Custom Learning Experiences for Higher Education

ExtensionEngine is a professional services company that helps higher education institutions create unique online and blended learning, what we call Custom Learning Experiences.

We provide instructional design, user experience, software development, quality assurance, learner acquisition, project and program management. Our experience includes a top ivy leagues schools, one of the top technical universities in the world, a graduate program for a top jesuit school and more.

In launching 70+ online programs for 40+ institutions in the last 18 months, we created an approach to learning unlike any other.

Why custom learning experiences? Elite colleges and universities looking to offer unique and engaging learning experiences often struggle because solutions offered by most LMS and OPM vendors result in online learning that is undifferentiated, antiquated, boring and in many cases requires expensive revenue sharing.

Custom learning experiences leverage the latest techniques in learning science and advances in technology that involve the learner, get them to collaborate, get them to act, thereby resulting in true learning. It creates a learning environment that is not bounded by off-the-shelf technologies or generic courses. We put pedagogy first.

We operate on a fee-for-service basis, meaning the IP and revenue are yours to keep. There are no long term contracts or commitments. With a staff of over 200 experts, we help our clients with all aspects of building a custom learning experience, including project management, instructional design, UX/UI, development/QA, hosting/support and learner acquisition services.


Course Content Creation

Whether building an online masters program, MOOC or professional education certificate, one cannot simply record video lectures and host them online and expect to deliver an effective learning experience. Our team of instructional designers use modern techniques based on cognitive neuroscience and learning theory to find the right mix of pedagogy, technology and content. Custom learning experiences can offer content that is bite-sized, adaptive, asynchronous, live or recorded, social, and always available—all depending on your preferences. In the end, great instructional design delivers learning that is engaging and changes how learners think and behave.

Also, too often online programs look strikingly similar to others on the market. Instead, our staff of User Experience (UX) experts can create the right user interface that matches your brand and the experience you want. Our UX discipline incorporates a clear understanding of education theory, pedagogy, psychology and instructional design to drive learning that goes beyond optimizing short term usage to create intuitive, engaging, and effective learning experiences.

Our team thrives on interesting, challenging, and rewarding projects. Since our typical client projects are measured in years, we take on new clients carefully and are relentless in our search for the perfect fit.


Pedagogy should drive technology decisions, not the other way around. Since we don’t sell software and are technology-agnostic, we can be fully objective in selecting the appropriate mix of existing software and custom software. We approach each new program from the top, finding the right mix of open source platforms, like Open edX, off the shelf learning management systems like Canvas, your existing IT infrastructure, or fully custom learning solutions. With our staff of over 150 software developers and QA professionals, we are experts in all major development languages and platforms.

Additionally, through incorporating open standards like LTI, SCORM, and REST APIs, we’re experienced with creating platforms that freely exchange data between existing learning management systems as well as other IT infrastructure pieces such as CRMs, ERPs and HRMs. And we can also integrate with cutting edge online learning solutions – like adaptive learning engines, video, content management and more.

We act as your digital marketing agency, executing on content marketing, lead generation, SEO, social media, online advertising and more.

Learner Acquisition

Even the most desirable courses require marketing to find qualified students who are excited, committed, and have the right qualities to succeed. Additionally, it is critical that all marketing activities work in harmony with your organization’s existing brand. And are aligned with your student recruitment philosophy and approach. Driving enrollment to online courses is markedly different than that of in-person courses, and requires a unique mix of digital marketing, software development, and project management.

Working alongside your enrollment management, admissions and financial aid teams, our learner acquisition experts work with you to set marketing strategy, identify the proper learner personas, implement marketing campaigns and ultimately drive enrollment. We can act as your digital marketing agency, executing on everything from content marketing, lead generation, SEO, social media, and online advertising. We can also work with your existing digital marketing agency. As a fee-for-service provider, we will complement your existing staff and vendors and support you where you need it. And because we are not a revenue share model, we don’t have incentives to use aggressive marketing tactics and drive enrollment. Rather, we become your brand stewards and stay aligned with your approach and goals.

How We Work

We are certainly a different kind of company. First, we are selective in the projects we work on. They have to be complex and ambitious projects where we can collaborate with world-class clients. Second, we are happy to work behind the scenes. In fact many of our clients prefer we not disclose that we work with them. It is important to them that internal teams drive the work and build internal brand, which is fine with us. Third, we hire top notch talent only, so while we may not be the low cost option, you get people who can keep up with you and who deliver. How can we do this? We are a profitable, growing private company with no outside investors and no “exit plan,” so the only people we have to make happy are our employees, our clients and their learners. We are driven by different motivations than most companies who provide similar services. Call us to learn more.

Ready to hit the ground running?

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