Vital features of a training management platform


Looking for a new training management platform but unsure which one to choose? As with many things in life, all systems are not made equal. It pays to understand which key features are the most important in terms of everyday use to get the job done.

Numerous whizz bang features may turn the head and get the procurement team excited. But when all is said and done, do they actually make a fundamental difference to user experience and output on a day-to-day basis?

We wrote a previous blog offering nine things to ask before you commit to a new training management platform. In this post we’d like to concentrate on just one aspect that our clients have told us makes a fundamental difference to their success: being a single joined-up system.

What is a truly joined-up system?

When we talk about being a joined-up system we mean software with the ability to complete all the tasks associated with delivering training, from enrolment to EPA, without relying on any peripheral systems.

It’s not necessarily about having one single system. Instead, it’s about being sure the system you have requires no manual processing or intervention in the back end.

Why does this matter?

When a system is not truly joined up users might be jumping between different systems and screens, and going out and back in to switch between the front and back end. This can be time-consuming, increasing admin tasks, confusion, poor user experience and critically the risk that there will be discrepancies within the data that is captured.

Plus, when mistakes are found, if the data has been entered numerous times in different places, it can be almost impossible to work out where the error has come from.

With regular funding audit requirements and stringent Ofsted inspections, it’s important to have a handle on your data and to be able to have complete confidence in the figures that appear on the reports you’re pulling from the system. Only if it’s truly joined up will that be the case. Ruth Johnson, BDM at Bud said:

"Bud’s single joined-up system ensure best practice ways of working, doing the right thing at the right time, every time. With Bud, there’s no need to question or scrabble around for missing data. Bud collects data from numerous points, giving providers a 360 degree view of every learner. Meaning that training providers can be confident in their claims for funding and in their organisational performance."

How can you recognise this issue in the systems you’re considering?

Here are some questions we recommend asking to any apprentice management software providers you’re talking to:

How is the Individual Learning Record (ILR) updated?

In order to claim the correct funding for each learner, it is vital that the ILR is kept up to date in as near real time as possible. But that can be easier said than done if the system you’re using means the ILR is updated manually.

There are numerous situations or changes of status that might occur throughout the journey of your learners meaning regular updates to the ILR. This is not only time-consuming but can be a real risk when it comes to making errors or even overlooking the update entirely.

Bud is the only platform that automatically updates the ILR. If, for example, your learner takes a break in learning you’ll only need to tell Bud once. A workflow process will then run to populate the ILR with the correct information without you even having to think about it.

Can you rely on accurate reporting?

When you’re investigating training management systems, one key consideration is whether the data you’ll be extracting to use for business decision making, and the evidence you are submitting for funding is coming from a single source. Put simply, how many times will you have to enter one single piece of information?

If the answer suggests data must be entered multiple times for a single learner, there’s an inherent risk involved in any reports that are drawn from the system. At Bud we pride ourselves on the fact that our data always comes from a single source and will never need to be rekeyed.

How is a learner’s start point measured?

As training providers, it’s important you understand and evidence what level learners are at when they first start their programme. So that you can be sure every learner is on the right course and any additional learning needs have been identified at the outset, and you can also ensure you are Ofsted and ESFA compliant.

That’s why Bud integrates with the Learner Record Service, bksb and Cognassist to gain an accurate measure of your learners’ start points. These thorough measures prove every learner is on the right program, with additional needs correctly identified.

Some suppliers use self-assessment as a mechanism to assess learners’ initial levels, which we believe results in a less accurate metric. This puts trainers on the back foot when it comes to developing and progressing their learners.

How does the system support learners’ submissions?

During their apprenticeship, learners will be required to upload numerous assignments or tasks for their trainers to review and assess. How efficiently that is managed is key to the learner’s experience of the training.

If a software solution allows for all learners to upload their assignments or tasks into one large space then there is room for error and loss, in our opinion, as well as inefficient ways of working and collaborating.

With Bud, when a learner submits their work, it will remain within their communication flow. This means a full audit trail of communications and feedback linked to the activity within the learning plan. And, just as importantly, feedback from progress reviews is held in the same way, allowing for easy access whenever and wherever required. Priceless when it comes to Ofsted inspection time.

Ditch the flash in favour of robust functionality

You wouldn’t buy a car that had thousands of high-tech features if there was a risk it might break down when you tried to drive it. So don’t be fooled when it comes to training platforms offering overly complicated features that are of very little consequence in day-to-day use.

Bud is built for quality, it simplifies the most complex tasks associated with training delivery and it gives you what you need to keep your core business robust. Tasks like generating evidence to claim funding, and easy manipulation of data to give you actionable insight into learner progress.

These are things that will offer real value add to your business, they’re features that ensure you’re evidencing your compliance correctly, and importantly they’re integrated into the system in a seamless way.

Still got questions? Get an expert’s perspective from our team.