This white paper will identify and show you how to overcome the most common challenges eLearning providers face regardless of industry, organizational size, or learning goals. Bringing all those solutions together will allow you to determine exactly what is required to address these challenges and achieve eLearning success.
Table of Contents
Technology is changing the way we learn, teach, and train new skills.
This report will show you how to identify and overcome the most common challenges eLearning providers face regardless of industry, organizational size, or learning goals. Bringing all those solutions together will allow you to determine exactly what is required to address these challenges and achieve eLearning success.
Traditional methods of instruction are increasingly being supplemented by - or replaced with - eLearning. While eLearning offers some incredible benefits, this new wave of digital instruction comes with its own unique set of challenges, many of which go unaddressed and undercut the potential that eLearning offers learning and development initiatives.
Evolving technology has unlocked the incredible potential eLearning can bring to the educational process: the creation of psychologically engaging learning materials, removing the physical barriers associated with traditional instruction methodology, and providing a deep understanding how learners are utilizing educational material and that material’s effectiveness.
By reaching out to 979 professionals across multiple industries we’ve found the most substantial and common challenges associated with eLearning, regardless of industry. Analyzing this data has provided insight into how to overcome those obstacles and achieve sustainable, scalable, and successful eLearning. We’ll explore solutions for each problem, and identify how to bring those solutions together in a practical way that harnesses all the benefits eLearning has to offer.
eLearning’s Biggest Challenges
1. Limited Possibilities Of A Proprietary Solution (Inability to Scale)
10% of respondents said their LMS is holding them back.
eLearning evolves at the speed of our modern technology, and if your Learning Management System (LMS) can’t keep pace the quality of your education will suffer. The nature of a proprietary LMS means that they can be slow to address issues that aren’t a high priority for their development teams, and these can include the inability to scale as your organization grows, lack of new features, or incompatibility issues.
THE SOLUTION: Open source LMS platforms.
Open Source software means that the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified1. Learning Management Systems that are open source benefit from an infinite potential for feature development, growth and optimization. This means that in addition to an open source LMS’s official development team, there is a global community of developers creating, testing, and improving plugins that can easily be added to the “base” LMS.
These plugins can be used to add new features that bring the latest technology to your eLearning programs. Interactive video content, virtual reality functionality, and augment reality utilization are just a few examples of features that third-party plugins can bring to an open-source LMS.
Limitless possibilities are one of the greatest benefits open source technology offers eLearning, along with eliminating the need to wait for a limited team of developers who may not share your priorities. Even if the technology that your organization relies on becomes obsolete and unsupported, such as Adobe’s Flash, open source developers can implement solutions that help you easily migrate over to new technology long before things break down.
WANT MORE INSIGHTS? Besides making sure that your open source LMS is ready to scale and grow with your organization, check out four other ways to scale your eLearning business!
2. Lack Of Onboarding & Product Knowledge
27% of respondents said they don’t know enough about how to get the most from their eLearning technology.
With any technology, user experience is the key to success. This is just as important for administrators and the IT department as it is for instructors and learners. Understanding how to use your eLearning technology is crucial to getting the most out of it. Even if you have the most feature-rich LMS on the market, it won’t do you any good if you can’t figure out how to use it. Make sure you have the best onboarding practices for achieving maximum ROI.
Many LMS providers do offer initial onboarding for their systems, but depending on your provider additional support can be costly. Additionally, simply learning how to use your eLearning technology is not the same as understanding the best way to actually utilize it to benefit all your users.
THE SOLUTION: Find an LMS provider that makes ongoing education part of their services.
When evaluating which eLearning technology is right for your organization, make sure to pick a provider that makes onboarding, support, and continuous education part of their service offerings.
Prioritize finding an organization that specializes in both the development of eLearning technology and has expertise in determining the best ways to utilize that technology. Ideally, this education begins with the onboarding process and continues throughout the lifetime of your eLearning initiatives as technology improves and your organization grows.
