How do I prevent password sharing on my e-learning system?

In today’s online world, sharing account passwords is quite common. In fact, some brands, like Netflix,  almost encourage it and build account sharing tools into their product.

It’s so common that users often don’t consider the repercussions of sharing their passwords or that it might break the terms of your agreement.

But the stakes are high in e-learning. Every time your users share their login details, you lose out on potential revenue. This post will help you to cut down on account sharing on membership websites.

Make your accounts more ownable

The reason so many people share Netflix accounts is because Netflix allows us to create profiles for the people we share our accounts with. This means that my Netflix recommendations (which are largely full of science fiction) aren’t plagued with the stuff my mother watches (the worst trash TV America has to offer), and vice versa. 

But while Netflix account-sharing is commonplace, nobody shares their Spotify accounts. Why is that?

It’s because these accounts are linked to single profiles; people don’t want their playlists to be tampered with, nor do they want their algorithm-powered recommendations muddled with their friend’s listening history. 

We can learn from this. To avoid people sharing their login details, we must make their accounts more personal and more ownable so that people won’t want to share their profiles and compromise on the value the personalisation brings.

Some simple examples include:

  • Add a private notebook to your lessons, allowing learners to create and save notes
  • Allow learners to save videos, lessons or other content to their account (like adding a song to your Spotify playlist)
  • Introduce algorithm-powered suggestions based on certain triggers and behaviours, such as personalising a course based on the answers of a pre-course assessment
  • Disallow quizzes to be re-taken 
  • Limit the number of times a file can be downloaded
  • Personalise your completion certificates with the account user’s full name and disallow name-changes
  • Tie an account to an e-portfolio of public-facing badges/qualifications

The more ownable you make your accounts, the less people will be willing to share them. 

Use single-sign on technology

Single-sign-on does away with usernames and passwords in favour of a social login, such as  via Facebook, Google, Microsoft or LinkedIn.

This is convenient for your users because it saves them from having to remember another password and provides a one-click login. But as an elearning platform owner, you should encourage this type of login as it reduces account sharing.

While some users may be happy to share their password for your LMS, they might think twice about sharing their Facebook or Google password. People are reluctant to share access to personal accounts because so much sensitive information is stored within them; private messages to friends on Facebook, emails from banks in Gmail, access to credit cards within Google Pay and so on.

2 Factor Authentication

2 Factor Authentication or 2FA adds a second layer of security to an account. Most major online services like Google and Facebook include this technology as a way to prevent unauthorised access to a user’s account, even if a password is known (whether willingly shared or hacked/leaked). 

If a friend logs into an account, they must also have a code that is sent to the account holder’s phone or private email. The codes often expire by the time the account holder manages to forward them, requiring the friend to attempt to log in again.

While it’s not a perfect solution on its own, it’s just a hassle that makes it more difficult to share an account. 

Block simultaneous logins

Everything we do online is tied to an IP address of our network. There’s little reason why we would need to be logged in from two IP addresses at any one time. 

Knowing this, we can block simultaneous usage from two different IP addresses. When computer A is logged in, computer B is automatically logged out. Likewise, when computer B logs back in, computer A is logged back out.

For both the account owner and their friend, it’s going to be frustrating to be constantly logged out of the system.

Pay your users to refer their friends

Whether you purchase a subscription for wine, HelloFresh or almost anything else for that matter, companies often provide you with vouchers for your friends, tempting you with a tenner every time a friend signs up. 

Businesses introduce referral fees because it works, and it can work for e-learning too. Offer a percentage of each sale or a flat-rate fee with a unique referral code that your users can send to their friends. 

Want to stop your users from sharing their logins details and passwords with friends and colleagues? We can implement these precautions to reduce account sharing on your elearning platform. Get in touch today.

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