Our client runs a motorcycle training school based in Edmonton, Alberta. They came to us with a website that had been running on old code and outdated protocols. The system was slow, cumbersome, and hard to make any type of edits and changes to.
As a result, their admin person was swamped with emails and calls just doing basic course bookings.
They needed a system that would seamlessly integrate students from the online platform into in-person courses for a better overall experience.
On first blush, this all sounded easy enough, but there were a few wrinkles that made it more than just an out-of-the-box solution.
Requirements – The new online course booking system would need
- A way to schedule courses online and allow bookings up to a certain number
- A way to collect course fees as they sign up
- A way to force students to do an online course (and pass it) before doing the in-person part of the course.
- Automated emails sent out for sign ups, payment processing, reminders etc.
- A way to integrated the online learning courses with each in-person course
- A way to track users progress through the online learning
- A portal for users to go in and view their receipts and certificates of completion
How we built this online course and e-learning system
After taking time to understand the complete user experience, we implemented a three pronged solution that covered all the client needs.
First, we started by revamping the original website to include updated branding and more clear offerings. We kept this portion of the site on WordPress, since it gave us the most flexibility, and easy changes. Fairly straightforward project to do.
Finding the right course management software
Next, we needed to find software that understood some of the things around a training course. Very quickly, we discovered a typical events plug in was not going to cut it.
The course software needed to understand:
- Courses (sessions, times, dates, places, students, number of students per class)
- Instructors, and be able to report on who taught what, to support payroll.
- Issue certificates to students who passed courses. And who could look up their certificates in their account.
- Take payment for courses
After some searching around, there were many options for basic event management, but few that had enough features we needed to make this work for the client.
Arlo was the answer for course management
We eventually settled on Arlo, a stand alone online registration system that came with a bunch of benefits.
Arlo enabled a self-service experience, where registrants could sign-up, cancel, and access their data through a portal. It also had integration with WordPress, which let us display current courses on the main website. And it enabled helpful administrative functions such as providing accounting data, vouchers (as gift certificates), payment processing with Stripe, etc.
It was not the cheapest solution. Arlo’s subscription amount is calculated by how many users are active. But for all the services it provides (and support from real people), the cost is worth it.
The next hurdle was the online learning component. Customers would need to pass the online course, before doing in-person motorcycle training.
The whole signup process needed to proceed like this:
- Customer signs up, pays for the course
- Customer completes online course
- Customer takes the online test (and passes it)
- Customer shows up to the in-person training (they must have passed the online test to qualify to do in-person training)
To manage the online learning component of the website, we set up Moodle. Moodle is a free and open-source learning management system distributed under the GNU General Public License. We set up Moodle on our hosting and configured it to run the course and give the course exam.
Integrating it all together
We integrated the Arlo platform into the newly designed WordPress website. Users can now see what course sessions are available and can sign up and pay online.
We also configured specialty functions within Arlo that further enhanced the automation of the system, such as automated certificate printing.
We also linked the Moodle and Arlo platforms together, to allow for a seamless user experience from online learning to on-road instruction.
Our client now has a streamlined system, where one admin person handles all the bookings and receives almost zero calls and emails for course registration. From what we heard about the last motorcycle season, the system worked very well, and the client is well positioned to keep growing their business for years to come.