There’s no question about it: the e-learning industry is big business. In fact, it’s estimated that 77% of US companies used online learning in 2017. Today, in the wake of the pandemic and the global turn toward virtual learning, those rates have only accelerated. There is tremendous potential for growth and profitability within the industry. That is the good news. But with sweet inevitably comes the sour, and in the case of the e-learning industry, perhaps the greatest challenge is the extreme competition that even the best training providers and online course creators face.
Setting your content and your company apart is about more than developing world-class courses. It’s also about managing them well. To maintain a competitive advantage amid a sea of rivals, training providers can’t just set it and forget it. Instead, you need to master the best practices of course management. We’ll show you how.
Do Your Homework
As a training provider, you are a subject matter expert in your field. But that doesn’t mean you automatically know who your learners are, what they need and want in terms of learning content, or how to reach them with the content that they desire. Therefore, you’ll need to do your homework—not once, but frequently and consistently—in order to keep abreast of the market and ensure that you are reliably delivering content that is both relevant and timely.
Integrating industry research into your course management strategy is essential to effective content development and marketing. This should involve researching trade publications, attending virtual and live conferences and other industry events, and even scouring the news for content and marketing ideas. You’ll be developing meaningful content that sells and cultivating strong relationships with clients who will come to depend on your company, month after month, year after year, to find the content that they need, when they need it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, such research is not only fundamental to course development but also to the ongoing revision and updating of your content. Managing courses effectively means that you’re not constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. Rather, you are consistently monitoring your content for functionality, timeliness, and relevance. Stale and outdated content will not sell, and it can also tarnish your brand.
By routinely monitoring, evaluating, and updating your content based on the latest research, you can make sure your content maintains its quality, freshness, and profitability. Good content management involves testing your courses frequently, even after rollout. Ideally, you should try to test each course at least once a quarter to ensure that the content is still accurate, up to date, comprehensive, and useful.
Focus on Engagement, Interactivity, and Diversity
Managing your courses effectively doesn’t end with research and content updates, however. Ensuring that your courses will continue to sell long after rollout means you’ll need to have a multitude of tools in your toolbox.
One of the most important strategies that you can use is to embed and continually update and enhance your content with interactive and multimedia elements to capture your learners’ attention from the start and hold it all the way to completion.
You should also recognize that learners’ behaviors continuously evolve and that emerging technologies often drive that evolution. Each new smartphone, tablet, or other device introduced to the market is a new platform on which learners may endeavor to access your content. Effective course management means the ongoing testing of your courses to ensure that your content is compatible with these emerging technologies. The goal is to optimize your content for mobile devices to enable students to learn on the go, without compromising content and presentation quality, regardless of whether they are accessing your material from the latest, just-on-the-market tech or from a device that’s generations old.
Keeping pace with the breakneck speeds at which new mobile technologies emerge today can seem like a daunting and even impossible task. But it is eminently doable with a bit of strategy. One of the best and simplest solutions to ensure that your content is scalable is using a “chunking” approach when developing your content. This enables you to easily remove and replace elements of the course that either go out of date or need to be adjusted for a specific new client.This will improve the learning experience for students and make long-term course management and administration more efficient and effective.
Prioritize Testing, Maintenance, and Analytics
The importance of ongoing testing should be quite clear, but it’s not only about using testing to monitor and manage content and ensure the functionality of all course elements across diverse learning platforms. Testing combined with strong analytics is essential to sustaining and enhancing the profitability of your courses.
For example, learning management system (LMS) reporting tools will enable you to develop a clearer picture of who the learners are and what they do, including how long they spend in a course module and how they answer specific quiz questions. You can use this data to determine which aspects of a course present learners with the most significant difficulties. These reporting tools can also be used to track login patterns and see what browsers and devices learners are accessing the course from.
All this data can then be poured into your marketing strategy. For example, you can use these resources to develop, refine, and update your targeted marketing strategy based on your target audience’s current needs and behaviors. This will almost inevitably involve the use of social media, email marketing, e-word of mouth, customer reviews, community forums, and promotional events, including course previews, seed content, and special discounts to continuously market your content based on the inevitable evolution of the industry and your target market.
Use a Multi-tenant System
Another highly effective strategy for managing your courses is to use a multi-tenant platform that enables you to seamlessly manage your content from a single interface. For example, with the Firmwater LMS, you can easily host and manage all your learning content, including creating and managing individual client portals and sites. You can also easily grant specified clients access to your content, provide course-specific or client-specific updates and modifications to your content as needed, and host and administer your entire content library from the Firmwater LMS.
As a training expert, you are likely quite familiar with the rush of developing creative and innovative content. But thriving in the e-learning industry is about more than just crafting great courses and releasing them into the digital ether to succeed or fail as they will. Rather, the best content creators are those who excel in making great courses and manage them efficiently. This involves having consistency in research, testing, updating, and optimizing courses for content relevance and quality and for superb functionality across a wide array of platforms.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!