If you’re aware of the possibility of online training, you’re naturally going to want to know the cost of switching over. How much is it going to cost you to change? It’s a complicated answer that should be broken down into two paths – you could purchase a learning management system for your company, or you could go to an online training provider and purchase their training programs for your staff.
Wait, what’s a learning management system (LMS)?
You know how Microsoft Word is the software most people use to write up documents? Think of an LMS as the software that holds the online training materials. You can upload documents that your employees need to sign (waivers, employee agreements, etc.), and you can create a training program that gives an orientation to your company as well as covers topics they need to know.
Purchasing an LMS for yourself
If you’re interested in purchasing an LMS for your company, you’ll need to consider the following:
- How many employees am I training? Some learning management systems charge organizations per user, which may work for smaller companies, but not so well for larger companies with lots of turnover.
- What training program am I trying to create? If you’re looking to just have a place to upload documents and perhaps a simple presentation orienting new hires to the company, this may be a good option for you. However, the more complicated your program gets, the more likely you’ll need to hire someone to develop the program for you.
- Do I have the necessary IT staff already? If you do not, you may have to hire someone else to manage the system and solve any problems that come up.
- What features do I need from the LMS? Do you want to include tests with your courses? Do you want the LMS to track employee progress and the ability to run up-to-the minute reports? There are plenty of available options, so think about what you need first – then explore your options.
Some pros and cons of having an LMS for yourself are as follows:
- Pro: Any of the training materials you upload are exactly how you want them to be. You have full ownership of the material, and you can do whatever you want.
- Pro: You can easily and quickly update course content at any time since you’re in control – there’s no waiting.
- Pro: Branding can be completely customized to your company.
- Con: Time and manpower might be limited at your company, so the process of transferring everything may take a long time and cost you a lot of money paying for developers.
- Con: Purchasing an LMS for yourself may be a lot of money upfront, which you might not have at your disposal if you’re a small organization.
Going to an online training provider
If you think purchasing an LMS for yourself gets too complicated, the other option you have is to go to an online training provider and purchase courses from them. Online training providers already have the LMS, and they offer a lot of courses that may be what you require for your staff. If you’re interested in this option, you’ll need to consider the following:
- Is my organization following a government-mandated training that is consistent across lots of different companies? For example, if you’re with an organization who works in Maryland for people with developmental disabilities, you may be mandated to complete the Maryland DDA Certification. Some companies already offer this, so transferring from in-house training to online training takes a lot less time.
- Do you have an employee available who can manage the online training? Working with a company that offers an LMS and already-created training may be your best bet, but you’ll still need someone to create the online accounts, manage course enrollment, and track progress and completion.
Some pros and cons of going to an online training company include:
- Pro: If you just want your employees to train in basic courses that the company already offers, it takes very little time and energy to transfer from in-house to online training.
- Pro: If something goes wrong, you have a support system that can look into any problems that occur.
- Con: If you want a customized training program for your company, it often costs extra for the online training provider to develop, and it will take some time to create.
- Con: Branding will most likely have the online training provider’s branding on it, instead of just your own.
There are lots of things to think about when considering online training, and there’s no easy answer! But weighing the pros and cons of each path to take will give you the best place to start.