Business Career College conducts training across Canada, supporting students in their efforts to achieve success in the financial services industry. The organization works with more than 300 companies to bring new people into the financial services industry. Teaching more than 3,000 students annually, Business Career College courses lead to the Certified Financial Planning designation or the Life License Qualification Program.
In June 2007, Business Career College opened a campus in Calgary and in 2009 they began to offer programs in Vancouver and Toronto. The company also employs full- and part-time instructors who provide web-based instruction for learners anywhere across the country.
Business Career College had been working with a hosting company that provided them with a very basic online learning platform but soon came to recognize that they needed a more reliable and sophisticated learning management system (LMS) that would allow capabilities beyond just posting PDFs. “Our level of sophistication vis-à-vis online learning has increased exponentially since we started to offer online education,” says instructor and college director, Jason Watt. “We were ready to take it to the next level, but our system wasn’t up to the task. We knew we needed to move on.”
Business Career College employees explored a number of options, including Blackboard, but were put off by the steep licensing costs. They wanted a professional platform that would provide all the features they needed at a reasonable price.
While exploring alternatives, Watt came across Moodle. “Because Moodle is an open source training platform with no licensing fees, the cost is kept to a minimum. It’s kept up-to-date by a wider world of open source users and developers—not just one vendor, not just an internal team” explains Watt. After deciding on Moodle, Watts began his search for a firm that could provide reliable managed hosting.
Lambda Solutions Hosting and Support
“Hosting our own LMS was just not feasible,” said Watt. “We’re in the business of education, not information technology and it would have cost us more in time and training to host ourselves.” Watts explained that they chose Lambda Solutions because of their substantial expertise and focus on Moodle hosting and because they offered a hosting and support package that were within the institution’s budget. “Using Lambda lets us focus on content development. We don’t really want to spend our time managing upgrades or configuring SQL and meeting other technical challenges—we have a lot of other work to do running our programs.”
The quality of experience for Business Career College’s students has increased substantially. “Especially since upgrading to Moodle 2.5, we are really impressed with the speed. It is a highly professional site for learning. We’re very happy with our decision to move to Moodle and Lambda” says Watt. He is also beginning to move their content from pdfs to more interactive formats to take advantage of mobile devices.
Lambda provides the college with a flexible system and a pricing structure that makes it easy to incorporate in their business model. “For my business model, it’s really useful to be able to bring in students at a low cost. There are other LMSs out there that make it pricey to bring students in and there are rigid deadlines and so forth. Flexibility is key,” says Watt
The other benefit that Business Career College is seeing is their ability to grow. Watts explains, “With the old LMS I did not feel confident that we could increase class sizes or add on any new courses. But now, with Lambda, I feel very confident that we can expand into new markets, bring on more partner companies and provide a very robust online learning experience for students. And the more students we can accommodate, the more our business grows.”
“Using Lambda lets us focus on content development. We don’t really want to spend our time managing upgrades or configuring SQL and meeting other technical challenges.” – Jason Watt, Instructor + College Director Business Career College