Training vs Product Tool


Lauren Taylor

Have you been tasked with researching software tools for your team? Only to come up against resistance, as decision-makers don’t understand the difference between a product tool vs a training tool, and why they both may be needed?!

When searching for any software solution, it is important to identify the challenges as well as the key features the solution must possess. For this particular example, let’s first list some goals a product team may have while in search of a tool to help improve their product & user experience.

Product Goals:

  • Guide the user through interface via an in-app walkthrough
  • Explain components in-app with tooltips
  • Notify the user in-app of a new feature or re-location of feature
  • Promote Paid features or Features inside a Menu
  • Highly Customizable with Coding(CSS, JavaScript, Jquery, etc)
  • In-depth Analytics to analyze engagement

Overall Purpose:

Guide, emphasize and promote features of the application to the users

Next, we’ll list out some goals a training or learning & development team may have when it comes to a training creation or authoring tool.

Training Goals:

  • Fast, Intuitive Tool — Works out of the Box
  • Requires No Coding Knowledge, Only Application Knowledge
  • Creates Linear Task-based Instructional Guides
  • Easy to Edit & Revise with Software Updates
  • Multi-Mode & Export Output Options
  • Ease of Sharing with Users: Help Center, Knowledgebase, Widget, etc
  • Integrates with Current Tools
  • Privacy options that keep training material secure
  • Company branding for a quality user experience
  • Engagement Analytics for each guide
  • Collaboration to allow teamwork on Guides

Overall Purpose:

Train, educate, prepare users to complete specific tasks or workflows within one or many applications


After reading both the team's goals, you can understand how there could be confusion and possibly some overlap in functionality creating some gray space.

The product team is looking for a highly customizable tool to point out features in-app, guide the users through components on many pages, and unfortunately, this many times requires coding, which requires time, and lots of it! They are trying to promote new features or possibly even guide users to an upsell opportunity. This said they are searching for a tool that provides in-depth analytics on these workflows to better assist users as well as help them get more from the product. Thus, the gray space that diverges between product tool vs training tool.

While the training team has boatloads of training to create & ship, not to mention maintain, as the software evolves over time, thanks to the next update. Training departments often don’t have the skillset for development, as they are skilled at… training! They don’t have the time to develop & customize intricacies, they need to bust out lots of content as quick as possible, and have an easy way to maintain it when it needs updating.

This team frequently wears many hats, which can include meeting with customers, creating documentation, supporting customers, implementation, the list can go on. It’s crucial that this often undervalued group has the proper tools, to get their job done well. The training team knows the product better than most in the organization, they are constantly supporting & promoting the product, making them, we could say, the MVPs of the company. Providing them with the proper tools gives them time back in their day to spend with customers, instead of spending countless hours creating training content. As a result, turning customers into product ambassadors, as a result, increasing company sales.

Where’s iorad fit?

There are companies that use iorad for their product needs, but those are teams that don’t have all the goals listed above under product. Instead, their goals are more from a training approach rather than a product walkthrough approach. Where iorad excels is in the training world. Whether that is customer or employee training, iorad is your go-to. There are lots of options as far as how to share content, for instance, via a help center, knowledge base, in-app widget, or a live overlay. However, these are specific task-based instructional guides at the point of need. The user will generally seek out this help themselves or access it via onboarding.

The Conclusion

While there may be commonalities, these teams have different end goals and different needs. Based on your company needs & challenges the “proper tool” will vary. However, as a general statement product tools have a different set of features that solve the product teams’ main objective & training tools focus their efforts on features that support and enhance training goals.

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