Last Updated on January 14, 2021 by Ron Stefanski

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17 Best Online Course Platforms (Rated by a Trusted Expert)

In the past year alone, online courses made over 46 billion dollars.  Needless to say, the time for online course creation is upon us and e-learning continues to grow with each passing day.

Course creators have it easier than ever now that there are a number of platforms dedicated to allowing people like you and me to create our own online courses. 

In today’s post, I’m going to explain what the best online course platforms are based on my decade of experience as a college professor and online entrepreneur.

If you’re short on time, here’s my list of the best online course platforms:

Types of Online Course Platforms

While “online course platform” is an all-encompassing term, it’s important to understand that there are many different options for those that are looking to start teaching online.

Dedicated Course Platforms: These are platforms that are solely dedicated to helping you create online courses and your own e-learning school.  This includes Teachable, Thinkific, Learnworlds, and Teachery.

All-in-One Course PlatformsThese are online business platforms that go beyond simple course creation functionality.  With platforms like this, you’ll be able to create courses but also run webinars, developer email sequences, and more.   These include Podia, Systeme.io, Kartra, and Kajabi.

E-Learning WordPress Plugins or ThemesOnline course WordPress platforms are ideal options for anyone who wants to keep all of their course content within WordPress and these are for folks who likely already have a website.  These include Learndash and Zippy Courses.

Online Course Marketplaces: In a course marketplace, the course you create becomes part of a catalog and you get an existing student base to sell online courses to. This includes Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning.

Enterprise LMS PlatformsThese are the types of platforms that would be used to help businesses roll out training materials to their staff and are less focused on individual small course creators.  These include Academy of Mine and Wiz IQ.

Plans for the different platforms range from a free plan to about $499 per month, and are generally based on the level of features like the number of courses, students, storage space, and so on.  

Some of these course platforms have fees per month, while others have transaction fees for each course sold, and some have a combination of both.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the right software to market and sell online courses, it depends solely on your situation.

What are the Best Online Course Platforms?

Online course platforms are a form of learning management systems (LMS) designed to offer easy access to digital products and classes to help you sell online courses.  Virtual course platforms allow instructors to provide students with an engaging and organized learning experience through text, interactive video content, audio, image, and PDF files. 

But online course platforms are not all built the same and the best choice for you depends on your ultimate goal as an online course creator and business owner.

Dedicated Course Platforms

1. Thinkific 

My favorite free platform to create a course, or a fleet of courses, from scratch (FREE or $39/month).

Online Course Platform - Thinkific

Thinkific is my favorite free online course platform by far to sell courses.  Granted, their free plan has it’s limitations, but it’s a great place to begin if you don’t want to buy anything just yet.

They boast 51,000 course creators and have helped people earn $340 million.

This tool is an all-in-one solution that is extremely easy to navigate, even for complete beginners. It allows you to customize your course to match your existing brand. 

The cloud-based software also lets you manage your clients, payments, course materials, integrations, and much more from the user-friendly dashboard. 

Key Features:

  • Drag and Drop Feature: Easily organize web content using this feature.
  • Course Expiry: This tool allows you to set an expiry for each course. 
  • Whitelabel Capabilities: You can white-label your course materials for a more professional look.
  • Facebook and Google Ads: The platform supports Google and Facebook advertising, and more. 
  • Reporting and Tracking: Thinkific offers advanced tools for effective reporting and tracking. 

Pros of Thinkific:

  • Provides full access to HTML and CSS
  • Easy management and support for learners
  • Supports more than 30 languages
  • Robust marketing features for automation
  • Free plan to start
  • Affiliate Marketing support for instructors

Pricing: 

Thinkific offers a free test drive that lets you try out all the software’s core features without investing any money upfront. Plans start at $39 per month for the Basic package, and the Pro plan is $79 per month while premier is $399/month.  For anyone just getting started, the basic plan is your best bet.

