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How to choose the right online learning platform

online learning guide

Education

How to choose the right online learning platform

Are you an online learning blogger, an instructional designer, a teacher or just have some knowledge you want to share? Then you may be considering offering your expertise in the form of online courses.

There are a lot of online learning platforms and it’s easy to go broke trying to get students to even check out your course, let alone take it and finish it. That’s why this post lays out some of the most popular and most effective places to host your online course depending on your goals and budget.

First off, let’s start with a few key questions you should answer before reviewing each option:

  • What’s your goal? (You answer will help you in the following questions)
  • How tech-savvy are you? (If you’re very tech-savvy, try setting up your own Moodle or LMS instance. If not, try out the end-to-end products like Udemy)
  • Do you already have content and just need a platform? (It’s easiest to create all content ahead of time using Google Drive, Word, Camtasia, and your chosen video service)
  • What’s your budget? (The prices vary quite widely – be sure to contact Daily Genius Consultants if you want some free advice or tips on which options work best for your particular needs. We’ve set up online learning platforms for individuals, corporations, and governments)

See Also: A crowdsourced list of the best Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Selling Courses On Third-Party Online Learning Platforms

When we talk about selling courses on third-party platforms we mean:

Third-party platforms are an easy way to get started. You create courses, upload them to any of the selected platforms and start your eLearning career.

The main benefit you get choosing any of the above mentioned solutions is no need to care about marketing, your courses’ promotion and their advertising. The platform’s team will do everything for you. However there is another side of the coin and it is a profit to split.

Sell eLearning Materials To Teachers

We all know that teachers have a pretty tied-up schedule and usually don’t have much time for a course content development. You can easily help your time-limited colleagues by selling the materials you have created.

Sites examples are:

Plus, the platforms are great resources for picking up new ideas as well. However, you need to remember that certain schools and universities forbid selling the materials that have been created during the working hours.

Sell Courses From Your Own Website

To build your own website and install LMS (Learning Management System) is another opportunity. Selecting this option you will not have to share your profit with anybody else. However, to build a website from scratch some level of expertise is required. Content Management Systems like Joomla!, WordPress and Drupal are quite popular solutions. The platforms are free to install.

There are Learning Management Systems built for the needs of all of the above mentioned Content Management Systems.

Examples are:

LMS license goes with support, that is why you don’t need to be afraid of choosing this solution. One more benefit you get is the availability of wide amount of plugins, modules and extensions available to extend website’s functionality.

The option suits the needs of people who are not only planning to sell the courses but to build a professional website with extra features and functions.

Plus, the platforms are constantly updated; there is a community of supporters and adherents ready to help. You can install the well-known Moodle as well.

Moodle is a free Learning Management Systems and is great for companies and individuals who have technical background or an IT department who can take over the responsibilities of LMS implementation and management as a free eLearning software usually comes without support. There are manuals and an online community available however.

Use Hosted Learning Management System (SaaS)

Hosted Learning Management Systems are widely used for education and training purposes. However, they are great for selling courses as well. LMS offers you multifunctional learning opportunities and you will be freed from a necessity to manage the content manually. The LMS will do everything for you.

However, as any other solution, LMS implementation has its shortcomings, particularly a need to invest a considerable amount of money in its implementation. That is why when choosing an eLearning platform you need to pay attention to its pricing model and availability of eCommerce tools integration.

Hosted Learning Management Systems are installed on vendor’s website and you have access to a certain LMS part. You are free to add your own branding, theme, content. The solution suits the needs of people who don’t have their own website. Prices for such Learning Management Systems are usually set for a month.

If you are a starter have a look at less expensive solutions that offer multiple ec-ommerce platforms integration. Pay particular attention to free trial availability to fully explore the LMS functionality.

Let’s look at examples (100 users/ a month subscription):

Next Steps

There are a lot of options here – probably too many – but the biggest tip here is to simply do your research. Examine how much a particular system will cost you in terms of money as well as time. Is it worth an extra 30% premium for a software system that you don’t need to implement yourself? How much flexibility do you need?

Answer these questions (and the ones earlier in the post) and you’re well on your way to hosting an online course that will benefit many online students for years to come. That’s the hope, at least!

The article is written by Ilona Hetsevich. She works for a project, devoted to eLearning software development, and writes based on company’s experience in the eLearning field. More information about available LMS features can be found at JoomlaLMS website.

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