Choosing Training Management Software

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If you’re in charge of instituting an enterprise-wide computer-based training program at your company, you’ll quickly discover there are a lot of potential choices out there. How do you choose the training software that best fits your company? First off, I’m not going to pretend that this is an unbiased article. Our LMS software, Convergence Server Enterprise, is fantastic and quite frankly I think it’s the only one you will need. In this post I’m going to tell you why.

So let’s get straight to the point. Why should you choose our training management software?

It’s easy for learners to use – With a simple to navigate training home page, our user interface provides an ease-of-use for all levels of learners, including those who may be novices at using a computer. Your learners will get clear instruction on what training they are assigned, how to access their assigned training, and the ability to track their overall training progress.

It’s easy for administrators to use – With a wide range of reporting and administrative options, you have the ability to track and report on your organization’s training program ranging from qualifications, classroom training, and task based events. Our platform allows you to mirror your organization’s structure (locations, regions, sites, departments, job codes, etc.) and assign, track, and report on training throughout your entire organization. This allows you to easily and efficiently assign, track and report at any level of your organization. In addition, training status reports can be scheduled for automatic email delivery to anyone in your organization.

It tracks ALL training – Our LMS was created for the high demands of industrial safety compliance. That means it is set up to be able to track ALL of your training initiatives—not just computer-based training, like some software. With Convergence Server Enterprise, you can assign and track on-the-job (OJT) training, classroom sessions, third-party trainers and contractors. This flexibility reflects the diverse amount of training that goes on at large companies, especially ones that require safety compliance.

It can deliver high-bandwidth training fast – Do you have large training videos that are difficult to access between facilities? Our training system hosts large files locally, so that learners can access these files immediately, with no delays. Because our system was created primarily for large industrial clients who use a lot of high-bandwidth training videos, and because we develop our own multimedia training content, this is an area where we excel.

It lets you create your own training – Our training management system is technically what is known as a learning content management system, which means you can use it to create your own computer-based content and tests. You can import existing SCORM or AICC-compliant training materials, or use popular content authoring tools to convert your PowerPoint presentations or documents into interactive training. You can create quizzes and tests in multiple formats, and upload documents and images to go with these questions.

It gives you many reporting options – A good training management system should give you efficient management tools. Our system lets you create status reports on your training program, and send out those reports in a variety of formats to the people that need to see them. You can set up automated email delivery of these reports to specific recipients so that administrative time is reduced and accountability can be extended to all levels of your organization.

It’s infinitely scalable for your company’s growth – Convergence Server Enterprise was built to be a solution for all businesses, no matter their size. Its scalability means it can be initially installed at just a few sites and then scaled up over time to include the entire organization. It will be a viable solution for your company to better deliver, track, and report of all of your organization’s training now and into the distant future.

Our training management system was created from working alongside large companies that require efficient and reliable training management for their safety compliance record-keeping. When you choose Convergence Server Enterprise, you get the result of this evolutionary design process and can rest assured you’re using a trusted solution.

Call us or email us now to schedule a no-pressure demonstration where you’ll be able to navigate in the program and see first-hand its strengths.

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Benefits of 3D Graphics in Training

For those of you curious about the power of our 3D animation, take a look at this recent comment from a customer who purchased our Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety DVD:

“Graphics were great! The information in the DVD was excellent, but what really stood out to me were the graphics. When I showed it in our safety meeting it definitely kept everyone’s attention and in turn everybody listened to the information better. It was definitely worth the price.”

In safety training, holding the attention of your employees is sometimes half the battle! An exciting visual format focuses the viewer’s attention and prevents their mind from wandering. We create 3D scenes, equipment, and environments that produce cinematic, visually exciting scenarios that keep people’s interest. But pretty pictures are only half the battle.

Some of our most effective use of 3D animation is to visually demonstrate critically important concepts that can be next to impossible with live-action video. For example, in our Compressed Gas safety video, we blow stuff up! But we also create scenes for visual impact based on actual incident reports, not just for fun. OK, it is fun… but we take our work very seriously! Another cool use of 3D is when we show gas molecules being condensed into a cylinder. Imagine trying to do that with a video camera!

So check out our Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety video and take a moment to see some of our other work… You won’t look at safety training the same way again.

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An Online LMS for Way Less Than a Trip to the Emergency Room

Convergence Training is bringing safety training tools to just about any business. Soon, pretty much any company will be able to train, track, report, and get important notifications anywhere at any time for way less than a trip to the ER.

Convergence WebExpress is our new Internet-based training delivery and management system. It’s an online learning management system, or LMS, without the expensive servers or sophisticated software. Keep reading to find out more.

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Training Programs and Return on Investment

At first glance, calculating the return on investment (ROI) of a product, including a training program, is relatively simple. You begin by assigning a monetary value to the benefit gained from the product. Next, you divide that benefit by the cost of the product. The result, expressed as a percentage, is the ROI.

In equation form, ROI = [Benefit/Cost] x 100.