Pricing Page - Thinkific

What Are People Saying: 

  • “Thinkific offers the power and flexibility to help us achieve our business goals. If we had only started using Thinkific one or two years earlier, we’d have gotten to where we need to be so much faster.” Ryan Chynces – Hootsuite.
  • “I use Thinkific because it’s the best online learning platform. It enables me to interact with my students, answer their questions, see how they’re doing – all without having to worry about building that technology for myself. The pro plan is well worth the money.” Kim Werker – Make it Mighty Ugly.
  • “When I found Thinkific I knew I had found my perfect solution. It’s honestly the best of the online learning platforms available. If that isn’t enough to convince you, they are made up of the most helpful, kind, and generous people that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.” Sarah Cordiner – Edupreneur Academy.

Get Started With a Thinkific FREE Trial


2. LearnWorlds

My favorite online learning platform for selling interactive online courses (FREE TRIAL or $29/month).

Online Course Platform - LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is a robust online course creation tool that is designed to help you sell courses with numerous interactive features.  For instance, the video player and E-Book reader in the platform are both interactive providing for a unique experience compared to other platforms. 

The sales pages and payment process are all optimized to get you high conversions and increase sales. Anyone can easily create a course on this platform, thanks to the simple drag-and-drop editor. No prior experience is needed. 

You get everything you need to build high-quality courses and sales pages from your user-friendly dashboard, including responsive templates, interactive video functionality, and marketing automation. This software has all the tools necessary to satisfy every digital information publisher’s needs. 

Key Features

  • Interactive Video Player and Reader:  The most unique feature of this platform is giving you the ability to let your students interact with the content that you create. 
  • Powerful Page Builder: Fully customizable quick-start templates to help you create fantastic pages.
  • Multilingual Support: LearnWorlds offers customer support in various languages. 
  • Assessment Engine: Advanced quizzes, exams, assignments, and more.
  • Built-in Social Media Network: You and all of your students can easily connect and communicate with each other. 
  • Javascript and CSS: You can edit course pages using javascript or CSS. 

Pros of LearnWorlds:

  • Easy logo and style customizations 
  • Ability to build a blog natively
  • Copyright protection for content
  • Offering free courses is possible
  • Pre-ready course catalog available
  • Affiliate Marketing support for instructors
  • Allows for interactive video content

Pricing:

You can get started on LearnWorlds with their free plan. If you decide this is the platform for you, plans start at $29 per month. Plans come with numerous features like drip-feeding courses and you can easily upgrade as your business grows.  

Pricing Page - LearnWorlds

What Are People Saying?

  • “LearnWorlds is the best course sales software that provides students on time courses and manages all the issues related to course handling. It has a demo that can make the user feel confident when working.” Ayesha Nasee – G2 Crowd. 
  • “It took me a long time to find a great platform for my online schools. LearnWorlds is a robust platform that is very easy to use and setup and it is also affordable for those that are just getting started.” D’Andrea – Bolden Ministries. 
  • “I am in love with this platform and I would never change it for another. I feel cared for by the amazing customer support team that knows my name, my work, my problems, and needs.” Teya B. – Capterra. 

Get Started With LearnWorlds FREE Trial


3. Teachable

The easiest online course platform for beginners (FREE Trial or $39/month).

Online Course Platform - Teachable

Teachable a cloud-hosted solution that offers a user-friendly course builder interface and has been built with beginners in mind.

This is (statistically) the largest online course platform on the market.  They have over 100,000 instructors on the platform and have helped people just like you and me earn over $500 million dollars.  Big names like the New York Times, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas use Teachable and if they trust these platforms, you can too. 

All you have to do is insert your content in the ready-made templates which you can then customize to look and function the way you want.

Everything can easily be set up via the dashboard, including payments, sales pages, and your affiliate center. There’s also an in-house payment processor to handle payments for you. 

Teachable has also recently added “Discover” – which is an online course storefront on their platforms and they’re putting a lot of effort into it right now, so I think that’s poised to grow in the future.  I can only imagine that if your course got featured, it may be a great way to increase sales.

