Online e learning platforms

Summary: Do you have expertise in digital marketing? Do you have flair for teaching mathematics and science? Do you love sharing insights on programming languages? Do you have something informative and valuable to share with people? It’s a profitable business idea to publish courses and target busy learners.

eLearning Platforms To Use For Online Courses

The potential in eLearning industry is huge. By 2022, the size of this industry shall amount to a whopping $243 billion. And importantly, it’s expected to grow at over 5% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) year—on—the year from 2017 to 2022. The numbers are convincing. It all now boils down to choosing the best eLearning platform to host your courses.

Here is a brief run-down of 10 eLearning platforms you can use for online courses:

1. Udemy

Udemy firmly believes in disrupting and democratizing educational ecosystem by allowing anyone and everyone to learn from its pool of more than 20000 Subject Matter Experts. To a very large extent, Udemy has been successful in its mission. This eLearning platform has many content creation tools such as PDF documents, PowerPoint, etc. text and video content can be collated to create and publish courses.

This online training platform can be used by instructors for free. However, Udemy makes big money by taking 50% per sale of your course. Udemy has more than 12 million students.

2. Teachable

No doubt, Udemy is a great online training platform. But there is little autonomy for instructors. For instance, Udemy doesn’t let instructors control branding and pricing of courses. Also, instructors know little about students. Teachable capitalized on all such limitations.

Today, Teachable has more than 3 million students, 7500 instructors, and 20000 courses. The numbers are getting bigger and better. Instructors should pay a monthly fee to access this platform.

To attract prospects, this eLearning platform gives a free eBook which clearly explains aspects such as course creation, video creation, slides presentation etc.

3. WizIQ

WizIQ is yet another established name in the eLearning industry. For all intents and purposes, this online teaching software has been the go-to tool for instructors to deliver live and on-demand webinars. It is equipped with enough provisions such as slides, desktop sharing tools, audio, video etc. WizIQ is very common among academic course content creators.

It’s effortlessly easy to create courses and publish them on WizIQ online marketplace. By the way, WizIQ is known to provide a host of plug-ins for popular learning management software such as Moodle, Sakai etc.

4. Ruzuku

Ruzuku is another valuable addition to this list of 10 best eLearning platforms. Instructors aren’t required to have much knowledge of technology to use this platform. As a matter of fact, Ruzuku invests great efforts to make it easy for Subject Matter Experts to create and publish courses. It has a ton of cool features such as PayPal payment gateway, MailChimp integrations, everyday backups, etc.

5. Educadium

Educadium is on an ambitious mission to assist entrepreneurs and organizations of all sizes to create, manage and profit from online teaching and training through its EasyCampus platform. It has a plethora of features ranging from course designing to course publishing. You should check its trial version to get an idea of this online training platform. Subsequently, choose your subscription package.

6. LearnWorlds

Are you looking for a platform which can complement course content with immense social learning and high interaction? Are you looking for a white label solution? Stop your search right now and take a look at the impressive features of LearnWorlds. The platform’s premium positioning has worked wonders all these years. There are many impressive features such as tools to build sales pages, simulators, intelligent sales engine, advanced analytics, etc. They certainly deserve premium positioning.

LearnWorlds is a very good option. But be sure to do the math—the platform charges $5 per sale and monthly subscriptions start from $24 per month.

7. Thinkific

I have been a course instructor on Thinkific for quite some time. It’s an amazing platform for 35000 + content creators who are looking to brand and sell courses. If you are looking to grow your audience quickly, you should bet your chances on Thinkific.

I have seen many business savvy and smart personalities having trouble in designing and scaling their courses on other platforms. By all means, Thinkific is a top class exception. Prospects have little trouble in the building, launching, scaling, and marketing their courses.

8. Academy Of Mine

As the name suggests, Academy of Mine lets you start your own online academy. If you are looking for a drag-and-drop solution that can save you a lot of time, Academy of Mine scores brownie points. This online teaching software is power—packed with an amazing administrative interface. The learning curve is somewhat steep. That said, if you climb up the curve, you can leverage all its powerful features.

9. CourseCraft

Looking to turn your blog into a profitable business? Try CourseCraft. Its editor is flexible, simple and powerful enough to create different types of courses. It’s integrated with Stripe and PayPal payment processors. Creating quizzes, lessons and forums is just a matter of few precious minutes. Instructors can run discounts and offers. Students can collaborate with friends and instructors and create a big knowledge ecosystem. It has great custom branding features.

