Selling E-Learning as a Freelancer

I received another question from a reader today that I’m hoping someone out in the blogosphere can help answer. Usually I think of freelance e-learning developers developing content for a specific client with a specific audience in mind. However, this reader is looking for something else:

Which sites, if any, accept e-learning courses from freelance courseware developers?

Based on the related discussion on the e-Learning Guild site, he’s hoping to find a site that would host the courses he creates and share a portion of the revenue with him. Someone else recommended Lynda.com, which is looking for course authors but probably isn’t quite what he’s looking for.

I know of several places where content can be donated or shared with a Creative Commons license. This isn’t a complete list, but a place to start:

None of those would help him if he’s looking for payment though. Is there a general portal for e-learning courses somewhere that accepts and sells basic content, where a freelancer could create content related to his or her expertise and sell it for a share of the profits?

Update 8/18/08: On the eLearning Guild discussion, Coggno was suggested. This actually does appear to be a site where you can sell self-paced courses as a freelancer. See the comments below this post for other ideas.

Update 1/28/13: Open Sesame didn’t exist yet when I originally wrote this post in 2008, but they are definitely a large force in this market now.

Update 7/14/15: Check out this list of 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.

Read all my posts about Instructional Design Careers here.

20 thoughts on “Selling E-Learning as a Freelancer

  1. Our company searches for instructors to teach in the areas of professional development, academic success and personal enrichment. All of our instructors develop courses as they see fit, own all content and share in the profits with our company. Visit our marketing site at http://www.learningdesigngroup.net for Instructor information and our instructional site at http://www.learningdesignonline.com for courses and spread the word! Learning Design Group, LLC is recently launched. Our experience in e-learning starts in the 1990’s when it really started growing. We are always looking for highly qualified instructors and of course students to make it all happen. Come join us!

  2. Barbara, your site looks good for people who want to do instructor-led courses. I’ll file it away for my own use if someone asks me for this. I believe this reader is looking to sell self-paced courses though, something it doesn’t appear your site offers.

  3. Hi Christy many of our courses are self-paced – it all depends on how the instructor formats them. I am currently running a few classes that are self-paced and I can choose to interact with students but they don’t necessarily need me there! Many of the classes I have available now are totally self-paced as well as some behind the scenes under construction. Thanks for keeping us in mind.

  4. @Mark,
    Thanks. I don’t see that VTC accepts new courses for payment though. The link to create your own courses goes to Eduslides, which appears to offer free courses. Am I missing something?

    @Barbara,
    My apologies. When you say “instructor” that implies a person with an active role in teaching, as opposed to an instructional designer who builds the class and stays behind the scenes. I have to say, nothing on your instructor website would lead me to believe that you would accept self-paced courses. All the courses in your catalog show a teacher in Moodle, and the instructor site asks if people are “interested in teaching” with you.

    I hope you’ll accept this as constructive criticism, but if you’re really looking for self-paced courses, your website could do much a better job explaining that. As it is right now, I see nothing that tells either potential instructional designers or students that they could have a course without getting so much as an introductory email from an instructor.

  5. For VTC, I called them on the phone and I pitched my courseware and asked them to be a distributor.

    I had to rebuild the content for them as their “original work”. It didn’t work out, but there just has to be something out here!

    http://www.vtc.com/

    Mark M

  6. Mark, have you looked at Coggno? That was just mentioned on the eLearning Guild boards this week. I didn’t dig too deeply into it, but that site looks like the closest match for what we’ve been looking for here. What do you think?

  7. eduslide.com is now available as open source software, which you can download and modify. There is a paypal module to sell your courses via the software. You can also use the online version at eduslide.net.

    eduslide has been created as a service of vtc.com.

    cheers
    mark vernon, vtc.com, eduslide.com

  8. I am the managing director of British Video Training company: Mediaroots. We would certainly look to take on new presenters on a freelance basis to provide course material and of course the presenter would be paid for such work.

  9. Hi there,

    http://www.litmos.com is a training course delivery platform that does exactly what you are talking about.

    We’ve been around for 2 years and our SaaS platform allows you to upload training content (.ppt, video, PDF etc) and deliver it out to 3rd parties.

