TalentLMS Features & Updates

Introducing the TalentLMS Course Marketplace

MarketplaceA few months ago we discussed the two main features we are planing for 2014 and the time has come to release the first of them – the Course Marketplace of TalentLMS. The Marketplace is an enabler; it enables Sellers and Customers to efficiently cooperate in a win-win scenario. From the one side Sellers get a prominent channel to promote their courses, and from the other side Customers get direct access to a substantial collection of quality content.

The reasons that led as to create the Marketplace are best illustrated in the following slide. What stands out is the “enormous simplification” opportunity that the integrated marketplace creates as we handle everything in one place.

 

The problem behind the Course Marketplace

 

We call these “enormous simplifications” opportunities, “adoption amplifiers” and you can find a short list of them on the following slide. Both Sellers and Buyers benefited from them either through instant delivery, direct access, transparent licensing or automated commission handling. Think about the level of simplification that iPhone’s Store brought on getting a new app; this is similar but for Courses.

 

Slide4_marketplace

 

The following Slide offers an overview of how the Marketplace works from start to end.

 

How the talentlms marketplace works

 

Below is an illustration of the process to submit a course for Marketplace approval. Note that you will need a Stripe connection attached to your domain to request a course addition. We distribute commissions automatically to your Stripe account which meas that, there is no waiting period to access your money.

 

How to sell a course on Talentlms Marketplace

 

From the Buyer point-of-view things are even easier. You will see a “Marketplace” link on your Admin dashboard. Through that link you can search for available courses and buy licenses. As soon as a course is part of your portal you can assign it to end users as a regular course.

 

Slide9_marketplace

 

An interesting aspect of the Marketplace is the transparent licensing handling. We use 3 stages on licenses handling that we call Reserve, Reduce and Release. Don’t worry about the jargon; in essence the stages are simple and they make sure that a license is properly consumed. Check the illustration below for a description of each stage.

 

Liceinsing Handling_marketplace

 

Another important aspect of the Marketplace is the Restrictions and Freedoms it gives regarding course handling. Usually, course providers restrict Buyers too much. In Talentlms we let the Buyer extend the course with new content or give it a new price, while at the same time we make sure that no one can clone the original material to protect the Seller. All around, we bring a balance that amplifies rather than marginalize the usability of the whole system.

 

Slide13_marketplace

 

Finally, whenever a transaction occurs we get a commission from the Seller.  We made sure that this commission is really competitive as the slide below demonstrates.

 

Slide11_marketplace

 

At this initial stage the marketplace is being populated with 20 high quality courses from our Australian partner Skills Maintenance. You can find courses about Health and Safety in a business environment. During the next couple of months we aim at growing the marketplace to more than 200 courses. You are welcomed to join this process!

Notes:

Watch our video for the full breakdown:

  • Malcolm Davison

    I think the idea of the course marketplace is a very good one. But I am concerned about some of the aspects and can’t find the answers on any of the links you have helpfully provided.

    The words ‘we let the Buyer extend the course with new content or give it a new price’ are at the root of my concerns.

    It appears that a third party can take part or all of a course creator’s content and embed it, or use part of it in a new course. Which may affect the structuring and carefully considered timings of the originator – and material could be used out of context. This may damage the reputation of the author. Also the repricing by the third party could affect perceptions of the original author’s pricing structures.

    Is there anyway that keen training course providers, anxious to preserve their reputations, could opt out of this reuse of material?

    Courses that are hosted on the TalentLMS system and those marketed through the Marketplace may need to have different pricing. So authors can recoup the 25% commission markup. Hopefully this will be possible. I would prefer that the money collection by the TalentLMS ‘author domain direct-buy’ and Marketplace came from one card merchant – preferably the cheapest! I personally would prefer Paypal – with commissions deducted from the monthly subscriptions, or credited if they exceed this amount.

    Malcolm Davison

    • Ian Robinson

      Is there I can make my course sales page look like http://www.masterclass.com? I love talentLMS once you are inside the course but I think the external presentation has much to be desired.

  • papagel

    Hello Malcolm,

    First of all,transactions are handled from Stripe which has a commission that is comparable if not cheaper than PayPal. Take a look on the following post that compares paypal and stripe in depth: https://memberful.com/blog/stripe-vs-paypal/

    Second, your content concerns are at the heart of our approach as well. We don’t want to limit the buyer in an unreasonable way but at the same time we won’t to make sure that the Seller gets his fair share from his content.

    Our approach offers a hybrid mode with a number of freedoms and restrictions. For example we restrict downloading original files on bought courses and we don’t allow copying content from a licensed course. At the same time there are a number of cases where, for example, adding a test or a survey at the end of a course makes perfect sense. This is mostly the case when a course is used internally in an organization.

    We believe that these freedoms will lead to more sales at the end of the day.

  • Hello There,
    I too am seriously interested in this initiative if it helps to extend my reach but I share some of Malcolm’s concerns. I am domiciled in New Zealand & have a small catalog of e-learning courses dealing comprehensively with steam boiler operation focussed specifically on small/medium process industries as opposed to the large power utilities. They are approved by the NZ Qualification Authority & used widely here in NZ for operator certification training. They are however, authored in such a way that they are relevant internationally… the technology employed in modern packaged boilers is pretty much generic worldwide & mandated by internationally accepted standards bodies such as ASME, BSI & the EU PED. Local jurisdictions, particularly in the USA/Canada, however, often have local statutes covering boiler operation & operator licensing & therein lies the rub for me. Given the litigious nature of the American legal system, I have to be extremely careful that my course material is 100% accurate with disclaimers inserted where local code requirements eg. testing of safety devices etc. may take precedence. If a customer suffers property damage, loss of production or personal injury & my material is judged to have contributed to that, I am no match for the US legal system! I do have a small handful of users in the USA/Canada but for those customers I had an American attorney draw up a license agreement but, he tells that even that is not 100% bulletproof as some states have legislation that specifically overrides universal disclaimers eg. California.
    So… in essence, any ability of a third party to alter or extend my core material would be unacceptable. There is a case I suppose for allowing end-users to *extend* the training in the form of an appendix that might for example, cover site-specific SOPs. Also, like Malcolm, the other issue for me is copyright. My courses include quite a lot of material, particularly graphics, that are reproduced with the express written permission of the original owners, typically boiler & equipment manufacturers. I can tell you it’s sometimes very difficult to get that permission & those guys would not be too happy to see there resources become public domain. Again, that is a potential litigation issue.
    I would welcome your comments.

  • papagel

    Hello Geoff,

    As mentioned in my earlier post, a course that has been bought from the marketplace cannot be cloned, its material cannot be copied in other courses and its files cannot be downloaded. In other words, all its material must be consumed within the “borders” of the same course. Furthermore, any extension on the course need to be done on-top of the current material as the user cannot alter the content of original units.

    I understand that in your particular case, it might be even better to not allow the user to modify at all the cloned course. Assuming that many Sellers need this we may offer that option in the future.

    Would love to see your courses on the marketplace as they seem to be very valuable for a specific market segment.