Finding the right combination of technology is crucial to business success. So how do you build a tech stack that’s right for your unique training business needs? We’ve got some recommendations on the best tools, based on usage from Arlo’s network of world-class training providers.
Training businesses have been around for a year and a day, but the tools they rely upon are forever changing. Technology has revolutionized the way they operate and deliver their services, and there are many different tools and platforms available.
Filtering through them all is a big job in itself, so we’ve done the hard work for you and pulled together the top tools for training organizations to reduce administration and grow their business in 2023.
We also cover what you need to consider when building a technology stack, and some tips on how to build one that’s right for you.
What is a technology stack?
A technology stack, or tech stack, refers to the software and technology combination used to build and maintain a company’s operations. For training providers, the tech stack they need will depend on industry, type of training, company size, number of learners, budget, and other specific business needs. There is no one-size fits all approach when it comes to software for managing training businesses.
For small, internal team training, a simple scheduling and logistics tool may suffice, without the need for e-commerce or finance and accounting. For medium to large commercial businesses offering a complex range of courses from face-to-face to live online and blended learning, a highly-automated integrated solution is a must to drive efficiencies and scalability. For enterprise level training providers, such as universities, requirements can be so diverse that robust integrations or custom development may be necessary.
The choice of technologies can have a significant impact on the company’s overall efficiency, productivity, and competitive advantage. Finding the right combination of technology is crucial to business success.
What to consider when building a technology stack
Business goals. Look for a technology stack that offers features that align with your business goals and objectives, delivery methods, and content development requirements. Consider any security requirements, custom development needs, analytics and reporting requirements.
Scalability. The technology you choose should be able to scale with your business as it grows. You don’t want to invest in a technology that will become obsolete in a few years or that won’t support the growth of your business.
Learner needs. Understanding the learning styles and preferences of your target audience, their technological capabilities, and any other factors that may impact their ability to learn will help you choose tech that caters to their needs. Simple, easy-to-use software will encourage learner engagement, interaction, course completion, and repeat business.
Integration with existing systems. You will likely have existing systems that need to be integrated with new software that you add to your technology stack. It is important to consider how the new technology will integrate with existing systems such as LMS, accounting, payment, website and more.
Staff training. Consider the current technical capabilities of your staff members, and plan what training they will need to implement and use any new software that you introduce into your business. Choose a technology provider that offers comprehensive training to help you and your team get the most of it.
Support. For any new technology for training businesses, be sure to look at the company’s customer support model. Consider choosing a provider that offers global support with quick response times. This will ensure that any issues that arise can be quickly resolved, there is reduced frustration for your staff, and there is less disruption to your business. They may have different tiers of support depending on the pricing plan – limitations on support hours, phone support etc – that you will need to consider.
Cost. Consider the upfront costs of the technology you choose, as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining and updating it over time. Look for technology that aligns with your budget but keep in mind that costs aren’t static. Be sure to leave room in your budget to accommodate any future cost increases, plan upgrades, additional features or other add-ons.
Technology for training businesses
1. Training management system (TMS)
This one’s the most obvious, but it’s certainly worth calling out as number one. There’s no point in buying a cart if you don’t have a horse to pull it, and a training management system (TMS) really is the driving force behind all successful training businesses. And a good one, like Arlo, will integrate with the rest of your tech stack.
A TMS is designed to help organizations manage all aspects of their commercial training. A centralized platform for creating and scheduling courses and presenters, tracking payments and business growth.
A typical TMS will include features such as course creation tools, learning content management, scheduling and registration management, progress tracking and reporting, assessment and testing tools, certification management, and communication tools for instructors and learners. A good TMS will also integrate with other software such as marketing, accounting, LMS, webinar and more.
With a TMS, organizations can streamline their training processes, reduce administrative tasks, improve employee performance and compliance, and increase overall productivity. It can be used in a variety of industries such as healthcare, education, hospitality, manufacturing, and technology.
Our recommended solution: Arlo
Don’t have a training management system? It’s the first step in building a stack of technology for training businesses. Check out the Ultimate Guide to Training Management Systems for starters. Then grab yourself a free 14-day trial so you can see Arlo in action!
2. Learning management system (LMS)
You’ve probably been pitched a million different learning management systems over the years. But what one’s really right for you?
Learning management systems offer a range of features and functionalities to support the creation, delivery, and management of self-paced eLearning, with videos, quizzes, assessments and more. Some LMS will enable communication and collaboration between learners, instructors, and administrators. This can include chat, messaging, discussion forums, and email notifications.
Some will have mobile learning functionality, or even a mobile app, some will integrate seamlessly with other applications, and some will be highly customizable. They can also track progress and provide analytics on learner engagement and performance.
Here’s a quick glance at the key differences between three LMS solutions that are frequently used by Arlo training providers.
- Moodle is a free and open-source LMS that is highly customizable and widely used in the education sector. It offers a range of features, such as forums, quizzes, and assignment submissions, and has a large community of developers and users who create plugins and integrations.
- aNewspring maximizes the latest learning trends to deliver an LMS with a difference. Think adaptive learning algorithms to make your courses unique for each individual learner, impactful blended learning, social learning through community forums and peer reviews, and MemoTrainer – a custom-built app designed to increase knowledge retention through repetitive learning.
- Coassemble. An all-in-one LMS with a slick UI and easy-to-use drag and drop functionality. For businesses looking for their first online training platform, and wanting to deliver high quality training experiences quickly and easily – Coassemble is a great option.
