ExtensionEngine Blog

We ought to put this online...

Please, not another “we ought to put this online” idea….

Recently we’ve been speaking with companies that deliver training and generate revenue from it. Most of these companies deliver this training in-person. They’ve done it this way for years, they know how to get students, deliver the training and generate good revenue. And when we suggest to them that they think about moving it online, we often hear “No! We’ve tried that and it didn’t work. It was hard. The students didn’t like the experience. We never got the results we hoped for. I am not going there again.”

Which brings a smile to our face, because we know this is a “teachable moment”. They are about to see things very differently. And since you asked (or at least you are still reading), let us tell you why…


We agree that “first generation” online learning was pretty awful. But the world of online training has evolved so much. At the risk of using hyperbole - It’s not awful, it’s wonderful. We even call it something different - custom learning experiences.

 

Technology

First, the technology now available has caught up with learning science. What was once very boring, didactic training can now be highly engaging, adaptive and interactive. Learning science tells us that learning content should adapt to the learner and their competencies; that learners should interact with the content and discuss with other learners. That learners should put the material into practice immediately. And that knowledge should be validated. Look - you couldn’t do that 5 years ago when you put a PowerPoint online, with one video and a quiz at the end. It requires interactive design, social interaction, feedback mechanisms, adaptive engines, and experiential tools. And today, custom learning experiences provide this.

 

The Learners

Second, learners have evolved. We all know that technology has taken over our lives and the the way we consume information. Don’t know how to fix the sink? YouTube it. Can’t explain algebra to your middle schooler? Watch a Khan Academy video. Need an expert opinion? Ask it on Facebook or LinkedIn. People now expect to learn through digital experiences and they expect immediacy. Custom learning experiences provide this.

 

The ROI

And lastly, the business case and ROI is still so strong. By removing the barriers of time and place, you can generate an order of magnitude greater students who will pay the same price. But your incremental costs to deliver training, other than marketing costs, are next to nothing. No instructor costs, hotels or training center fees, travel and expense. Let’s say you currently charge $1000 per course, deliver it to 1,000 students a year, and your cost to deliver it is $500 per student. This is a good business - you gross $1m and net $500k. Now let’s say that that same course can be put online for a one time fee of $80-150k (and we are talking about a great custom learning experience) one time, and and an incremental cost of $150/student for marketing. By having it online, you now double your reach and get 2,000 students. And let’s even assume you lower the course cost to $750. What was a good business is now a great business - you gross $1.5m and net $1.05m. And the following year, since that $150k was already spent, you gross $1.2m. Obviously your numbers will be different, but if you do the math, the ROI is almost always.

 

Takeaways

So, it’s time to look again, think again. Understand how technology can help you not only recreate the in-person experience, but in many ways improve it. ExtensionEngine makes this easy - we work with SME’s and instructors to move your content online - with everything from instructional design to user experience and technology implementations. We can even help you market it. And we customize it, so it becomes YOUR brand and YOUR way.

Let us show you what a custom learning experience looks like, what the students experience and what the business case is. The time to revisit this is now, before your competitors go there, before your learners demand it, before you lose the chance to innovate.