An Interview With An Expert: Our Chat With Brian Westfall

We often hear from our users how much they benefit and enjoy using eFront. But it’s not often we hear those thoughts validated from a third-party source with particular expertise. That’s why we were so interested to chat with Brian Westfall, an LMS market researcher for Software Advice. From this role, he connects with LMS users to see what features they’re looking for and what they like and dislike about their current system. Brian is in a unique position to discuss the trends he’s seeing in the industry.

You can read the transcript of our interview below:

1. In the past, you’ve found that mobile learning is not as popular as perceived, while all trends show mobile is the future. Can you explain why?

Though the perception is that we’re on our phones all day, the reality is that most employee training still happens during work hours on a computer. Businesses want to get that experience right first before turning their attention to mobile.

Another factor here could be the challenge of optimizing courses for mobile devices. Often times, it’s a lot of content that needs to be crammed into a tiny screen. Get it wrong and you end up frustrating learners, even though you’ve made courses available on their preferred device. LMSs are offering better responsive design options, so hopefully, this encourages more mobile course development in the future.

2. What are some of the benefits and challenges you’ve seen implementing LMS software?

The benefits in the long run from implementing LMS software properly are immense. For trainers, organization and training efficiency both increase. Creating and managing content becomes much less of a headache as well, as does tracking learner progress.

Getting to those long run benefits isn’t always easy, though. Some challenges that businesses report running into along the way include difficulty learning how to use the software, technical bugs and integrating the LMS with other systems. Potential buyers will want to vet vendor training and support options extensively to avoid these issues.

3. How will using an LMS affect the training outcomes of an organization?

“In the past, we expected users to say an LMS positively impacted employee training. What we didn’t expect was how enthusiastically users would support their LMS impacting organizational goals.

Eighty-nine percent of users said their LMS positively impacted training costs, while 92 percent said the software improved employee engagement, retention and job performance. That’s great news. It shows when organizations are willing to commit to an LMS, it will ultimately benefit their bottom line.”

4. Why do businesses actually turn to an LMS and what do they eventually use it most for?

When we asked prospective LMS buyers why they wanted to invest in software, a split emerged between those looking to upgrade from their existing system and those purchasing an LMS for the very first time.

New buyers wanted to improve training efficiency and organization from manual methods while repeat buyers wanted more functionality or to move on from a broken or outdated system. Trainee testing and content management remain the most popular uses of LMS software, as has been the case in the past.

5. What would you say to businesses hesitant on purchasing LMS software?

In general, I’d say hesitancy is a good thing. The worst thing a business can do is jump in and invest in a popular LMS because everyone else is using it without carefully considering: 1) what they want to use it for, 2) what their end goals are and 3) where the content will come from to support it.

A cautious approach is needed. Do your due diligence, consider a system with learning management features and demo it extensively to find the right LMS for your needs, and you’ll ultimately be happy with the decision.

The issues raised here are commonplace in the eLearning industry but thankfully, there are ways for them to be addressed. With eFront’s new mobile android app, users can overcome the challenges of using mobile devices for training. In particular, while optimizing courses on mobile devices can pose a challenge, eFront’s new app can relieve this stress and allow you to showcase your courses in their true glory!

eFront From Our Point of View

1. Is Mobile Learning the future?

While Brian makes a valid point about the state of mobile learning and the difficulties of transitioning content to be delivered, eFront can cater for those who do wish to learn ’on the go’ as well as being effective for use in the office on a desktop.

We make sure that the experience you have on your mobile device matches the one on a computer, in terms of being seamless in style and synchronization. We are continually evolving the design of our interface to encourage mobile usability while retaining the idea that the computer is the way forward for long-term learning.

2. How is eFront suited to deal with difficulties in getting to know the software, bugs and integration issues?

Here at eFront, we believe that design needs to be accessible and allow people to hit the ground running. We do, however, understand that there are things which need to be clearly explained.

We give the option to purchase training by one of our experts, if this is required, as well as having an extensive database of articles to refer to. If something is proving too difficult to grasp, we also have an experienced and dedicated support team on hand to answer any questions quickly.

As far as integrations are concerned, these can be discussed prior to purchase or after. Our technical team is available to guide you through all options, ensuring that as many of your needs can be met as possible, in the easiest way.

3. How is eFront suited to new buyers who want to improve training efficiency?

It has been proven countless times that using an LMS will impact employee training in a positive way. While eFront achieves this, we understand the effort and time required to make sure that your learners see training that looks and acts as you imagined it would.

New buyers can easily adapt to the way we work with our straightforward design and easy-to-navigate approach to eLearning.

4. Is eFront geared towards repeat buyers who want more functionality or those who want to move on from a broken and outdated system?

In our experience, eFront offers more functionality than people expect. We have plenty of customers who use an LMS and are clear on their eLearning objectives but have not been able to actualize them.

eFront is certainly suitable for these cases, both because of the functionality that it offers and the ease of migration, which helps companies feel reassured. We have many satisfied customers due to our quarterly updates, which ensure that the system is always current and up-to-date with the latest in eLearning trends.

5. Does eFront understand that trainee testing and content management are the most popular uses of LMS software and how has it adapted to this?

Indeed, trainee testing and content management are the more popular reasons for LMS use and eFront caters to these use cases with ease. With content being at the forefront of our minds, customization is simple and content can be added painlessly. Content management is complicated and, as such, we have features to help you on your way.

Skill gap tests with eFront ensure that you can assess the gaps in your employees’ knowledge. With this information, you can create or adapt training programs to better respond to everyone’s needs. As this is, rightly so, one of the most popular uses of a Learning and Talent Development software, eFront has been sure to stay ahead of the game and has adapted to this.

About the interviewee: Brian Westfall is a Senior Market Research Associate with Software Advice. He covers the HR software market with much of his focus primarily on recruiting, learning management systems, and payroll.

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