10 Best eLearning Tools & Technologies for Small Business
Let’s be honest. There are a ton of LMSs and eLearning tools out there.
We’ve tested hundreds of them as a part of delivering our eLearning services. Most LMSs are overrated and overpriced. If you are a small business looking for affordable but high-quality eLearning technology, this comprehensive article is for you, or maybe you just don’t want to break the bank with your eLearning technology purchase.
We’ve analyzed hundreds of LMSs and technologies out there and brought you a list of our and our clients’ favorites. Whether you’re creating an external course to sell or automate your employee onboarding and training, eLearning for a small business doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, as you will see from this list.
Disclaimer: Although we've included affiliate links in this post, we only recommend LMSs and tools we’ve personally used for our courses and for our client’s eLearning and were happy with the results. Using affiliate links won’t cost you anything additional but you will get extended trial periods if you use them and show your support for our mission of making education affordable to all.
What Is eLearning, and Why Is eLearning Important for Small Businesses?
eLearning involves delivering training through electronic means. Oftentimes, students can log into an online platform where they can access course content. But even using Google or YouTube can also be considered eLearning since you are learning using electronic learning tools. Contrary to popular belief eLearning isn’t equal to LMS, because it includes more than just technology.
eLearning is important for any business, but it’s particularly beneficial for small businesses looking to grow.
Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider developing an eLearning program for your business:
- Create additional revenue streams by packaging what you know into an online course to sell.
- Scaling how many clients you can help by creating a less-expensive product compared to your services.
- Documenting your business processes by creating onboarding and training programs for your employees and contractors.
- Automating employee training so you can free up your and your senior employee’s time.
eLearning also gives you, your trainers, or subject matter experts flexibility because they can record the course once and avoid the need to teach it repeatedly. Even if the subject matter expert or trainer still makes themselves available for questions, this will be a much lower time commitment than directly teaching students.
eLearning is also inexpensive, especially compared to traditional learning. You only need to record it once, and then you can easily scale it up to reach more students.
What Are the Best Technologies for eLearning for a Small Business?
Although technology isn’t the most important part of eLearning, you do need it to host your course content, author your content and deliver it to your learners. There are several different types of eLearning tools and technologies available to small businesses today. We’ve divided our favorite eLearning technology based on categories.
Learning management systems (LMSs) provide hosting for your course and deliver it to your learners. They also provide data on course performance so that you can evaluate the success of your course. A more advanced version of LMS is an LXP - Learner Experience Platform.
#1. Kajabi (External)
Kajabi is the best online eLearning platform for external courses. In addition to being an LMS, it also has marketing and sales features. This includes technologies for your website, email marketing, and more.
More on Kajabi:
- Is Kajabi Worth It? We’ve Created a Course In Kajabi, And Here is What We Found
- Kajabi for Online Courses: How to Build and Sell Your Online Courses with Kajabi
- Kajabi Tutorial: How to Use Kajabi for Email Marketing
- Kajabi Tutorial: How to Build a Website on Kajabi
- How to Build a Sales Funnel in Kajabi?
#2. LearnWorlds (External)
LearnWorlds is the top choice if you do need a SCORM-compliant learning management system that also has marketing and sales capabilities. It is very similar to Kajabi in that it offers various tools for selling and marketing your course.
The biggest difference is that it supports SCORM files. It is worth noting, however, that Kajabi has much stronger email marketing and landing page builders.
More on LearnWorlds & SCORM:
- What Is SCORM and Do I Even Need It?
- SCORM vs. Tin Can - Which One Is Better for Your eLearning Course?
- LearnWorlds Review: Is LearnWorlds Legit?
- LearnWorlds vs Kajabi Comparison: Pricing & Packages, Content Types, Marketing & Sales Features
#3. TalentCards (Internal)
TalentCards is our favorite LMS technology for internal courses on mobile devices. It lets you create courses made up of a series of cards or card sets. The user interface for your learners is very similar to TikTok or Instagram, so it is highly intuitive. It also lets learners download the card sets for use when offline. Please note that TalentCards is not SCORM compliant.
More on TalentCards:
#4. TalentLMS (Internal)
TalentLMS is the best LMS for a small business for internal courses where training will be done on-site on computers. It is from the same company as TalentCards and allows for a lot higher levels of customization than the former and it is SCORM compliant.
More on TalentLMS:
eLearning Authoring Tools
If you’re wondering, “what is an eLearning authoring tool?” we’ve got the answer. An eLearning authoring tool is a technology that lets you author or, in other words, create courses.
From there, you can upload the course into your chosen learning management system for employee training or external courses (as long as the LMS is SCORM compliant). There are two types of authoring tools – stand-alone and native to an LMS. So, before getting a separate authoring tool, make sure that the LMS you picked doesn’t already have one. Below are some of our favorite stand-alone authoring tools.
- LMS vs. Authoring Tools: What’s the Difference
- Do You Need an Authoring Tool to Create eLearning?
- Top 5 Best eLearning Authoring Tools
#1. Articulate 360
Articulate 360 is one of the best authoring tools that include several features you can use to create eLearning courses. It includes more than nine million stock assets and course templates. Lastly, it is made up of multiple authoring tools and eLearning tools such as Rise 360, Storyline 360, and Review 360.
