Brian Carlson, eThink Education: Lowering the Cost of Corporate Training


Brian Carlson

By Henry Mortimer, Editor-at-Large

Professional education, or “pro-ed,” is a buzzword in the board room these days. Just about every company, up and down the scale, is looking for ways to offer training and education opportunities as an incentive to attract and retain its valuable employees.

The problem is that valuing your employees in this way can have a high dollar value. The total amount corporate America spent on training in 2015 soared to $70.6 billion, according to one estimate.

So it’s not surprising, says Brian Carlson, co-founder and CEO of eThink Education, that these same companies are turning to edtech solutions as a way to reduce their pro-ed overhead.

“Many of the corporations we work with are lowering the cost of training by millions of dollars by going with [an education] platform like Moodle,” says Carlson, whose company is certified to provide implementation, cloud hosting, integration, and other services for the open-source learning management system.

Launched in 2002, Moodle — an acronym that stands for “modular object-oriented dynamic learning environment” — is a free education software platform originally designed to help classroom teachers create online learning environments. Because it’s open source, says Carlson, Moodle offers a lower-cost alternative for customers and “a big advantage”: there are no software licensing fees, so clients only pay for services from a Moodle vendor.

Carlson says eThink chose to join Moodle’s network of certified partners in 2016 as a way to expand beyond its current base of K-12 schools and universities to find new opportunities in e-learning.

“The fastest growing segment right now is corporations looking to have a learning platform in place” to handle many tasks, including onboarding, compliance, continual training, and more, says Carlson. “This is where we see a lot of growth right now in our business.”

Carlson, who served as a technology consultant for higher education-focused Sunguard Education (now Ellucian) prior to founding eThink, calls Moodle “the world’s most widely used system.” With over 100 million users across the globe, Moodle is a top choice for eLearning. eThink is capitalizing on that status by expanding rapidly in international markets, including forming new partnerships in the Caribbean and Africa, increasing the opportunities for business development, for itself and others.

“Many of our US-based corporate clients have teams in other parts of the world,” he says. “Through strategic partnerships with like-minded companies, we are able to connect our clients with creative technologies to make the most of their Moodle experiences.”

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Betamore was co-founded in 2012 by Greg Cangialosi, Mike Brenner & Sean Lane. Their collective vision was to help to develop Baltimore into a global hub for entrepreneurship and education for the twenty first century. Betamore was originally formed as a for-profit entity and after 2 years in operation, it became clear that changing to a non-profit (501(c)(3)) was the right direction to go in order to give Betamore the best chance to realize its full potential. In January 2015 Betamore became a 501(c)(3) by merging with the former Greater Baltimore Technology Council. The co-founders of Betamore donated the facility and all of its assets to the 501(c)(3).

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