6 Ways to Maximize Your Investment in Online Learning Technology

Thought Industries
Aug 29, 2017 9:20:00 AM

Purchasing learning technology for your business is an important decision involving many stakeholders, budget considerations, vendor evaluations, and more to ensure your company makes the right choice. Given there are literally over 700 different applications, authoring tools, learning management systems (LMS), and other categories of learning technology which make up the entire marketplace, it can be daunting when it comes to trying to figure out which system works best for your business, how much you should pay, and who to go with.

The price points of these applications can range from a few bucks a month to tens of thousands of dollars per month, and understanding what drives such a drastic range in price points can help you make more informed decisions in aligning your needs with the technology available.

Since Thought Industries was founded, we’ve connected with 1,000’s of potential prospects across all industries, use cases, and revenue bands. Due to the sheer size of the online learning space, we understand the challenges businesses face when it comes to trying to make the right decision based on your needs. We’ve talked to everyone from the solo entrepreneur with a $100 a month budget looking to start a brand new business, all the way to large scale global organizations needing implement a new solution across all channels of their enterprise. Each prospect has different needs, and it’s our job to try and align our services with their requirements in a way which creates a lasting partnership.


Progression of Online Learning

To align those expectations, it’s important to understand the progression of the online learning marketplace. Online learning has generally been identified with either higher education or internal training (i.e. human capital or talent management) and the reputation of those online experiences has typically been described as underwhelming. However, with the advance in technology—the online experience in general, paired with mobile compatibility—online learning is now becoming something people WANT to participate in. The result: Now businesses can leverage online learning in new, innovative ways and start rolling out programs which can potentially have significant impacts to bottom-line revenue in a variety of ways.

6 ways to maximize your investment

From a pure business perspective, how do you determine the revenue impact online learning can provide? Here we outline a few significant ways to assess how online learning can affect your bottom-line. Maybe your business falls into only one of these categories -- or maybe multiple ones -- but understanding how to measure that tangible business impact, and then aligning it with the cost of your technology vendor, can help you make a more informed decision.

  1. New revenue streams: make more money. Many organizations are taking in-person activities and events, and bringing that experience online since it’s significantly more scalable. Others are leveraging online learning to sell training and education, for example, in the form of short $10 courses on mindfulness, all the way to $2,500 courses on business analytics.
  2. Customer Lifetime Value: Brand loyalty and customer engagement (either B2C or B2B) will start to become a more prominent part of the customer lifecycle with the increase in competition. Ensuring successful onboarding, engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction can help to boost the lifetime value of a customer.
  3. Onboarding: Onboarding new employees on all things related to your business can quickly get workers ramped up, increase productivity, and boost efficiency. There’s also an opportunity here to quickly understand the gaps in a worker’s knowledge. This allows your organization to apply specific resources where needed in order to create a leaner organization with the ability to constantly improve their process.
  4. Product training (internally or externally): Whether educating your internal sales team, or external channels such as resellers, partners, distributors, dealers and more, product training -- and being able to quickly roll out educational programs to accelerate go-to-market capabilities and field a more educated sales force -- can have a significant impact to the business. Too often, organizations rely on shadowing, role-playing, and word of mouth training to get sales people ramped, and online learning can provide a more systematic approach which can constantly be monitored, evaluated, and improved.
  5. Cost savings Saving money can be felt in a few areas: 1) if you are paying multiple vendors to cobble together your online learning programs, picking a vendor which has many of those features under one hood can provide a cost reduction, and 2) if you are traveling around the country spending money on flights, hotels, dining, and entertainment to train either employees or customers, bringing that experience online can save a significant amount of money (and hassle).
  6. Business value: CRMs, for example, are often a mission critical application to any large-scale business. It tracks a significant amount of activities spanning all facets of an organization, which is why businesses are willing to pay high price tags for the software. The CRM isn’t a direct money maker, but it provides business value in that it streamlines operations, organizes employees, and provides visibility across the entire company. For online learning, there’s an opportunity for any business to find that same level of value by strategically and systematically deploying learning to parts of the organization—both internally and externally—with a focus on saving money, improving education, and finding new revenue and engagement opportunities available in the market.

At Thought Industries, we are focused on ‘Powering the Business of Learning.’ We understand online learning can be applicable to many different types of businesses in many different use cases, so we’ve built our Learning Business Platform to be flexible enough to handle these complexities to have the most positive impact for your organization.

Many of the 700 learning technology providers mentioned above might be able to support various pieces of your learning ecosystem, but as innovative companies recognize the value online learning can provide across all facets of their organization, having a platform which is designed to grow and evolve with your business and support your learning operation from end-to-end will prove to be an investment worth making, no matter what the cost.

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