Staffing Your Online Learning Business

Barry Kelly
Jan 20, 2016 10:23:25 AM

With the explosion of online learning over the last decade more and more non-traditional organizations are building profitable learning businesses.  From consumer brands to training institutes, everyone is taking their learning online.  For those starting out, or for learning businesses looking to scale, staffing is an important consideration for success.

The good news is technology has made the delivery of online learning much more affordable over the past 10 years. 

You’ll need people, but not as many as you think. The size of your team will probably depend on the size of your organization. In most cases, projects start off with one “project owner” or champion (probably you or a trusted colleague) and will grow from there. With the right platform provider an online learning business can be built and managed across an organization with minimal demands on content, marketing and technology teams.


As a project kicks off, you’ll need an engaged content leader, editor or educator. That person will be critical to the course building, curation and asset collection process. He or she may need a little training up front. Luckily, we find that the ramping-up process goes quickly, even for employees who haven’t worked in online learning before.


Depending on the platform provider you choose, you may need a little or a lot of help from IT or internal technology teams. The right SaaS company will make the workload light on these folks, so you should be able get to market quickly. Look for a vendor that can provide seamless integrations like SSO, commerce and reporting.


Not all learning is for sale. If it’s the case that you are selling your learning products, you’ll need to be best friends with your marketing group. Get these people involved early and seek out the best digital marketers on the team. These are the people who will bring it all home for you.


If your organization is anything like ours, you’ll want your online learning experience to look incredible. A good designer can work wonders in that department, helping you make a strong first impression. While there won’t be too much design work involved, having a designer’s guidance will help. It’s the details that matter.


You are going to want to count all the money you’re making, correct? Connecting e-commerce and reporting is a good idea. Having an ally on the account team will help ensure that things go smoothly.

At Thought Industries we work with many organizations at every stage of their learning initiatives.  Whether you are starting from scratch or scaling an existing learning business we have technology and expertise that enables organizations to deliver an exceptional learning product. We’d love to hear from you.

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