Key Features

  • Import Content: Quickly import content from Google Drive, One-drive, and Dropbox into your learning management systems.
  • Course Certificates: Issue certificates to students who complete your course.
  • Multi-Media Lectures: Ability to Create engaging courses with video content, text, audio, and PDF files. 
  • Integrate Google Forms: Use Google Forms to get feedback from your students.
  • Convenient Payment: Accept payment from students in over 130 currencies. 

Pros of Teachable:

  • It offers a domain you can customize
  • One-click checkout process
  • Intuitive navigation functions
  • Reliable technical  and customer support
  • Powerful tracking and reporting
  • Affiliate Marketing support for instructors

Pricing:

Teachable plans differ in price based on different features, which is great because you only have to pay for the features you need. Plans start at just $29 and each comes with unlimited students and courses, but they have a free trial you can try if you want to get started quickly and easily.

Pricing Page - Teachable

What Are People Saying?

  • “I made $169,000 from the launch of my first two online courses. Teachable made it incredibly easy to create high-quality products from scratch.” Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income.
  • “What really has clinched it for me, why I chose Teachable, and why I love it and will continue to do my online courses with Teachable, is the great customer support that they have.” Julia Stoian, Live. Write. Thrive.
  • “Ninety-five percent of my income comes from online courses. They are literally the perfect product. They’re scalable, fun to make, and you help a lot of people. ” Mariah Coz – Marketing for Course Creators.

The easiest online course platform for beginners (FREE Trial or $39/month).


4. Teachery

Fee-Free platform that allows for unlimited courses (FREE TRIAL or $49/month).

Online Course Platform - Teachery

Teachery is one of the newest platforms on my comparison and it’s definitely worth including.  I think Teachery is a great choice for beginners because they purposely limit some of the confusion design and function aspects to give people exactly what they need.  Plus, they also don’t have transaction fees, which is always positive.

They differentiate themselves by using a guided tutorial to help new instructors get up and running quickly.  Their biggest differentiation from other platforms is they are extremely beginner-friendly and help novice course creators get something up to sell to their audience.

A few nice things about Teachery is that they have no monthly fee, the platform is very simple and intuitive, and you can upload unlimited files to your courses.  

Teachery is best for instructors who are completely new at this online business stuff that want to get started quickly and without a transaction fee to worry about.

Key Features

  • Simple Templates: They give you two templates to create a course.  This is to limit overwhelm and give you a simple solution.
  • Easy to Use Course Editor: They have a very user-friendly course editor to quickly adjust things you need without tech headaches.
  • Payment Plans and Membership: Allows you to easily input a payment plan or membership option for your students.
  • Sales and Landing Pages: Allows you to easily create new sales or landing pages to drive traffic to.

Pros of Teachery: 

  • Focused on Beginners
  • No extra transaction fees
  • Unlimited everything
  • Simplicity over advanced functionality
  • Drip email sequences
  • Many integrations

Pricing: 

Teachery plans start at $49 per month and include unlimited uploads and courses.  They have a two-week trial you can take for free prior to making any payments.

Pricing Page - Teachery

Get Started With a Teachery FREE Trial


All-in-One Platforms

While all of the options above are purely online course platforms, the next section of our list is all-in-one platforms.  These are online platforms that allow you to build a full online business that goes beyond just online course functionality.

5. Kartra

A premium all-in-one platform with capabilities far beyond courses ($1 14-DAY TRIAL or $99/month).

Online Course Platform - Kartra

Kartra is an interesting solution because it doesn’t just stop at courses. With Kartra, you have so much functionality at your fingertips including checkouts, the ability to create a membership site, and you can even host your own affiliate program.

I feel that this platform is benficial for those that are not simply looking to create courses, but want to grow a business beyond the simplicity of a course platform. When you use this platform, you’ll be able to use advanced tools and functionality to market your course along with being an administrator.

Kartra is best for individuals looking to create a community around their course and have advanced functionality in the future to grow their business.