3. System Integration
27% of respondents said bringing all their eLearning systems together is a major challenge.
Technology doesn’t always play nice with others, which can make integration a challenge even for simple eLearning initiatives. Even if you’re only using an LMS, making sure your courses are in a format that are compatible with your LMS can lead to some serious headaches. These can evolve into full-blown migraines if your eLearning has more complex elements such as eCommerce and Analytics systems.
Usually, integration problems manifest as additional manual labour for admins and instructors. Converting content to compatible formats, scratching functionality that doesn’t mesh with other systems, and creating additional hassles for users (such multiple logins) can cost you hours of labour and negatively impacts your user experience.
THE SOLUTION: Utilize a fully-integrated eLearning solution.
Understand the scope of features and technology that you require to meet all your eLearning needs and goals. Make sure that the systems you choose can be integrated to create an easy to use, all-in-one learning environment for your users.
Make sure to consider the goals your eLearning needs to achieve and make sure that your LMS can easily integrate and support features such as:
- Single-sign-on user authentication
- eCommerce systems
- Analytics and reporting technology
- Third-Party plugin integration
ARTICLE: dig deeper into some of the common eLearning challenges and how LMS integrations mentioned above can solve the issues.
4. Measuring the ROI of eLearning
36% of respondents said measuring the return on investment of their eLearning is their biggest challenge.
Regardless of the industry, determining the impact and return on investment from their eLearning initiatives is a major challenge. While generating profit from eLearning may not necessarily be the top priority, knowing how effective training and education programs are is imperative.
Many organizations need to understand that their eLearning investment is meeting their learning and development goals, whether it’s safety training certification, product knowledge on-boarding, or long-term skill retention.
Finding a way to measure these outcomes becomes even more of a challenge when fiscal ROI is also taken into account. Determining how much revenue your eLearning generates, and how to increase that revenue, is a constant issue for organizations that need to justify their eLearning budget financially.
THE SOLUTION: Analytical analysis of your learning and business data.
Measuring both the quantitative and qualitative impact of education is always a challenge, however, it’s one that modern technology is surprisingly well equipped to address.
Analytical reporting technology can draw from the mountains of data collected by your eLearning technology, including LMS, eCommerce system, and any other integrated systems that learners interact with as part of the learning and training process.
Automatically collating this data and presenting it in intuitive reports is the best way to gain insights from how learners are using your eLearning, how effective lessons and course materials are, understanding the demand for specific courses or programs, and determining the costs and revenue generated from your eLearning overall.
Solving eLearning’s ROI & Budget Challenges
Upon the identification of ROI assessment as the most common eLearning challenge, we reached out again to determine how this challenge affects budgetary decisions, and to identify the other major budgetary concerns organizations face with their eLearning.
From the responses, unsurprisingly, the most important budget challenge is determining the return on an organization’s eLearning investment. In many cases, the eLearning ROI is the most important factor in budgeting for eLearning.
While the value of eLearning doesn’t necessarily need to be evaluated in strictly monetary terms, one of the major benefits eLearning provides is the ability to be more cost-effective than traditional education and training methods. Despite this, eLearning is far more often a cost-centre than a revenue-generator for most organizations.
While generating profits is an essential goal for eLearning businesses, keeping costs as low as possible without negatively impacting the quality of the education provided is always a key part of determining eLearning ROI. Fortunately, there are ways to address all these budgetary concerns.
WANT MORE INSIGHTS? Look at eLearning ROI from another perspective: check out this article on the 4 Levels of ROI in eLearning: Engagement, Retention, Culture, and Minimized Exposure.
THE SOLUTION: Integrated eLearning, eCommerce, and Analytics Technology
There is an ideal solution that can solve all the most common eLearning challenges while also addressing the eLearning budgetary challenges listed above. In a market overcrowded with eLearning technology options, the following checklist will help significantly narrow down the field to only include options that have the resources needed to overcome these concerns and deliver your ideal eLearning environment.