10. Skillshare

Top teachers on Skillshare make as high as $40000 annually. Almost every course lesson entails two key components—video and class project. Courses are made up of a series of small videos whose duration is typically anywhere between 10 and 25 minutes. You can make money through Skillshare’s Partner Program. Of course, you have to fulfill certain prerequisites like enrolling at-least 25 learners per class etc.

Skillshare’s subscription model is different from that of Udemy. Udemy sells subscriptions of individual courses while Skillshare sells subscriptions to all its complete content.

Share your course creation experiences. If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot them in the comments. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space to learn about eLearning software development. My best wishes are with you and your courses.

LMS Vs. eLearning Platform: The Key Differences

Summary: Learning Management Systems (LMS) and eLearning platforms are much alike in terms of the basic concept of providing a learning environment to learners, but they differ in some key aspects. This article discusses the differences between these two and finds out which one is better suited for you.
LMSs And eLearning Platforms: The Basics
An LMS is a software application that enables users to create, design, and deliver their own course content through a website or a mobile app. eLearning platforms, on the other hand, are web-based applications that allow users to design online courses, then deliver/share them with learners. An eLearning platform is similar to an LMS because it also comes with an option of creating the content yourself. Both tools are essentially used to help educators and learners organize, view, and manage the learning process.

Examples Of LMSs And eLearning Platforms
Blackboard is one of the most widely used LMS tools for education. It has been around since 1997 and has a range of features that helps you create, deliver, and manage course content. Blackboard Learn allows you to grade assignments, upload files, and give instant feedback to students.

On the other hand, a good example of an eLearning platform is Adobe Captivate which allows you to create online courses from scratch without any programming knowledge. The tool covers all the five phases of learning management, including designing online courses, delivering them to learners, tracking performance metrics, facilitating collaboration among learners, and reporting for administrators/managers.

The Key Differences Between LMSs And eLearning Platforms
Despite being similar in basic functionality, there are key differences between LMSs and eLearning platforms. Here are some of the major points where both of these tools are different from each other:

1. Functionality And Flexibility
LMSs tend to be more comprehensive in their functionality and offer support for file sharing, collaboration, data storage, messaging, etc. On the other hand, eLearning platforms are more focused on hosting online courses. These tools come with basic support for adding content, storing content, etc.

2. Accessibility
While LMSs are either hosted or on-premises, eLearning platforms are generally hosted. This means that eLearning platforms come with more flexible access controls and a higher degree of scalability. eLearning platforms can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, while LMSs are commonly accessed within the organization’s network.

3. Time To Market
LMSs require a lot of time to get set up and integrated with other applications, while eLearning platforms can be integrated into an existing website or app with not much time. This is because LMSs have more complex setup procedures than eLearning platforms, making it necessary for clients to hire technical experts to integrate them with other systems.

4. Pricing
LMSs come with an extensive feature-set and support for a variety of integrations. This makes them very powerful, but it comes at a high cost. On the other hand, eLearning platforms are designed to be less heavy in terms of features, and they offer more flexibility and scalability than LMSs on the whole. This makes eLearning platforms relatively cheaper than LMSs despite the latter’s extensive feature-set.

Which One Should You Choose?
eLearning platforms are often chosen over LMSs because they are easy to use and have an attractive drag-and-drop interface. They also allow users to mix and match different content types, templates, graphics, audio, video, and quizzes. On the other hand, LMSs come with a lot of built-in features that eLearning platforms lack. For instance, an LMS can help you track learners’ progress and assign certificates to them. They can also be used for evaluation and performance management.

Can An eLearning Platform Be Used Without An LMS?
An eLearning platform can be used without an LMS, but it is essential to know that it is limited in its functionality without a Learning Management System. For instance, you won’t track the learners’ progress if you don’t have an LMS with you. This is one of the primary reasons why organizations tend to choose both platforms together. However, if you are looking for just a learning platform, then eLearning platforms are more than enough.

You can use an LMS for several things like managing learners’ progress and monitoring their performance. On the other hand, eLearning platforms are much easier to use and more attractive in terms of interface. You can choose between the two based on your requirements and their features. If you are looking for a professional platform, then you should choose an LMS. If you are looking for a tool to create and manage your content, then eLearning can be your choice.

ONLYOFFICE: How To Collaborate On Documents Within eLearning Platforms

Summary: Functionality of various eLearning platforms often lacks one important component, namely document editing and co-authoring. Below we’ll take a look at how students and educators can fill in this gap with a web-based office suite, ONLYOFFICE Docs.
Why Do You Need Document Processing For eLearning?
For a number of reasons, actually. No matter if you are a student or a tutor, more than likely you know there are lots of activities connected with document creation, editing, and collaboration that you have to carry out during digital learning.