Rise 360 lets you develop responsive courses that work across devices. You can use Rise 360 via your browser, including the ability to begin with a course outline or create it as you go.
Storyline 360 lets you create courses that are responsive across all devices, including mobile devices. The player even supports touchscreen gestures.
Review 360 makes it easy to share feedback as you develop content in Articulate 360. It uses a web app, so your team doesn’t have to download anything.
#2. Adobe Captivate
An ideal technology for eLearning for a small business, Adobe Captivate is a standalone authoring tool from Adobe. It lets you create courses from scratch or use templates. There are even Quick Start Projects that let you create courses for mobile learners in a matter of minutes.
eLearning Content Creation Tools
In addition to authoring tools, you can use various content creation tools to create your course. Some will also host your course, while others require you to use LMS technologies. Here are some of the examples of content creation tools we use and recommend.
Loom lets you record your screen, making it incredibly useful for going through presentations or making how-to videos. You can also include your camera in addition to the screen recording.
Like other LMS alternatives, Loom will also host the videos for you, and you can simply provide your learners with the link to access them. You can add videos in separate folders to keep your content organized.
More on Loom:
VideoAsk lets you and your learners record short videos for each other, letting you make your course interactive. For example, you can ask learners a question via video and have them respond with a video. VideoAsk also supports text and audio responses.
More on VideoAsk:
Rev.com is an incredibly useful tool for turning video or audio files into text that you can use in your courses. You can also use the transcriptions from Rev.com as captions to make your course more accessible.
More on Rev.com:
What Does the Cost of an eLearning Solution Depend On?
As you look at the various eLearning tools and technologies outlined above, you will notice a variety of packages and price points. While most cost money, some offer free trials and there are also many free tools you can use to create your program. Now, if you’re wondering what the cost of eLearning for a small business depends on, here are some factors that affect the pricing.
#1. Number of Courses
Kajabi has different pricing tiers based on the number of courses you want to create. Other LMSs offer an unlimited number of courses and structure their pricing based on the number of users.
#2. Number of Users
Keep in mind, that number of users doesn’t mean the number of admins you can add to your account. For example, the $199 Growth package in Kajabi gives you the ability to sell your courses to 10,000 customers (users) no matter the number of users you have, while TalentLMS’s Standard plan will cost you $50 + $1 per user up to 2,000 users. Let’s say you are looking to create a program to sell and also train your employees, and have 1,000 active customers (users), then TalentCards will end up costing you $1,000 in comparison to the $199 Growth package in Kajabi which is exactly why we use Kajabi for our courses.
#3. Other Perks
While added benefits vary depending on the LMS and tool you want to purchase, at the end of the day, you want to focus on the type of eLearning program you are creating, the number of courses you want to build, and the number of users you will have. Consider other perks but don’t let them fool you into getting a more expensive plan just because they are available. Ask yourself whether you actually need them.
Which Is the Most Cost-Effective eLearning Platform for Selling Your eLearning?
As mentioned, our favorite eLearning platforms for selling your eLearning are Kajabi and LearnWorlds. As learning management system consultants, we typically suggest these platforms because of their ability to serve multiple purposes. As mentioned, they both incorporate marketing, sales, and other vital business processes.
When you get Kajabi or LearnWorlds, you don’t have to buy separate platforms for creating sales funnels, email marketing campaigns, or even your website (Please note: you will need an email marketing software like MailChimp if you choose LearnWorlds). Instead, you get all the tools and features you need to make and sell your course with a single platform.
What Are the Best Employee Training eLearning Technologies?
TalentLMS and TalentCards are the best employee training eLearning for small businesses. They both have user-friendly interfaces and are feature-filled.
Opt for TalentCards if your learners will need to access courses on the go or when offline. Meanwhile, go for Talent LMS if they will be learning using a computer.
How to Decide Which eLearning Technology You Actually Need?
With so many types of eLearning technology as well as numerous solutions to choose from, how do you choose what you need? We recommend asking yourself the following questions.
Related Read: How to Choose LMS (Learning Management System) The Right Way!
#1. Are You Creating Courses to Sell or to Train Employees?
Start by thinking about whether you are creating courses to sell or courses to train employees. If you are making courses that you plan to sell eventually, go with Kajabi or LearnWorlds. If you are making a course to train employees or internal courses, opt for TalentCards or TalentLMS.
#2. Do You Need a Platform That Is SCORM-Compliant or Not?
Think about the files you use in your eLearning course and whether you need to use a platform that is SCORM-compliant. As mentioned, LearnWorlds complies with SCORM standards.
#3. Make a Must-Have Checklist with 5 to 10 Items You Want Your eLearning Technology to Have
Finally, we suggest making a checklist of the features you need to get from your eLearning technology. Examples include mobile-friendliness, hosting for videos and other content, marketing integration, and offline abilities.
What Are Our eLearning Services?
While we’ve outlined the top eLearning tools for a small business so you can build your program yourself, we also offer eLearning Instructional Design Services and Premium eLearning Video Production Services if you are strapped for time and need to develop your program at scale quickly.
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