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ATD Blog

6 Key Issues With Selling and Distributing Your E-Learning Content

Friday, March 6, 2020

My main goal in writing this post is to raise awareness about the various solutions that can help you solve key issues around distributing e-learning courses to multiple LMSs or other systems. As I go about my day-to-day work, this topic, more than any other, is one where I see many who work in the content-provider market simply unaware that there are products available to them that can have a serious impact on their business. JCA Solutions develops solutions that help deal with these key problems, but this post is not the proper place to sell my products. Everyone can appreciate finding a way to save time and effort, and to make more money.

Thousands of companies provide custom and off-the-shelf instructional content that is sold and distributed to multiple enterprise LMSs. If this is your situation, you know that numerous issues surface when you’re trying to support a subscription or usage-based sales model and support training that’s delivered via multiple LMSs. Most commonly, you sell the content and provide a closed-course package of it to the customer LMS, and then you receive no insight from your customers’ learners about usage, completions, scores, or contextual user interactions.

1. Why It’s Difficult to Distribute an E-Learning Course to Many LMSs

Each LMS seems to have its own proprietary way of doing things, including conformance to well-documented e-learning standards like AICC, SCORM 1.2/2004, xAPI, cmi5, and LTI. Many LMSs only support one or two of the e-learning standards and the truth is most LMSs are not fully conformant. The tiny differences found in each proprietary LMS make it hard to use the same course package for multiple LMSs. Also, many LMSs use a third-party adapter to support e-learning standards so their LMS cannot run a report on the data that the course reported.

2. How Do You Share Your Courses With Every LMS?

The solutions that solve these issues are invisible to your customers. The SCORM standard does not support remote viewing of content but multiple solutions have been developed that allow you to use “stubs.” Stubs allows any LMS or other environment, including mobile, to remote-view your content.


3. Branding Your Content for You and Your Customers

Your customers are proud of their culture and brand and it is easy to provide branding for them without needing to change the course itself. A good solution will allow you to custom-brand the beginning of the course experience in a variety of ways. Available technology should also allow you to capture registration information, provide special messages, make a language selection, display logos, and more.

4. Getting Usage Reports Across All of Your Customer and Learner Populations

A content distribution solution will have some level of built-in reporting. At minimum, what is reported to the LMS should get reported back to you. The stub may be providing more data than the remote LMS can report on, which may even give you better reporting than the LMS. You should also be able to generate standards report and export to XLS or CSV.


5. Support for Your Business Model

No two customers want to buy in the same way, and you should be able to use multiple licensing strategies to serve customers. You want to be able to customize your own sales approach as you extend your reach into new markets. You should be able to control or monitor access to your content using per-course enrollments, per-category enrollments, and opens/ launches.

6. What if Your Customer Does Not Have an LMS?

With today’s technology, you can embed media in any web or mobile application. A solution that supports distributing your training should also have features that allow you to deliver to your customers who may not have an LMS. Technically speaking, it’s easy.

This is not a comprehensive list. Solutions in this space also have version control, flexible pricing, and more. If you are dealing with these issues, there are multiple vendors who have developed affordable solutions that can help.

About the Author

Nick Washburn is director of business development for JCA Solutions. He has two decades of experience working with software companies and hi-tech entrepreneurs in learning management, and distance learning technologies conforming to SCORM, AICC, and xAPI standards. He has led the development and go to market of award-winning training technology solutions used by Fortune 50/500 and U.S. DoD. He is currently Secretary of the IEEE xAPI Standard Work Group, was a member of the ADL workgroup that created the Experience API (xAPI), and he continues to work in xAPI/LRS strategies for today’s learning enterprise.

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