. The tool lets you transform your PowerPoint to elearning, but is not fully cloud-based, so scalability can be an issue.
- Litmos – this combination of LMS and authoring tool is great for those who want a user-friendly training system that is easy to navigate and looks good. However, it also has a steeper learning curve if you are not familiar with HTML.
Producing quality content that will engage your employees and not just tick a box is never easy. This is why having an authoring tool that is easy to use, scales well and speeds up production is so important. It frees you up to think about the important stuff: the quality of the content! There are several authoring tools out there. Here, we cover the three most popular ones.
In-depth comparison of top employee training platforms
Elucidat makes it easier for ambitious teams to produce digital learning at scale. Elucidat is a fully-cloud based elearning authoring platform. This means that businesses can respond to change faster – and smarter!
With Elucidat you can empower experts to share knowledge and even produce content. And, you can do this without risking quality! Safely share access with your team using customizable user roles and permissions. They can start producing content 4x faster by utilizing the Learning Accelerator add-on. Blueprints are recommended based on your project goals. Your team can just follow the best practice guidelines and create something awesome.
Elucidat’s template library, a suite of interactions, WYSIWYG interface, and the ability to apply existing styles to new projects make creating high-quality learning content a piece of cake to carry out. It’s a cloud-based tool that makes collaboration a breeze!
Elucidat has been built with scale in mind. From team level permissions to localization tools and the ability to reuse and update content quickly – this employee training software is ideal for learning teams supporting large audiences.
Adapt is an open-source authoring tool that creates responsive HTML5 content. Developers anywhere can add new interactions to the community, but only tried and tested components are made available to users.
You can produce modern, slick-looking content with themes in Adapt, or by making your own themes. However, Adapt works on a grid-like system with blocks of content, so the finished products do all look “blocky” and similar.
The interface is nice, but needs a bit of time to get used to. It’s not WSYWIG, so you need to “preview” work a lot more when creating. This, of course, means you lose valuable time.
Adapt does allow you to duplicate courses; however, there doesn’t appear to be any sophisticated translation or variation features, which can limit how efficiently you scale up.
The clue is in the name of this training authoring software platform, which focuses on creating relatively simple elearning content quickly.
It’s easy and simple to create your own templates and produce responsive designs with this tool. However, the design functionality and interactions available are limited compared to other authoring tools. If you’re looking to create something with extensive customization and advanced interactions, then another tool might be better.
As you’d expect, Easygenerator is quick to grasp, and it has pre-built templates to help you get started. You can assign roles to allow different team members to review and collaborate on one course using their “co-authoring” feature.
The process of reusing and duplicating content, however, is quite clunky. And although you can create courses in a number of different languages, there doesn’t appear to be a translation tool or a way to manage variations. This would be a challenge if you need to scale up.
Employee training LMSs
Now that you have made up your mind on what you will use to produce content, it’s time to think about hosting and distributing it. This is where a good quality LMS comes in. There is a lot out there in this category. Here are three to check out. Combine one of these with an awesome authoring tool, and you are off to a good start!
With a rich feature set that both admins and learners will take to immediately, Docebo is ideal for in-house trainers and content creators to distribute their content.
Its intuitive navigation makes it easy to use. Anyone at any level of technological proficiency will be able to pick it up quickly.
Thanks to its nearly limitless reporting, 40-plus translation options available, and wide variety of third-party integration, Docebo may seem perfect. However, like any other training software, Docebo has a few disadvantages.
The tool is unfortunately not great for training companies that mostly conduct external sessions. And, the features in the standard package for small and medium-sized businesses are restrictive.
Suitable for training companies and in-house trainers alike, LearnUpon is a great LMS that’s been meeting the needs of a wide range of businesses and institutions since 2012.
The neat user interface is intuitive and quick to navigate. Course creation is straightforward and easy for learners to use, but also requires a lot of data entry. This, of course, is not ideal for people who don’t have massive course libraries or learner databases. Additionally, its reliance on module-based course creation makes adding questions and quizzes to courses more tedious than it needs to be.
LearnUpon ties into Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, and most social networks. However, it doesn’t offer the expansive third-party reach or translation options of other tools like Docebo.
This is better suited for larger organizations that have at least 1,000 employees spread out over multiple locations, who need to deliver simple training and compliance.
Despite its slightly dated appearance, Cornerstone handles large amounts of learning objects and dynamic assignments well, as long as they’re simple. It doesn’t like complicated builds, so if you need to create complex assignments (one with many parameters), this may not be the LMS for you.
Customization is also limited and the administration of Cornerstone is not straightforward either. There are a lot of nuances that come up when you are completing various activities.
