If you choose a hosted course platform then you are limiting future growth.
There is a common scenario in the online course space that I see nearly every day. You get a good idea for an online course so you jump to a hosted (closed source) course builder. In a few days you get the course up. You may even start getting learners going through the content!
This is exciting because now feedback is coming in from the students. You are now ready to improve and grow your offering.
Except you can’t.
You’re locked into a platform that you have not control over.
Want to expand your offering to sell corporate accounts? Well, you can’t.
Need private coaching sessions? You can’t do that either.
Want to assign people to manage groups of students? Sorry, no can do.
Getting started quickly is important, but growing quickly is as well.
Let’s be clear on one thing: getting started quickly is critical to your online course success. If you have an idea for a course then the quicker you get to market then the quicker you start getting customers and feedback. So many people get stuck at square one that they never even get this far. So, if you’ve launched your course then pat yourself on the back as you are already ahead of the curve!
Just as important as getting something out there is iterating on your offering. Your business depends on it, and this is where hosted course platforms fall flat.
I cannot tell you the number of times we get people coming to LearnDash from platforms like Udemy, Thinkific, and Teachable. It’s not because these hosted options don’t deliver upon their promise. They certainly do. It’s because they are easily outgrown.
Unfortunately this means having to make a difficult decision: stick with the current platform or transition to something that can keep your courses competitive.
Your software tools should not limit your business.
It seems like an obvious truth, but it is something that people face every day. I can give you an example from our very own business. At one time we were using a different support ticketing system for handling requests. It worked well enough but then we found that their API was repeatedly going down. As a result we were getting tickets late and wait times increased. As you can imagine this didn’t sit very well with our customers so we made the switch to another platform.
We had to do this again with our shopping cart. At a certain point we were unable to improve the billing experience for our customers and this was hindering our business. After some time we decided that we just needed to make the switch. It involved some growing pains but today this transition has had a massive impact on our business.
These are just two small examples but they highlight the importance of choosing tools that grow with you instead of preventing you from growing.
When in doubt, choose open-source.
I am under no illusions that there are plenty of learning management system options available today. Sure I think WordPress & LearnDash make the best combination, but the best combination for you will depend on your specific needs. Specifically, what you envision for your learning program a year or two from now. Can your platform adapt?
When in doubt you should always choose open-source solutions. Why? Because by their very nature they can adapt to any situation. In the case of LearnDash it often just means activating a plugin or two to get that extra bit of functionality. Worse case scenario you can have someone create it for you (which is impossible if you’re on a hosted platform).
Are you thinking about getting started creating an online course? Or, perhaps you already have a course but it is locked into a hosted platform? In either case, I encourage you to contact us and share a little about what it is you’re wanting to accomplish. We can let you know if WordPress & LearnDash would make a good fit for your needs.