Leveraging Syndicated Online Training

How to monetize your Website while providing a valuable service to your clients.

By Jim Campbell, VP Business Development & Marketing, Coggno

Last year, U.S. corporate training groups spent $67 billion to train and certify employees to improve productivity and worker effectiveness (Bersin & Associates, 2012).As government and industry regulations continue to increase, so does the need for training and certification. In addition, businesses constantly are looking for competitive advantages, and a well-trained, knowledgeable talent pool can be a company’s most a strategic asset.

Businesses of all sizes need training and certification programs for their employees, and Internet-based training resources offer the most efficient, cost-effective way to train and certify large numbers of employees.There are many obvious reasons why online training has become the preferred method for most businesses. In-house training is both expensive from a cost (travel, instructors, materials, etc.) and opportunity loss perspective, as employees are taken away from their regular functions to sit in a classroom all day. In addition, as training requirements become more and more specialized, simply finding the right instructors can be a big challenge. Online training alleviates many of these challenges.

For service providers that offer online training, these market factors are presenting a tremendous opportunity for revenue growth. More and more businesses are looking to offer online training as part of their portfolio of business offerings. One of the fastest and easiest ways to accomplish this goal is by syndicating existing online training from an established online training marketplace. This excerpt from our recent whitepaper provides insights into how such companies are taking advantage of the syndication trend.

The Case for Online Training

In today’s fast-paced work environment, where companies are forced to continually do more with less, online training has become a staple for most successful businesses and enterprises. In fact, a report from Ambient Insight shows that the U.S. corporate market for self-paced e-learning products and services is projected to reach $7.1 billion by 2015. Businesses realize that employee training is a necessity to help mitigate risk (sexual harassment and diversity training), as well as develop and retain their employees (advanced certifications). And training is good for the employees, too. Employees with the most up-to-date skills and training are more productive and, therefore, more valuable to an employer. In fact, certain IT certifications can enable IT professionals to command as much as 16 percent in additional salary per year (CIO.com, 2012).

What Is an LMS?

A learning management system (LMS) is a software application for the administration and delivery, recording, tracking, and reporting of e-learning programs and content, including training programs, classroom and online events, e-learning programs, and training content. Its functionality is a basic necessity for any business that is using online training throughout its organization. An LMS provides a centralized learning and tracking mechanism for internal and external use across a large geographic area. An LMS allows you to distribute training courses and track all aspects of course deployment (who has/has not completed a course, etc). In addition, a learning management system provides the flexibility of updating and managing content to meet specific training needs. LMS providers vary in size and scope, as well as costs and flexibility. In some cases, LMS functionality is included in the cost of the training, but in other cases, certain implementation fees, subscription fees, or minimum training purchases are required.

Offering Online Training through Syndication

Though it might sound complicated, offering online training on your Website is simple to do. Thanks to online training marketplaces and learning management solutions, any Website now can offer online training to customers with no infrastructure or start-up costs. For professional employer organizations, chambers of commerce, consultants, and other organizations that manage outsourced processes and/or provide resources to businesses, online training presents a tremendous opportunity for offering additional value-add services to their customers, increasing revenues and improving customer loyalty and retention. But the costs associated with creating training courses and deploying an online distribution platform can be prohibitive to say the least. In addition, designing specialized training content over a broad variety of topics is not their core competency.

That’s where syndication comes into play. Syndication enables these businesses to simply create links on their Website or portal to existing training content, which is hosted and distributed by an online marketplace. There are no infrastructure costs, and the syndicator’s clients get LMS tools for free, enabling them to distribute and track the training across their organization. Syndicated online training is a symbiotic relationship between content creator, syndicator, and the end-user. The end-users get flexible, cost-effective training for their company; the content creators enjoy a broad, established distribution channel that enables them to monetize and distribute their content; and the syndicator benefits in multiple ways. First, they provide a valuable service to their clients, and second, they receive a share of revenue from the content creator every time their customers purchase a training course.

Selecting a Training Marketplace/LMS Provider

How do you choose the right partner for your online training needs? Carefully review the unique tools and functionalities offered by each provider, and remember that not all LMS providers allow you to syndicate their content via an online training marketplace. Another important factor to consider is what—if any—up-front investment is needed. Some LMS providers require a minimum commitment and/or implementation and other fees. Once you’ve selected a short list of providers, ask for a free trial period to conduct a thorough evaluation.

Jim Campbellis VP of Business Development & Marketing at Coggno, an online training marketplace and learning management system (LMS) that brings together content creators, HR organizations, and employees in a single, cloud-based ecosystem—enabling simplified training and certification anywhere in the world. For more information, visit http://www.coggno.com.

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