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Evolving Business Models in eLearning – The LMS as a Marketplace for Course Creators


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When we look at the eLearning industry as a whole, we can classify the members into the following groups:

  • eLearning Tech Companies – The ones who make the LMS, LXP, LCMS, or mobile learning apps.

  • eLearning Content Providers – The ones who develop eLearning courses that are deployed on different platforms.

  • Consumers / Learners – These are people who consume the content, they could be the end-users/learners, or other companies buying licenses for their employees or customers.

In the last few years, there’s been the rise of one more category – the independent content creators. These are subject matter experts who are passionate and highly knowledgeable about a specific subject and create training content built around it. This is then offered through course aggregator platforms like Coursera, Udemy, edX, etc., or if the course creator is highly tech-savvy and has the bandwidth to develop their own customized portal, they can offer it independently. This era is known as the ‘creator economy’. If one is skilled and knowledgeable one can make a living by educating others and creating insightful content. The growth of YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok stars and influencers is a prime example of this transition in this Internet era.

 

B2B and B2C Learning – Tackling Two Different Sectors

Business to Business Learning has been the traditional business model in eLearning, there is a company with a specific training requirement. They float a tender, and a company is selected to design the learning content for them. The original firm with the learning requirement may or may not have a platform to deploy the learning content. When they do not have a platform to deploy the learning content, the scenario becomes more interesting as the firm would be able to evaluate different solutions available in the market and choose the best platform that meets their needs.


LMS for B2B Learning

Ideally, the LMS should be easily customizable, offer support for different forms of learning content, and be extremely user-friendly as a platform, both for the learners and the tech team managing the LMS. In B2B learning the need for a marketplace or a solution to sell courses does not arise. The original organization looking for the LMS has a specific learning requirement to train its employees, partners, or customers and just needs a safe platform to deploy the training content. App support, responsive design, customer care support, integration with existing ERP or CRM, and cloud or on-premise hosting are some of the other features that organizations would evaluate before signing up for a new LMS for B2B learning.


LMS for B2C Learning

This is where the equation or business model completely changes. An organization builds a powerful learning platform, develops its own learning content, and is ready to sell it to end-users/learners. So how do they garner support from customers and prompt them to sign up for learning through their integrated learning platform? Most such platforms follow a freemium model where some of the modules are available for free and a full course and certification are chargeable. Alternatively, some platforms also offer a two-week free exploration period followed by a regular subscription. But what if the learner does not want any long-term commitment or subscription?


This is where Coursera and Udemy are able to make a huge difference. Individual course-based pricing and highly affordable learning content. The challenge is to find the best course from the most credible source – be it an institution or trainer and sign up for them. In addition to these platforms, reputed leading universities also offer select programs through their websites. Managing Happiness is one of Harvard University’s most popular programs.


Developing an LMS for Independent Course Creators

What if you could create a course and host it on a platform with a few clicks? This is what most modern course aggregators do. They serve as a marketplace for learning and offer courses across different categories. Some features that should be built into such an LMS that fosters B2C learning are listed below:

  • Ensure that multiple payment options are available. (Net Banking/Debit Cards/Credit Cards)

  • Ensure compatibility/integration with PayPal and Stripe for global payments.

  • GDPR compliance for emails and all personal information of users.

  • Payment Card Information (PCI) security compliance for storing payment data.

  • Ability to charge recurring payments, shopping cart, checkout, automated receipts, e-signature, etc.

  • Multi-format content support and chat support for learner-instructor interaction.

  • Dashboards and reports to view learner progress and the ability to trigger notification alerts.

  • Responsive design is a must and mobile app availability is a good-to-have feature.

  • Course moderation and review by authorized staff before a course goes live.

  • A recommendation engine would be a great feature as it will add value to learners.

What Does the Future Hold?

As learning becomes highly personalized, we will see two distinct categories of learning. One for professional growth and the other for personal hobbies. Professional learning will be more focused via the corporate LMS, and more organizations will sign up for licenses from platforms like LinkedIn Learning or Skillsoft and set up a structured learning path.


The rise of microlearning platforms like Gnowbe Learning and 5minsAI also means that the shorter video format-based learning content resonates more with the current generation of learners. YouTube still remains the largest free learning resource and will continue to be so. The challenge will be for users to find the best trainer or expert and sign up for their courses. As generative AI grows by leaps and bounds, we will also see courses created fully by AI and voiced by an AI-based instructor guiding learners. The modern LMS for B2C learning will truly become a marketplace of high-quality learning content.


Looking for an LMS?

The search for the perfect LMS for your needs can be extremely time-consuming. At S4Carlisle, we specialize in assisting educational institutions and corporate entities in finding the right LMS for their needs. Our LMS consulting expertise ensures that you make the right decision and opt for an LMS that helps meet all your training requirements. For more information and assistance in choosing the right LMS, please write to sales@s4carlilse.com

 

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