How to save money on your elearning system
Posted by Kelly Newcomb on January 28, 2020
There’s no doubt that providing elearning can save you time and money. Whether you’re an independent course content creator, training provider or employer, moving your training to an elearning platform is extremely cost-efficient and opens up your business to new opportunities.
It’s an exciting prospect but finding a system for your training content can be a tedious process. For those with big ambitions or lots of users, off the shelf solutions come with hefty, ongoing fees, often making them as unaffordable as they are restrictive.
So, how can you save money on your elearning system?
Cut out pay-per-user fees
Believe it or not, there is another way. For those of you who have started looking at various elearning platform providers you’ll have likely come across pay-per-user or pay-per-seat fees. These are fixed monthly or annual charges where you’ll have to pay for each and every one of your learners. These mounting costs make it hard to save money on your elearning system as they are an unavoidable expense.
This is an unavoidable expense you could do without.
For example, based on a non-specialist learning management system, the average price per user is usually £5 per month. This might sound like very little, but over the course of five years, and the growth of your business, this will have a huge impact on the cost of your elearning.
Let’s say you start off with 1000 users. Per month you’re looking at paying £5000. Depending on the price of your course, you may see this as a reasonable expenditure.
But when you add it up, the annual fee for your users alone will come to a whopping £60,000. That’s not considering any other annual fees or licensing charges that you’ll need to pay.
Maybe £60,000 isn’t a lot to you, so let’s look at the impact of this long term. Assuming your business grows a conservative 20% each year; after 5 years, your user base has grown to 2488. That’s £12,440 a month just for your users.
A total charge of £149,299 a year.
Regardless of your business or the value of your training, this growing cost is unsustainable for most businesses. Why should businesses like yours be penalised for your own success?
The solution: Don’t succumb to pay-per-user fees
But how, you ask? Well, we understand that our clients want to grow their business without forfeiting their hard-earned income. To help clients save money on their elearning project we’ve totally done away with arbitrary pay-per-user fees in favour of designing and developing a system that is totally owned by you.
We’ve recognised the faults present with all off-the-shelf systems and their rental models. The money you can save on your elearning system just by avoiding pesky pay-per-user fees could pay for the development of your very own elearning platform! One that is totally customised to your needs, without the faff of relying on a third party.
Future-proof your elearning
When at the research stage of choosing your elearning system, it’s easy to overlook what your business may look like in 2, even 5 years down the line. The number of users and courses you currently have now might not reflect what you’ll have in the future. An expensive oversight.
When considering an off-the-shelf system the option most suited to you might be affordable now, but once you begin to grow you might find yourself forced to upgrade, a cost which you perhaps didn’t factor in when you first signed up for an annual license!
Solution: Start by choosing a system that’s future-proof.
An off-the-shelf system may give you some of the functionality you need, but at what cost? Does their payment model complement your business model? Will the cost of users and annual licensing fees outweigh sales? Will you end up paying for dormant users?
We find that most of our customers are extremely frustrated by the cost of these rental models offered by off-the-shelf systems. To really save money on the cost of your elearning project, it’s best to consider a slightly higher initial investment to be able to own your learning management system outright. This means you’ll have an on-brand platform, that is both future proof and scalable depending on your evolving business needs, all with very low running costs.
Don’t be restricted by limits
Nothing will affect your ability to grow your business more than limits. Sounds obvious right? But did you know that off-the-shelf learning management systems actually limit the number of users and courses you can have on your account? Some rental systems go as far as to hide these limits in the small print which can come as a shock when you’re ready to launch a new course and find that your cost will more than double, or worse, can’t be hosted.
Depending on your budget, you might find that your LMS demands that you upgrade your account to unlock a larger capacity; this will only add to your operational costs. If you, like most of the businesses we work with, have ambitious growth plans for the future you can’t be expected to work within the confines of premium plans and upgrades. These systems profit off of your success when really, you deserve to save money on your elearning project due to the success of your courses.
Solution: Find a system without limits.
To save money in the long run, and to earn a higher RoI, we suggest you opt for an elearning platform without limits. However, this is easier said than done. Most rental models have some kind of restriction in order to make the system/model profitable for themselves. But for those of you looking to grow a business, depending on an off-the-shelf system won’t bring you the same opportunities for growth as owning your system outright.
We recognise this, which is why we build a custom system at a fixed fee, giving you a system which you’d then own outright. We focus on future-proof designs and scalability so you can accommodate your users’ needs and help you achieve your business goals.
Saving money on your elearning platform is possible, particularly when you do away with the rental model proposed by off-the-shelf systems. These systems are great for small businesses who aren’t at the stage where they’re ready to grow, or for individuals who don’t see their elearning courses as an opportunity to create a passive income. However, they’re not suitable for anyone who:
- Wants a platform that looks and feels branded to their business
- Wants to work with businesses or professional clients
- Sees themselves growing over the next 3-5 years
- Aspires to have 100+ users/ learners
- Wants to take the business globally or reach new markets
- Sees the sales of elearning courses as an opportunity to create a low maintenance, passive income
- Wants any custom features
- Wants to deliver training in formats beyond video, images, text and assessments
While owning your system outright may seem like an expensive route, ultimately, you’ll only be making a more significant initial investment. In the long run, you will save yourself money as you invest in a learning management system without limits. By owning your system outright you’ll have the autonomy to shape your system around your business’ evolving needs, without the fear of being restricted by limitations or unexpected costs.
Digital Marketing Specialist
Having worked both agency and client-side, Kelly has experience crafting and implementing multi-channel digital marketing and sales strategies. Since joining Plume, Kelly has proved herself to be adept at driving sales and increasing customer lifetime values through sales funnel management, content, SEO and PPC.
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