The best plan here would be to integrate online editors directly into the course structure. When participants are able to work with documents in the learning environment without being distracted by other applications, it greatly enhances productivity and involvement in the educational process.

Bringing Learning Scenarios To Life
We assume you have successfully integrated the office suite into your platform. What’s next? What factors should you consider to successfully perform learning scenarios during classes?

Functionality is obviously on the list. And here comes ONLYOFFICE Docs with multiple features and tools available which allow:

Writing research papers
Creating customized tests and filling out forms
Using academic formatting, such as footnotes and endnotes, headers and footers, table of contents, bookmarks, cross-references, etc.
Creating bibliographies for a thesis
Presenting infographics, charts, and tables during a lecture
Performing bulk calculations
Opening eBooks
Translating texts
Correcting typography
Another aspect is format compatibility. When, for example, docx, xlsx, and pptx are used by default in your educational establishment, high compatibility with Microsoft Office formats helps avoid annoying workflow interruptions.

Working On Assignments Simultaneously
Work within eLearning platforms often requires various group activities:

Co-authoring Word, Excel, and other files in real time
Making notes available to all participants during a lesson
Preparing group presentations
Reviewing documents and tracking changes
Leaving comments
Discussing essay ideas via the built-in chat right in the editor
If you need to work on a text doc with lots of people, it would be a good idea to switch to the paragraph-locking mode. In doing this, you can edit your part privately—all changes will be visible to other co-authors only after you save.

Since sending documents via email each time other students or colleagues make changes to a file is time-consuming, you also need to share files. Different permission levels set for each participant or group allow you to protect docs from unwanted attention.

For instance, in the combined ONLYOFFICE-ownCloud solution, you are able to restrict participants’ actions. Thus, they will be able to add comments, insert data into the chosen fields only, or suggest changes. The last option can be really useful when a reviewer needs to assess a submitted assignment.

Protecting Sensitive Data And Collaborating Securely
Nowadays, lots of people are concerned about the safety of their confidential data when it comes to online collaboration. Students and educators are no exception in this case.

That’s why it is important to choose an open-source and GDPR (or any other applicable security legislation) compliant solution. If there is a possibility to launch an office suite on your own private network, you should definitely do it. Thus, you will have full control over the data which always stays “in-house” and don’t have to worry about privacy violations.

Along with the mentioned security measures, ONLYOFFICE documents are protected from unauthorized access with JSON Web Token. This technology ensures that participants cannot access more data than permitted to them, which is critical in case of external user invitation.

It’s possible to encrypt the traffic with HTTPS protocol. It protects your data from being intercepted and transformed as it moves from one location to another, for example, when uploading documents.

Moreover, you can restrict copying, downloading, and printing as well as enable watermarking to avoid unauthorized redistribution of your content.

Seamless Integration With Your eLearning Platform
Ready-to-use integration apps developed by ONLYOFFICE or its official partners allow you to easily connect editors with your solution:

Moodle: one of the most popular open-source platforms for education
OpenOlat: a web-based LMS for teaching, learning, assessment, and communication developed by the Swiss company frentix
Chamilo: a free LMS that includes eLearning and content management features; distributed under GNU/GPL license
HumHub: a free and open-source toolkit for launching your own social network
WebWeaver: a German web-based learning platform developed by DigiOnline GmbH
Among the available integrations, there are also Nextcloud, Seafile, ownCloud, Alfresco, XWiki, and many others. With open API available, it’s possible to build a connector for almost any platform.

A Quick Start To Effective Document Co-Authoring
To be able to edit and collaborate on files within your platform, you need to follow 3 basic steps:

Install ONLYOFFICE Docs (a free community version or a commercial build)
Get and install the corresponding integration app
Launch your eLearning platform and configure ONLYOFFICE
Digital transformation as one of the latest educational trends has become even more important amid the current situation around the globe. So, we hope you will find this article useful and that the provided info helps you achieve even greater results in your eLearning process.

eLearning Platforms Must Adapt To Evolving Threats And Regulations

Summary: The rapid development and expansion of eLearning systems has happened with little to no industry standardization, and not much in the way of direct regulatory oversight.
Why eLearning Platforms Must Adapt To Evolving Threats And Regulations
The eLearning industry is a growing—and profitable—global marketplace. It’s a diverse technological ecosystem that runs the gamut from full-blown standalone educational platforms to specialized online tools and digital resources. It’s been estimated that by 2025, the industry as a whole will be worth $331 billion. That’s very good news for those in the industry, as well as for students around the globe.

