Anatomy of adult education e-learning best practices

adult education, e-learning, HubSpot Academy, Opencity Inc

In our search for best practice examples of e-learning, the HubSpot Academy remains one of the best illustrations we have encountered. As we dissect their certificates, learn how they apply the principles of adult education.

It is a pre-requisite for adult education that learners must be motivated. We see that the broad HubSpot led inbound movement achieves this admirably.

We asked Certifications Program Strategist from HubSpot, Julien Clement, for his inside track. We asked to what extent HubSpot set out to produce a best in class Academy or whether this evolved organically or by happenstance.

“We set a clear vision and purpose for our education. Our purpose is to educate and inspire people, so that we, together, transform the way the world does business. Once we had this purpose, we created a set of principles that act as guidelines for all the things we do to achieve our purpose. We focus on creating amazing content that provides a consistent learning experience,” he says.

Slideshare illustration


The success of the HubSpot Academy to over 115,000 actively certified professionals is a testament to the quality of the content and the professional way it is wrapped. Popularity is growing with almost the same number of people likely to completed the Inbound Certificate or Content Marketing Certificate in 12-months.

“We do a lot of data analysis around our existing users. How are they interacting with videos? Where are there content gaps in the market? Our team is constantly doing research on learning to ensure we are keeping up with best practices,” Clements adds.

There is more to this success than just the e-learning component. Like all good adult education, it is but one component of a much wider inbound movement that motivates its disciples. While e-learning lends itself to adults working at the own pace, it must be complemented by other training and development opportunities. At HubSpot, the Academy supports the goal of the organisation and dovetails with the annual INBOUND conference, as well as business onboarding, classroom workshops, webinars and more.


What’s more, we recommend the Inbound Certificates to almost every client with which we work and more people with whom we interact. We have cited it in multiple prior posts in this blog. Whether you have an interest in inbound or not, we recommend you take a look. We have been disappointed with the poor quality of presentations and best practice examples. We will attempt to course correct in the next post and accompanying SlideShare on the topic.

We acknowledge the HubSpot trademark and reproduce the SlideShare PDF screenshots with permission.