While these are all valid measurements of fiscal health and potential, I prefer to think about companies and organizations in terms of the questions they are trying to answer.
I believe the questions companies and organizations ask determine, in large part, the solutions they provide and the impact they ultimately make.
At TEL Library, we are committed to delivering affordable learning solutions to everyone, but we give particular emphasis to underserved peoples and markets. As we work toward realizing our mission, we are driven by a series of questions about learning efficacy, learning products, and content development.
Here is a brief sampling of the questions we are asking as an organization.
Questions About Affordability
- What is the lowest price for which we can offer any product and still maintain a sustainable and scalable organization?
- What price — for textbooks, courses, certificates — would allow learners to engage in academic, professional, and lifelong learning without cost being a deterrent?
- How can we build and price college courses for underserved markets that negate the need for student loans and other forms of debt?
Questions About Affordable Content Design and Development
- How do we design learning content so that we can create high-quality content at low costs?
- How can we distribute that content into different products in the most efficient manner and cost-effective way possible?
- How can we design content that is easy to update quickly and cost-effectively?
- How can we design content that is truly reusable?
Questions About Course Design, Construction, and Delivery
- How do we design and create effective, self-paced online learning content that results in student mastery of the content
- How do we build a single curriculum library, with modular lessons and content pieces, that appeal to different users — advanced high school, college, and adult learners — as well as different markets?
- How do we design our courses so they can be delivered easily into diverse instructional environments — self-paced online, hybrid, and face-to-face (traditional or flipped)?
- How do we design a single learning environment model and content template that addresses our library’s diverse subject-area requirements — Composition and Communication, Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, and STEM — and both skill-based and information-based courses?
- How, through affordable and flexible learning solutions, can we meet the needs of the unemployed, underemployed, and unskilled?
- How can we partner with other organizations to address the educational needs of our correctional center in the U.S.?
- How can we help homeschool and high school students begin their journey toward professional learning at a price they can both afford and that doesn’t discourage trying new things?
These are, by no means, a comprehensive list of the questions we ask at TEL Library. They are, however, representative of our focus on affordability and societal impact. Equally important, I believe they explain what matters to us and how we make decisions about our products and markets.