Jonas and I dropped by the Savvica offices today for the launch of LearnHub.com. LearnHub is the first site from Savvica since their funding in the fall of 2007. We previously covered the return of Savvica’s founders, John and Malgosia, back to Toronto after a year in San Francisco. Savvica is based in Toronto and recently took significant investment from Indian e-learning company Educomp.
LearnHub is in many ways the evolution of their first product, Nuvvo, which was a much more traditional learning management system. LearnHub on the other hand has a lot more social networking functionality and the “community” model feels a lot more engaging.
Users can connect with other people, can join communities and can help build courses in those communities by bundling tools such as “Debates”, “Lessons”, “Tests” and “Discussions”. There is also an explicit “Authority Ranking” in LearnHub that rewards users who participate more regularly and in more ways.
Once you have built a course, you then have the option of charging for it. LearnHub becomes a marketplace for online courses where experts in a subject area can quickly and easily build courses and then make money by charging for them. There is a lot of potential here if LearnHub can get enough exposure and adoption inside the right communities. They then also have to attract a mass audience who will pay for these courses.
By running their own support site as a community on LearnHub, Savvica is eating its own dogfood. The support site gives the best demonstration of how a community can be structured and how the different components of the community can be used differently.
In talking to the John and Malgosia, it became obvious that this is just the beginning of their long-term strategy. Without giving away the secret sauce, I can say that I was happy to hear that their revenue model was much more mature than you might assume up front.