Small Business Smart Training Decisions That Don’t Break the Bank

“When We Shine, You Shine.” Mid America Metals tagline

We like this tagline for a small business of 85 employees that refinishes and restores stone, metal and other finishes. Jeff Wilhoit,decision making and saving dollars with an lms their director of training, contacted us about licensing leadership skills video trainings for their managers and supervisors. In our discussion, we discovered he also needed an easy way to upload safety manuals and track employee training in a safe environment on the web. Mid America Metals was looking at licensing a learning management system (LMS) from a third-party that would cost over four thousand dollars per year. The company would have access to some videos as well.

At first blush this looked like a great turnkey approach for Jeff. But then, we started to delve into just how much tracking and reporting Mid America Metals needed. We knew that only about 30% of small businesses use LMS systems. We understand why. Small businesses don’t have time or money to manage LMS systems. They want career development and improved productivity and they want it fast.  But, they still need to track how much employees learn.

We polish the architectural metal, stone and wood inside the buildings. That is a skill that can take over a year to teach someone and it’s very difficult to put that down on paper.  So for our company, the visuals that video provides is essential to showing a new hire how to do their job and to even show seasoned employees new trick of the trade. We needed something that was able to deliver a video and a quiz so we could get confirmation that the participants understood the material. The program needed to let me know that the student had passed and would keep track of that student’s classes over the course of his career.  It also had to be very simple for the student to use because we are working with blue-collar, hard-working guys who speak English as a second language.  It also had to be easy for me to use because I have many other things to do other than try to figure out how to use a complicated LMS system.  Finally it had to be secure.” Jeff Wilhoit

We suggested Jeff use password protected quizzes that provide reporting detail on quiz scores and how each question was answered.  The quizzes can be created by the trainer or manager. They can be fun and reinforce what you want the participant to learn from watching a video or any document. Videos as well as documents can be uploaded, costing a hundred… not thousands of dollars.

We actually use a quiz tool in our own E-Learning course on change management skills. You can see an example of a quiz here.

So why did Jeff decide to use a simple quiz tool and not buy a LMS? 

I chose to go with ProProfs because of the price and the ease of use.  I thought it would be easy to find a simple program that delivered a video then quizzed the student then kept track of their score but I was wrong.  It probably took close to a year to find something that fit us as a company.  It was very affordable and it did what we needed it to do so we weren’t paying for all the bells and whistles that we would probably never use in a big LMS system. As a Director of Training for a company with only 85 employees I need to always be looking for programs that work but also be a good steward of our financial resources.

We’d put a twist on their tagline: “When You Shine, We Shine.”  There’s something very satisfying about helping people make good decisions. We like the rub off. Congratulations, Jeff!

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