Although Cornerstone isn’t the most sophisticated LMS on the market, it’s still a good tool for organizing and providing simple employee training.
Combination tools to check out
Looking for something that does both? After all, if you could do everything from one tool, why would you choose two? For smaller teams, this might just be the way to go. However, if you are looking to create quality content at scale that can be customized, an authoring tool LMS combo isn’t your best bet. LMSs that offer an authoring tool often fall short on the authoring bit. The production is often basic! Nevertheless, here are three to consider.
TalentLMS is a cloud-based LMS for small teams looking to build simple online courses or training content.
TalentLMS allows you to create courses easily, but the platform can sometimes feel a bit restrictive in how the lessons are laid out. Additionally, accepted file types vary, and file uploads are limited depending on the subscription plan you have.
The marketplace in TalentLMS is pretty close to a one-stop online learning management shop. It allows training and L&D professionals to create custom content and courses, and make them available to others. However, be warned: compared to other LMS companies, TalentLMS is much more expensive.
iSpring is a learning management system fully-integrated with a PowerPoint-focused authoring tool.
iSpring works as a PowerPoint add-in, which makes it very easy to use. You can very easily produce basic PowerPoint learning. However, for larger teams who are looking to customize content and produce more impactful learning, it might not be the best option out there.
Since iSpring is not fully cloud-based, speed and efficiency are not its strongest qualities. Updating the courses can be a bit tricky since all the material is saved locally. This becomes a big issue for companies working at scale that deal with a lot of ever changing content.
Collaboration is also more difficult when everything is updated locally. Another thing to note for Mac users is there’s no dedicated version and the tool doesn’t provide translations.
Litmos is well-suited for mid-large size corporations who want to satisfy their LMS and authoring tool needs with an economical solution.
Litmos is a great tool for those who want a user-friendly training system that is easy to navigate and looks good. Experienced HTML users will have no issues at all with course design, but for those with little or no experience it will take time and energy to get up to speed.
If you want all of your training branded to your organization, be aware that the framework will always be branded SAP Litmos. Additionally, if you have hopes of high levels of creativity and design, you may be somewhat restricted by the formatting and structure of the courses.
Their cheapest plan requires a minimum of 50 users, so if you’re a smaller business it probably won’t suit you. However, it does feature a large set of integration with other technologies that make its adoption a breeze.
Let’s not forget…
With the recent release of our Launchpad feature, it’s important to again mention Elucidat. Elucidat isn’t an LMS, but Launchpad did take the tool to another level.
With Launchpad, you can create mobile-friendly elearning portals, super fast. Coupled with the ease and insight of Elucidat, the feature allows you to get content to learners in a more cost-effective way. It’s as quick and easy as sharing a link! If you are looking to distribute content outside of your LMS, this is a great option to consider.
The reason why large companies often find that combining a great LMS and an outstanding authoring tool is because this gives them the best results. Often, tools that combine two things end up lacking in one. And basic is not good enough for many organizations out there.
The 9 different employee training software platforms compared here cross over a lot, but knowing what you’re looking to achieve will help you narrow down your shortlist. And, hopefully this blog has given you a good overview of what’s out there.
Be sure to read our Authoring Tool Buyers Guide and download the Authoring tool comparison template – they’re super useful when making up your mind! And, for more tips on how to create a winning employee training program, check out our Ultimate Guide to Employee Training!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is employee training important? As workplace technologies and processes evolve, a lack of ongoing training will leave once skilled workers lagging behind. Well-trained employees are more efficient, have higher production standards, will retain and grow your customer base, and are less likely to leave. Therefore, a better-trained workforce is more profitable than one that’s not.
- What’s the difference between an employee training LMS and an authoring tool? An LMS allows you to host and deliver learning using a wide range of learning experiences. Although some LMSs have basic authoring tools, the primary function of an LMS is not producing content. Authoring tools, on the other hand, don’t allow hosting, but focus on content production.
- What should you look for when comparing employee elearning tools? The key things are: How easy are they to use? What support do they offer? What quality of content can you create? Ask the provider to show you examples so you can experience them from the end-users’ point of view. Do they have the tools to help you easily scale your content? How well does each tool integrate with the systems you have now, and possibly the future?
- Is a cloud-based tool better than a desktop one? It depends on your needs. A cloud-based tool is great if you’re working with a team to create content, because multiple contributors can work on a project at once with all of their changes being saved, which means you can condense project timelines and get rid of lengthy handovers.
- How should you make the final decision when comparing two different options? Trialing a tool solo can be a narrow experience, so consider bringing in other stakeholders to get their opinions too. You could ask authors, graphic designers and novice designers to run some tests and give you their feedback before making the final decision.
Co-Author: Kate Herbert-Smith