All of the growth does not come without some risks, though. The rapid development and expansion of eLearning systems has happened with little to no industry standardization, and not much in the way of direct regulatory oversight. When coupled with the aforementioned high profitability, the industry finds itself with something of a target on its back.

Clouds Gather On The Digital Frontier
As with many other rapid technological advances, the massive recent shift towards eLearning hasn’t only drawn in entrepreneurs and students, but a criminal element as well. This was certainly to be expected, as all digital platforms have come under some kind of attack at various points since their inception. There have already been examples of data security breaches and privacy issues within the industry, such as a recent hack of the eLearning platform Edmodo.

In that incident, the account information of approximately 77 million users was stolen, with at least 40 million of them containing associated user email addresses. While Edmodo insisted that the data included no passwords, it was still a worrisome portent for the entire industry. That wasn’t the end of the story, though.

Within days of the news of the breach, a security researcher revealed that the platform was tracking both teacher and student activity and selling it to data brokers. While this is a common practice on many online portals, it raised fresh concerns about data privacy rights on eLearning platforms. It’s a thorny issue in an industry that is tasked with safeguarding the privacy of millions of users, many of which are minors.

External Cyber-Threats
The eLearning industry must come to terms with the scope of the external threats they face, and they are numerous. Major online attack vectors to these platforms include:

SQL Injection
Poorly secured database connections and related code are exploited to reveal site and user data.
Cross-Site Scripting
Malicious code spread to users through unverified data ingestion, through web requests and other untrusted sources.
Inclusion Attacks
Exploitation of insecure coding to request system data files from a web server or to cause it to run malicious code from elsewhere.
Access Control Attacks
Guessing of administrative and other privileged account passwords through brute force or social engineering.
Denial of Service
Overloading of web servers by flooding them with meaningless requests, thus preventing legitimate access.
In order to properly defend eLearning platforms from these types of attacks, operators must adopt a comprehensive approach to data security. This means bringing in programming experts to conduct a thorough security review of all public-facing websites, as well as deploying the latest web application firewall technology. Once these steps have been taken, regular penetration testing should also become a permanent part of the eLearning data security regime.

Internal Security Concerns
While the external security concerns are the most difficult to address, they aren’t the only ones. That’s because data security breaches aren’t always the result of deliberate acts by malicious external actors. Sometimes, data may be exposed through simple mistakes committed by employees and third-party consultants as well.

For example, Schoolzilla accidentally left the personal information of over a million K-12 students exposed through a misconfigured Amazon S3 storage system. Although Schoolzilla assured customers that nobody had accessed the unprotected data (except for the security researcher that discovered the problem), the sheer scale of the exposed data illustrates just how easy it is for eLearning companies to suffer a serious data theft.

To reduce the chances of this type of error occurring, eLearning platforms must establish strict internal guidelines and procedures regarding data storage. Any external data storage should be reviewed by at least 2 technical staff members to provide critical oversight. In addition, there should be a single internal point of contact for any security concerns that arise, to minimize communication errors.

Regulatory Action
Although the eLearning industry hasn’t had to deal with direct regulatory action as of yet, there are some legal requirements that many will soon have to meet. For eLearning businesses operating within the European Union or who have users based there, there’s a broad new set of regulations regarding data security that is about to take effect.

In April of 2016, European regulators passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which introduces new data security and privacy requirements throughout the E.U. Among other things, businesses will be required to protect:

Names, Addresses, and Identification Numbers
Health Data
Sexual Orientation Data
Location, IP Address, Cookies, and any other location data
As of May 25th of this year, GDPR compliance will be expected of all affected companies. As of that date, they must meet all of the requirements of the new regulation or be subject to escalating fines and other enforcement actions.

The Future Of eLearning Data Security
As time goes on, and the eLearning industry continues to grow, the number and frequency of data security threats will grow in direct proportion to it. There’s also a high likelihood that the GDPR won’t be the last regulatory regime that eLearning platforms must comply with. In the long run, those that are early to adapt and make sure that adequate resources are committed to data security will be best positioned for long-term success. There will be some initial financial pain, but if protecting long-term viability requires cutbacks on corporate gifts and another discretionary spending, the results will be well worth it. Just consider the alternative.

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