Choosing collaboration software for corporate eLearning

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Choosing collaboration software for corporate eLearning


Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last year, you know that collaboration is the name of the game in business. This is because collaboration is tied to increased proficiencies, effectively achieving business goals and enhanced employee satisfaction. So, when it comes to corporate eLearning, it makes sense that many training managers are on the hunt for the best collaboration software on the market. This blog post will explore what to look for in collaboration software as well as a comparison of some of the leading software.

The first thing to do when choosing the best collaboration software for your needs is to identify the type of projects it will need to be utilized for. Corporate eLearning provides a unique challenge in that not only is collaboration needed while creating training courses themselves but also with your learners.

In a recent survey, the following characteristics of collaboration software was the most sought after:

  • Chat/messaging
  • Being able to collaborate on documents
  • Share files
  • Stay up-to-date with an activity feed

However, these were the areas found in the survey that had the most challenges with collaboration software:

  • Getting the staff to use the software
  • Training staff on use of the software
  • Doesn’t integrate with other software

Since corporate elearning has its own specific challenges with regards to collaboration, let’s take a look at some of the most important features to look for:

Document Management and Workflow

Training managers know all too well that creating a course is not a one-man show. Often times multiple people are involved from various departments. Therefore, it’s imperative to have a streamlined way to collaborate on training documents that also has some sort of versioning and auditing capabilities. For instance, when creating an SOP training document it is important to have compliance features in order to keep your company protected in case of an audit.

On the flip side, when using collaboration software for learners, having a document management system is helpful so training materials can easily be downloaded for viewing. There is much less instances of mistake when files aren’t being transferred from one system to another.

Chat/Messaging

This is probably the main focus of a collaboration software system. Different systems offer different features but messaging in real-time should be at the top of the list. Fast communication is essential but the system should also provide message boards and forums, web conferencing, discussion threads, email and an RSS feed to keep up-to-date.

Ability to streamline and organize

Since many trainers will use the collaboration software for multiple uses, it’s important to be able to streamline projects. Look for helpful organizational and project management tools like task lists, calendars and administrative templates.

Privacy – Access given by title, job role…

When choosing the best collaboration software, it is very helpful to be able to give access or deny access to certain team members. This allows people the ability to communicate in only specific areas that pertain to them.

Multi-device enabled

With the popularity of remote workers and students, collaboration software should be accessible via computer, phone or tablet.

SharePoint for Collaboration

Let’s take a look at some various choices available in the marketplace that would perform well for collaboration specific to corporate elearning.

If your business is one of the many Fortune 500 companies that utilize SharePoint, this is well worth considering for your collaboration needs. While it may not be the obvious choice, it offers all the features needed in one system.

As noted in the survey above, many companies have trouble getting their employees trained and actively using the collaboration system. Using SharePoint avoids this roadblock because employees are already familiar with this Microsoft platform and they can use the same log-in info that they use daily.

SharePoint is also the #1 document management and collaboration software on the market. Whether a student or trainer, it’s a win-win solution that has a variety of communication tools from team sites, Wikis, intranet/extranet, forums and more.

Here’s another tip that will add icing to the cake:

Adding a learning management system SharePoint add-on can complete the training picture – a perfect marriage between document management, training and collaboration. What’s even better? SharePoint for training is cost effective, efficient and user-friendly.

SharePoint vs. Other Collaboration Systems

Trello is a popular tool for collaboration and has some but not all of the same features as SharePoint. For instance, both offer a Web-based version, mobile enabled, multi-user, notifications, discussion forums and document sharing. However, this is where the similarities end.

SharePoint is the #1 rated project management system so it has many features that Trello doesn’t. This is a huge point to consider if you’re a training manager. SharePoint offers the following additions that Trello doesn’t:

  • Assign user roles
  • RSS feeds
  • Project Wiki
  • Online chat
  • Screen sharing, calendar sharing and contact sharing
  • File versioning
  • Better customer support
  • Ad hoc reporting and analysis, multiple languages and customization.

Overall, Trello works fine for very small projects but if you need more features, SharePoint is the hands down winner.

Another collaboration option is Slack. This software is very much geared to communication and collaboration but doesn’t excel at project management. Again, very simple tasks are doable but things like document collaboration are a no-go. A big difference between the two systems is the ability to chat in real time with SharePoint and only via direct messaging in Slack. This is a major feature it lacks but one that is highly regarded in the business community.

While Slack has a diverse amount of compatible apps it really is very limited. If you just need basic communicating for groups, it will suffice. 

The last collaboration software worth considering is Huddle. Huddle describes itself as a team collaboration and project management software for enterprise and government. While Huddle does do a better job with document management than Slack and Trello, it still falls short on some key features that are a must for learning and development managers.

SharePoint and Huddle both do a good job with document management and discussion forums. But SharePoint takes the lead with Project Wikis, online chatting, screen/calendar/contact sharing and RSS feeds.

Huddle is definitely a viable option for collaboration for corporate elearning. However, if your company already has SharePoint than that would make more sense financially and systematically, especially if you will be combining it with your learning management system.

In conclusion, narrowing down the best collaboration software systems is no simple feat. But, once you can identify what uses it is needed for, specific to corporate elearning, than the problem is easier to solve. While many systems have basic collaborating features, SharePoint proves to be the workhorse of collaboration and training.

Key Consideration:
Technology
Category:
SharePoint, Learning

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