Digital learning is the fastest-growing sector within the education industry, with a swooping annual growth rate of 900%. In fact, the international eLearning market is expected to reach a total value of 243 billion dollars by 2022. Educational institutions, businesses, non-profits, and professionals converge in this innovative sector to bring training in a wide variety of subjects (from DIYing furniture to data analysis technologies) to individuals and teams across the globe.
One of the most common counterarguments to e-learning products, especially to those designed for individuals, is that everything one needs to know about a certain topic is probably “available on the internet, for free”. So, why pay? While there’s an undeniable abundance of information, this information is often far too much to process, with very few quality filters and reliable sources. E-learning products capitalize on the expertise of an individual or institution, not only to create and share valuable information, but also to curate from the abundance of information, and discern the relevant from the irrelevant through a precise knowledge of the target audience’s needs. The mentorship offered in an online course makes the learning process dynamic and fun.
E-learning products should be focused, time-efficient, and open an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to real-life cases while participating in a community of learners. Developing eLearning products might not be for everyone. But if this is an opportunity you’re able to take, you can grow your business (and your reputation within your niche) while helping thousands.
In this post, we’ll take a look at four key benefits that having an eLearning product can bring to your business and your brand. We’ll also consider how things could go wrong and how we could prevent it.
Diversify & Strengthen your Business
If you have a service-based business, creating eLearning products can be a great way to grow your revenue, diversify your offer (and customer base), and strengthen your business by becoming a source of training, not just a service provider.
In a sense, eLearning products and content marketing have a similar effect on your brand. How? Creating educational content is a way to get users to spend more time with your brand. And brands that educate their customers are seen as more reliable. This can also be seen as an argument in favor of the marketing strategy of making at least one of your courses available for free.
Grow your Brand Internationally
Taking a digital product international tends to be far less expensive and risky than expanding with a line of physical products. And opportunities for international growth abound in this sector. For instance, Brandon Hall Group estimates that throughout the next five years, Asia-Pacific will become the fastest-growing market for MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). Meanwhile, the German e-learning sector is growing at an 8.5% annual rate. And, according to the UK government, online courses have a completion rate of 70%-80%.
Don’t forget that, if you eventually want to take your course international, you’ll need to rely on eLearning localization services to adapt your content to your new students’ language and culture.
Automate your Business
One of the main challenges that prevents service providers from growing their business is how time-consuming their job might be. So it might seem like there are only two routes to bigger and better business: Either raising prices or automating as much as possible.
Online courses are not a service, but a product. And they can be delivered to customers automatically, whether they’re video courses on a platform or each lesson is delivered through email. There are numberless tools one can use to automate all stages of an online course.
Educate your Customer Base
While some businesses dedicate exclusively to courses, as a service provider you can use courses as an opportunity to inform your customers on the basic principles of what you do, how it works, and educate them on the concepts that guide your professional practice.
As a consequence, your clients will have a deeper understanding of your role in their business, ask better questions, and have richer and more ambitious working relationships with you.
How eLearning Products Can Go Wrong
Of course, a poorly translated course can prevent you from building a base of international students. But that’s not the only way an e-course can go wrong. For instance, some businesses and entrepreneurs might launch an e-course without having an audience that’s receptive to that sort of product. Some might even try to launch an eLearning product without having an audience at all.
It’s also very important to know what needs you’re gonna solve for your customers/students. Know what problem your audience needs solving, how much customers would be able and willing to pay for a solution, and what format might deliver the best learning experience.
The value you can provide through a video course hosted on a platform like Udacity or Skillshare is quite different from the value you’ll provide through an email course or a live workshop or program hosted on your website. Investigate your niche and talk to your customers. Don’t craft a product for its own sake, but to help a particular type of people solve a particular type of problem, or acquire a new skill enjoyably and effectively.
On the other hand, while online courses can be delivered automatically, we shouldn’t forget what sets great courses apart from good courses. It’s essential to provide customers with a communication channel so they can ask instructors relevant questions and get some extra insight into the course content. Having a discussion board for students can also be a great way to foster a community and keep the course from becoming too automated and cold.
Keeping your course content updated is also necessary. The fact that developing an online course might be less time-consuming than providing your usual services don’t mean that you can just launch your course and forget about it. Aside from promotion, keeping an eye on your content and on your student needs is vital for them to foster long-lasting and constructive relationships with your brand.