Selling your courses

Hi All,

I am curious about how many people design their own courses and then sell them? I work for an organisation and develop internal courses but I would like to eventually design my own courses and sell them. I was wondering what people's processes are. Here are some random questions:

  • Do you sell it as a once off package or a yearly subscription (if subscription how do you track it)?
  • Or do you have your own LMS and take enrolments?
  • If the organisation doesn't have an LMS but there are quizzes that they want to track, what do you do? Help them set up one? Just print results?
  • How do you manage customisation for different clients? Track the files, changes, updates etc?
  • How do you transfer the final files to the client if you are in a different city?

Any other info would be great! I'm sure there must be people out there who are doing something like this and I just thought I'd start gathering ideas!

Thanks,

Kat

18 Replies
David Anderson

Hi Kat, I thought I'd bump this question since it's one we see frequently--in one form or another. We have a few folks--users and vendors--who sell off-the-shelf courses, so maybe they'll chime in.

Admittedly, I  don't have specific answers to your questions, but I thought I'd share a few links to previous threads:

Online courses - Wordpress or alternative ?

eCommerce and Articulate Online?

Using AO to provide for-profit courses to third parties?

Bruce Graham

Kat P said:

  • Do you sell it as a once off package or a yearly subscription (if subscription how do you track it)?
  • Or do you have your own LMS and take enrolments?
  • If the organisation doesn't have an LMS but there are quizzes that they want to track, what do you do? Help them set up one? Just print results?
  • How do you manage customisation for different clients? Track the files, changes, updates etc?
  • How do you transfer the final files to the client if you are in a different city?


Hi Kat,

Answers from me - just my opinion and personal perspective...

1> Sell as one off package. I have tried with a couple of "direct sell" organisations, but unsuccessfully. You may wish to try for example https://www.opensesame.com/ I sell most of my work to corporates, so I just sell the build/creation time as consultancy, and then they get all IP/ownership/(maintenance!) rights when I get paid.

2> I use client LMSs

3> They always do. If not, you could always encourage e.g. use of Articulate online.

4> You need to be careful with "customization". it is my understanding that if I create a course for one person, then I cannot repurpose it for another client, (that's UK law I believe any way, I may be mistaken...). Bottom line is I have always created from scratch. If you are selling someone a product, you need to understand who owns the IP, you may need to ask a friendly lawyer about this.

5> I transfer using Filezilla/FTP protocol. The world becomes an irrelevant size that way     Failing that, I allow them access to download from a Dropbox (.com) shared folder.

Hope this is useful to you.

Bruce

Kelly Meeker

Kat, as Bruce mentioned above, OpenSesame is a marketplace for buying and selling elearning courses. eLearning developers use OpenSesame to post content for sale, reach new customers and count on us to handle hosting and technical support for customers. If you have content you are developing for sale, here's how you could use www.OpenSesame.com: 

  • Upload courses for sale either one at a time (self-serve) or work with us to do a bulk upload
  • You set the prices, including by the seat (individual user in an LMS), volume discounts (optional) and site license (unlimited use for one year, also optional)
  • Customers purchase courses by the seat, which must be used within 12 months of purchase and last for 12 months from the date the course is first used
  • We have a sales team, marketing folks and a big search engine advertising effort, all connecting courses in the marketplace to customers around the world
  • We handle the purchase transaction and pass 60% of the revenue to you; we keep 40% of revenue
  • We host the course files and deliver the course to customers, handling all technical support for customers
  • Courses purchased on OpenSesame can be taken on the OpenSesame website or work in any LMS

If you're interested in selling your courses on OpenSesame, please let me know! I'd be happy to talk further with you or do a demo if that would be of interest. You can reach me directly at kelly.meeker@opensesame.com. Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

David Becker
  • Do you sell it as a once off package or a yearly subscription (if subscription how do you track it)?

I sell at a a wholesale price to resellers and they sell direct to consumers and/or businesses. I charge a whole sale per course price. I use SCORMcloud to host the content which allows me to maintain one version of the content, delivered via unlimited resellers/csales channels (ease of maintenance). I can also roughly reconcile their sales figures against enrollments and thus know when I'm being cheated.

  • Or do you have your own LMS and take enrollments? 

No, people have their own LMS's. I would go down this routeif I wanted to retail directly, but at this stage I dont.

  • If the organisation doesn't have an LMS but there are quizzes that they want to track, what do you do? Help them set up one? Just print results?

I work with LMS partners and set them up with an LMS. LMS's are cheap and simple these days. I  provide quizes in two ways. With some courses, I provide the quiz. With other courses (especially accredited ones with complex assessment requirements) I provide the learning content only and it is the reseller's responsibility to create, manage and mark assessments.

  • How do you manage customisation for different clients? Track the files, changes, updates etc?

I use scorm cloud and do not branch code ever. One version of my courses are available, take it or leave it. Bitter experience has taught me this is the best way.

  • How do you transfer the final files to the client if you are in a different city?
SCORM cloud allows you to host your course in the cloud and create a 'dispatch' which is basically a 1.2 SCO. You send thi to the client, they upload to their LMS, as if it were the actual course and it simply calls the course from the cloud.
Parul Thakrar
  • Do you sell it as a once off package or a yearly subscription (if subscription how do you track it)?
  • Our clients sell their own courses through KPLMS through  their website  see example

    https://openelearning.zenithtechnologies.com/index.html. . When they have  finsihed a course , they have  the option to buy more course ! New learners can self-register ,  you can set up trial course and collect market data before you go into full developemnent and there are automated reports avaible which tell you who has purchased your course and from which country!

  • Or do you have your own LMS and take enrolments? as above
  • If the organisation doesn't have an LMS but there are quizzes that they want to track, what do you do? Help them set up one? Just print results? You can set you clients up with their own sub-administrative access (   area within this LMS as a Departmnent ) and  they can log in themselves to the KP LMS or they can have authmated report which can show the results of the quizzes by learners dwon to a questiosn level..
  • How do you manage customisation for different clients? Track the files, changes, updates etc?
  • Through departments and sub-depratments . Each depratmetns can have its own brand so the clients  will only see their own  department and  thier learners.. They can track their own learners or have automated reports emailed every so often of complete, incomplets, problem areas etc etc..

    Regards

    Parul

    Scott Chisholm

    We are very interested in this discussion.

    I checked out www.opensesame.com. Very nice.  It looks like you (the developer) has an opportunity to post a course and then revenue share in the sale. That's what we do to, but we have several different platforms on the go (3 currently, and moving on to #4). Most are "by the seat" applications whereas one is more of an enterprise level LMS.

    We are keen to connect directly with other developers. I'll do more a careful read of this discussion again soon and possibly find some of the answers that we are looking for, but until then, does anybody have some courses that they feel have broad appeal? We have built quite a network of customers and we are looking for ways to quickly add to our content base - and revenue share.

    As for our courses for sale...

    • WHMIS
    • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
    • Wildlife Safety
    • Working in Hot Weather
    • Working in Cold Weather
    • Investigation Techniques
    • Conducting Safety Observations
    • Hazard Identification, Assessment, and Control
    • And lots more!

    With that said, we are more focused on new attracting additional developers to share their products through our LMSs.

    Simon Perkins

    Another thing to be aware of is the licensing issue surrounding images particularly when including them as part of a course for resale.  I've spoken with iStock and a couple of other libraries and the consensus is that you can expect to pay IRO £125-£250 per image instead of say £1-£10.  This can depend on what level of resale (as well as any form of multiple distribution, e.g. printed copies) you're looking at though.

    I'd recommend contacting a rep from your preferred library source(s) and getting them to make it clear in writing.

    Richard Stanton

    Hi,

    I have been admiring all the advice/comments on this site.

    I have a unique situation and I'm hoping for immediate feedback. I have been an EMS trainer for 20 years plus,  I have been presented with a verbal overview offer, from a major training corporation who would like to procure my entire course/ IP I designed and developed.  This is the verbal comment recently received; "We will offer a lump some plus a perpetual royalty for your course/IP".  The offer sounds great, however no actual figures came along with this verbal style offer, they intend to submit a written detail proposal within the next few weeks.  Patience is not a strong suit of mine...but that is not really the issue, it is what is fair market price of this course???

    The course comes under the heading of Electronic Manufacturing Services, it is a full and comprehensive Counterfeit Component Awareness and Detection Inspection Certification course.  A red hot awareness course in today's Electronic Manufacturing Industry.  The student audience (3000 - 5000 bookings per year)  would be the Military, Medical, and Commercial electronic equipment manufacturing industry.  A huge market.  

    The assistance I need is what would be a fair market lump sum? If anyone has an idea regarding this type of a situation I'd love to hear from you.  The royalty concept I am familiar with.  The major problem I am having is this unique custom training course has no comparative pricing ...making it difficult to decide if their upcoming proposal is the right/fair market value. Any help would surely be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Richard

    Bud Keegan

     Here's how we do it:

    • Do you sell it as a once off package or a yearly subscription (if subscription how do you track it)?
      We bill on a per seat license fee 
    • Or do you have your own LMS and take enrolments?
      We use Articulate-Online, which has worked well for us. 
    • If the organisation doesn't have an LMS but there are quizzes that they want to track, what do you do? Help them set up one? Just print results?
      We don't have this issue 
    • How do you manage customisation for different clients? Track the files, changes, updates etc?
      We customise in our face-to-face workshops; e-learning provides the basic theory
    • How do you transfer the final files to the client if you are in a different city?
      We retain control of all our content and never hand it over! 
    Bud Keegan

    Richard Stanton said:

    Hi,

    I have been admiring all the advice/comments on this site.

    I have a unique situation and I'm hoping for immediate feedback. I have been an EMS trainer for 20 years plus,  I have been presented with a verbal overview offer, from a major training corporation who would like to procure my entire course/ IP I designed and developed.  This is the verbal comment recently received; "We will offer a lump some plus a perpetual royalty for your course/IP".  The offer sounds great, however no actual figures came along with this verbal style offer, they intend to submit a written detail proposal within the next few weeks.  Patience is not a strong suit of mine...but that is not really the issue, it is what is fair market price of this course???

    The course comes under the heading of Electronic Manufacturing Services, it is a full and comprehensive Counterfeit Component Awareness and Detection Inspection Certification course.  A red hot awareness course in today's Electronic Manufacturing Industry.  The student audience (3000 - 5000 bookings per year)  would be the Military, Medical, and Commercial electronic equipment manufacturing industry.  A huge market.  

    The assistance I need is what would be a fair market lump sum? If anyone has an idea regarding this type of a situation I'd love to hear from you.  The royalty concept I am familiar with.  The major problem I am having is this unique custom training course has no comparative pricing ...making it difficult to decide if their upcoming proposal is the right/fair market value. Any help would surely be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Richard


    Hi Richard-

    Sounds like you've got some great content!  If you're selling it, then consider what would be involved if the organisation had to re-create it from scratch.  There's a great e-learning research report that suggests that 1 hour of high end e-learning costs about $50k USD to produce.  Assuming your content is not unique, this is what it would cost them to re-produce.

    We recently developed e-learning content for a consortium of universities and this was roughly the $ ballpark for us.  If the subject matter is as hot as all that and assuming you could market & deliver yourself, you'd be looking at a lot higher return.

    Jill Hollingsworth

    Hi,

    Would really appreciate help with related questions.

    I'm interested in purchasing SL and applying my experience as a curriculum designer (instructor-led) to instructional design for local small businesses (primarily helping them with new employee orientations and job-related training). My goal is to sell them a customized course vs. offering courses for the masses.

    Is anyone else doing this? If so, do you have any advice?

    These business don't typically have a budget for AO which is too bad because among the LMS' that I've researched,  I think AO is the most intuitive and easiest to use.

    Does anyone know of any other less expensive LMS' that are as user friendly?

    During a demo of SL, I heard the presenter mention that there is a way to email quiz results which might be a good plan B for those businesses that can't spring for an LMS. Has anyone tried this in their role as consultant? If so, was the client satisfied?

    Thanks for any info.!

    Jill

    Holly MacDonald

    Jill - this is a common challenge for some of my clients, I've used online surveys and forms as a web object as an alternative. It works, but it's more on the manual side. My client offers programs to small groups (20 ppl per cohort), and modules are released each week, so there is time to tabulate the survey results.

    Might be another option to look into for you.

    Holly

    PS - check out our freelance heroes thread for tons of info on surviving and thriving as a freelancer or vendor. http://community.articulate.com/forums/t/16452.aspx

    Holly MacDonald

    Further to my comment, has anyone used/is using Adobe Forms Central: https://www.acrobat.com/formscentral/en/home.html

    I've just downloaded the trial of Adobe Acrobat XI to try out the interactive PDF's and it has forms central built in. 

    It *looks* like it could be an alternative way to do both registrations and collect feedback. 

    craig hogan

    Hi,

    I am new to the community and am pretty sure I will get a few grumpy replies to this as I am telling people about a commercial product (mine). But I am passionate about learnign and hate to see people going down the wrong route because they didn't know something else (better in my opinion, but I am biased)  already exists.

    I have built a platform called mylearningworx a crowd sourced marketplace for learning content, that allows anyone to make and sell their own elearning courses to an active community of learners.

    Its free to use, we host the course and you get 70% of the course cost when it is sold, if it is a free course nobody gets paid anything.

    The platform was launched in January 2013 at Learning Technologies and since then we have delivered nearly 2000 courses to over 1600 people.

    Hope that helps someone,

    craig