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There are publishers on Alison earning tens of thousands of euros for their courses each year. Some earning much less. How a single course performs depends on a number of criteria:
There are some very popular subjects that millions of people want to learn about. There are literally billions of people worldwide wishing to learn English as a second language. Alison has more courses on learning English than any other subject, but that’s a lot of competition for any one English language course!
No matter how popular the subject, if the course is not well written, from a pedagogic (learning) point of view, or not well presented so that it is easy to learn, then long term if will not to do – and someone will publish a better course. This is why we insist Alison publishers do basic training before they start publishing with us – on learning pedagogy (yes, we use this word a lot), and on how to use our publishing tool.
Alison actively promotes courses published on our platform. We promote via email (we sent 1 Billion emails+ in 2018!), social media and through marketing partnerships with large global membership organisations. We expect publishers to do their part also, using their networks of friends, work colleagues and networks.
Think of it this way: if you publish a course, how many organisations do you think might like to advertise beside my course? If you are publishing an accountancy course for instance, you might see colleges and universities who offer paid accountancy courses advertising beside your course. The contrast to popular courses, if the course covers expertly a subject area which is only studied by a small number of people, but there are a lot of organisations who might like to target your audience, and with small traffic you could do very well.
Alison makes money in two ways; through advertising and certification. As a social enterprise, trying to encourage people of all incomes to learn and certify, we don’t insist that graduates of our courses purchase a downloadable PDF Certificate or Diploma from our site, or order a physical parchment which they can well do. However, many people purchases these certificates, PDF and parchment for a number of reasons; to frame on a wall for their office or home, to show in an interview to a prospective employer, or as many do, simply to support the Alison free learning mission. Whatever the reason, those subjects for which people wish to present to employers or prospective employers are the certificates in highest demand. If you have a course that lends itself to this market, you will earn more.