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One of the outstanding small business opportunities of our times is selling courses online, and one of the best systems to do it on is Moodle. The world of education is moving away from traditional college degrees, evening classes and correspondence courses towards a ‘just-in-time’ model in which learners pick and choose what they need to learn right now, and can get instant access to it.


This has opened the door for enterprising people who see the opportunity of running their own micro-university. Subject matter experts with in-depth knowledge can get paid every time somebody enrolls on their online course. And those who already teach a subject and seek to reach more students by moving it online can get set up in business pretty quickly by using Moodle linked to an ecommerce system such as Course Merchant. It takes a bit of work, but can become a cash cow.


The software that enables online learning is called a Learning Management System, or LMS. A good one for elearning startups is Moodle, a hugely popular open-source LMS created by educator Martin Dougiamas in 2003 and constantly developed and refined by a global network of software engineers and educators. Moodle is free to use, but usually requires some expense to maintain in the form of either a dedicated server or paying a hosting company to keep the site up. It’s not exactly plug and play.


Moodle also has a learning curve. There is quite a bit more involved than just uploading learning content and watching the money roll in. Things that need a little effort to learn include student management, managing the gradebook, administering forums and such like.


There’s a course for that.’s Teaching Online with Moodle is a fast-track training offer for those who want to get their course online. It covers adding course materials to Moodle, adding images and video, adding activities and resources, running a student discussion forum, enrolling users, adding a glossary, running surveys and gathering feedback, and more basics of setting up and managing a Moodle course.


The content consists of video, Notes, Articles and Assignments and takes roughly 60 hours to complete.