By Leah Brown
People ask our team daily, “How much does online training cost?” That’s a pretty broad question as there are multiple factors at play—a little like asking how much a car costs. Now, a Kia Forte is not going to cost you an arm and a leg, but you are going to have to add a few more zeros on that check for the Bugatti Chiron. Both will get you from point A to point B. We want to help you get some clarity on choosing an online training provider. Hence, we want you to consider these five questions when researching online training for your unique needs.
How much training is provided?
You want to get the most bang for your buck! But you also don’t want to pay for training you will never use. Therefore, you need to look for providers that have not only what you need, but also offer the potential for you to grow, supplement, or enhance your training program.
Do they have a well-rounded catalog that meets most of your needs? Are you going to be able to train multiple ranks and departments with one solution? Most likely, you will not find a provider that can deliver all content needed, but you should max your potential for use and ideally find one that allows you to supplement their training with training you develop.
What is the quality of that training?
We have all experienced horrible online training – the talking head, the monotone voice, the “death by PowerPoint” training. Nobody wants that, and if your learners aren’t excited for (or at least neutral to) the training, it becomes a bigger headache for you to enforce and implement.
Online training should be engaging but informative. You want to look for a vendor who provides training in a variety of lengths, such as 1 to 3 minutes, 1 hour, or 3 hours, depending on the needs of their users. Content style should be taken into consideration as well. Is the content enhanced for the most knowledge absorption? You also want to make sure that the development of the content is overseen by training experts. You wouldn’t necessarily go to your dentist for legal advice, so make sure the trainers are reputable in their fields.
How will the training be delivered?
How will you get the training to your staff? Are you uploading training into a current system you have or implementing a new training management system? You want to make sure you can deliver the content reliably, easily, and regularly. Look for systems that allow you to schedule enrollment ahead of time so you save time. You should also easily be able to assign courses by rank or type. For example, you should easily be able to assign all your K9 officers the same needed training, but that should differ from your telecommunicators. You want a system that can assign training for both easily.
How are you and the other learners supported?
If there is one thing you should take away from this article, it is that a fully-supported system should be your number one concern when choosing an online training provider. You can compromise on the quality, you can compromise on all the features, but if you have to be a training officer and technical support, you are setting yourself up for failure—or at least a major headache.
How is the system supported for not just you, but for your learners? Can they call someone when they can’t login? Are support staff available 24/7 for your night shift? How quickly are issues resolved? All of these questions and answers are critically important for the success of your program. Make sure you ask them.
How is my agency billed for the training?
Lastly, how you are billed plays a big impact in cost. There are vendors that offer course-by-course pricing which is ideal for one and done training needs. No sense in buying a new car if you only need a new wheel! Other companies offer subscription-based pricing where you gain access to multiple products, which are usually bundled differently, and you are charged per user. These subscriptions can be billed monthly or annually. Depending on your needs and your budget, you need to determine what the best option is for you and your agency.
We have spent time talking about the factors that influence cost, but what do agencies generally pay? We have seen customers pay as little as $29 per user and as much as $99 per user. However, many customers fall between the range of $60-$69. We would love to help you navigate the waters on finding an online training solution. Some other helpful resources can be found at virtualacademy.com.
Contact us if you would like a free consultation on how Virtual Academy can be implemented for your agency.