Our recommended solution: Coassemble for small to medium-sized training businesses. aNewspring or Moodle for enterprise.
See how Arlo integrates seamlessly with Coassemble for a complete blended learning experience:
3. Webinar software
Thanks to COVID, and the quick pivot to remote online training, you’ve probably had some experience with Zoom, or other webinar software.
The reason we like Zoom for training is 1. The seamless integration with Arlo and 2. All of the additional features that help make your training more engaging. Emulate classroom breakout sessions in Zoom. Allow small groups of participants to work on a topic, then pull everyone together and share the results. Use virtual whiteboards and chat messaging to facilitate the interactions. With Zoom Whiteboard, you can brainstorm and collaborate on a persistent, expandable, digital canvas. In-person and remote learners can ideate from Zoom-enabled devices, providing the intuitive features you need to extend learning and understanding.
Our recommended solution: Zoom is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to webinar software.
Check out the Complete guide to Zoom for training providers and the Guide to using Arlo plus Zoom.
This is another obvious one, but not all websites are created equal. A purpose-built training provider website is designed to make it easy for learners to find and book your courses. A course catalog with smart filtering, schedule, calendars, course pages, and a slick booking process will increase your registration numbers. A seamless checkout process will see your conversion rate sky-rocket. And a trusted, secure and regularly updated platform will help ensure your website appears in the top search engine results.
Waitlists, discounts, payment options, group registrations, multi-courses, bundles, social sharing, are just a few more features that come with a good training website. With hundreds of training providers using this technology globally, one of the top solutions for training provider websites is Arlo for WordPress. For new Arlo customers who already have an existing WordPress website, it’s easy enough to integrate Arlo. For customers who are using an Arlo website or web controls, book a call with our web team to find out how you can switch to WordPress.
For inspiration check out our gallery of websites designed for training providers.
Our recommended solution: Arlo for WordPress
5. Marketing automation
Marketing automation can help increase your revenue without adding to your existing workload. Marketing automation tools are used to streamline and automate repetitive marketing tasks, such as email campaigns and social media posting. Many will also include a CRM and most will integrate seamlessly with other software in your business. Leading marketing automation tools include Hubspot, Marketo, Mailchimp.
Our recommended solution: Hubspot. Check out this case study on Gowrie NSW’s Arlo and Hubspot integration that unified their marketing, sales and services and saved them hundreds of hours in admin.
6. Integration software
When exploring options for your technology stack, it’s important to consider how those systems are going to integrate with each other. While manual processes are always an option, you should automate them wherever possible to reduce workload, cost, errors and inefficiencies. If a native integration doesn’t exist, look for ones that integrate via tools such as Zapier.
Let’s look at a common training provider scenario: A customer registers for your course online. You’ve got Arlo TMS, so that customer data is automatically saved in Arlo, but you now need to add their email address to a subscribers list in your marketing automation platform, you need to send the order to your accounting system, and you need to create an enrollment in your LMS and give them access to course-specific resources.
Without integrations between your favorite software platforms, you’ll be stuck manually updating all of that information in each system.
While Arlo has a ton of native integrations with software we’ve covered in this article, many other software systems won’t. It’s expensive, complicated and time-consuming to maintain native integrations. Thankfully, there are now software integration tools such as Zapier, that makes connections between your existing software and over 2,000 different business applications.
Our recommended solution: Zapier
7. Accounting software
Depending on the accounting software you choose for your business, features include invoicing, expense tracking, inventory management, payroll processing, bank reconciliation, receipt scanning, time tracking and project management. Accounting software integrates with a range of other business software tools and payment processing services like PayPal and Stripe.
Training providers using accounting software integrated with Arlo can accept payments online by credit card, invoice, account, and bank transfer. Add multiple registrations to a single order, record a key contact for the order, and bill the order to an individual or organisation. By integrating the system with Arlo you can easily reconcile credit card payments and automatically match and reconcile payments received to outstanding invoices.
Our recommended solution: Xero or Quickbooks are equally good and suit training businesses of all sizes.
Choosing the right software for your business
These are just a few of the many tech solutions available to training businesses, and the best one for you will depend on your specific needs and goals. It’s important to assess your requirements and evaluate different solutions before making a decision to ensure you choose the best technology to support your training business.
If you’re not sure where to start, software review sites such as GetApp, Capterra and G2 are great places to compare solutions and see real user reviews and head-to-head comparison on technology for training businesses.
You’ll be able to compare features, pricing, customer ratings and more. This is helpful to get a high-level understanding of what software solutions are available and how they are rated by other genuine users. What these comparison sites won’t do is give you a weighted rating of the best software for you, based on your own unique business requirements.
While new software is a significant investment for your training business, purchasing the wrong software is the single most costly mistake that a business can make. From financial costs, to time investment, to employee impact, business reputation and stability – the impact is huge. Because of the risk involved, some companies choose to enlist outside help to ensure they get it right. Engaging a consulting firm to help define business requirements and compare and evaluate software options is a sensible option, particularly for large organizations with diverse needs.
If you need help figuring out the best technology for training businesses, you could consider partnering with a specialist agency such as Candle Digital or The Kingdom. Or, engage the Arlo Professional Services team who’ll work with you to identify opportunities and/or challenges in your business and design solutions that are specifically tailored to your needs.
Ready to see how a training management system could benefit your business? Book a free demo with one of our Arlo consultants to see how a TMS can drive efficiencies in your training business and integrate with other software to create one unified technology stack.
Want to learn more?
Check out the Ultimate Guide to Training Management Systems.