The eLearning industry is growing fast. In fact, its yearly revenue, which was $120 billion in 2015, is expected to reach $275 billion by 2022. The reasons behind this growth are individuals looking for learning that is flexible, low cost, easily accessible and interactive. In addition, the rise in internet use and growing broadband access and mobile phone use are also fueling demand on global scale.
This presents huge opportunities for training companies that know how to market and sell in the online space. So what makes a training company successful and perfectly positioned to capitalize on learning trends and developments?
In this article, we explore 7 attributes that a successful and profitable training company needs to have to drive revenue and enrollments.
1. Industry knowledge
Success in any industry requires expert knowledge. People invest time and effort in education to further their careers, as do companies wishing to maximize the effectiveness of their workforce.
Best practices shift and adjust in any industry; the continuing education and training market is no different. To keep up with trends and developments in the sector, good training companies take the time to know about their industry.
This can be achieved by accessing relevant articles online and subscribing to publications that provide insights on a regular basis. Examples include:
- Education Dive
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Guardian Higher Education
- Inside Higher Ed
- Times Higher Education
- Higher Ed Jobs
In addition, exhibiting at and attending relevant conferences can help raise a training company's profile but also meet others in the sector that could be influential. In the online space, networking on groups such as LinkedIn by sharing content and making comments while social media can help to show sellers in a training provider as thought leading.
It's also key to shadow competitors to see what tactics and strategies they are using and see if any could be implemented to drive brand awareness.
2. Openness and forward thinking
With a host of training providers in the global market, it's key to be able to differentiate yours from the crop. Being able to do this effectively requires an open mind and a forward-thinking mindset.
Today's students and learners are looking for a learning offering that is over an above the traditional classroom-based delivery model. With time being a factor particularly for working professionals, training companies need to think outside the box when it comes to their portfolios.
eLearning is now something commonly sought by recent
Gamification is another element that learners enjoy as it is more interactive and offers an element of competition to help drive focus,
Another strategy is blended learning. This is when trainers use a mix of instruction methods, such as live training, eLearning, and independent study, to give learners a 360-degree view of their training content.
Educators are always developing and using creative methods to deliver training that helps to drive growth and revenue by thinking outside the box, achieve learning objectives, and ultimately accomplish business goals.
3. A commitment to student experience
Successful training companies know that a high-quality user experience is a key priority for all businesses with a web presence. Today’s consumers expect a seamless experience when interacting with companies online and the education sector is being held by potential students to the same standards.
It is crucial for training providers to understand the customer experience when someone gets in contact with them for the first time on a website, through social media or at an open day to ensure every part of the experience is positive.
Often this journey - online at least - begins with the website. Visitors are there to find out details on available courses, locations, certifications, and instructors and so need to be able to find them easily online. It also needs to be simple for website visitors to make contact with any queries, and access relevant content – such as brochures, videos, and blog posts – to learn more about an institution and its courses. As many internet users are now searching on mobiles (51%), a mobile-first approach to a website or at least mobile-friendly is key.
In addition, new technologies such as VR are offering students a new experience when they visit an institution's website while other education companies use data to re-engage visitors through content to provide more information or offer solutions to an individual's pain points.
4. Analytical capacity
Across sectors, it’s crucial to know about the target audience in detail. Analytical data forms the basis of understanding, providing vital insight into demographic and economic profiles, as well as learner preferences and objectives.
In order to attract and engage students in such a competitive sector, training providers must have the capacity to analyze data from all areas of the business, including digital channels such as website users, social media followers, and email subscribers. They must simultaneously be able to evaluate data from traditional sources, such as event attendees, open-day visitors, and offline advertising. For optimal insight, all relevant data should be pulled together to create a rich picture of the target client. In turn, this profile informs onward marketing and communications strategies.
For example, a company focusing on skills training for medical research professionals. The ideal student in this scenario will have extensive background knowledge through degree studies and postgraduate education. But there are industry-specific qualifications, as well as complementary skills, that transform the learner from a well-educated graduate into a highly-skilled professional.
Data is now crucial for engaging with students - current and potential - and successful training companies have realized its importance and also implemented systems and staff that can use it in their marketing, sales and branding.
5. Passion for learning
Successful training providers need to be passionate about what they do. A love of learning is absolutely essential or they aren’t going to be able to ignite this passion in others.
The secret to this passion is to harness it in a way that makes it obvious to students. Content creation can play a huge role here as a dedicated blog can provide insights to students that may be concerned about undertaking a course or unsure about studying online. In addition, social media can be a great platform to excite students about their studies from the content of the course to the techniques used in teaching.
Outputs from students can also play a huge part here such as testimonials on sites such as Trust Pilot can show the experience of students and instill confidence in those that read it. The Learning People do this effectively on their Instagram page.
6. Adept at networking
Partnerships are key to success in any profession. As the industry is skills-based, it’s important for training providers to build strong relationships within it. These connections will help educators to understand the skills required for today’s workforce, as well as the requirements that are likely to emerge in the future.
The most successful training providers will be regulars at industry meetings and conferences, taking the time to speak with other attendees, get to grips with new technology, and develop their own techniques. In essence, they will have a finger on the pulse of best practices in education, which filters through into their own accomplishments.
Government ties are also important. There’s a huge potential for clients within numerous departments and sectors, and the work is continuous. Training providers should endeavor to build connections with schools and other academic institutions, to keep informed about initiatives such as apprenticeships and education funding schemes that can potentially bring new clients. Successful trainers are always looking for good opportunities and acting upon them.
7. Stays in touch with trends and developments
The training industry is fast-moving with technological innovation and refreshed techniques appearing constantly. Progress within this sector creates new opportunities for educators to offer pioneering courses using the most up-to-date instruction methods. It also gives training providers the chance to edge ahead of their competitors.
Early adoption of new developments, theories, and technologies is therefore essential. Instructors must set aside time to keep on top of industry news. Attendance at conferences and networking with colleagues is part of the picture, but a regular review of industry publications and websites is also recommended.
The more an educator knows, the greater their success.
What does the future hold for eLearning?
In addition to its recent success, the eLearning industry has substantial potential for continued growth. It’s an exciting industry, fuelled by passionate, conscientious training professionals.
Accomplished training providers are masters of several trades all at once. First and foremost, they have a sincere appreciation of the craft, which is backed by expert knowledge and innovative techniques. They are committed to a positive experience for learners, from the first visit to their website right through to final assessment.
Ultimately the best training companies know their target audience well, and always will make an effort to engage with their industry.