Offering Professional Development To Real Estate Agents With A User-Friendly LMS

8 min read
1st Choice Real Estate is an online school that provides training to Missouri residents who want to become real estate agents. Once real estate agents are licensed, they’re required to take continuing education courses — which is another type of training that 1st Choice offers. Since 2008, this Missouri-based real estate school has used an LMS to sell and manage courses, but they started looking for a new solution after their last contract with an LMS provider expired. Before finding Academy Of Mine, 1st Choice Real Estate was fed up with their past LMSs because they were not user-friendly or customizable.

The Challenges

  • Spending multiple hours a day on the phone with customers who are confused about how to purchase and complete online training courses.
  • Updating content on old learning platforms is taking tons of time.
  • The eCommerce store for selling courses is separate from the LMS.
  • Difficulties following state requirements for offering continuing education courses.

The Outcomes

  • Gained tons of new referrals and grew the business, thanks to a user-friendly LMS.
  • Saved time that was previously spent helping students navigate confusing software.
  • Simplified the course-purchasing process for customers, with an LMS that supports eCommerce.
  • Fulfilled Missouri’s state requirements while offering continuing education.

“We've had a whole lot more referrals since we've been with Academy of Mine than we ever got with other LMS providers”

Profile of Karen Baynes
Karen Baynes
Operations Manager, 1st Choice Real Estate School

Below you can follow along with a conversation we had with Karen, the Operations Manager at 1st Choice Real Estate School.

Finding An LMS That Meets Company Requirements

Since 2008, 1st Choice Real Estate has been using an LMS to manage its professional development business. However, all of their previous learning platforms — before finding Academy Of Mine — had a variety of issues:

  • One of the LMS providers went out of business.
  • The other LMS provider got bought out by another company, then the pricing structure and system changed drastically.
  • Technical issues with reporting, updating content, filing state requirements, and more.

Another big issue that 1st Choice Real Estate School had with past LMS platforms, is they were not user-friendly. As a result, Karen would have to spend hours a day on the phone with various customers who were confused about how to complete their courses.

Investing In A System That Supports Continuing Education

The first type of training that 1st Choice Real Estate sells is professional development, which consists of specific training required to become a real estate agent. The second type of training that 1st Choice offers is continuing education, which real estate agents are required to take regularly after they have their real estate license.

Since many LMS providers restrict the number of users you can have in your system, this causes problems for businesses like 1st Choice which have a lot of return students.

Karen mentioned that past LMS providers weren’t very accommodating to this business model — and were constantly charging 1 Choice Real Estate more money during the months when a large number of customers returned to take continuing education courses, even though they were not new users.

All things considered, Karen really liked that Academy Of Mine was flexible with the number of users a customer could have in the LMS (at the time this was unlimited). Even though AOM’s pricing plans have changed since 1st Choice Real Estate was onboarded, our pricing is still affordable compared to competitors. We also approach the number of users in your system with a soft limit. This means that if your plan says you’re only allowed 1,000 users in the system, we’re not going to upcharge you the minute we see you with a few hundred extra users.

What Did 1st Choice Real Estate Need Their LMS To Do?

In each state a business offers continuing education, there are specific requirements you have to follow. In the case of 1st Choice Real Estate, they only operate in Missouri, but still, there are a lot of regulations they have to follow to remain compliant.

“Well, we are approved by the State of Missouri and so they require that there's timing. So, that was one of the requirements that we had to know how long a student was in a course because we get audited every six months on how long a student's in a course.” - Karen B.

Here are some of the complex requirements 1st Choice Real Estate needed to fill with their LMS:

  • Prevent learners from skipping ahead in a course.
  • Generate certificates for students after completing training.
  • The LMS lets students come and go as they please.
  • The eCommerce store for selling is connected to the LMS.
  • The ability to bulk upload quiz questions from their old platform.

Going Through The LMS Buying Process

When comparing Academy Of Mine with two other LMSs during 1st Choice’s buying process, Karen mentioned to us that we were the only company that met almost all of their needs. Equally important, we were the only company able to custom-build features for 1st Choice Real Estate that were not currently included in our platform.

Some of those LMS custom features included:

  • Custom reports to send to the state, weekly.
  • Customized curriculum for students to earn a certificate of completion.
  • Being able to customize certificates to include certain fields, per state requirements (now a default feature).
  • Tracking how much time students are spending on activities inside of a course (now a default feature).

Since we began working with 1st Choice Real Estate, we have adopted many of the custom features we built for them, in our platform by default. Being able to customize certificates and track the amount of time learners spend in a course, are two examples of features that are now included in our software for all customers to use!

What Stood Out About AOM From The Competition?

Here are some reasons that 1st Choice Real Estate ultimately chose Academy Of Mine over the other LMS providers being considered.

  • Competitors charged a flat fee for the number of users in your system.
  • Competitors’ sales processes weren’t personalized to 1st Choice’s goals.
  • Other LMS providers didn’t offer a free trial.
  • Features weren’t exactly what 1st Choice Real Estate needed.
  • Not able to customize the platform to their user base.
  • Not able to customize certificates to meet their state requirements.

