By Deb McMahon, PhD, President and CEO
The New Year has come and gone, and many organizations have finalized or are putting the finishing touches on their strategic plans. Do you have a strategic plan to really expand your eLearning business?
After talking with Scitent’s business, course design and technology experts, I recommend the following five eLearning strategic goals to drive your online learning business growth in 2016:
Number #1 — Is your eLearning program aligned with your organization’s overarching strategic goals?
Oftentimes, an eLearning portfolio is a cost center for an organization, either because it is primarily a member benefit or courses are underpriced – or free. A quality portfolio of eLearning courses should be an asset for your organization and generate the traffic and sales to increase revenue. This, of course, advances your mission, but also builds your brand at the same time. View your courses as your brand ambassador. See #2.
Number #2 – Look at your learner universe — and think of expanding it
eLearning programs generally begin as internal training programs or a member-focused educational benefit. Visionary organizations are now realizing eLearning courses should be marketed and sold beyond membership and outside the four walls of their organization. Have you looked at partners, chapters, associations or other resellers who would benefit from offering your online course to their network? You most likely have a network of potential learners/purchasers out there who can be reached through a distribution channel.
Number #3 — Develop a specific eLearning sales and marketing plan
Just because you build a course, doesn’t mean that learners will come. Often, an eLearning program launches without sufficient sales and marketing or the strategic planning to really drive traffic to your online product. If you are committed to goal#1 above — generating revenue — you’ll need to ramp up your sales and marketing efforts to increase return-on-investment (ROI). The fundamentals should be user-based web design for your eLearning purchase experience, effective email marketing, ongoing SEO, content marketing and public relations.
Number #4 – Move your learners to better performance-based learning
Within professional organizations, 70 percent of learning new skills takes place on the job, 20 percent through mentoring and peer interactions, and only 10 percent through formal instruction. So, how do you enable learners to perform better? Through personalized and adaptive learning. Read more about performance-based instruction and make this a core part of your program.
Number #5 – Minimize disruption as your eLearning ecosystem grows
As you expand your eLearning ecosystem to fully tap into the strengths of new technology and systems, then Single-On (SSO) capabilities are absolutely essential.
There are many SSO standards, including SAML, OAuth, JWT (Json Web Token) and others. Scitent’s IT Team can provide advice and guidance as you consider your SSO strategy. Make sure your current learning management system (LMS) supports at least one SSO solution.
What are your strategic goals for 2016?
Caroline March-Long is VP of Sales & Marketing at Scitent, an eLearning company specializing in growing an organization’s reach, revenue and reputation through market-leading distribution technology and services.