Online Learning Management Systems, Key Points for Effective Due Diligence and Return on Investment

OVERVIEW:

Online Learning Management alternatives will continue to evolve rapidly with greater options for new software, hosting and administrative services. Direct costs – typically software and hosting – have decreased with continued upgrades to navigation and user-interface, and now with added efficiencies of ‘cloud’ hosting. Indirect costs require careful review on multiple fronts, such as: a) An objective assessment of available/operational internal resource capacity to perform support, maintenance and administrative services or to engage with out-sourced vendor staff to support these services, and b) An accurate projection of LMS deployment scope. A company’s demand for online learning will rapidly increase and gain complexity over the next 2-3 years. Software and hosting options have almost unlimited capacity to meet demand. Services capacity is the bottleneck.

IN-SOURCED VS OUT-SOURCED LEARNING MANAGEMENT

The critical decision-point is whether to purchase LMS software and in-source the function or to contract with a LMS Services provider to out-source the function. Both options have multiple alternatives available in the market. A sample of key cost and risk elements are discussed in the following paragraphs.

In-Sourcing Learning Management Services:

The upsides to purchasing an LMS are increased control and customization of the online learning function. As online learning demand increases (internally and externally), the business case for LMS in-sourcing gains strength. However, a common misjudgment is underestimating the multi-faceted nature of support required to operate and administer an LMS – most of these elements are “soft costs” not budget line items:

  • Purchasing the software requires analysis but is the easiest part of the process. Good LMS software options can start at $12,000, plus upgrades every 12-18 months for half the purchase cost.
  • The Cost/Time to install the software and achieve operational effectiveness within the client IT environment requires combined IT and Training resources. LMS software installation can be complex, depending on Server Operating Systems and the degree of specialized capacity available within IT and the Training team. Installation raises a range of client server security issues depending on the target user audience – internal staff (working from network computers vs remote) or external constituents.
  • Time for the Training staff to learn how to administer the LMS: publish and upload courses, create curriculums and assign courses to curriculums, enroll/manage users, manage user gradebooks and activity reporting, etc.
  • Cost to acquire/build course content (SCORM complaint)
  • Time to establish course and LMS organization naming conventions and user groups, upload courses, design curriculums, transfer student records, etc. The setup of the user registration process and curriculum listing requires pre-planning prior to loading any content into the LMS.
  • Establish operational back-up – that is, people – within IT and Training who can respond when primary resources are unavailable, leave the company, etc. Every system needs 24/7 IT support and user help support to respond.

Out-Sourcing Learning Management Services:

The key upsides to Out-Sourcing LMS Services are lower internal capacity requirements [the converse of the costs/risks cited in the In-Sourcing discussion above] and the vendor’s responsibility to manage all software, hosting and administrative matters. For example, client server maintenance and downtime, software patches, upgrades and access security plus all functions relating to user course/curriculum access are managed. A hybrid out-sourcing alternative exists in which the course and curriculum functions are supported by client staff trained on the vendor system.

  • Understanding of the LMS vendor’s services cost structure. Many vendors will charge per-user-course-access fees. For example, in addition to upfront vendor licensing fees, the activity of 100 users per year accessing 20 courses and tests at $5 per access would equal $10,000 in “user fees.” Best to read the fine print.
  • Determine the degree of customization available – such as company logo on access pages, costs for reporting, timing of reporting, security protocols for UserID assignment (internal vs external staff), etc.
  • Time for Training staff to learn how to upload courses, assign courses, create curriculums, enroll/manage users, manage gradebook and reporting in the vendor system. Make sure the vendor has sufficient training and/or help desk resources.
  • Cost to acquire/build course content (SCORM complaint)
  • Time to establish course and LMS organization naming conventions and user groups, upload courses, design curriculums, transfer student records, etc.
  • Establish operational back-up – that is, people – within IT and Training who can respond when primary resources are unavailable, leave the company, etc.

Online Learning Management can be a significant asset to your business. Effective due diligence will enable you to accurately manage all cost and capacity elements while receiving and/or delivering expert Learning Management services.


