Thinking of investing in an on-line training system, but don’t know how to choose? Joanna Springer offers a cribsheet of questions to put to potential suppliers
Before you even begin to consider the platform over which to deliver your training, you must of course ask yourself what your training needs and objectives are. Top line objectives might typically be to reduce training costs and to train more people, increase access and widen participation, improve content retention or revitalise your programmes.
Further issues and objectives will undoubtedly fall out of these top-line descriptions, so be as comprehensive as you can in setting these out. Think about such issues as:
- Are there standard training courses that everyone must take?
- Can you use your existing training courses?
- Will learners and tutors be able to interact as you need them to?
- Are learners allowed to study at their own pace or will deadlines be involved?
- Will all your staff receive the same training service regardless of location?
The answers to these kinds of questions should direct you to a solution which will fit your needs, but don’t overlook one of the main requirements of a training management system - that it should be easy to use.
Setting your objectives is not only about content and support - it is vital to consider carefully the needs of your learner audience. What type of training environment are they used to? Will they be receptive to change and the introduction of an on-line training system? Unless people buy into this new way of training, it won’t get used, so think about the way you will market and promote it internally.
There is a wide range of on-line training packages in the marketplace and each has a different pricing structure. In an ideal world you would calculate the usage costs for training and apportion this as your budget for implementation. But there are several peripheral issues relating to licensing costs that you will need to take into account.
To establish how much implementing an on-line training system will cost, ask some very specific questions:
- What format will my materials need to be stored in?
- Will I need to create or re-create my training materials? If the answer is yes this will cost time and money.
- What is the licensing structure, eg per user, per workstation, storage costs?
- What are the hardware/software requir