Key Features 

  • Internal Checkout Platform: Kartra allows users to checkout using software that they’ve built which eliminates the need for a third[party integration.
  • Kartra Pages: This function gives users the ability to easily launch high-converting landing page, which should increase your ability to collect emails and get visitors to take action.
  • Funnels and Campaigns: Having the ability to run different funnels and campaigns is extremely valuable as it will allow you to control the path users take in an effort to convert them to students.
  • Memberships: With this all-in-one platform, you can go far beyond one or two courses. They allow you to create a membership site.
  • Helpdesk: Assisting students with tech problems is more common than you think. The platform has a helpdesk component as part of it’s core offering to assist with that.
  • Additional Integrations and API’s: While Kartra has plenty of amazing functions, they understand you may want to work with other platforms you’re familiar with. So, they offer integrations with hundreds of other platforms.

Pros of Kartra:

  • All-in-One platform, everything works together
  • Less stress and less tech, a great solution to keep things simple
  • Can scale as your course demand and community grows
  • 100% in the cloud, no need to worry about your work being deleted
  • Cheaper than all platforms combined to achieve the same functionality

Pricing:

On the most basic plan, Kartra costs $99 per month. They determine their pricing options based on actions that visitors take on your platform, which is nice because you pay for your own results. They have a 25% discount if you pay for an annual plan and although they don’t have a free plan, they do have a 14-day trial available for $1. Though one dollar is a bit of an annoyance, this platform is well worth it just for the trial.

Pricing Page - Kartra

What Are People Saying?

  • “I love Kartra’s advanced features for creating email sequences, tags, funnels, etc. It makes it so easy to target your audience’s interests and give each subscriber a customized experience.”
  • “They truly care about their people and it shows; it’s like a family.”
  • “I liked that I could see who had purchased tickets for a wellness summit that I was an affiliate for recently. I was able to have a customizable link and each sale gave me a portion of the profits.”

Get Started With Kartra


6. Podia

This platform is perfect for selling online courses, webinars, downloads, and memberships without worrying about the tech (FREE TRIAL or $39/month).

Online Course Platform - Podia

Podia is an easy-to-use software that has everything a digital publisher needs to create and sell online courses. 

Podia allows you to host webinar, create downloadable content, establish a membership community, and even offers live chat for easy communication with your students to increase student engagement. With Podia, everything you need is at your fingertips and the live chat widget they offer is a very unique differentiator.

Key Features

  • Combine Courses: This software lets you combine similar courses. 
  • Digital Downloads: Easy downloads of PDFs, checklists, ebooks, and more. 
  • Locked Content: Grant or remove access to content in your course management system for any particular student. 
  • Email List Marketing: Podia has powerful built-in features like email marketing automation.
  • Multimedia Courses: Include video, audio, PDF, images, text, etc. in your courses. 

Pros of Podia

  • Easily customizable to match your brand
  • Live previews for your online courses
  • Create individual ‘posts’ for students to increase student engagement
  • Integrate with various tools and services
  • Migration from other course platforms at no cost

Pricing: 

Podia plans start at $39 per month for the ‘Mover’ package. The ‘Shaker’ option is $79 per month and it allows you to scale your online course business. You can try out the platform with a free 14-day trial.

Pricing Page - Podia

What Are People Saying? 

  • “Podia literally allows me to put food on my table for my family while doing the work that I love.” Justin Jackson – Podcast host, teacher, and author.
  • “The presets are amazing but even better is the customer service!! I had a few issues and questions and they were so quick to respond and helped me in every way possible. Will def be back.” Kelly Bessery – Photographer.
  • “Whatever the weather or if Mercury is in retrograde- these guys will go on a limb to help you out. Fantastic presets but most importantly their customer service is amazing and that’s what makes a good small business! Happy to support :)” – Maria Kanno.

