Blog Post

How Could a Training Company Sell E-Learning Courses Online?

Here are 5 things to think about if you’re a training company and you want make money by selling online courses.

  1. Think about the Software as a Service (SaaS) model. You want a ‘multi-tenant’ online system - one system that supports multiple clients or ‘tenants’. A separate ‘instance’ of an online system for each client will cost more in the long run and be more harder to maintain.

  2. Do you want the client to be as self sufficient as possible? So a client signs up, creates an account, creates their own courses and enrol their own learners. You’re as hands off as possible.

  3. You’ve got a ‘light touch’ role but you still have a top level system admin account that gives you an overview of client activity. A suite of management reports and dashboards tell who’s logging in, what courses are popular and how learners stay online.

  4. Maybe you want your own library of e-learning content/courses. Perhaps you can make different courses available to different clients - clients pay for online access. Alternatively you take payments offline, outside of the system.

  5. You should probably create or (commission) online content that uses the SCORM standard. That’s more flexible than building proprietary content because you can, if you want, sell it outside of the learning management system to clients who just want the content.

    The advantage of proprietary content is that you can make it smarter than the SCORM standard allows, for example you could build in more sophisticated assessments that send rich learner data back the the parent online system for display to tutors.

Where do you get a platform to deliver the kind of commercially focused online service described above? You’ve really got two options:

Option 1. Use an off-the-shelf commercial system. Kallidus is one example, a fully hosted system that training providers can use to push their own content out to their clients.

The downside of option 1 is that you may well pay your learning management system provider on a per user basis - your costs continue to grow as your user numbers increase.

Option 2. Pay a software developer to build a system - one that you then own. It sounds expensive and more complicated but it’s a seriously viable option if you’re clear about what you want and you’ve got confidence in your online business model.

We’ve worked with a number of private training providers that have made the move into online learning, selling high quality online courses - either directly to home based learners or to employers. Option 2 is viable - particularly if you can support with management of the software development.