In our last blog we did a deep dive into eLearning production tools. For those of you who didn’t catch the blog, eLearning is a structured course or learning experience that is delivered electronically to a learner to take independently without an instructor. Examples of eLearning production tools include Adobe Captivate, Articulate Rise and Lectora.
eLearning production tools can take your electronic course beyond the “click-and-read” format with interactive tools like animations, embedded videos, simulated hands-on exercises, and built-in tests. Many also enable you to save your completed eLearning course in a format, such as xAPI, so that it can be exported as a stand-alone course or to one of many learning delivery tools.
Learning Delivery Tools
If you plan to deliver your online training through a learning delivery tool, there are a variety of options for you. To give you an example of how big this market is, Markets and Markets Global Forecast expects the LMS market alone to grow to 25.7 billion USD by 2025.
Within learning delivery tools categories there are four main subcategories of tools including virtual classrooms, learning management systems, learning experience platforms and VM-ware like tools.
Tools in this category include virtual meeting and training tools like Google Classroom, Moodle, Zoom, or Webex to deliver an online class live with an instructor and participants. You may be familiar using tools like this for virtual meetings, but there are many tools in this category tailored specifically for virtual training and provide additional functionality like virtual breakout rooms, whiteboards, and space to upload slides and course content.
The goal of tools in this category are to make the virtual training more engaging for learners and a closer experience to in-person instruction. As you can imagine, tools in this space have been in high demand since the start of the pandemic.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
This category of tools is what most people outside of the learning industry are familiar with, and in my experience are the most misunderstood. Often when organizations want to create a training program they feel this is the silver bullet that they need right away. However, what many companies who are considering online learning for the first time don’t realize is that you need to first create the content and the online course (this is where LearnExperts Artificial Intelligence LEAi can come in) before you can upload it to the LMS for your learners to access to take the course online.
There are a lot of options in this category and the options they include are always expanding. With a LMS you can deliver your learning programs with features like self-sign-on, self-directed learning paths, and learning communities to name just a few. Most also provide excellent analytics so you can measure the success of your programs.
Many of the tools in this category also include capabilities for virtual classroom delivery, so if your requirements include a need for both virtual classroom and eLearning you should consider an LMS with this functionality so that you don’t have to purchase and manage additional software. Tools in this category include SkillJar, Docebo (my two personal favorites), Axonify, Thought Industries and Absorb, to name just a few.
Learning Experience Platform (LXP) tools
A LXP is an AI-driven learning experience platform that has been trending in the industry and it provides a new approach to traditional learning management systems that focus on what learning departments want their users to learn and flips this by focusing on the user’s personal learning goals.
Tools in this category include Degreed, Cornerstone and Learning Pool Stream. LXPs still provide a service similar to an LMS, but allow learners to have a personalized learning experience. LXPs typically support a wide variety of content and have social features that enable end users to create and publish content, along with social profiles that feel like a social media experience. The popularity of these tools is exploding, and I expect this trend to continue as this category gains traction.
VMware-like tools to create electronic labs
These tools are used to support in-class training, virtual classroom and eLearning with a hands-on “try-me” type experience. The aim of these solutions is to provide the learners with the opportunity to perform the tasks they are learning to solidify their knowledge.
For the program provider it can provide a way to deliver valuable hands-on experience to learners using virtual machines that can be quickly spun up or turned off. The benefit of this is that you don’t have to spend budget on having numerous full training systems that can be very costly.
Implementing these solutions can be complex and technical so it is crucial that you have the right skillset on your team to create and manage these. Tools in this category include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
Learning Delivery Tools Selection
If you are creating a learning program at your organization and are considering including learning delivery tools, I recommend doing a thorough evaluation of your requirements and doing your research on the systems that have the features most critical to your program. There are so many options in this category that you are likely to find options that will satisfy most, if not all your needs.
If you have been following all the blogs in this series you may be thinking that navigating the tools available to support your learning programs feel daunting as there are so many options; don’t worry, you are not alone!
We have supported many customers who aren’t sure where to start, if you’re interested in learning more or if you have questions on how to find the right tools for your organization, please contact us as this is our passion and we would love to help!