Homegrown online learning technology is costly to support and often times doesn’t provide growth options. Organizations looking to scale and monetize their online learning business are turning to SaaS learning platform providers to ease the stress associated with homegrown solutions.
Migration is complicated
Building online learning technology is expensive, and keeping it up to date is tough work. According to Talented Learning CEO John Leh, “It’s equivalent to digging a hole and throwing all of your money in it.”
Many online learning organizations have homegrown learning solutions with custom websites tied to their own ERP systems, their own databases, their catalogs and their chosen or custom eCommerce systems. In the process of creating their online learning business, they started as experts in a subject matter and ended up being experts in building learning platforms—that is, until they hit a wall. Many companies have pinned themselves in the corner.
How to choose the right online learning technology
In a webinar with our CEO Barry Kelly, Leh says, “A lot of companies were just making do, but now they are coming into the LMS marketplace.” Choosing the right technology is all about defining your use case, and then defining your requirements at a functional level, technical level, integration, and interoperability level.
Ask your organization question like: What types of content are we migrating? How much is there to migrate? What kind of services do we need? What kind of support do we require?
That second-to-last question is important. What professional services you are going to want from the online learning technology provider to help you to help you be successful? “It’s not just about setting up the LMS and getting your content in there. If you are running a training business or generating content for revenue, it’s about helping you figure out monetization models, best practices, how to develop and distribute the content—and doing that in an efficient way,” explains Leh.
The last question in the list asks what kind of support you are going to require from the organization? Will your organization need end user support or just administrative support?
Create an online learning technology blueprint
Leh suggests learning business look at technology, service and support requirements holistically. “In 2017, that should be your goal in buying technology and choosing technology. There is no reason to settle anymore,” say Leh. “There are 700 LMS vendors — you can find someone who is doing exactly what you are trying to do from a business standpoint if you just roll up your sleeves and do a little work.”
Moving away from restrictive technology
If your existing LMS or online learning platform is short on features and lacking monetization options, it’s time to start shopping. Here are some features to look for in an online learning technology stack:
- Native authoring and interoperability: A web-based tool to create highly engaging learning experiences; A system that allows you to add our SCORM files
- Powerful eCommerce capabilities: Transaction management; Optimized conversion; upsell and discounting options
- License management engine: Ability to manage large volumes of concurrent learning partners
- Cloud hosted and secure: A scalable platform; No maintenance or development required by your organization
- Brandable and responsive: Fully white-labeled experiences across all devices anywhere; Allows learners to access via their tablet, mobile phone, etc.
- Integrations, SSO APIs: A fully configurable interface for highly integrated brand experience; Integrates with proprietary technologies, esp. Salesforce; Communicates and integrates with all the necessary technologies in real time by communicating information seamlessly
- Data and reporting: Deep data, learner engagement and revenue analytics