How to choose the best online course platform

online course platform

What are your priorities when choosing a course platform for your digital enterprise? The online education business continues to grow and, as a result, producers become increasingly competitive. Whoever hires a platform that is well-aligned with this type of business can earn a few more points.

The last EAD Census, from 2018, revealed that there are approximately 9 million users taking online courses in Brazil. Therefore, there was an increase of 8 million students compared to the previous census. Now, in 2020, due to social distancing measures, more people have started taking courses online.

In this way, this audience to be explored has expanded considerably and made use of a quality course platform can be a means of conquering it. So, no more being guided by the most expensive options or those advertised by some popular internet guru.

In this article, you’ll check out the best tips on how to objectively choose a course platform for your business, so read until the end!

1. Compare platforms of the same category

Did you know that there are at least six different types of platforms aimed at online courses? Look what they are:

  • Marketplace, such as Demy and Courser, which buy and sell courses;
  • LMS (Learning Management System), that is, course development and hosting platforms;
  • Open Source LMS, which are more customizable LMS;
  • Learning Ecosystem, that is, unique and integrated solutions like the one used by the University of Notre Dame, USA;
  • Personalized Learning Platform, which is built from scratch. Harvard Business School uses one of this type.

But what do we mean by that? It’s just that, when comparing your possible choices of online courses, confront them logically. Apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Some of the platform types offer more freedom of customization, others focus on the interaction between users, etc. Each brand has a different technological focus.

2. Explore the ones that are of the integrated solution type

The main platforms offering integrated solutions are the LMS and Member Areas. Smaller courses and businesses fit better in LMS, while more complete and longer-term content deserves a member’s area.

The LMS, which in free translation means Learning Management System, was developed under a pedagogical framework. Both for educational institutions and for companies that seek to educate their employees. Essentially, this system customizes your course, generates tests and assessments, structures the content and presents e-commerce functionality.

Now if you face an unintended sales cap, provide customers with long-term results, and constantly update content, the member’s area will work much better. Your students will pay for access on a regular basis, so they won’t have as much anticipation of completing the course and acquiring the certificate as being part of a rich learning community.

3. Prioritize flexible and appropriate platforms for change

When promoting your course, it is recommended that it constantly reflect your brand, right? So it’s almost impossible to work branding on a rigid platform and without a lot of customization options.

Also avoid linking third-party websites to services you may need, such as video and music players. Having the option to change the look and feel and customize your brand’s URL address is the least that a course hosting can offer.

However, be aware that the value of your digital product should not be tied to the resource it uses. For this reason, you should not depend on the platform you choose, but rather be able to switch hosting without major problems when necessary. Safe backups and optimized migrations can help.

Also, you probably don’t get stuck in time. Your course content, sooner or later, will need to be updated and the platform of first choice will not always take care of these updates.

4. Look for the simplest but prepared for the creative producer

Yes, you can create a complete course and rich in knowledge, but with a completely simple interface. Entering a confusing platform is disheartening, and if your customer can’t access a particular option you provide, you may mistakenly think it wasn’t useful to them. Since the real reason is underutilization.

Simplicity also helps heroes like you. Can you imagine if every time you need to improve your course with some new element you have to consult a long and boring tutorial? The more intuitive the platform, the better the authoring experience — for you and your team.

5. Sign up for a trial period on at least two platforms

Take advantage of brands that offer trial periods. You can create an abbreviated version of your course and try it out on two to five platforms simultaneously. Thus, with the same material and at the same time interval, the comparison is fairer. Examine the speed of the platforms and time the time with your mobile. Also, pay attention to navigation: is it easy? Is nice?

If possible, ask some friends to try your test course on each of these trials. Feedbacks can even be used for your content itself, regardless of the platform.

6. Understand what a course platform can do and also what it cannot

What to expect, in general, from an online course tool? Creating a sales page, doing email marketing, using affiliate marketing and consulting for sales or educational content are some of the examples. But does all this guarantee students?

In fact, before you can think about creating an online course, you already need to have a relatively hot, buying-inclined audience. So also be aware of the limitations of hosting as a whole.

With the tips presented, it is easy to establish priorities to choose the winning course platform. Compare them correctly, prefer the most complete solutions, look for flexibility and simplicity, and prove it all with free trials.

 

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