If you want to sell online courses to businesses, you may need more than the usual online course platform or learning management system. In this Course Container review, we’ll take a look at platform that gives you maximum power to maintain and distribute your courses from a single place – cutting way down on administrative headaches and opening significant new revenue potential for your education business.
The Opportunity – and the Problem
Many edupreneurs focus on what is typically referred to as a “business to consumer,” or B2C model for selling online courses. That can be a great opportunity – build a loyal audience of followers and you can continually sell them courses.
But you probably know the potential issue with this approach: you have to build a pretty sizeable audience or manage to sell your courses at a pretty high price for it to work. Both are doable – and most edupreneurs will want to continue to pursue this opportunity – but building your business course sale by course sale takes time.
So, what if you could sell a whole bunch of course enrollments at once?
That’s the opportunity that the “business to business,” or B2B selling offers. With one deal, you could make the same amount that it might take you months to make with one-by-one course sales, or even with reasonably successful launch event. And you can keep making those kinds of deals over and over as you sell to more businesses.
The problem is in the logistics.
If you build all of your courses in a proprietary course platform, then there are going to be limits to how you can serve business customers. If they are okay sending their employees to you – maybe with a special code you sell them that allows the employees to enroll themselves – you may be fine.
But what if the business wants a dedicated doorway into your platform – one with its own branding, for example – or the ability for an administrator at the company to manage employee enrollments and/or see reports on their progress?
In those cases, you are going to need a platform that can provide solid group functionality – like, for example, Thinkific– or one that can handle multi-tenancy (basically giving the business customer its own instance of your platform) – like, for example, TalentLMS.
Those might be viable solutions. But the fact is, many businesses – especially larger ones – have their own learning management system (LMS), a platform where they already host online courses for their employees. They don’t want to send their employees off to a different platform. They want to provide access to your courses in their own LMS.
So how do you deal with that?
Enter Course Container
What I have just described is exactly the problem that Course Container solves – and in solving it, opens up huge potential for your online course business.
If you have authored your courses outside of a course platform – in, for example, a platform like Articulate Storyline, IsEazy, or even Camtasia – you could just zip up your files and send them to the business customer, but that opens up big issues.
Updating your courses becomes a headache – you have to ship out new files every time you do and keep track of who is updated and who isn’t.
And, of course, you turn over your valuable intellectual property (IP) in a source format. I haven’t met many edupreneurs eager to do that.
On the customer side, many businesses are not going to want to take on the chore of providing storage and bandwidth for your course files, installing new versions, and potentially opening up security issues.
Instead, you can upload your files to Course Container, which provides a way to host, distribute, track, protect, and manage versioning of your courses from a secure central location.
How Course Container Works
So how exactly does Course Container do this? In most cases, the process begins either with a SCORM-compliant course or with video files.
In case you aren’t familiar with it, or need a refresher, SCORM stands for “Shareable Content Object Reference Model” and is a set of specifications that make it possible to package together different types of e-learning content so that a SCORM-compliant online course platform will be able to deliver and track them. SCORM has been around for a long time in the e-learning world, and while it is slowly being displaced by other specifications, it still dominates the online course world. Basically, if you don’t want to be locked into a specific platform for delivering your courses, SCORM is what you need.
I’ve written more about SCORM and selling online courses here.
In either case, you upload your content to Course Container’s servers. If it is a SCORM 1.2 or 2004 package, then Course Container will have access to all of the necessary SCORM data it needs to share with an LMS. If it is a video file, the content will be converted into the Course Container video player that allows for bookmarking and completion marking in an LMS.
Once content is in the Course Container system, you are easily able to create “Deployments.” A Deployment is what gets shared with your customer – after, of course, they have paid whatever licensing fees you charge. An administrator at your customer – typically the person who manages their LMS – can then load the Deployment into their platform and make your courses accessible there.
With the Deployment in place, the customer can continue to provide access to your courses for as long as their license is valid. On their end, everything works like it would if the courses were actually installed on their system, but really, they are pulling all of the content from the Course Container servers.
That means you have completely visibility into usage of your content. Course Container reporting and analytics empower you to analyze learner behavior and optimize access by modifying content, updating licenses, and more.
It also means that when a new version of your content is available, you update it in Course Container and guarantee that all learners will receive it – without interrupting students already in progress through a course.
Keep in mind, too, that you have the ability to apply rules in the Course Container system to protect your content. You can restrict access to individual courses or entire libraries of courses. And you can limit the number of enrollments or duration of enrollment that any customer and its learner have to your courses.
Finally – and this is an important point for the average edupreneur – the folks at Course Container have a firm handle on the technology and technical issues that lie behind all of this. You don’t have to be an LMS or SCORM expert or worry about how to make your content “play well” with the range of platforms your customers may use. Course Container handles that.
An Additional Revenue Opportunity
One other point worth mentioning: Course Container is building a library of courses from selected creators that use their platform. If you create courses that have a fairly broad business market, this could be a channel for additional distribution without any extra sales or marketing effort on your part.
I don’t have details on the terms that Course Container provides for this – they will, of course, get a share of the revenue – but if you decide to use their platform, it’s an option worth exploring with them.
Course Container Pricing
So, what’s all of this going to run you? Fortunately, Course Container is transparent about its pricing, so you don’t have to guess.
At the lowest tier, it’s $80 per month for up to 100 course users and up to 1 GB of data storage. So, basically 80 cents per user to get a reliable channel for selling your courses B2B. If you have any traction or potential traction in the B2B market, that’s kind of a no-brainer.
Here’s the full pricing breakdown, but be sure to check the Course Container site for any updates.
All Course Container packages come with a 30-day trial period, a quick start guide, and access to the company’s support team.
Course Container Review: Final Words
As I’ve noted in many places, the market for online courses is becoming increasingly competitive. Most edupreneurs need to be considering all potential distribution channels for their courses, and B2B selling represents a major opportunity.
To be clear, Course Container is not the only B2B solution. Depending on your audience and your strategy, a standard solopreneur platform or a somewhat more advanced small business LMS may do the trick.
Course Container is also not the first platform to come along to support distribution of courses from a central location, but it is the one that, in our opinion, seems to have the most momentum currently. If B2B looks like a fit for your strategy, and a standard online course platform or LMS won’t do the trick, you owe it to yourself to at least take Course Container for a spin.