5 MIN READ

The Customer Education Technology Ecosystem

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on November 17, 2016

Today's customer education technology market is big and is expanding every year. Applications, information, and devices are connecting in ways we've never seen before. To stay relevant in the industry, customer education pros need to be aware of what's going on out there, even if you're not ready to use the tools yourself.

By knowing what's out there and how it can help your company, you'll have a leg up on your customer education peers. You'll also be full of new ideas about where you can take your training career. Let's take a look at the customer education technology ecosystem and discover what's new and exciting.

Authoring

Create end-to-end eLearning courses that look good on any device, Adobe Captivate helps education pros create responsive interactive eLearning courses like HD product demos, application simulations, self-service videos, and more.

Support collaborative eLearning authoring with Conqr and Agylia and get all employees involved in training creation. Workflow tools built into the tools help keep everyone on track so both authors and editors can work efficiently and effectively together.

To continue the theme of encouraging everyone to contribute, Elucidat is a simple authoring tool anyone can use to create training programs. It also has a streamlined workflow that reduces the number of steps it takes to author eLearning, so that you can bring courses to market much faster.

For the education pro looking to save money, there's Adapt Learning which is a free web-based authoring tool and Camtasia Studio, which offers a free version of its software. With Adapt, education pros can create responsive eLearning courses without becoming a software programmer. They simply create an account, log in, and start creating right away.

eCommerce and Sales

After creating the courses, it's time to sell them. You can use software that integrates with your LMS and accounting software so you can accept payments, like Stripe, Authorize.net, and PaypalThey are designed specifically to integrate with web platforms, like LMSs, letting you sell online courses, in-person programs, webinars, training materials, and more. 

Surveys, Assessments, and Certifications

To assess the effectiveness of your training programs, consider using some online survey tools like SurveyMonkey, SurveyGizmo, and TypeForm. These applications are already built to handle evaluations, so why not consider leveraging them for your course evaluations? To really dig in to your courses and find out how they're doing with your learners, there are online assessment options that are flexible with the type of assessment you do, and they often integrate very well with your existing LMS application, so you're tracking all of the data. Check out Classmarker and Testcraft.

TrueAbility is an extensive performance-based assessment platform that offers hands-on certification exams and talent assessments in a live environment. Kryterion has the tools and services to help you build high stakes certification program. 

Reporting

Analyzing training numbers can be a challenge since many LMSs and the related tools we've been talking about generate so much data. It can be hard to figure out what to look at and what it all means. That's where applications like GoodData, Birst, and Tableau come in. They're able to take all of the data from your LMS and other eLearning apps, crunch them, and generate reports that will give you valuable insights into your training programs.

Not only that but if you integrate them with other tools your company may be using, you can glean even more information from them. For example, determine the relationship between training and product renewals, and if customers that upsell have taken more training than those who don't. You'll be able to make more connections between the various parts of your company and help it grow.

Online Labs and Sandboxes

One of the drawbacks of self-directed and online training is the lack of hands-on work by learners. There often isn't a way for them to "play" with the software they're learning about. That's where applications like Skytap, Cloudshare, and Readytech come in. They help customer education pros set up online labs that mirror real-world situations, allowing learners to learn at their own pace. Skytap, for example, solves the back-end technology challenges many training teams face so learners all over the world can try out the software on their time.

Sales and Marketing

Sales and marketing software is pretty popular these days, and chances are your company's already using one like Marketo or HubSpot. Training teams can use them as well to help market and sell their learning programs. Tap into the automated distribution of Marketo or the marketing channel distribution of HubSpot. Sync training data with sales and marketing data to find out what gaps exist in your training programs and which ones are driving sales. 

Final Thought

As you can see, we're just scratching the surface of all the wonderful technology out there in the customer education tech ecosystem. Each month there are new applications being developed, new integrations being introduced, and more efficient ways to "do" customer education. We will continue to strive to keep you updated.



Originally published Nov 17, 2016 9:36:45 PM, updated Nov 17, 2016