Online learning has been growing steadily for decades. In 2018, one in three college students reported taking at least one online course. As a result of the global pandemic, there has been exponential growth in the use of online courses over the past year. Despite unprecedented economic difficulties, the consulting group ROI Revolution, reports that eCommerce sales in 2020 have seen a healthy 32.4% year over year increase, while brick and mortar retail sales are expected to have dropped more than 3% YoY. This article examines options available to Accord LMS clients who wish to monetize their content and take advantage of the profitable intersection between eCommerce and Online learning.
Selling to Businesses
Accord LMS standard features make it an ideal platform for training customers. Accord offers two solutions for content monetization. For clients who provide SCORM content to other businesses (B2B), Accord offers a Remote SCORM Management feature. This feature allows a seller to either set up their customers in the Accord LMS, or provide access to purchased content within their customers third party LMS. All of this content can ultimately reside within the Accord LMS. The Seller will maintain control over their respective license availability, but the seller’s customers will be able to assign, manage and complete the online courses through their own LMS.
For more information on including clients in your learning management system, please contact our sales team to request a copy of our white paper 'Extended Enterprise LMS: Extend your Training to External Learners'.
Selling to Individuals
Selling to individual learners requires an easy-to-use storefront which learners can use to identify and purchase training packages. Accord LMS customers can opt to implement the Revindex storefront. Revindex is uniquely suited to the Accord LMS. In addition to being able to sell digital downloads and physical goods, Revindex can also be used to sell Learning Roles, which will provide access to courses and other content within the LMS. Learning Roles function as the effective core of the Accord LMS, and facilitate the assignment of a single course, or an entire Learning Path complete with SCORM modules, downloadable resources, video links, quizzes and more.
Image 1 - Accord LMS Storefront
Accessing the Storefront
Once you've learned how to create a Revindex Storefront and implement, it can be accessed by site admins from the DNN Persona Bar. The Storefront Management interface will present the menu displayed below. Store admins are encouraged to explore the items on this menu and determine which features should be enabled or disabled in order to best suit their unique needs. Particular attention should be paid to the Catalog, Marketing and Configuration menus.
Image 2 - Revindex Storefront Menu
Setting Up the Storefront
It is beyond the scope of this article to explore all available options. Accord Clients will work with our support team to configure required features, such as the payment gateway. Once the essential configuration features are set, clients should feel free to experiment with the available options. For example, some clients might want to allow for product reviews, while others will prefer to disable reviews. Changes to the storefront are generally implemented immediately; allowing to easily test configuration options.
Preparing Products for Sale
Training products must be created in the Accord LMS Catalog before they can be sold through the Storefront. The following outline assumes general familiarity with the Catalog functionality. For more information on this feature, please refer to the Accord Academy or Support Documentation.
Step 1: Create Content
In the example below, we have created an organizational folder called E-Commerce. This folder will not be seen by Learners. We have created a child folder called Animal Education Courses. This folder will be visible and contain any Animal Education courses assigned to a given Learner. We could have added another course grouping such as Chemistry Courses, which would provide a Learner (in this case a buyer) with distinctly organized course groupings.
Each course available for sale through this example includes a course file which contains all the appropriate associated Learning Elements. For example, Mountain Gorillas is a course which contains a Video, a Quiz, a downloadable article on Gorilla Tourism and a certificate of completion. It is important to note that a product in the storefront can provide a course with one or more Learning Elements, Multiple Courses, or an entire Learning Path containing many courses.
Image 3 - LMS Catalog Content
Step 2: Create a Learning Role
The content created through the above step is what a buyer will receive in their LMS My Courses page, but in actuality the Revindex Storefront is selling one or more Learning Roles. This method offers considerable flexibility in creating packages and bundles of content within the LMS which are then sold as single products within the storefront. The simplest approach is to create a specific Learning Role for every product available for sale. These Learning Roles can be enrolled into as many courses as necessary. For more information on Learning Roles, please refer to the Accord Academy or Support Documentation.
Step 3: Create a Product in your Storefront
Once the courses and Learning Roles available for sale are created, manage your Storefront details and add your products. The new version of Revindex makes this easier than ever.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before creating your product, the Learning Role will need to be added to the Allowed Roles within the Configuration > Security page. If your ecommerce roles are grouped together, selecting their Role Group will automatically allow all roles within this group.
How to Create a Product
To add a new product into the inventory of your online storefront, after accessing the Revindex Storefront system, from the top row of tabs select Catalog to open its menu and select Products. Once landing on the Products page, click Add new.
Once you have opened a new product, the first step is to enter a name for your product. After entering a name, you may choose to enter further identifying information into the Product Key field, or simply click Save; which will self-populate a system-generated Product Key.
Image 4 - Store's Catalog Product Page
Scrolling down on the general tab will show a variety of options. The actual options will vary based on store configuration. For example, turning off the Handling Charges feature will remove the Handling settings in the Product page. Among the more critical settings on the General tab include Price, Categories, and Gallery.
Categories are created from Catalog > Categories option on the store menu. Once Categories have been created, they will be available to assign to each product within the Categories pane under the product’s General tab.
Image 5 - Store's Categories Page
In the above example, this Animal education storefront organizes the courses based on Warm Blooded and Cold Blooded animals. Warm Blooded Animals are further broken out into Mammals and Birds. This feature can help simplify the process of browsing through a larger library of available products.
The last mandatory step in creating the product is to determine what action is taken upon the successful completion of sale. This is the critical step which will connect the Learning Role to the Purchased Product. Although there are a number of options, including adding an optional time frame after such point the role will be revoked, the simplest option is usually the right choice.
Image 6 - Product's Actions Tab.
- Select the actions tab within the product
- Set Place Order Action Rule to Basic
- Choose Grant Role as the action type
- Select the Desired Role from the list displayed
- Click Save and Return.
Other Helpful Product Features
Other helpful features of the Revindex Storefront are it’s convenient Look, Clone and Delete icons, featured on the right of any listed product.
The tab that looks like an eye is the Look icon. Clicking this tab will allow you to see how this product will appear to your customer when displayed on the page.
The X icon will quickly delete this product.
The Clone icon in the center is very helpful when adding similar-type products, where much of the information might be fairly consistent from one product to the next, such as price, description, etc. Click the Clone tab, change any necessary information and then click Save & return.
Image 7 - Product List Controls
The Revindex Storefront is available to all AccordLMS clients at no charge beyond the initial implementation fee. The Implementation fee will include installing the modules, helping with initial configuration, setting up the payment gateway, and creation of two products which can then be cloned to simplify future product creation.
It is beyond the scope of this article to cover all the available options of the Revindex Storefront incorporated into the Accord LMS so we took the opportunity to briefly demonstrate the simplicity of getting a course established into your store and ready for purchase. If you would like more information on monetizing any training content, please reach out to your Accord Sales Team for a free consultation. If you are not a current Accord client, please contact Sales to see how the Accord LMS can help facilitate your training strategy.
For a video tutorial covering this topic, please view How to Add a Shopping Sart to the Accord LMS.