Why is it Profitable to Start an LMS Business in 2023?
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Learning Management Systems (LMS) allow you to easily manage all the educational and related processes similarly to accounts in social networks. You may create your content and choose users who can access it, track the trainee’s knowledge, communicate, and develop unique criteria for evaluating outcomes.
Nowadays, custom LMS development services build online courses for almost all spheres of life, including educational institutions and businesses of any type and size, as a part of corporate training.
So, what is a learning platform? How to develop it with minimal risk and capitalize on this hot opportunity? Learn the answers in our detailed guide.
Table of Contents
The business side of LMS development from scratch
The secret of creating top LMS software lies in careful preparation and following a wisely thought strategy long before you write the first lines of code. A well-organized development process and coordinated work of experienced specialists are at the core of achieving impressive results. Let’s go through all the stages of building a successful e-learning platform and figure out what works better for you.
Define the LMS type
Depending on your goals, you may choose one of four possible learning management systems for business:
- Traditional LMS is suitable for creating courses for almost every industry, including education, medicine, construction, corporate training, etc. Such systems have standard features, like compiling and storing lessons in a cloud, registering individual profiles, generating progress reports, and evaluating customers’ success rates.
- A custom learning management system, in comparison to a traditional one, is developed individually to cover specific needs of enterprises or personal training.
- Modern Learning Management Solutions (MLMS) allow building a unique environment that adapts to individuals’ needs. This type of system uses gamification, custom notifications, and microlearning approaches.
- Educational Ecosystems is a perfect solution for those creators who plan to integrate multiple e-learning solutions into one platform.
Select your target audience and a business model
You can create a learning management system software tailored to a broader audience or focus on a specific niche. Many companies start from a narrower task and further expand their sphere of influence. Nowadays, LMS is beneficial in different areas, from real estate, agriculture, and arts to hobbies and personality training. Your customer base can include school pupils, students, employees, parents, adults, etc.
Along with the target audience, you should also define which business model may bring you the desired profit:
- Freemium. Allow your clients to use online LMS software with basic features for free and encourage them to upgrade to a more advanced plan. It is a perfect decision for startupers willing to popularize their brand and become niche leaders.
- Free trials with further subscriptions. Let your customers test the product within 7-30 days and set the paid plan for using your virtual learning platform. With valuable service offerings, you will find loyal clients.
- Edtech marketplace. Create a comfortable space where tutors can generate their courses and take commission from their revenues.
- Ad-based revenue. Launch a free training platform (for example, language learning), show advertisements at the end of the lessons, and allow customers to pay for an ad-free experience. This approach brought $180 million in revenue to Duolingo in 2020.
- Institutional model and B2B sales. If your products benefit large organizations more than individuals, establish partnerships with universities, schools, enterprises, and other decision-makers. Your learning management system (LMS) software will bring big deals, post-sales revenue and positively impact your reputation.
- Sponsorships, grants, and recruiting. Partner with hospitals, schools, or other institutions to discover new sources of profit. For example, you may provide games and various activities for children and open new markets for expanding the brand. Some organizations may charge your business for delivering promising employees from course graduates.
Prepare the list of requirements
You’ve probably defined what goals you want to reach with a custom LMS and which users’ pain points it will solve. Then, you may have already figured out the main features to include in the e-learning platform. If not, follow our tips to compile a precise list of LMS business requirements:
- Learning content. Create your courses as simple for assimilation as possible. Combine videos, texts, quizzes, animations, and other formats to make the educational process more engaging for participants.
- User and group management. Your LMS solutions should consider two types of customers: learners and course creators, who can add new participants, assign lessons, send notifications, and check users' progress.
- Onboarding. To access the training, corporates should buy the program and share the list of users who can use it. Employees then log in to the system with the appropriate email.
- Pricing. Depending on the business model, you should consider such functionality as subscription purchases, bonus offerings, discounts, etc.
- Reports. Consider advanced analytics on learners' progress, completion rates, test results, etc. Admins should be able to import and export reports from users.
- Internal collaboration. Customers may become more motivated to purchase your product if you add in-app communication, like work groups and forums.
- Notifications. Ensure automated alerts on course deadlines or task completion to deliver data to all the participants on time.
Research the market
When you’ve drawn how your product will operate, don’t rush to invest in its development at once. Validate your idea on the market first and gather valuable feedback from stakeholders to make timely changes before your enterprise learning management system enters the market. Research may help to understand customers' pain points better and find technical solutions to solve them.
Consider several cost-effective approaches to achieve your goal. For example, you may develop a landing page, describe an upcoming product, and add a buy/subscribe plan. Here, you may determine the number of potential customers and their price preferences, collect e-mails, and get answers on why they need your LMS development services.
Prototyping is another way to make the market validation. Prepare so-called product simulations with the main features of your e-learning platform. Customers will be able to test your system and comment on their experience from interactions.
Development of a platform based on an off-the-shelf solution
With a brilliant strategy in mind, it’s time to move to action and start building an LMS business that wins hearts and souls. The most cost-effective way to launch a custom e-learning platform is to use a ready-made solution and infuse it with your brand identity. Let’s see how to do it in a few steps.
