Training is a must-have for many employees today. According to the consultant group, Guthrie Jensen, 68% of workers consider training and development the most important company benefit.
And these educational perks don’t just result in more engaged employees. Companies that invest in employee training also have a 24% higher profit margin than companies that don’t.
Providing learning and development opportunities to your employees should be a no-brainer, but the costs can still be a hard pill to swallow.
Holding in-person classes or sending productive employees away to seminars is expensive. Businesses want to train employees while staying within budget.
Learning management systems (LMS) offer a cost-friendly alternative to traditional training sessions. They’re used by businesses to help employees learn and grow in their jobs – without breaking the bank.
What is a learning management system?
A learning management system delivers and tracks educational and training content online. E-learning tools include customizable content, mobile lessons and gamification. A LMS is used by companies to onboard and train employees, and it can improve engagement and retention.
Here are five cost-friendly training ideas using LMS software.
1. Offer on-demand training and professional development
Employees are more likely to stay with a company when they’re offered professional development opportunities, such as management skills or sales training.
The cost, however, of hiring instructors, renting a physical classroom and coordinating times when all employees can attend classes can often be too high.
LMS software provides on-demand classes that employees can access online or through mobile devices. That means businesses save on teachers, facilities and lost productivity.
Vendors often use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing model, so customers pay a subscription fee instead of a large upfront cost. Typically, the fee is $5 or less per learner, per month.
In addition, having managers run training sessions isn’t always a good idea. They may not have the experience or time necessary to prepare course materials or accurately assess performance.
On the other hand, LMS software can help employees learn efficiently and effectively, because they’re designed using teaching best practices. These include microlearning, multimedia, pre- and post-training assessments, convenient access and individual learning paths.
2. Onboard new employees
Studies show engaged employees stay with companies longer, and engagement begins with a structured onboarding program.
LMS software can provide educational materials to help new hires get acclimated to your company’s culture and the responsibilities of their role.
Because some solutions include more features than you would ever possibly need, it pays to find a vendor with a per-use pricing plan. This allows clients to opt out of certain parts of the software and pay only for what they put to use.
This could mean being charged based on certain modules, the number of active accounts or a specific piece of content. It depends on the arrangement made between the vendor and client.
Prices generally range from $1 to $10 per use. Companies that don’t need to train employees regularly or only need an LMS platform to onboard new hires should consider this option.
3. Provide online industry certifications
Some industries or jobs, such as human resources, healthcare and safety, require certifications or continuing education credits.
In the past, this meant employees had to travel and miss work to attend days-long seminars and classes. Now, an LMS solution can help businesses with these industry-specific requirements either by providing on-demand content available in its internal library or by partnering with third-parties to deliver lessons.
Additionally, LMS software can help administrators track which employees need additional credits and when certification must be renewed.
In this situation, vendors usually charge companies per course. Compared to a per use pricing plan, there’s a premium, since the content is specialized for compliance-focused industries. However, this option should still be much cheaper than in-person certification classes.
4. Try open-source or free versions of LMS software
Many companies want the ability to deliver training and education but don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with advanced software. In this case, open-source or free versions of LMS solutions may be a good option, as they generally include basic functionality and provide access for a limited number of users.
Open-source LMS software has source code that’s publicly available. Companies can download, install and customize the software on their own, for free. Some LMS vendors also offer free versions of their software.
Businesses that choose these options will still have to consider implementation, customization, integrations and maintenance. In particular, installing and customizing open-source software can be complicated for companies that haven’t used an LMS before, and there’s no support if something goes wrong.
Companies that choose this route should also have a knowledgeable in-house IT team or hire implementation consultants. But if your company already has the technical know-how, using open-source software can provide a cost-friendly alternative.
5. Use a premade course library or build custom content
One of the difficulties of training employees is finding relevant content to your business.
In response, many LMS vendors offer course libraries with premade lessons for a variety of industries, from safety to workplace ethics to sales. Companies should research vendors to see if they have content for their specific needs.
Businesses that have more site-specific requirements, such as assembly line procedures, often rely on third-party professionals to create training videos. However, this can be a costly process.
LMS software provides course authoring tools that can help organizations create course content using templates or from scratch. And it’s not generic content either. The software can handle a range of content from site-specific videos to PowerPoint slides and also make interactive quizzes and games.
If your company doesn’t have the resources to create this content, some vendors can also create custom training courses. This service may be charged per hour or as a one-time fee. But the benefit of using an LMS content creator versus a third-party is that the content will be designed to be used in their specific software.
Investing in an LMS solution shouldn’t be taken lightly. You should make sure to talk with potential users who’ll receive training and figure out which key performance indicators will be affected. If implemented correctly, however, the software can significantly reduce your overall training costs.
You can find more details on expenses in this 2019 LMS pricing guide. If you’re in the market for a solution, check out these reviews of the best learning management systems.