The e-learning business is growing, which has resulted in the launch of platforms for online courses. These platforms provide one-stop solutions that allow teachers/coaches to host their coures.
In this article, we will help you:
- learn about key platform features and functionality
- understand the difference between online course platforms and Learning Management Systems (LMS)
- perform an online course platform comparison to help you determine if it is the right solution for hosting your courses
What is an online course platform?
An online course platform is a one-stop solution that assists you in getting your online teaching business up and running without the hassle of installing your own system and software.
Standard platform features
Things to take note of
Like any all-in-one solution, there are limitations. Here are some things to take note of before signing up.
You can’t add functionality outside of what is provided
Before you sign up, be aware of the functions and features that are part of the platform. You will not be able to add or customise specific feature needs that are outside of what is provided. This is a key difference between implementing a Learning Management System and signing up with an online course platform provider.
Less flexibility and control
This is related to point one. As you can’t develop additional functionality, there are limited options for deeper control over your course content, UX and how students interact with your courses. Implementing your own learning management systems like LearnDash or Moodle provides better customisation options.
Depending on your industry, you may require this flexibility and control. For example, I develop e-learning modules for primary school education and need to customise my course UX that suits young children. I am constantly reviewing how students interact with my courses and modifying the experience. This would not be possible if I used an online course platform.
With online course platforms, you pay a monthly fee. These platforms offer different plans and it can get costly. You are also subject to their pricing policy. While having your own learning management system also involves costs (purchase of licenses), you have the option to explore ways to minimise your costs.
Why create courses with online course platforms?
The key advantage is simplicity. If you don’t need to customise the student experience and all you want to do is just focus on your course delivery, online course platforms are definitely a viable option.
Setting up your own online platform or learning management system can be overwhelming for those with no implementation experience. Without experience, you are likely to incur costs to hire developers or consultants.
Minimal Troubleshooting and maintenance
Having your own online site requires you to ensure your site is running smoothly. You will need to maintain the following:
speed and performance of your web site (if you have a growing number of students and concurrent users, you will need to make sure your servers can cope)
web site security
Having your site hacked will lead to major impacts on your business, brand and reputation. You will need to ensure that your student’s information is secure
Implement course catalog and payment options with ease
If you don’t need to customise different payment or trial options for your courses, then online course platforms allow you to collect payment from your students with ease. These platforms also provide solutions for listing your course products.
Tools to market your courses and communicate with your students
Marketing and communication is an essential part of any business and online learning is no different. Most online course platforms provide you easy access to tools that enable you to direct market or communicate with your students.