Content Aggregators - How Much Value Do They Really Add?

What do we mean by a Content Aggregator?

A content aggregator is a company that sells thousands and often tens of thousands of classes on every conceivable subject.

In this post we consider what real value content aggregators add and things to consider if you are using or thinking about selecting one.

Content Aggregators come in several flavours and with widely varying value.

Some almost household names use individual amateurs to write classes and sell them very cheaply.  They promote heavily and frequently and regular visitors to their site know that if the class they are looking at is offered at list price, they only have to wait 3 days to get the sale price.  The discounts can be dramatic - £59 to £12 for example.

We tried one company’s retail classes.  One was excellent.  If you want a class on store design, I recommend the one I used.  The person who wrote it obviously had experience and knowledge in this subject.   One had a lot of content but said nothing you could use in a retail job, and in one I found four errors of fact or serious omission in 20 minutes.  Some aggregators have no quality control on the content.

Some have strict standards and rigorously review the classes they consider selling before they agree to sell them.  You can be more confident buying from them, but some potential partners walk away because their service does not support all the customer service functions that companies like us provide.

Others provide excellent content, but it is written largely by universities and is very academic in nature.

So, if you decide to evaluate content aggregators, here are some important things to check:

  1. Does the aggregator have quality control of the content, not just the technology details?
  2. If they advertise star ratings of their products, who is giving those ratings and are they judged on the level of skill that your staff would rate the same way?  Very often, the people who rate some classes had no knowledge to start with and no way of knowing that the class was very poor.  They give it a higher rating because they don’t know any better.
  3. Does the industry content they offer range from basic to deep enough for your purposes?
  4. Do they have a class portfolio and recommended learning paths, such that a person acquiring one skill can then select the next logical class to build on that knowledge?
  5. Who builds their content?  Are they really subject matter experts?  Are they qualified enough?
  6. Is it practical or is it too academic?
  7. How do you measure skill acquisition?
  8. Can you talk to the authors and can the authors tailor the content if you need them to?
  9. How do they address learning in the flow of work and micro-learning?
  10. Can you get certification for key skills?
  11. Do you get any after sales service for your learners?
  12. Are you able to ask questions and get feedback from the authors?

When you buy from these companies be aware of what you get for your money.  Oh, and if you are thinking about Martec’s classes, ask us how we answer these questions.  We’ll be happy to answer them.

And, if you do need a class on store design, it is not us, but I’ll be genuinely happy to point you to the one I found.

Posted by Brian Hume
3rd January 2023

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