Choosing the Right LMS to Sell Courses Online
If you’re reading this article, chances are that you’re on the brink of joining the 83 percent of organizations that use an LMS. Congratulations, and welcome to the club! We think you’ll like it here.
With 83 percent of organizations ahead of you in the game, you don’t want to waste time with trial and error, trying to find the right LMS for you. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide to finding the LMS that works for you on the first try.
Free or Commercial?
Yes, there are open-source LMS programs. We all know the old adage that you get what you pay for, but if you want to be sure of your decision when you ultimately choose an LMS, it may be worth considering an open-source LMS, and whether you feel that your needs could be met by one.
Compare the most appealing open-source program with the most appealing commercial program that you find. Look at what features and support each provides (and what you might have to pay to provide on your own), and really consider which parts you can or can’t live without. Be aware that open-source solutions often require a seasoned developer to set up and format correctly. Unless you can do this yourself, open-source solutions are not truly a free option.
Installation or Cloud-Based (Saas)?
The next big question to ask yourself is whether you want (or need) to install the LMS on your own hardware or provide it via the cloud. Most companies these days are using the cloud because they like the ability to access the LMS from anywhere, and the lack of necessary upkeep. Of course, you may have reasons or limitations that would make you want to choose to keep the LMS in-house. Consider the benefits of each.
More to Think About
It may be helpful to take a week or so to write down any features you want to make sure are included (or avoided) in your LMS, so that when you approach potential providers, you can see clearly whether they will be a fit. Let us give you a few questions to help you make that list:
- How customizable is the LMS?
- Does this provider specialize in the area that you need the LMS for?
- Does it have the features (learner or admin) your end-users need?
- What data and reports can you generate through the LMS?
- Does the LMS integrate well across different platforms (such as tablets or mobile phones)?
If you have all the course content you need, skip this part.
For those who need content to sell, there are many options, but few good ones. Larger content publishers won’t even give startups a second glance. You can pique their interest by flashing $100,000 or more in upfront cash to license their content, but most resellers don’t have that kind of money. This does not solve your LMS needs, either.
Another option is to reach out to a lot of smaller publishers to bring on their content. Some smaller publishers require upfront money while some may work on a revenue share model. The problem is that if you have no revenue (which you may not, if you’re reading this article), it’s very difficult to bring even small content providers on board.
The last option is to choose a service that offers both an LMS and the content to populate it. There are really only a few options to choose from, and of course none of them will be free. Revenue share is not realistic in this scenario, since nobody will provide you with their LMS and content for free while you try to start your business. You’ll want to investigate all the items discussed in this article relating to the LMS. You’ll also need to take into account the amount and types of content available on each platform. Do they have 500 courses, with each only 10 minutes long, or do they have 500 courses with each being 5–10 hours long? That’s a massive difference in value, so be careful when considering content options.
Let us help
You’re a unique business with your own needs. We would love to discuss your distinctive needs with you. If you’re ready to start talking, please contact us here—you can even book a free demo or start a free 14-day trial!