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NogginLabs was founded on the notion that custom e-learning design and development is the ultimate horizontal industry. Time and again, each new project, client, and industry proves it. The biggest advantage of the e-learning horizontal is cross-pollinating ideas from two wildly different domains. A restaurant service simulation for iPad may influence a high-fashion online retail challenge. E-learning for financial advisors in a bank could inspire a mobile outreach program for cancer survivors. This variety also keeps the creative folks at NogginLabs fresh. Fresh learning ideas and designs come from a set of constantly changing constraints.

E-learning custom portals: Why would you need one?


E-learning custom portals: Why would you need one?

Katie Markovich

Picture this: You’re the person responsible for making some pretty big decisions about your company’s e-learning needs. It’s up to you to make sure your people are getting the training they need to succeed at their jobs, in addition to making sure said training makes a positive impact on your company at-large. Actually, you probably don’t need to picture this at all; this might be your task at this very moment. But for the sake of this experiment, really focus on that role and what your choices mean for your learners.

Before you start building mind-blowing simulations, applying gamification principlesto all of your custom e-learning designs, and creating a killer marketing plan to spread the word, you need to figure out how people will access online learning.


Most of you leading training organziations have probably faced the process of selecting and implementing a new Learning Management System (LMS) at some point. When it comes to delivering e-learning to your audience and gathering data like their usage and performance, the LMS marketplace is the first place most people look. It can feel like a monumental decision. After all, you want something that will stand the test of time and be all things to all learners, right?

The truth is, even if you've already deployed a brand new, enterprise-class LMS, you aren't limited by its capabilities. And if the term Learning Management System is completely foreign to you, rest assured that you don't absolutely have to have one. The alternative/add-on/way around any limitations: a custom learning portal. There are plenty of reasons you might ultimately sway one way or the other, but selecting a custom portal comes with its fair share of benefits.


The primary benefit of a custom portal is there in the name: It’s custom. You have complete control over the services and information your learners will receive. You also get to decide exactly how it will work and throw away any superfluous features you know you won’t be using. The very design of your portal is catered to the needs of your company. While an LMS might have made sense at one point, remember that they are typically big and generic, and meant to accommodate to a large population. Sometimes the custom portal is designed to integrate with existing platforms.  


Another trend on the rise in online training circles is the interest in and dependence upon social features. We live and interact in a world where socializing via technology is second nature, and your e-learning should reflect that. A custom portal gives you the opportunity to implement social features in a way that will boost morale and motivation within your company. Learners might like the feeling that they’re engaging with others and connecting on a human level, instead of merely receiving training in perceived isolation.

And sometimes, these kinds of interactions require a little friendly competition. Points, leaderboards, and challenges add motivation and replay value. The custom portal also makes it possible to tailor your reporting and analytics. While your learners are staying busy with games and challenges, you're able to follow along on the back end, keeping track of the course’s efficacy and your learners’ engagement.


At the end of the day, even after you’ve considered everyone’s wants and needs, the bottom line may be that a custom portal is simply the most financially sound option. The LMS might have a low initial cost, but updates over time can eat away at your budget. With the custom portal, you pay once. This upfront payment is covering exactly what you designed and selected, so there won’t be any surprises in what you pay.

Choosing the best way to train your team isn’t always easy. In a high-tech world of increasing bells and whistles, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the possibilities. A custom portal allows you to focus on what you really need.