- Open-source LMS platform
- Ability to measure and report on learning and business data
- Full eCommerce, Analytics, and eLearning integration
- All systems are xAPI conformant
- Provides ongoing education & support services
- Clear and risk-limiting pricing structure
- Low costs for additional support
An open source LMS will allow you to easily manage costs, include any desired features and functionality, and scale as your eLearning needs grow. Analytical reporting will enable you to determine both the quantitative and qualitative value of your eLearning for a clear measurement of the ROI from your budget. Adding eCommerce systems that integrate flawlessly with both the LMS and analytics technology provides the opportunity to understand exactly how to grow your eLearning revenues.
When these systems are fully integrated with each other it creates an easy and seamless user experience. Getting all three systems (LMS, eCommerce, and Analytics) from a single technology provider should guarantee that every aspect of your eLearning works well together. It is also an excellent way to keep down the costs of using multiple platforms, so long as the pricing structure is clear and doesn’t have hidden supplementary fees for patching and upgrades. To go into the benefits of an integrated LMS such as using Moodle as an eCommerce platform, check this article: eCommerce Integrated LMS: Turning eLearning into a Revenue Stream!
If you are in the training business or association industry, you might wonder how to sell courses online effectively and increase your ROI? Here are the 5 factors to consider when selling courses online to get you started.
Alternately, if you already have an LMS such as Moodle or Totara Learn, you can look into how to sell online courses and make money with your LMS.
Utilize a single eLearning technology providers that can offer an open source LMS that is fully integrated with eCommerce and analytics systems.
Measuring the return on your eLearning investment is the most common challenge for eLearning in general, and for determining eLearning budgets. Having in-depth analytical reporting from all your learning data can solve this issue by determining course effectiveness, identifying skill gaps, and determining the revenue generated by eLearning initiatives.
However, the reason eLearning ROI is such an important challenge is because of what we use that information to determine: budget. eLearning is generally an expense for most organizations, which makes reducing costs by eliminating them, increasing incoming revenue, or both, the ideal course of action.
The best way to accomplish those goals and transform eLearning from a cost-centre into a revenue-generator is as follows: Utilize an single eLearning technology providers that can offer an open source LMS that is fully integrated with eCommerce and analytics systems.
This way, all your systems will work well together. Even if problems do occur you’ll only be dealing with a single support team that understands all the technology top to bottom, instead of several isolated teams that can only address issues with a specific part of your eLearning solution.
Ensuring your eLearning has all these aspects will allow you to provide the best eLearning experience with the features and functionality that creates an effective and cost-efficient, learning environment solves all the most common eLearning challenges at once. Then you can continue to evaluate and grow the ROI of your eLearning investment, regardless of your industry or the goals you need your eLearning to achieve.
WATCH our webinar, Everything You Need to Build Your eLearning Business!
Join the tour of our latest product, Lambda Suite, as we examine all the features and functionality included to overcome the eLearning revenue challenge!
References & Additional Resources
1. The Open Source Definition. (2019). Retrieved from https://opensource.org/osd
- Lambda Solutions. (2019). How To Replace Adobe Flash. Retrieved from https://www.lambdasolutions.net/blog/how-to-replace-adobe-flash
- White Paper: Assessing The ROI of a Learning Management System
- ebook: The Essential Guide to Learning Analytics in the Age of Big Data
- Case Study: How Sandler Training Deliveries Superior Online Training Worldwide With Open Source LMS & Analytics
- Infographic: How do you measure the ROI of Your eLearning? Explore the 5 core elements!
Other blog posts you might be interested in:
- How to Develop an Effective LMS RFP for Your eLearning Solution [RFP TEMPLATE INCLUDED]
- The eCommerce and LMS Solution for Nonprofits
Originally published on October 7, 2019. Updated on May 1, 2020.