Considering Karen’s long history of working with LMS providers, she didn’t want to cut any corners with the new LMS — if there’s one thing she was really looking for in this new platform, it was for the software to be user-friendly!

Here’s what Karen from 1st Choice Real Estate said, when we asked about how she would describe Academy Of Mine to a stranger looking for an LMS:

“I would tell them that they are user-friendly for the students and for the company. And they've been amazing to us. They've helped build our website and our LMS. And I would tell them to check them out because if there's something there that you don't see that they do, they might be able to build it for you.” - Karen B.

How 1st Choice Real Estate Uses Academy Of Mine

Now that you understand the requirements 1st Choice Real Estate had with their new LMS, let’s talk about how they’re winning with Academy Of Mine.

1st Choice Real Estate uses just about every bit of our platform. First, they built their eCommerce website with us, and our software developers helped customize their website to match their company branding and business requirements. They also use Academy Of Mine to deliver and manage all of their courses, report on weekly user progress and send reports to the state of Missouri, and create and deliver certificates.

When it comes to course creation, Karen said that they use SCORM courses authored in ispring, and then they upload those into Academy Of Mine. 1st Choice Real Estate also creates all of its certificates and quizzes (for students to take), using Academy Of Mine.

Saving Time By Eliminating Unnecessary Customer Support

One of 1st Choice Real Estate’s hopes with using Academy Of Mine was to eliminate unnecessary customer support calls, coming from clients that were confused about how to take courses and navigate their online training.

Since Academy Of Minee makes it easy for Karen’s customers to purchase courses and complete training, Karen now has more time in the day to work on other things.

“We have students coming in purchasing all the time and I used to get calls on our old LMS, all the time like, ‘Okay. Well, how do I do this or what do I do here? I don't know where I go.? I don't know what I'm supposed to do.’ And AOM has eliminated all those calls.” - Karen B.

Saving time wasn’t the only benefit 1st Choice Real Estate experienced because of AOM’s easy-to-use software. Karen also shared with us that they’ve had more referral business because of how user-friendly training with them is.

Listen to Karen describe how she’s gained more referrals with Academy Of Mine!

Streamlining A Real Estate Training Business With An LMS

Regardless of your industry or training type, LMSs are mostly known for their ability to streamline your training process: administration, reporting, content delivery, content updating, etc. 1st Choice Real Estate is living proof of this.

For Karen, streamlining the business meant quite a few things:

  • Having user-friendly software, which makes it easy for students to take courses online.
  • The ability of 1st Choice Real Estate to efficiently update courses.
  • Being able to meet Missouri’s continuing education requirements.
  • Working with an LMS provider whose pricing isn’t constantly changing.
  • Options to customize the learning platform.

“My goal was to streamline everything, make it user-friendly for the students so that I can work on other things and not have to sit here and answer calls all day long. And that's something that I wanted. I would say that was huge for us, just to be able to have everything there that the students could figure out on their own.” - Karen B.

1st Choice Real Estate’s Outcomes With Academy Of Mine

1st Choice Real Estate is using Academy Of Mine to provide professional development to Missouri residents looking to become real estate agents and continuing education to existing agents. That being said, there are a few specific things that 1st Choice Real Estate loves about Academy Of Mine.

Karen loves how user-friendly the software is — she says the platform makes it super easy for people to buy courses and get their certificates. She also loves that Academy Of Mine is able to customize the platform to meet their complex needs. Another thing that 1st Choice Real Estate loves about Academy Of Mine is the outstanding tech support, which really wasn’t something they were expecting. Listen to Karen express her appreciation for Academy Of Mine support:

“If we have a student that gets stuck in something, I can send a ticket to AOM and they're on it to see what's going on. Them being there for us, is helping us be successful.” - Karen B.

As a result of using Academy Of Mine, 1st Choice Real Estate is able to do more in its business than they ever were before.

Here’s a list of improvements that 1st Choice Real Estate has experienced since working with AOM:

  • Saved time that was previously spent helping students navigate overwhelming software.
  • Sending weekly reports to the state of Missouri is easier than ever.
  • Reporting on activity and user progress is efficient for both students and admins.
  • Being able to upload courses and update content is easy.
  • Creating quizzes and using them across different courses, as well as updating questions regularly, is simple.
  • Significantly increased referrals, thanks to the LMS platform being user-friendly.

Summary Of 1st Choice Real Estate’s Results

In conclusion, 1st Choice Real Estate School has seen tons of benefits by implementing Academy Of Mine as its user-friendly Learning Management System (LMS). By switching to Academy Of Mine, they resolved many issues they faced with previous LMS providers, such as customer confusion, time-consuming content updates, and separate eCommerce systems. Switching to Academy Of Mine has resulted in significant improvements for 1st Choice Real Estate, including increased referrals, time savings, streamlined training processes, compliance with state requirements, and access to customizable features.

If you think your training business could benefit from Academy Of Mine, give us a call!

Streamline Your Training With Academey Of Mine

Academy Of Mine is the top-rated LMS for Professional Development, Continuing Ed, Certifications and B2B training.