One of the most important, and complex, decisions to make when building online training to generate revenue or impact comes upfront: what online learning platform should you use?
Rather than focusing on the 700+ learning management systems on the market, you may want to start thinking differently about building your online program, course, certification, or degree.
Think Like a Product Company
As outlined in the blog post Think Like a Product Company, once you intend to generate revenue, you are creating an online product and an online business, not just putting a course online. And your product has to be special, unique, and very specific to what your market wants. In other words, you need to think like a product company.
When we work with clients, the first thing we encourage is for them to get out of the mindset of “putting a course online” and get into the mindset of “creating a product.”
How will thinking like a product company help you choose the right online learning platform? Read the white paper Choosing a Platform for Revenue-Generating Online Training
Focus on the Learners’ Experience
Much like any industry, the evolution of technology has shaped the way we think about and experience, online learning. It’s becoming more obvious that putting instructor-led training materials up on an intranet is a poor experience for paying learners. But using the out-of-the-box functionality of a traditional commercial learning management system to host graphics, video, online assessments, and interactions with other students through an asynchronous forum, is also becoming outdated for revenue-generating training.
It’s important to remember that students are both learners and customers making purchase decisions. The platform you choose has to support the needs of today’s audience/learners and modern pedagogies, plus your own need to to differentiate and your specific business model or product requirements.
Know your options
When choosing a platform, there are two core questions that you need to answer: how are you going to build and manage content? And where are learners going to access this content? A high level view reveals these options (you can read more about them here):
- Learning Destination Sites
- Traditional Commercial Learning Management Systems
- Open Source Learning Management Systems
- Modern Learning Management Solutions
- Learning Management Ecosystems
- Custom Built Platforms
Platform decisions are complicated, especially where you have constraints in time, resources and money — and who doesn’t? Changing your mindset and understanding the different types of online learning platforms are the first steps to choosing a platform.