Skip to content

What is elearning? A complete guide

Elearning has certainly evolved over the years – what started off as text-heavy web pages on the world wide web has grown into an industry worth $107 billion. The learning management system industry shows no signs of slowing down either, predicted to triple its worth to $325 billion by 2025. 

In this guide, you’ll gain a complete understanding of what elearning is, how you can choose a platform, develop engaging content and even begin to sell your course. 

Look out for links to our resources throughout – they’re free to access and written by our elearning experts.

What is elearning?

You may have heard elearning being referred to as learning management systems and while both are similar, they have two clear differences.

e-learning: a system of learning which uses electronic media, typically over the Internet – Oxford Dictionaries

Elearning typically refers to the course content and system; the whole kit and caboodle. Whereas learning management systems refers specifically to the software that houses all of the materials and functionality. However, that doesn’t stop the terms elearning and learning management system (LMS) being interchanged. For example, your company might offer their own employee training through ‘an elearning platform’ but what they mean is they offer elearning through an LMS.

Regardless, it’s widely accepted that these terms can be substituted and switched around – even within the industry there’s no real right and wrong.

How does elearning work?

A learning management system makes the foundation for elearning. An LMS contains all of the course content, [some technical shite], frameworks (like SCORM or TinCan xAPI), learner information and SOMETHING ELSE.

Typically a learner creates an account which gives them access to certain courses, allowing them to work through their training from a desktop or mobile device, either through an intranet or other internet connection (public wifi, 4G, broadband etc).

Why use elearning?

Despite some misconceptions, elearning goes beyond employee training. It can be used by a variety of businesses and individuals. Elearning offers training delivered through a variety of media; video lessons, text guides, interactive quizzes, assessments etc.

With the right LMS you can offer an elearning experience like no other. One that trumps traditional learning in so many ways.

Is your business looking for a solution to the expense and time commitment woes of traditional face-to-face training? Here’s why businesses need elearning.

Where face-to-face training is restricted by location, elearning offers unparalleled access, giving students the ability to login and study from any location with any device…in most cases.

Want to do something beyond delivering a bog-standard elearning experience?

The limitless potential of a custom learning management system gives you an opportunity to deliver academic training to students, compliance and process training to employees and sell courses to individuals and businesses looking to increase their skill set.

With a custom LMS you can do (almost) anything. Want to simultaneously deliver a webinar to students all around the world, provide training videos or upload downloadable resources. An LMS can help you do that. Want to create something a bit more complicated like a subscription service that also allows users to buy private training? Them you may need a custom LMS.

Which platform should I use?

The market is inundated with off-the-shelf solutions – each with their respective merits and limitations. They all offer more or less the same thing:

  1. An interface where you can create or upload your course
  2. The ability to distribute the course (free or paid)
  3. Allow learners to consume it with or without assessments
  4. Generation of learning reports

However, the biggest drawback for these solutions are:

  1. Ongoing per user license fees that grow with the number of users required
  2. Ownership of the platform belongs to the service, not you
  3. Rental of the platform means you’ll never be able to own or distribute your course without being tied to the service
  4. Functionality restrictions that might mean abandoning your most exciting, differentiating features
  5. Limited creative branding and layout options

What’s our solution? You guessed it, it’s time to try a custom LMS.

With a custom solution, you’ll get complete creative and licensing control of your learning management system without the worry of user licensing costs and distribution – meaning you’ll be able to profit off of the system you build without any overheads beyond the initial setup fees, cost of security updates and server/hosting.

Is a custom LMS the way forward?

A custom solution isn’t necessary for everyone. Some individuals and businesses will be able to offer everything they need without having to go custom.

But if you need to offer something unique then exploring a custom solution could be right for you.

We’ve collected the top 20 reasons why a business may need to go custom – if you tick any of these boxes or would like to have a conversation to see whether a customer elearning platform is right for you then get in touch with us today.

A typical off-the-shelf solution model versus our custom-built LMS

How to create an elearning course

This will vary from platform to platform but most modern systems have an integrated authoring tool, allowing you to create your courses without a separate authoring app

We’ve written numerous blogs on how you can write engaging course content and use instructional design to guide your learners through your lessons and materials. By incorporating learning and development theories, like 70:20:10 and continuous learning, you can take your course content to the next level where you’ll be able to generate money from sharing your expertise. 

Remember that the elearning course market is oversaturated so take the time to understand learning and development theories in relation to elearning. Plan out your lessons incorporating the latest technologies and techniques and you’ll see a better return on investment (ROI).

How to sell elearning

Creating course content to sell on the market is no easy feat; you need expertise, time, creativity and direction. 

As we’ve mentioned before, getting your course content out into an oversaturated market presents a challenge; the necessity of ongoing support for learners, the need to take advantage of new LMS technology and the incorporation of marketing efforts.

We offer design and development expertise for elearning websites as well as bespoke marketing packages to raise your profile and sell more courses.

Our Digital Marketing Specialist, Kelly Newcomb, recently created a resource for course content creators with some tactics to increase the engagement and retention of your students. 

“If you fail to take advantage of digital marketing strategies, particularly social media and email, you’re robbing yourself of an opportunity to sell more courses.”

“Writing the course content isn’t the stopping point; sales and marketing will forever be ongoing. Neglecting either puts you at risk of being ‘just another elearning course’,” says Kelly.

If you’re at the stage where you’re exploring your options, whether you’re a course content creator, a representative from a higher education establishment or maybe you’re looking to package up your training to other businesses – get in touch. We can talk you through our custom LMS design and development or our bespoke marketing pages crafted to suit your unique business goals.

Not sure where to start with your own learning management system? See how we can help with Learning Management System development.

Leave a Comment