Choose an LMS architecture and tech stack
Choose a service-oriented architecture if you want a scalable, reliable, and fast-to-develop solution. Here, features of a learning management system are represented as isolated modules. So, if a need to make changes in requirements occurs, you can easily swap unnecessary components:
- Content authoring. Integrate your LMS with special tools like Rise 360 or similar to create different types of content, change their formats, and add them to the learning system.
- Learning Record Store. Add a database like cmi5 to collect corresponding educational information from various sources, including apps and real-world activities.
- Content player (SCORM Cloud). This tool ensures navigation between courses, pauses and resumes videos, etc. It also collects the users’ progress and delivers it to the Record Store.
- E-commerce module. Integrate marketplaces and sell your product directly on Shopify or Woocommerce. Add payment and accounting systems like Stripe and QuickBooks for smooth financial transactions and bookkeeping.
- User interface. Your LMS must have friendly custom logic and convenient dashboards. Simplify the task by using React and Node.js for both frontend and backend.
- Hosting. Consider TalentLMS or Moodle as cheap and safe self-hosted solutions. You may also take advantage of SCORM Cloud, but still be careful with its pricing. Sometimes, it’s not transparent and may require additional costs for a large user base and onboarding.
Gather the team
Along with LMS developers, you will need a team of qualified specialists, including project managers, analysts, UI/UX designers, QA engineers, and DevOps experts. Suppose you don’t have enough staff in-house to complete the task. In that case, you may choose one of the possible ways: search for freelancers (who, unfortunately, may not guarantee the perfect result) or partner with an experienced LMS development company, like MPS, which will match your requirements at an optimal cost.
Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Create the first version of your product with a set of basic features enough to collect users' responses for further improvement. With a cleverly designed MVP, you can test assumptions, avoid inappropriate spending, and reduce time consumption in the development process. Minimum Viable Product can save you from irrelevant solutions and help to meet customers' demands without resource waste.
Work in collaboration with UI/UX specialists to develop a simple but appealing design. The best learning management system in 2023 should have an intuitive interface and engaging color palette that keeps users focused. It must be responsive to desktop screens and all types of gadgets. A well-thought-out platform contains corporate logos, UI elements, and other brand identities.
Benefits of using an LMS and how much it costs
LMS not only streamlines and improves educational processes and enterprise training but also offers undeniable advantages for creators, workers, and business owners:
- Automated processes. Courses are available right after registration. LMS streamlines the routine of materials assigning, notification, progress monitoring, and checking test results.
- Reduced costs. You can sell training lessons online worldwide. So there’s no need to travel to other countries to gain profit.
- Single content base. All the documents are available in one place from any device. Users can access them at home or on the go.
- Gamification tools. Creators can make training more engaging for customers with interactive games and animated effects, tests, and competitions.
- Reports and detailed analytics. Tutors can control the assimilation process of each individual and generate metrics about their involvement or personal achievements. They may analyze which material is challenging to learn and make timely adjustments to how information is presented.
- Increase the retention level. Your LMS can become a source of continuous learning for corporate workers. With a vast library within the platform and convenient lesson categorization, you may cover different educational topics and conquer the users' loyalty.
Online course development is a complex process that includes the work of a large dedicated team. The price of content creation may vary depending on the type of LMS, covered industry, and represented content. On average, a custom LMS development company spends around 100-160 working hours to create a 1-hour training, and the cost of producing it amounts to $8150 - $36205.
Top 5 modern learning platforms examples
If you need inspiration and fresh ideas on how to build your own LMS business model in 2023, explore the top five e-learning platforms that closely meet the target audience's needs, have tremendous capabilities, user-friendly interface, and are easy to use.
This training management system is a perfect example of cloud-based learning for businesses of any size. It is mainly used for educating corporate workers in such spheres as banks, insurance, financial organizations, oil and energy companies. Customers can access SkillCast LMS via web or mobile applications and study at any time and place.
If you are looking for SaaS learning management system examples to easily manage online courses and enhance social study, look at the Upside LMS. It has more than 1 million active users globally and has won over 20 awards for its high-quality and effective service. It is a cost-effective, flexible solution that brings education to the next level.
This educational platform is an excellent example of simplicity and flexibility. Following the latest trends in LMS development, it gained popularity among well-known companies operating in various industries. Looop's most prominent clients are ASOS, Sky, Discovery, MoneySupermarket & Financial Times. LMS is available from desktop and mobile apps.
One of the best corporate training platforms, Matrix LMS, provides large opportunities for small to large businesses to improve employees’ knowledge most engagingly and easily. With interactive tools and gamification approaches, this LMS helps trainers develop productive customer-centric lessons.
This learning management system for schools provides orderly and integrated courses for users. It encourages interactions between teachers, parents, and students and ensures a smooth educational process. Skolera allows to manage administrative issues, learners' affairs, HR, and accounting.
In a modern, highly competitive environment, organizations are looking for an effective way to keep their workforce up with industry trends and approaches. Training, monitoring, and improving employees’ skills is a crucial goal for enterprises that want to scale and generate more profit. The growing demand for a productive educational environment is a perfect opportunity to join the boosting eLearning industry and receive your own LMS business certification.
To develop a successful product, you must define the type of future platform, analyze your customers’ expectations, prepare learning management system requirements, and choose a suitable tech stack. And, of course, don’t forget to validate your results on the market with MVP. Think of the best business model to gain stable revenue. You may release a free product with paid advanced settings, charge subscription fees, or receive earnings from in-app advertisements.