Streamlining Customer Training With Online Learning

Thought Industries
Aug 16, 2017 2:11:00 PM

The right content distribution and licensing strategy — paired with the right suite of learning tools and technology — can enable businesses to create learning experiences once and distribute them in many formats to many different types of learners.


You spend a lot of time, effort and resources creating valuable learning content, so your goal should be to get it into the hands of as many of the right people as possible. One way is by engaging individual learners in a one-to-one arrangement by either offering free content or providing premium access through a financial transaction. But, another way is by packaging up and delivering those learning experiences to entire organizations through a B2B-like approach.


In this paid content licensing model, you are an expert or consultant in a particular area, such as business and data analytics or process improvement. Other businesses come to your organization for your expertise and want to buy your content in bulk and distribute it to their employees. In this scenario, your business — the one with the expertise or consulting skills — will package content and sell it other customers in a “licensing” model.


This article examines large-scale learning content distribution — as well as its challenges — and shares potential opportunities along with routes to success for maximizing the value online learning can bring to your business.





Distribution Through Licensing: Delivering Content to Customers

In this distribution use case, rather than trying to connect with the individual learner, you license content to an entire outside organization (i.e., customers which pay you for your content). That organization, in turn, handles the delivery of the material to its learners. Your objective is to provide the learning content their organization wants, and then they handle the nit picky work of figuring out who should take the courses based on role, department, skill level, etc.


Licensing Example

Let's imagine that you produce learning content about compliance regulation, and other customers are coming to your business because they want their employees to undergo training related these new regulations. Your business provides the learning content, and then their organization manages the accessibility of those lessons

internally to the appropriate staff members.


Content Distribution Challenge 

To accomplish that, you need a way to distribute content more effectively while also managing and monitoring its usage. For example, if your organization is selling a 10,000-user license to one enterprise, a 2,000-user license to another business, and a 100-user license to a third company, you want seamless functionality to make sure each of your customers you are licensing content to doesn't exceed the usage or time frame they are contracted for. Likewise, you want the ability to control and ensure the customer — and their users — only have access to the content licensed for them.


The customer you license your content to will also want to maintain control over which of their departments or business units have access to the learning content. The same management interface you use to perform your licensing operations to delegate access to your customers needs to be able to also fit their management needs, but from within a controlled enterprise-wide boundary. Just as you may license your content to 10, 20, or 50 different enterprise customers, each of those customers may have 10, 20, or 50 different divisions that need access to your training materials. Through a "sub-licensing" structure that allows you to restrict access, you delegate oversight to "licensees" to manage usage within their business as they see fit, then they delegate access as they choose.



While large-scale content distribution and licensing offers the ability to improve sales, engagement, and satisfaction by reaching deeper and broader into other organizations, there are also several ways to improve the overall experience to ensure maximum value.


Branded Experience

When delivering learning outside of your organization to other organizations, you may want to give their group of learners a "branded experience." You need to be able to make each of the organizations you are providing learning and training to feel like they're in an online experience which was built by their own designers or web staff. For some organizations, it is important to provide a learning environment that adheres to their unique corporate standards regarding the use of logos, images, colors, fonts and other such details and that gives the visual impression to the end learners that they've entered a learning site set up by their own organization.


Social Experience

Learning has always been a social activity — whether it's face to face or online. In the case of online learning, people want to be virtually "surrounded" by other learners. In the enterprise setting, however, the outside organization that has licensed your digital content would probably prefer to keep its own learners within the same dedicated "learning environment," allowing them to work alongside others from the same organization without the presence of outsiders.

Those learning environments may have variations too. Some learning experiences could use videos and text content, while others may have social elements in which participants interact with each other.


Advanced Training

While plenty of people are happy doing the minimum amount of learning required for onboarding or product training, others want to excel and become the in-house experts. These individuals represent an opportunity to "upsell" advanced training such as certifications.



People who are learning often like to "level up" by mastering a skill set and then showing o that accomplishment to their co-workers, managers or the broader work world. Whether acknowledgment comes in the form of micro-credentials, digital badges, printable PDFs or some other format, the promise of earning certification can inspire learners to continue their journey.



The Thought Industries' Learning Business PlatformTM includes a new suite of tools bundled under the name, Panorama. Panorama delivers wide and powerful functionality for creating, managing, and delivering online content with a major emphasis on distribution in licensing and training scenarios — a tricky technical challenge.

Panorama acts as a "licensing and content distribution engine" with numerous features:

  • BrandingStreamline the creation of branded online learning experiences by allowing administrators to quickly set up sites, drop in logos and customize the look and feel for each group or organization.
  • LicensingPanorama simplifies the delivery of licensed learning and training content directly to your customers within dedicated and secure online learning experiences with a custom URL.
  • Multi-Level ReportingAuthorized users within your company or your outside organizations can track engagement and performance at the learner, course and group or customer level, providing the data needed to help optimize the learning experience at all touch points.
  • ProvisioningOffer multiple ways to provide groups of learners or entire organizations with access to dedicated learning experiences and content. Easily upload or invite learners via registration, bulk import, redemption codes or through single sign-on (SSO).
  • User ControlAdministrative operations allow you and your customers to restrict access to specific data based on permissions or roles.
  • Content ManagementManage "parent" courses and select which ones customers can access. After selections are made, the parent courses can be linked to "child" courses so that content updates made within the parent course trickle down to the child courses as well. Revise once, populate all over.

Panorama's new features improve creation and management of courses and content while accelerating distribution of that content to your learners in innovative ways. While there's no reason to stop selling your great courses to those individual learners, broadening distribution by intelligently licensing your learning content will help you better serve the unique needs of your enterprise customers while increasing your revenue potential.



Frequently, learning technology such as a standard learning management system (LMS) can't scale with the ambitions of a learning content provider. Or, it may be that the provider built the learning technology in-house and now lacks the internal IT resources to adapt it quickly enough to take advantage of new sales opportunities. Another drawback may be that the learning technology in use by the learning provider may not be flexible enough to address the needs of use cases, or it may deliver a clunky user experience.


This is why Thought Industries has created a Learning Business PlatformTM. It’s a single, cloud-based solution which can help you oversee the learning experience for your learners and business constituents from end-to-end — from their initial interest, through acquisition, distribution, onboarding and continued advocacy. Once you've developed your courseware and content, you should also be able to leverage online learning post-sale through certification and continued training.


Discover how the Thought Industries' powerful 'Panorama' functionality enables businesses to create multiple fully branded and dedicated learning environments for groups, departments, business and more - all from a single domain, and managed from a single platform. Request a demo today.

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