9 Ways to Monetize Your Learning Business and Maximize Assets

Emily McLaughlin
Mar 23, 2017 10:05:00 AM

In a webinar with Talented Learning’s CEO and lead analyst John Leh, our CEO and co-founder Barry Kelly addressed different ways to monetize your learning business. The pair broke things down into three separate categories -- or what they call stacked monetization: selling direct, bulk seat discounting and licensing.

As technology evolves, the avenues for learning business monetization increase. When shopping for a learning platform, It’s important to understand specific monetization capabilities. Does that platform allow you to mix and match revenue-generating features so that you can make the most out of your learning content?

Read Kelly and Leh’s nine different ways to monetize and maximize assets, then listen to the full webinar here.

Sell direct

Selling direct includes la carte course sales and recurring subscriptions. This is the easiest way to start monetizing your online learning content.

1. A la carte sales: Make courses available on your websites and sell them for a single price. These courses can be offered on-demand or via a time-based model.

2. Course bundles: Sell courses as bundles by combining them and creating curated packages of learning content. You can bundle courses you offer one-off or a la carte into these packages.

3. Recurring subscriptions: Some learners will want access to a library of learning content for a monthly or yearly subscription. So, in addition to offering courses a la carte and as course bundles, you can offer learners access to all of your courses for a monthly or yearly membership price. That way, they have more freedom in choosing what and when they learn.

4. Courses + products: Another direct sales avenue for revenue is bundling courses with physical products. For example, a consulting firm could offer their online courses with in-person consulting sessions. The Hackett Group plans to use the Thought Industries customer training platform to do this. Another example would be a home and garden company pairing “how-to” courses with physical products.

Bulk seat discounting

Deliver seat licenses to users from multiple organizations for courses on your domain -- a la carte course sales or as recurring subscriptions.

5. Bulk seating

In this monetization model, an organization could sell 40 “seats” in a course to one organization, then sell 50 “seats” in a course to another company. Learners from both companies would be enrolled in the same course, potentially interacting with one another. 


Licensing content is one of the newest ways to monetize your online learning content via learning platforms. In this model, you can brand content and classrooms to create unique experiences for each of your clients. “Licensing is a tremendous way to leverage your content and expertise and distribute it throughout an entire market,” said Barry Kelly.

6. Custom branded learning: Offer custom branded learning courses to clients and partners.

7. Dedicated virtual classrooms: Create dedicated classrooms and courseware for clients and partners. Dedicated classrooms are different from bulk seating because it is fully siloed.

8. Customized learning portals: With this model, create dedicated custom learning portals for clients. For example, if you have a course titled, “Introduction to Cultural Alignment,”  you can clone that course and fully brand it for the organization like model #7. Then, you can create unique logins for the organization to enable learning leaders there to monitor student progress internally.

9. Sponsored/Ad-supported learning: In this monetization model, training programs are paid for by commercial partners. Your organization might create learning programs with integrated ad-servers in the learning interface on behalf of advertisers in exchange for user data and engagement. This model is most valuable for consumer learning businesses.

Watch the full webinar on our website and read more customer training monetization tips on our blog.

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