5 ways to Overcome Challenges and Grow your Training BusinessIn our earlier blog post this week, ‘Training Companies: The 5 Hurdles to Success‘, we discussed the key challenges that stop a Training Company from realizing its true potential. In this post, I will address each challenge by presenting a solution that leverages one or more key features / functionalities of a Learning Management System.

Challenge 1: “I want to expand my training services portfolio.”

This is a broader business challenge for any organization, let alone a Training Company. While most enterprise systems today are designed to improve the efficiency of organization processes, the goal of any modern age system should be to try and complement the core business objective i.e. improve the top line.

Solution: Blended Learning

Blended learning is the ability to combine different type of training modes namely ILT, eLearning, and Virtual Classroom, and can provided as a blend through the LMS.

Advantages

  • New Services Offering – A Training Company can combine various form of training modes and provide more value to its customers. Organizations can combine eLearning & Virtual/webinar classroom for its customers/learners who can’t visit their classrooms. This allows them to tap into newer markets and extend their services offering.
  • Increased Revenue Stream – New services offering means newer avenues of revenue via reaching out to newer markets (or a wider audience).
  • Value add – Blending various types of training modes provides more value to learner/participant as well.

Challenge 2: “I have to manage multiple customers, each with different requirements.”

A challenge very specific to Training Companies. A Training Company typically has different types of clients; some might be retail (individuals who buy training) while some can be corporate. The requirements of the former and the latter differ in terms of the training content provided, type of access needed, rights and privileges etc. Further, the Training Company may also want to maintain isolation and security not just for the data but also for the users of different organizations on the system.

Solution: Multi-portal/Multi-tenant Architecture

Multi-portal/Multi-tenant Architecture enables the creation of different portals for clients; all which are a part of the same LMS but with a logical segregation of users and content. Further, these portals can be branded separately using client logos, colors, etc.

Advantages

  • Dedicated Portal – Ability to create separate portals for different clients with their branding helps a Training Company to not just provide training but deliver a personalized learning experience for its learners.
  • Content Segregation – This helps a Training Company to manage users of different corporate clients while keeping the training content unique for each.
  • Reducing Overhead – When creating portals for specific clients, a Training Company can also create Portal Admins or Client Admins. This means a lot of user management or training delivery etc. can be done by the Client Admin, thereby empowering them while reducing a Traning Company’s overheads.
  • Multi-level Admin & Reports – A Training Company can track the progress of different portals individually. The Training Company can also create multiple administrators (Portal/ Client Admins) and manage their rights and privileges.

Challenge 3 – “I want my clients to self-purchase training.”

This is another example of how the requirement of a system evolve. Today, the LMS is no longer a training delivery system alone but is also as a medium for companies to empower the learners to self purchase. Given the surge in the ecommerce portals usage in our daily life, it’s a normal expectation that people would want to purchase training online. Hence, it becomes imperative for the LMS to have features along those lines.

Solution: Ecommerce

This functionality allows Training Companies to offer their training material to both corporate and retails clients over the LMS. They can make payment via a payment gateway , which is pre-integrated with the system and on successful payment, the training content automatically gets assigned to the learner.

Advantages

  • Increased business efficiency and cash flow – While the value of sale for an individual might be very low, for a Training Company, the cost and overheads of training delivery remain the same. The ecommerce functionality changes that. Now the learner can self register with almost zero admin intervention and directly purchase the training of his/her choice. Also, like any ecommerce portal, the LMS can accept payment in different modes – credit or debit cards.
  • User engagement and stickiness – Familiarity with an ecommerce portal increases user engagement by driving the learners to revist the LMS portal, thereby resulting in more sales per customer.

Challenge 4: “I want to market my training portfolio on my website.”

If you look from a marketing perspective and take retail or B2C clients into consideration, a Training Company’s website plays a critical role. After all, it’s the main marketing platform to promote various training content. Wouldn’t it be easy if there could be a way to integrate both LMS and website to exchange data?

Also if you see, in today’s IT Architecture, there is no single system that can work autonomously. It has to be a collaborative system set up where various platform exchanges data with each other and are dependent on each other. For example, more often than not, the New Joinee Data or User Profile Data resides in a company’s HRMS system. This calls for some level of integration to pull this data from HRMS into the LMS. Also the HRMS would require to track some level of user training progress, which demands reports from LMS to be pushed into the HRMS.

Solution: APIS & Web Services.

An LMS can identify different sets of data that could be required to be pushed from or pulled within. Post which, there can be readymade APIs available around these data sets , which can be exchanged with any 3rd party system. These APIs can be independent and configurable. Meaning, they are not designed for use of a specific system and the 3rd party system can decide how much data it needs to pull or push. Same APIs can be used in different ways by different 3rd Party systems.

Advantages

  • Seamless exchange of data – The training catalog information can be sent from the LMS to the Training Company website. This combined with Ecommerce Module means that a Training Company needs to just maintain the LMS as the primary source of information and via APIs, the catalog can now be listed on their Website, and learners can self-purchase the training. This way a Training Company can promote its website as a Single Point of Purchase , which also makes the user experience better for a learner, which will trigger re-purchase of training.

    Also, the User Profile and Training Progress Data can be seamlessly exchanged between HRMS and LMS. New user creation process can be automated and HRMS reports will automatically populated.

  • Single Sign On – This means that learners don’t need to re-login into the LMS, if there is a system/directory available in a corporate that can share the user credentials to the LMS. This will save the learners the task of re-logging in.

Challenge 5: “I wish to review what’s selling and what’s not, and improvise my training offering.”

As a Marketer, this will be a top-of-the-mind requirement – the need to understand which product is doing good in terms of sales numbers, which product is may be not liked so much by the learner, which product has scope of improvement etc.

Solution: Reporting & Analytics

LMS has a comprehensive reporting engine that tracks learner’s detailed training progress on various training parameters like courses, quizzes, assignments, survey, amongst others. It also tracks the courses purchased by the learners which allows a Training Company to get access to purchase pattern of users. It also supports graphical and analytical representation of the training progress.

Advantages

  • Training effectiveness tracking – The reporting data is also important for the corporate to track the effectiveness of the training program.
  • Marketing intelligence – The data collected by in reports allows the admin to create right campaign based on understand various parameters like Purchase pattern, Non-Purchase pattern, Feedback on training courses, Feedback on Instructors, Fondness to type of learning element etc.

I am sure that implementing the aforementioned features in your LMS can help you overcome your challenges and succeed.

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