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CPA Advertising – A Better Choice For Low Budget Online Advertising

Just like any information medium, the internet cannot survive without the advertisers. Most websites and online services are fueled by advertisement. For business newbie’s, the internet is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reach a larger number of potential customers and to increase sales.Cost-per-action (CPA) advertising is an online marketing process where the advertiser only pays whenever an action that is indicated in their advertisement has been made like sign up a registration form or buys a product. For instance, a client is asked to sign up a form with their e-mail address and zip code, when they submit the form, the client will be paid by the advertiser.Unlike the traditional cost-per-click (CPC) model for marketing where an advertiser has to pay for every click or view of their advertisement without the assurance of getting a lead or if a product would be sold, CPA is a much better choice for low budget advertisers.CPA advertising is strictly a performance-based advertising. There is more assurance that the money that an advertiser pays for advertising will be converted into profit unlike assuming that a product will be sold by just seeing the advertisements.In CPA advertising, a return of investment is also assured especially for an up starting company or individual who is only starting to build a business. It is also an effective way of reaching out to a larger number of prospective customers without expanding the limits of a business’ resources.A CPA network takes charge of the CPA advertising. The network pays out affiliates in exchange for their traffic from the agreed fees from the advertisers for the cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale. Conversions-meaning conversion of advertisement to leads (visitor to a site that discloses personal information in order to be approached for a product to be sold) or sale of products-are dependent on the traffic while at the same time; the network is dependent on conversions. More conversions mean larger revenues for both the network and the advertiser.It is best to take note that an advertiser must make sure to provide a high quality product to produce high-conversion rate for the product or service being sold. In this way, a CPA network will immediately approve an advertiser’s application especially when one is new in the business.Because a company or businessman can save in this kind of advertising, more likely, they can save more for their online advertisement campaign and use their savings for other aspects in their campaign.Because this kind of advertisement is also being utilized by major branded corporations, it can also be used by companies as testing grounds for the effectiveness of their advertisement before launching into a major advertisement campaign.Whether an advertiser relies on CPA advertisement or not, the success of a high rate of sold products by advertisement does not rely on the mode of advertisement but on how the product is packaged for the consumers to buy the product. Keep on track and see if what’s best for a business’ advertising needs.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The results of this past election proved once again that the Democrats had a golden opportunity to capitalize on the failings of the Trump Presidency but, fell short of a nation wide mandate. A mandate to seize the gauntlet of the progressive movement that Senator Sanders through down a little over four years ago. The opportunities were there from the very beginning even before this pandemic struck. In their failing to educate the public of the consequences of continued Congressional gridlock, conservatism, and what National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation would do led to the results that are playing out today.. More Congressional gridlock, more conservatism and more suffering of millions of Americans are the direct consequences of the Democrats failure to communicate and educate the public. Educate the public that a progressive agenda is necessary to pull the United States out of this Pandemic, and restore this nations health and vitality.

It was the DNC’s intent in this election to only focus on the Trump Administration. They failed to grasp the urgency of the times. They also failed to communicate with the public about the dire conditions millions have been and still are facing even before the Pandemic. The billions of dollars funneled into campaign coffers should have been used to educate the voting public that creating a unified coalition would bring sweeping reforms that are so desperately needed. The reality of what transpired in a year and a half of political campaigning those billions of dollars only created more animosity and division polarizing one extreme over another.

One can remember back in 1992 Ross Perot used his own funds to go on national TV to educate the public on the dire ramifications of not addressing our national debt. That same approach should have been used during this election cycle. By using the medium of television to communicate and educate the public is the most effective way in communicating and educating the public. Had the Biden campaign and the DNC used their resources in this way the results we ae seeing today would have not created the potential for more gridlock in our government. The opportunity was there to educate the public of safety protocols during the siege of this pandemic and how National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation provides the necessary progressive reforms that will propel the United States out of the abyss of debt and restore our economy. Restoring our economy so that every American will have the means and the availability of financial and economic security.

The failure of the Democratic party since 2016 has been recruiting a Presidential Candidate who many felt was questionable and more conservative signals that the results of today has not met with the desired results the Democratic party wanted. Then again? By not fully communicating and not educating the public on the merits of a unified progressive platform has left the United States transfixed in our greatest divides since the Civil War. This writers support of Senator Bernie Sanders is well documented. Since 2015 he has laid the groundwork for progressive reforms. He also has the foundations on which these reforms can deliver the goods as they say. But, what did the DNC do, they purposely went out of their way to engineer a candidate who was more in tune with the status-quo of the DNC. They failed to communicate to the public in educating all of us on the ways our lives would be better served with a progressive agenda that was the benchmark of Senators Sanders Presidential campaign and his Our Revolution movement. And this is way there is still really no progress in creating a less toxic environment in Washington and around the country.