Is your organization looking for a learning platform for internal training?
In this text, we will go through the different departments and user groups in an organization and discuss what kind of things should be considered from their point of view when searching for a learning platform. We will be looking at the selection of a learning platform from the perspective of the end-users, as well as HR and IT departments, who are often involved in the selection process.
Not all of the things mentioned in this text will be necessary to prioritize in every organization, but they are helpful to go through and consider, whether they should be a priority for your organization or not.
The list is a useful tool especially in situations, where the system acquisition is done in collaboration within multiple departments of the organization.
Understanding the needs of end-users will ensure the platform's usability and active participation in training
Ease of use and intuitiveness
From the point of view of the end users of the learning platform, ease of use is one of the most important selection criteria.
An easy-to-use learning platform provides a pleasant and smooth user experience from the very first use, making it more likely to remain in active use.
Intuitiveness is a keyword when reviewing the ease of use of a system. Easy-to-use systems are generally quick and easy to learn to use intuitively through trial and error, rather than requiring hours of training or reading several manuals. When piloting a system it is, therefore, worth exploring how easy it is to learn how to use a new system by testing and experimenting. In addition to intuitiveness, it is also worth checking that the service provider provides instructions or guides on how to use the platform.
These days, a lot employees wish for systems to be easily accessible on mobile devices. Especially in organizations where employees don't have access to work computers, it is important to ensure that the learning platform also works smoothly on employees' own mobile devices.
Mobile-friendliness ensures that the system is actively used as part of everyday life. When content scales smoothly on different screen sizes and functionalities are optimised to work on smaller devices, the user experience is pleasant on all types of devices.
This makes information and training easily accessible wherever you are, as long as you have your smartphone in your pocket.
Support for different kinds of learners
A versatile and flexible learning platform allows you to meet the needs of different learners.
Different learners' needs can be taken care of by creating content in various formats, such as images, videos, audio files, infographics or tasks. The tools of the learning platform can also be used to sequence learning so that it can be integrated into anyone's working days, where different amounts of time may be available for learning.
A good learning platform also supports interactivity both between participants and between the participant and the organization by providing a space for discussion and feedback.
In addition to physical environments, it is also important to design digital environments to allow the widest possible range of people to participate and use the services without problems. In the digital environment, this is called accessibility.
Accessibility is about the technical implementation of the environment, the ease of use and the clarity of the content.
Accessibility can be measured with various indicators, and it is also worth checking these things with the service provider during the purchase process.
The most important criteria for the end-users in learning platforms are...
Finding a tool that supports the organization's HR work
Sharing information in an easy, high-quality way
As the name states, the main purpose of a learning platform is to make learning happen. For this reason, maybe the most important criteria in the selection of a learning platform should be that it enables simple, high-quality learning and teaching.
High-quality, easy-to-use content production tools help ensure that it is simple to produce usable, effective content in a reasonable amount of time.
When the content creation the tools of the learning platform have been designed with a pedagogical perspective in mind, it is easy for the trainer to create content that serves the learner and ensures learning. This way, the trainer can focus on their own area of strength, the content of the course, while someone else has designed tools that support learning in the best possible way.
Integrating the platform with other systems
Often the learning platform is purchased to be a part of the organization's larger system complex, in which case it is important to be able to integrate the learning platform with other systems. Integrations allow information to be automatically transferred from one learning platform to another and vice versa.
Some of the most common integrations in organizations that train in-house include integrations to HR systems in order to transfer user and performance data, and single sign-on integrations to automate user management and improve data security.
When purchasing a learning platform, it is a good idea to ask what kind of processes the provider has to implement integrations. The easiest way to take care of integrations is to look for a provider that already has fixed processes for implementing integrations and that takes responsibility for it.
A learning platform best serves its purpose when it provides easy-to-read analytics on learning and skills development. It is important that learning occurs, but it is also often important for organizations to be able to report on that learning and competence, which can be done through analytics.
A competence database means that the data generated and collected by the learning platform creates a comprehensive register of the competencies and ambitions of an organization. The database supports the work of HR and in particular the development of skills in the organisation.
The branding of a learning platform means that the colours, fonts and other visual elements of the platform's layout can be changed to match the organization's brand.
Platform branding makes the learning platform a coherent part of the organization's system complex, and the user experience becomes more seamless. The coherence and brand-equivalence of the systems also has a positive impact on the employee experience.
The most important criteria for the HR department in learning platforms are...
Most important factors in software for the IT department
Browser-based cloud service
Typically, when IT departments are acquiring a new system, it's important for them to know that the implementation can be done easily and smoothly, and that it doesn't create a huge workload for the IT department. Browser-based cloud services don't require installing software on computers, making the process lightweight. Therefore, a browser-based cloud service is often the most sensible purchase for the IT department.
A browser-based cloud service is also easy to utilize on multiple devices at once, meaning that data can be accessed from whichever device is at hand: a work computer, a personal phone, or any other device. System updates are also done automatically, and no outdated versions of the software will be in use.
Automated user management and system administration
In addition to the ease of installation, many of the other criteria related to the needs of the IT department are also supposed to ensure that the implementation of a new system does not create a huge burden on the IT department. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the functions associated with the practical use of the system can also be automated and managed by the service provider.
In most cases, user management can be simplified through single sign-on, i.e. by integrating the learning platform login with existing system credentials. This smoothens the login process and at the same time automates the management of for example access rights and groups. This is often a priority for IT departments that should not be compromised. Automating user management does not only reduce the workload, but also adds the data security level of the system.
The ease of use of the system is obviously important for all users, but for the IT department, it is particularly important. This is because when the system is easy to use, there will not be a large number of contacts and support requests from end-users. There are also differences in the support services provided by the platforms. When purchasing a system, it is important to find out what kind of support services are offered by the provider, whether user manuals or training is available, and whether there are any additional costs for using them.
In order to organize secure online learning, it is important to use secure tools, to manage access to the learning environment in an appropriate way, and to ensure appropriate handling of personal data.
When purchasing a learning platform, it is good to check at least whether the environment is regularly backed up, whether the security has been tested, and how the provider takes GDPR requirements into account in its operations. It is worth asking different service providers how they have taken care of security issues.
When selecting a learning platform, it is useful to check, in which languages the user interface and the support services of the platform are available.
Support services can be important for both end users and the IT department, and it is good to have them available in a language that the people know. Having an user interface in multiple languages supports the accessibility and easy usability of the platform.
The most important criteria for the IT department in learning platforms are...
If you are interested in hearing more about how Vuolearning could support competence development in your organization, we are happy to tell you more! Call us at +358 9 31545225, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an online demo with one of our experts here.