    There’s no downloads, no contracts, and the trainer pays USD$3/user per month for students.trainees who actually log in to your course.

    We offer a no obligation 30 day free trial here: https://go.litmos.com/signup.aspx

    And a great training blog to keep you informed on industry developments: http://blog.litmos.com/

    Thanks
    Nicole

  10. Well, Nicole, it looks like you’re sort of what we’re talking about, but for trainers rather than instructional designers. Your service advertises communication tools for trainers and students, which specifically means you’re not talking about self-paced training. The request here was really for self-paced e-learning, not online training with a trainer. The instructional designer/developer in question wants to publish a course and then be “hands off,” just collecting the money from that point forward.

    I can see how your service could be valuable for trainers with no instructional design or online learning experience who just need to slap together something online quickly and cheaply. As an instructional designer, though, it pains me somewhat to see you advertise “shovelware” content as online learning.

  11. Ouch! I think Litmos has been misunderstood.

    Litmos absolutely presents an opportunity to deliver self-paced training in a hands-off manner. Use of our communication features are totally optional but we provide these because in a Gen Y world, people want to learn at their own pace, yet still have the opportunity to engage and interact with a real person as part of their learning experience.

    It’s true, the platform does give more power to teachers & trainers to move their content online without the help of an instructional designer, so I can see why you might not like this concept.

    However, we do have an increasing number of instructional designers, such as yourself, looking to use the Litmos platform to sell their courseware online.

    Due to this demand the upcoming release of Litmos includes greater support for automated student sign-up & payment for courses. In many ways this is similar to what Coggno and Odijoo offer but includes the optional communication features to create community around content and enhance the learning experience.

    If by ‘shovelware’ you are referring to the videos, flash objects, powerpoints, pdfs and other documents that can be included in courses created on our system, I’d be very interested to know exactly what you use to deliver effective learning material.

    Warm Regards,
    Nicole

  12. Thanks for the clarification Nicole.

    For “shovelware,” I mean any time you’re plopping face-to-face training into an online content without doing any design to use the tools effectively. The difference between shovelware and successful online learning isn’t the tools, it’s how you use them. The fact that you think it’s only about the tools and that the design itself is irrelevant is exactly the problem.

  13. Yes, quality of the content is a ‘given’, of course that is what makes it successful. We focus on the delivery of that content.

    Your original reader wanted to know how to deliver and monetize his content i.e. the title of your post here is “Selling eLearning as a Freelancer”.

    I’m not referring to the quality of the content, simply answering the original question of how it can be monetized and delivered.

    Cheers,
    Nicole

  14. I think the info on Litmos and other vendors is actually helpful.
    Also, as described, shovelware covers almost all higher education course delivery and has nothing to do with the delivery modem. Face-to-face shoveling — or as I prefer to call it — using the firehouse to ram content down their throats. There’s a continuum of quality anywhere, but robustness of the platform can limit options and thus limit how to meet the learners needs.

  15. Learnopia is a learning management system (LMS) where teachers create, host, & sell (or give away for free) their online courses. Students through distance education classes can learn new skills for their career. Many elearning courses are free, & the rest are affordable as low as $9.99.

  16. Hi,
    A freelancer can sell e-learning courses through WordPress, for this purpose they can use Moodle to create courses, add course content related to the course that you created. Moodle has a robust system so it is highly recommended to create your course database in Moodle.

    WordPress can be your front-end wherein you can set the necessary features which you want your users to use. Since the WordPress has simple functions and is easy to use, even for a person without coding knowledge.

    But to avoid the tedious work of using two management systems for your site, you need an integration plugin.
    We have Edwiser Bridge which integrates both Moodle and WordPress, it syncs all the courses that you create in Moodle with WordPress with the click of few buttons.
    If the site owner wants to sell courses as products then we have a WooCommerce extension for Edwiser Bridge which will give the site owner the additional functions to sell courses as products, set subscriptions for products that are sold, integrate number of payment gateways giving a easy payment gateway for your users.

    For more information regarding the plugin feel free to visit our site.

    Regards,
    Rajiv Sathian.

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