Let’s consider an example. Say your company spends $100,000 in one year to establish a new division. By the end of the year the division has returned a total of $125,000 in revenue. The cost is the money spent over the year on the new division: $100,000. The benefit is the revenue brought in minus the cost: $125,000 – $100,000, or $25,0000. Now let’s plug those figures into our simple ROI equation:

ROI = [Benefit/Cost] x 100
= [$25,000/$100,000] x 100
= .25 x 100
= 25 percent

Because our time frame was one year, the ROI is 25 percent per year.

You can then use the ROI to determine the break-even point of the investment. In our example, the new division with an ROI of 25 percent per year has a break-even point of four years (100/25 = 4).

However, calculating ROI is not always that simple. It can be difficult to accurately assign financial values to the cost and benefits of any product, and that’s true for training programs as well.

Costs of a Convergence Training Program and Your Current Training Program

To calculate the potential ROI of a new Convergence training program, you’ll need to determine the costs of both the Convergence program and your current training program. Determining the cost of your current program is important because the cost savings between a Convergence program and your current program is one part of the benefit of the Convergence program (but not all of the benefit).

Some costs of a training program are easy to identify. For example, if your company currently pays a consultant to create a training program, that’s part of the program’s cost. Alternately, if Convergence created a training program for your company, your payment for that program would be part of the cost.

But many companies significantly underestimate the costs of their current training program. For example, they may think their costs are no greater than the fees paid to a consultant to create their program. But this neglects many other costs that should be assigned to the training program as well: the salary paid to supervisors who deliver the program; the wages—including possible overtime wages—paid to operators who take the training; administrative costs to track and report on the training as well as to create records of training; facility and/or equipment rental; the expense to create documents, and more. These expenses often wind up allocated in the wrong budget, making training appear much less expensive than its true cost.

The two hypothetical case studies below demonstrate how to assess the costs of your current training program and a Convergence training program and illustrate how a Convergence training program can save money on training costs.

Training Costs Scenario 1 (Hires Retired Operator to Create Training Program)

In Scenario 1, a facility hires a retired operator to work as a consultant and put together documentation that will be part of a training program for qualifying future paper machine operators. The company tasks its own engineers or operators with presenting the material the retired operator creates, and schedules employees working through train-up ladders to attend classroom sessions in large groups to receive the training.

The first cost the facility faces is paying the contractor on an hourly basis to put together the training information. That cost can be significant, even though there’s no guarantee the contractor has the specialized skills necessary to create effective training materials suited for adult learning styles.

The second cost the company faces is the expense of the salaries and wages paid to the engineers or operators while they present the material. This cost is often kept in the general operating budget instead of being correctly assigned as a training expense.

Additionally, the facility incurs the cost of paying the workers to attend training sessions. Because the training is presented to large groups of workers in a classroom scenario, the workers may have to attend after their regular hours in order to make the schedules work, necessitating overtime pay. This is yet another cost that some companies neglect to consider when totaling their training expenses.

Finally, the company must factor in all of the other costs result from the training program. Some facilities employ a full-time worker just to coordinate the schedules of the trainers and trainees. Additional expenses can include the costs of renting a facility or equipment, creating training documentation, travel expenses, and more. Again, many companies fail to allocate these expenses correctly.

A thorough assessment shows that training expenses in Scenario 1 are $75,000 per year. Over an eight-year period, training costs total $600,000.

Training Costs Scenario 2 (Convergence Creates Training Program)

The next step is to calculate the costs the same facility would pay with a Convergence training program. The hypothetical case study below demonstrates the process.

In Scenario 2, the facility tasks Convergence with capturing the key training information from a variety of sources, including operators, existing documentation, technical drawings, verbal discussions, and visual inspections. Convergence then creates an interactive, visually compelling, self-paced study program that is available for employees at the facility 24/7 and is easily monitored and measured by people in supervisory positions. The program supplements online information with the ability to track and record traditional methods of training via structured lists of tasks that require supervisory approval as well as a method to credit time to individuals participating in class sessions.

The initial investment of setting up the initial training is $200,000. However, the Convergence program includes several features that drastically reduce the annual costs associated with the current program. Because the employees can take many courses at a computer, the company is able to cut down the use of supervisors and engineers as instructors. In addition, since individual workers can take courses on their own during slow periods of their day, overtime payments for training are significantly reduced. Finally, the tracking, reporting, and archiving features of the Convergence LMS help to cut the administrative costs of the current program. Therefore, the annual costs are reduced from $75,000 to only $20,000 per year. As a result of the savings, the facility can have the materials updated every 3 years at an expense of $40,000 per update. Over the same 8-year period, the costs of the Convergence training program are $420,000.

Chart C illustrates the costs of the two training programs. The higher initial costs of the Convergence program are quickly offset by its lower annual costs, creating a total savings of $180,000 over the eight-year time period.

My next post will discuss hard and soft benefits and how those would affect your decision making when it comes to implementinga training soluion.

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