An E-learning Marketplace for Independent Content Creators

Hi,

When I first got an iPad and put a bunch of educational apps on it for my kids, I was both amazed  and dismayed by the results.  My four year old, then somewhat younger, would be engaged by material and learning things quite beyond what he'd otherwise be exposed to, but then my older kids would spend hours jabbing at the screen randomly to pop the right balloon pair fastest.  That was when I figured there had to be better options.  Rather than share the whole long story, I will simply wave my fingers and say 18 months later, I'm using Storyline to make apps for my kids that meet their curricular needs and interests and am planning to offer them to other parents or teachers to help them go mobile with their supplemental e-learning too.

But then I thought, if I have one little website in the vast ocean of Google, the odds of getting noticed are small and the costs of trying to do it are relatively high ... unless it wasn't just me.  I've spent the last few months looking at options, considering implications, and telling my kids to turn the iPad volume down so Daddy could concentrate ... now that they are back in school, I can do more of the first two.

As I push forward from vague notion to "concrete" website, I'd appreciate any suggestions, discussions, go get them's, can I help's, and didn't you know about these sites's that this community might offer.

My specific interest is in creating a marketplace where e-learning creators can give away or sell their pre-K to 12 instruction and practice content organized by specific skill sets that target specific curricular areas (i.e. Common Core Kindergarten addition).  The notion being that a parent or teacher could come and choose from a variety of stylistic options (sports vs. fairies vs. cowboys etc.) that would engage their child while meeting the child's targeted skill need.

While my vision and interest is specific to where my life is vis-a-vis my kids etc., I do also believe that similar marketplaces could be set up on a similar model to meet the educational needs of other communities.  So, if this idea excites anybody else as much as it does me, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Best,

Mark

11 Replies
Eric Nalian

Hey Mark,

Check out OpenSesame.com - it seems like it is very similar to what you want to do.  However, there are a lot of courses on here and it seems like it would be very hard to get noticed/sell courses on there.

Does anybody have any experience selling courses on OpenSesame?

I have never bought/sold courses on there - I plan to at some point in the future, I just need to develop them first

What I think would be cool for a site would be something similar to Etsy where there is a general market for all courses, and then each seller can have his/her own storefront and sell more than just courses.  They can sell graphics, templates, voiceover services, etc...

-Eric

Eric Nalian

It would be even better if there was a group that had to review courses before they can be thrown into the marketplace as well.

The review group wouldn't say 'Yes this course can be sold or No this course can not be sold', however it would not be allowed to be sold if this group did not first review it and provide an unbiased review.  They could give it a ranking based on a set of predetermined variables that would not at say 'this course is good or this course is bad' it could be a 3 star ranking that would show:

  • Level of interactivity - 1 star being more of a 'read and click' course and 3 stars being a 'full interactive course that includes games/activities'.
  • What level of person this class is for - Individual contributor, general supervisor/manager and director/executive level.

As of right now, these are the only criteria I can think of

-Eric

Mark Mulkerin

Thanks Eric,

I've looked at OpenSesame, but haven't used it.  That said, from a parent's perspective, I don't find it all that inviting.  I can't drill down by grade and subject matter as you can with other sites that provide more traditional pencil and paper worksheets, lesson plans, etc. and 783 of their 812 K-12 courses were brought in by Khan Academy so I don't get the feeling that K-12 is thriving there.  I'd love it if it were, because then it would make my life easier.

I love your Etsy suggestion for the general market and I agree that providing a space for collaborators to come together or sell their services would also be great.  It is daunting trying to do everything from A to Z and having an e-learning focused job board would be handy (I've looked at Odesk as an option for some things, but it only covers certain aspects).

Mark

PS Holly, when you are done thinking, do share.

Mark Mulkerin

Review - good thoughts.  The Apple Appstore charges a developer fee ($99 a year) and has an extensive set of criteria and lots of back and forth, but that is Apple.  I'd be inclined to have some moderation function when it came to inappropriate or offensive content, perhaps a certification available to courses that have been vetted by a disinterested educator, and then parent, teacher, and student reviews like Amazon does for books.

I've also thought of pre-tests and post tests to evaluate which courses demonstrate effective learning, but that would be a huge undertaking.

Mark

Mark Mulkerin

I see the major challenge with a posting fee and review process as getting enough qualified subject matter experts on board to review the instruction and/or practice material.  Another option could be to require newly posted lessons free for a number of runs as a kind of clearly labelled beta test and have the creator fix any concerns before letting it participate in the main marketplace.  I'm trying to think of Wikipedia and linux kinds of solutions as I see it being a sort of opensource kind of thing, but if one started seeing a great deal of 1 + 1 = 6 kinds of material then a little tighter quality control for the students sake would be absolutely necessary.  Just typing aloud here.

I'd love to hear any thoughts on what people would view as equitable, how best to arrange or tag classes, etc.  So many questions, so little mind ...

Mark

Carolyn Lewis

I realise that i'm late to this discussion, but the site that is exactly what you are looking for is www.elearningmarketplace.co.uk. It's a marketplace for independant and commercial e-learning sellers. It is a comparison website so really it's a cross between amazon and compare the market.com but for e-learning. The site was only launched earlier this month, but already its proving to be popular.

It's completely free to add your e-learning to the site, all the marketing, e-commerce and administration is done for free, the site just takes a commission, much smaller that others such as opensesame.

Mark Mulkerin

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for that.  It look like a great resource.  I'm working on my own site to fit the needs of parents buying lessons for their children and teens - the US has legal issues around tracking children's data online that adds an extra level of complexity to meeting their needs.  I wish you great success with it.

Cheers,

Mark