QUESTION: I’m a small business owner looking to upgrade our online “training” to something a little more interactive and professional. Currently it consists of little more than some uploaded PDF’s the student reads through and can print off. I don’t need anything uber-fancy, but I’m not experienced enough to know if I’m looking for e-learning software, an LMS, or both. I’m hoping you can point me in the right direction of some solutions that would be affordable and fit my needs. Thank you!
Thank you for your question! If you are looking to produce training on your own quickly and easily, then I recommend that you lay out your ideas and training in PowerPoint. You can then use an inexpensive tool like Lectora Snap ($99 at the time this article was written) to convert your PowerPoint to online training that includes audio and whatever graphics and text you have created in your PowerPoint deck. The key is to keep the content concise and of value to your audience.
Secondly, make smart use of graphics. Seek the help of a professional graphic designer if needed since bad visuals can really distract from your message, while professional visuals add sophistication and credibility to you and your organization.
With regard to a Learning Management System (LMS), you really only need this if you wish to have your learners log in to a system with a username and password so you can track their activities relative to your training. For example, use an LMS if you wish to register learners, assign training programs, track course completions, and perform other academic tracking functions. If you simply want to provide educational/training materials to your customers and are not concerned with tracking learner performance, then you can just post your training online. Programs like Lectora Snap and Articulate Presenter (a lot more expensive) output files in a format that can be posted to your website, uploaded to an LMS, distributed on CD-ROM, or delivered other ways.