Get Started With a Podia FREE Trial


7. Systeme.io

This web-based tool is perfect for people starting an online business and gives you all functionality needed to start small and grow big. (FREE TRIAL or $27/month)

Online Course Platform - Systeme.io

Systeme.io is an all-in-one marketing software that has everything an entrepreneur needs to start and run their online business or sell courses.

Launched in 2018, it has steadily grown to 5000+ users who depend on its multiple features to run their online businesses smoothly.

On the dashboard, you can find the funnel builder, email marketing tool, automation rules, and much more.

Key Features:

  • Funnel Builder: This software allows you to build sales funnels and landing pages in under a minute with the powerful page builder.
  • Email Marketing: systeme.io has a powerful email autoresponder built into it. With it, you can send email newsletters, set up email campaigns, and send unlimited emails.
  • Product Selling: You can connect your Paypal or Stripe account and sell your products. You can also add upsells, downsells and order bumps to your sales funnel.
  • Online Courses: You can build and launch online courses.
  • Multimedia Courses: You can include video, audio, PDF, images, text e.t.c in your courses.

Pros Of Systeme.io:

  • An online course can be created within minutes
  • The tool is easy to use so you don’t have to be a tech enthusiast to be able to use it.
  • Free migration from other platforms is offered as long as a paid plan is taken up.
  • You’re able to integrate with other platforms however since almost everything you need is offered in the platform, there probably won’t be a need for that.

Pricing:

Systeme.io has three pricing options:

  • Startup Plan – $27. This plan is perfect for someone just starting and offers everything you’ll need to run your business. You can have 3 membership sites on it.
  • Webinar Plan – $47. This plan offers the best value and you’re able to have 2 custom domains, run 3 evergreen webinars and you can have 5 membership sites on it.
  • Enterprise Plan – $97. For bigger businesses, this plan allows 5 custom domains, unlimited membership sites and you can run unlimited evergreen webinars.
Pricing Page - Systeme.io

What Are People Saying?

  • “Coming from a couple of years of Clickfunnels, I looked into Systeme and it looks fantastic!” – Neil Hamilton, business owner.

Get Started With A Systeme.io FREE Trial


8. Kajabi

A popular web-based tool best for marketing courses on autopilot ($119/month)

Online Course Platform - Kajabi

Kajabi is a popular course creation software with powerful features like automation to help you create and sell your online courses more effectively. The platform is a complete cloud-based system and has multiple customizable site themes that you can use to create beautiful and unique courses for online learning.

Thanks to the different levels of features, this tool is perfect for both beginners and advanced users, alike. The user-friendly dashboard is ideal for non-technical users. Thanks to the drag-and-drop feature, you’ll be able to get your customized digital courses up and running without the need for any special design skills. 

If it’s your first time running a course business, Kajabi’s marketing suite of tools will give you the advantage you need to get your knowledge in front of your target audience. 

Kajabi is best for any course creator who wants to use email marketing and advanced automation tools directly within their dashboard.

Key Features

  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: Allows you to build good-looking pages with no coding skills. 
  • Multiple Site Pages: Create as many pages as you like for your static site using their page builder.
  • Live Event Capability: Kajabi has a great function that allows you to add live events.
  • 24/7 Technical Support: Users receive customer support around the clock. 
  • Powerful Email: The software has an in-built email marketing solution.

Pros of Kajabi

  • Great blogging and video streaming features
  • Integrations for third-party services
  • Expertly designed templates and themes
  • Android/iOS mobile app
  • Marketing automation for higher sales

Pricing:

Kajabi’s pricing options start at $119 per month for the Basic plan. The Growth plan is $159 per month billed annually. You can try out the platform for free for 14 days before you commit. 

Pricing Page - Kajabi

What Are People Saying?

  • “Great option for e-learning and automation. Overall, I am very pleased with Kajabi. My monthly fee is down 50% of what I was paying, having different platforms, and now I know that all my automation runs smoothly.” Gabriela L. – Coach E-Learning.
  • “Makes running an online biz a breeze. We’re so happy to host our course and membership on Kajabi and will stay with them for years to come. So beautiful and clean looking.” Kate M. – Digital Consultant, Marketing & Advertising.
  • “The Best Online Course & Website Platform Out There. My experience has blown me away. The customer support is unmatched. They go above and beyond when answering my questions. They are always available to help.” Mercedes E. – Owner, Market Research.

