Start your eLearning business on the right foot.
To succeed in making a business out of eLearning there are many factors that you need to consider from day one. This 5-step guide will make sure you've considered the most important elements that impact the success of eLearning businesses right out of the gate.
STEP 1: Develop Your eLearning Catalogue
Will you be creating content yourself, or is it a team effort? Whether you're an individual instructor looking to sell your own online courses or are looking to monetize an existing L&D catalogue, make sure you have your courses complete first!
Be prudent and spend some time researching the potential audience for your courses so that you can determine demand, evaluate the competition, and see if what your courses offer will let you stand out in the crowd.
STEP 2: Pick The Right Hosting Option
How you deliver your eLearning is one of the most important aspects to consider when starting your business. It boils down to one key decision: Do you want your courses hosted on your website using a Learning Management System or on a Massive Open Online Course platform, such as Skillshare or Coursera?
MASSIVE OPEN ONLINE COURSE (MOOC):
- Pro: Offers an established hosting platform with an in-build community, simple upload-and-go setup, very little technical expertise required.
- Con: Revenue sharing, lack of personalization, limited functionality, tied to the provider's website/URL.
LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (LMS):
- Pro: Fully customizable, no revenue sharing, utilize your own website/URL, in-house or cloud hosting options, consistent branding, complete access to all your learning and business data.
- Con: High level of technical expertise or hosting partner required, must establish your own traffic and community.
STEP 3: Determine Your Revenue Strategy
Before rushing too far ahead with your eLearning business plans, make sure you have a solid plan for how you'll be keeping your bottom line profitable.
Some key revenue tactics to consider are:
- Will you be selling individual courses for a set amount to individual learners, or offering complete access to all your eLearning content for a recurring subscription?
- Do you need to sell physical materials, host live or online events, or offer personal training/coaching?
- What other costs and factors could have an impact on your potential ROI? (LMS management costs, licensing course material, graphic design, etc.)
STEP 4: Build A Marketing Plan
With your content, hosting platform, revenue model sorted, it’s time to market your business. The main decision here is whether to direct your customers to an integrated eCommerce storefront, or to run your eCommerce through a third-party system or application.
Third-Party apps may add interesting features, but are also likely to mean additional costs, and the time-sapping task of mapping the store to your existing content.
Deploying your own integrated eCommerce solution requires more technical expertise, but allows for a seamless user experience and gives you far more control over your eCommerce initiatives through much more flexible promotional options, SEO practices, and full analytical reporting.
STEP 5: Launch, Learn, Optimize!
Once your courses are built, you have a place to host them, and a plan for connecting with your prospective audience, it's time to release it to the public!
Now the real learning begins, both for you and your customers. With proper analytical reporting you'll be able to tweak, adjust, add, and, if necessary, overhaul your courses so that you can deliver the best possible eLearning experience.
Being able to understand how long learners are spending on your courses, identifying problematic material and tests, and collecting customer feedback are just a few of the invaluable ways to use data-backed analytical reporting to make your courses even better.
How do you take the guesswork out of improving your eLearning courses with mountains of data? Check out this article about utilizing learning analytics to assess and improve eLearning programs.
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