Crowsourcing a courseware solutionPlatform requirements for delivering an online course to 4,000 businesses

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What's the best way to deliver online training to individuals and small businesses?

At Social Signal, we've explored a number of options over the years. Now we're developing content for an online course that launches in January 2012, and the team we working with needs your help in identifying the best courseware solutions or courseware developers/integrators.

This course offering will be seen by 4,000 companies within the first 90 days of launch, so it needs to run on a robust and polished platform.  We are considering both pre-existing course delivery platforms, and custom-built solutions.

I've documented the high-level project requirements (below) and would love to hear recommendations. Have you taken an online course that wowed you -- not only with its content, but with the ease and polish of the online interface? Have you delivered an online course using a platform or working with a developer that you would recommend? Are you a vendor with a proven solution or a portfolio of online training projects you've built for other customers? I'd love to hear from you, either in comments below, via Twitter, or via email (alex [at] socialsignal [dot] com). (Vendors, please read the note at the end of this post before e-mailing.)

Requirements: Essentials


  • Web-based course delivery
  • Intuitive, polished interface: this should look great and be a pleasure to use
  • Support for multiple media types: video, text, imagesRobust, per-segment paywalls (i.e. students should be able to buy 1 course unit, all 24 course units, or any combination)
  • Speed of deployment: platform must be live, with all content loaded, by Jan 15 (client to supply all media files and all text in HTML)


Requirements: Important


  • Alternate distribution channels: apps in app stores (Android and iOS), ebooks (Kindle, Nook, iBooks) and/or physical distribution (DVD/USB drive); purchasing a course on one platform (e.g. web) gets you access on all other distribution channels (e.g. iOS, Kindle); same set of options to buy individual courses or complete package
  • Social network integration (ability to share selected quotes/videos beyond the paywall via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc)
  • Interactive worksheets & tests
  • Some mechanism for student-to-student discussion, e.g. through forums or comments
  • Tech support: Ideal solution will include a tech support option that you support, addressing any user issues with lost passwords, confusion about how to use the site, etc.


A note to vendors

I am open to direct pitches by vendors, but we will only schedule demos or test drives with a handful of highly likely candidates. If you would like us to consider your platform, please include in your email:


  1. Examples of past projects and clients
  2. Link(s) to your platform or client projects
  3. Paywall approach/expertise
  4. Whether & how you support distribution via non-web channels (e.g. apps, DVD)
  5. Licensing/development model: How are your fees structured (if a licensing model) or what are likely to pay (ballpark costs for a custom dev project building a platform for a 24-unit course)


Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions. I'll let you know what we choose -- and when we're able to share more details about the course itself!


Tori Klassen says

December 1, 2011 - 3:03pm

I'm interested to see what you come up with! At BCcampus we provide Moodle, Desire2Learn and Blackboard Collaborate Learning Management Systems as shared services for B.C.'s post-secondary sector. I wonder if there are any differences between a system for formal education and one for business training (I think not many).

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