- 5 MIN READ -
Any organization that wants to sell online training courses is faced with a number of decisions, some of which can be lengthy and difficult. Whether it’s choosing to create your own eLearning content versus purchasing an off-the-shelf program, or selecting the right digital marketing strategy for your business, making the right call can have a significant pay-off further down the line. Bear these five factors in mind when preparing to launch your online course platform.
1. Off-the-shelf vs Bespoke eLearning Content
While some organizations might look to sell online courses as a way of monetizing pre-existing content, many businesses will need to create online courses specifically for sale. For these businesses, a key early decision is whether to create completely individual content, or select an off-the-shelf training solution.
While there are obvious benefits to completing the entire creation of content in-house, especially in terms of control and customizability, this approach is costly and time-consuming. In addition, companies who take on the entire creation process for their eLearning program need to ensure they have all the expertise required for maintaining courses through their LMS.
Off-the-shelf eLearning content, on the other hand, can be implemented immediately and at a lower cost. There is a vast number of highly-accredited course providers to choose from, such as Open Sesame, which offers over 20,000 courses compatible with Totara Learn. Users are able to select from ready-made courses on topics ranging from business skills, safety, compliance, and technology. There are also industry-specific courses and a wide variety of certifications to choose from. While off-the-shelf material might not always be an exact match for your needs, it’s overwhelmingly likely that a relevant course is already out there, with the added benefit of being tried, tested, and evaluated.
Once you’ve decided on how your eLearning content will be sourced, the next major consideration is how to deliver that content to users. Your platform for selling online courses is a major element in user experience, and is likely to affect sales. Even traditional learning institutions are now investing major resources into redesigning their learning storefronts. Last year, Georgia Tech moved away from traditional campus models to develop an eCommerce style storefront, which supports the scalability of their online and blended learning programs.
Many online course providers choose to turn their current LMS into an eCommerce-ready storefront. The best storefronts offer a seamless browsing and buying experience, with the minimum amount of stages between a potential customer’s initial interest in a course, and the transaction. (Read our article, eCommerce Integrated LMS: Turning eLearning into a Revenue Stream, to find out more on what you can do with your LMS!)
3. Managing Users
Over time, the most important feature of your online courses platform is likely to be its user-management capabilities. Whether it's knowing how your learners are progressing by tracking Key Performance Indicators, or being able to provide responsive assistance to issues, the successful management of users is a sure sign of a successful online course provider.
One effective way of influencing learning outcomes is by managing user experience. UX covers the workings of your platform from the user's point of view, including its ease of use, mobile compatibility, and interactivity. An easy way to increase the usability of your platform is to ensure visual and functional consistency across your site, and thereby creating a trustworthy and professional online environment.
Learn more about how user experience influences eLearning success in this webinar:
4. Managing Your Catalogue
Alongside managing user experience is the management of your eLearning catalogue. Your catalogue of courses is likely to be the central element of your online course platform, so it’s worth allocating time to consider how your organization will create and maintain its catalogue.
Factors to consider for an eLearning catalogue include whether to create a physical copy alongside your digital catalogue, that can be mailed to potential users as part of your marketing campaign. It’s also important to consider whether it makes more sense to design a catalogue internally or use an external training supplier. When making these decisions, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If a previous catalogue format seems to be working well, leverage that functionality in your new eLearning platform.
5. Marketing Campaigns and SEO
When developing your marketing strategy, think about what makes your online courses unique. Why would a potential user look to your organization, in particular, for training and support? Whatever marketing strategy you choose, try to centre your campaign around those aspects of your online courses that make you stand out in a crowded market.
Knowing what it is about your learning content that makes it valuable to potential clients is also great for creating an effective SEO-friendly brand. Consistent presentation of core keywords and learning solutions will help to optimize your visibility online. However, SEO best-practices shift frequently, in line with changes to search engine algorithms, so be sure to stay up to date with the latest trends in digital marketing.
Whether you need an eLearning revenue solution, a new Learning Management System, are looking to optimize your LMS and eLearning programs with learning analytics, or need any other eLearning solutions, we have the expertise to help you reach your goals.
Contact us today. We’d love to help you create a better way to learn!
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