Client Success Story: Tricycle Online Courses for Buddhist Teachings

Emily McLaughlin
Mar 13, 2017 8:45:00 AM

Tricycle, a not-for-profit educational organization founded in 1990, is working with Thought Industries to make Buddhist teachings and practices broadly available. By migrating from a restrictive platform to Thought Industries' Learning Business Platform™, the organization has been able to provide their users with a unique and independent public forum for exploring Buddhism, establishing a dialogue between Buddhism and the broader culture, and introducing Buddhist thinking to Western disciplines.


Learn more about the success of the Tricycle online courses below.


The Challenge

Tricycle's previous platform worked, but the organization often ran into issues with automatic software updates that rendered multiple plugins incompatible with the platform.  As a result, the site would crash, payments failed to process, and user complaints grew. Their options were: 1. Hire a staff to maintain the platform, or 2. Move to a new platform. They chose the latter.


How Tricycle is Using the Platform

Tricycle online courses present “timeless teachings" via "modern methods.” By using Thought Industries, Tricycle is able to provide their learners with a seamless, easy-to-use learning experience. Their website boasts:

  • Strength in simplicity: We believe that technology can enhance learning and foster a sense of connection to the teachings—and to one another. We've developed a new online learning platform with the goal of combining cutting-edge instructional design with an intuitive user experience.
  • Memorable and meaningful: To make the teachings easy to understand and remember, instructors offer guidance for practice and prompts for reflection. The curriculums include quizzes and activities to ensure deep and effective learning.

Course Examples

“Teachings From the Kingdom of Bhutan” is a self-study program kicking off today, March 13th. In this course, Tricycle recreates the immersive atmosphere of traveling to Bhutan on retreat and offers learners the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the country with a community of fellow practitioners. Learners will have access to all six lessons in the course once it launches.


Tricycle also offers eight-week courses, including “Going Forth” and “The Boundless Heart," and will offer several more before the end of the year. Tricycle has the ability to track users’ progress through the courses, allowing them to learn user habits and preferences. This information is used to fine-tune the learning experience for future courses.


To get inspiration for new courses, Tricycle sends emails to gauge interest.


Why Thought Industries

For Tricycle, the Learning Business Platform™ is an improvement over their previous platform. The Thought Industries platform is flexible, easy to work with and completely scalable. Tricycle is also finding that it is easy to build courses, easy to manage the student database and that everything is fully functional with their existing marketing features and services.

Another big perk: No maintenance required. “Thought Industries,” Tricycle course designer Mark Cooper says, “takes care of the platform and continuously innovates, adding new features frequently. That allows us to focus on the courses themselves.”



Sharon Salzberg, a Tricycle course leader and central figure in the field of meditation, drew more than 800 participants in her first online course -- one of them being Thought Industries CEO and co-founder Barry Kelly. This grew the second time around. Tricycle noted that Salzberg’s own promotional efforts helped bolster interest.

When it comes to learner feedback, the organization is noticing far fewer complaints from their tolerant and patient audience.


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