Get Started With Kajabi


E-Learning WordPress Plugins

If you already have a website of your own and would like to use a WordPress plugin to host courses directly on your own website, this section is for you.  But keep in mind, that you can use all of the platforms mentioned above by linking directly to landing pages that they provide.  

While WordPress plugins are great for integration, keep in mind you’ll need to have a way for your students to view all of your video lessons and a server that’s powerful enough to serve the content.

9. LearnDash 

The best WordPress LMS plugin for businesses and digital publishers ($159/month).

Online Course Platform - LearnDash

LearnDash is the most popular LMS WordPress plugin on the market right now. It’s great for anyone who wants to run everything from their WordPress dashboard. With this self-hosted tool, you will be able to set up and run your online courses quickly and have full control over the creation and customization process. 

This powerful tool doesn’t have the limits of other hosted alternatives. You get an intelligent course builder that comes with course completion badges and certificates. It integrates with countless plugins, and no technical skills are needed to get everything done. As a WordPress plugin, it’s hard to top the functionality that LearnDash has to offer.

If you’ve already been using WordPress, then navigating this course creation software will be a breeze. 

The LearnDash WordPress Plugin is best for course creators who are already using WordPress and want full control over every aspect of their course business, including customization, branding, and customer information. 

Key Features

  • Course Awards: You can award anyone who passes a quiz successfully. 
  • Advanced Quiz: The software lets you create complex quizzes and assessments.
  • Course Progression: Prevent students from advancing until they’ve completed previous lessons/quizzes. 
  • Learner Progress: Keep track of learners’ progress via the sleek profile area.
  • White-Labeling – You can white-label all materials to your own business. 

Pros of LearnDash 

  • Give video, image, or text hints to students
  • Huge community of helpful users
  • Create custom messages for each learner
  • Users can review questions and answers on-site
  • Arrange courses in any order you please

Price: 

The basic plan from LearnDash costs $159 per month. It includes one site license and unlimited online courses and users. As your business grows, you can upgrade to the Pro package which costs $329 per month. 

Pricing Page - Learndash

What Are People Saying?

  • “The others before me have said it all. LearnDash is top-notch. Your commitment to your customers is awesome and inspiring. With LearnDash, I hope to build a similarly affordable and quality product for my students.” – Andrea.
  • “I’ve got to say that the LearnDash integration was a real breeze due to well thought out features and documentation. All the hooks we needed to integrate this with Infusionsoft were easily accessible.” – David Bullock. 
  • “We feel supported by your close attention to help us resolve our doubts and solve our problems of new implementations in another language.” – Mario Dehter. 

Get Started With LearnDash


10. Zippy Courses

The all-in-one tool for teaching platform for selling online courses ($99/month).

Online Course Platform - Zippy Courses

Zippy Courses is a complete set of tools that are designed with features to help you create, launch, teach, and sell your online course quickly. 

This software bridges the gap between online course creation tools that are optimized for course creation and those that are optimized for course marketing and sales. 

With this standalone course building platform, you have the ability to simplify the entire process of building and marketing your online course. You can also customize your course material and sales pages to match your branding. 

The user interface is simple, sleek, and professional-looking. It also has an intuitive dashboard that is extremely easy to navigate. 

Zippy Courses is best for course creators and educators who want simplicity and ease in creating and marketing their courses from one convenient place while avoiding a transaction fee for each course sold.

Key Features

  • Full Customization: Easily customize your course to match your existing brand. 
  • Drag-and-Drop Editor: Create online courses faster with the drag and drop editor. 
  • Drip-Content: Allows you to release your training materials in installments.
  • Launch Windows: Lets you enroll more students using ‘evergreen’ courses.
  • