How can you choose the best distance learning platform to host your online course?
Choosing the right distance learning course platform can help you sell your online course. Check out what a good distance learning platform should have.
After distance learning became popular, several institutions, public and private, have been investing in online courses to educate their audience, increase their authority in their segment or, in the case of small entrepreneurs, increase their revenue.
Whatever the case, you’ll need a good Distance Learning platform to host your course and offer your student a good experience.
Before we get into the subject, it’s important to highlight that there is no one perfect platform but the one that better suits your needs and your consumers’. However, if you still have questions about the options available in the market, check out what a good distance learning platform should contain!
Online courses: a brief scenario
Affordability, convenience, and accessibility. These are just a few advantages for people who consume online courses. Even though there are others, these are the most commonly mentioned when searching for DL courses.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES – US), in 2014, 5,750,417 students were enrolled in distance education courses.
What should a good distance learning platform contain?
According to what we mentioned in the beginning of this text, there is no one distance learning platform but the one that better suits your needs. And to identify the best one for you among so many options available in the market, you’ll need to know your buyer persona very well.
Next, we’ve come up with a few questions you need to answer to make an assertive choice.
Is the platform responsive?
According to recent researches, since 2014 mobile devices are preferred for accessing the Internet in most parts of the world. It’s likely that a lot of people are reading this post on their mobile screen!
Taking this scenario into consideration, having a page that easily adapts to mobile devices isn’t important only to offer a good experience for your current students but it is also mandatory if you want to rank well on search engine mechanisms and attract more students.
Most platforms today have already been designed to meet this demand. However, before choosing your platform, test it on all your devices to make sure your students can browse your content in different screen formats.
Does the platform have a good Virtual Learning Environment?
A Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is a kind of online classroom, developed especially for your online course, with the necessary interfaces and tools for the learning process. In this environment, it’s also possible to track your student’s progress, deliver extra content, offer support, among other features.
A poorly designed and structured environment harms the communication between student and teacher, raise questions in the learning process, and can cause your student to lose interest in taking part in classes, and even worse, besmirch your course.
The main criteria to choose the VLE that is the most compatible to your course is usability.
According to the dictionary, Usability is the capacity of being used. Transporting this definition to software, “it is the degree to which a software can be used by specified consumers to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a quantified context.”
In a few words, the virtual learning environment should be intuitive, easy to use, and have various plugin options, so that you can add the interaction that better suits your persona, such as comments, sharing, and others.
Can your distance learning platform be customized?
After distance learning courses were made popular, entrepreneurs and institutions should be attentive in order to offer rich, interactive and more importantly, attractive content. By attractive we don’t mean only the quality of the video but all the features you can deliver to enhance user experience.
A good distance learning platform offers you the possibility of customizing items such as colors, content organization, comment forums, sharing, among others.
Is the platform safe to make purchases?
One of the reasons that make people give up on an online purchase is because they are suspicious or afraid of fraud.
Attitudes that help increase the reliability perception of the purchase:
- Leave your refund policy visible: it may seem like no big deal but people feel safer when they know they can request their money back if there are problems with the product.
- Objective checkouts: the more fields the user needs to fill out, the bigger the chances that she’ll give up the purchase.
- SSL Certificate: security certificates and using anti-fraud management systems are mandatory items for people who want to work with online sales. Besides handling your users’ objections, they prevent chargeback and improve the ranking of your online course on search engine mechanisms.
Why you should choose a free Distance Learning platform
You’ve already noticed you need to choose a distance learning platform to host your online course. Nowadays, there are two kinds of platform: paid and free.
You can also talk to other Digital Producers who already host their courses in a digital learning platform to only then decide what the best option for you is. However, in this topic, we’ll show you why you should choose them.
The main reason for you to choose a free distance learning platform concerns your expenses. If you choose this kind of platform, you will be sure that you won’t have to pay for anything to host your course there. All you need to do is register your content on the platform and start using it.
You must be thinkin: “But won’t I pay for anything, really?”
Usually, free platforms work on commissions. Let’s use our platform as an example:
Here, at Hotmart, you can host your course and will only be charged a fee when you make sales. This means that, the platform only gets a commission when you get paid. (To better understand the values of this fee, access our post: How much do I have to pay to use the Hotmart platform?)
Many people who create online courses are experts in their areas but they still have problems when implementing the technologic resources in their material.
The advantage of choosing a distance learning platform is that, behind it, there’s a whole team specialized in this subject, who created an entire structure of the course for you. With it, the development part is already done and your job is only putting your content into the platform.
Freedom to choose the format of the product
Some paid platforms only focus on one type of content format, or don’t support all of them. So, you need to do your research and find a platform that allows you to register any format of digital product. After all, you shouldn’t choose the way you’ll share knowledge only because you can’t register it into a specific platform.
Tips to improve your user experience
Now that you know what a distance learning platform should have, we’ll give you a few tips on how to use these features to improve your student’s experience.
Offer extra material
With a customized members area, you get to organize your lessons into modules, offer extra material for download and create tests to assess your students’ progress. These resources are great to manage your community and understand the main questions they have about the topic you’re teaching.
Offer immediate and easy access
When someone buys from you, this user expects your product to be available for her within the deadline you’ve promised on your page.
In the case of online courses and subscription clubs, it means the buyer should get the login and password as soon as you get the payment confirmation.
This confirmation can take up to 48 hours, depending on the payment method chosen. Don’t forget to leave this information clear for your buyer!
Have a buyer support
Even after distance learning became popular, lots of students still have difficulties in accessing and interacting with the content, which directly interferes with their learning. And although you can try, many people access the lessons at the same time, it would be humanly impossible to answer everybody’s questions with quality and agility.
So, by hiring your distance learning platform, check if they offer a support service for your buyer. You can also use helpdesk software to automate the process. A lot of companies offer this service for free for a trial period of up to 30 days.
Soon, we’ll write a post explaining all that Hotmart Club has to offer, the distance learning platform exclusive for Hotmart’s Producers. Do you have any questions about distance learning platforms? Ask us in the comments section below!
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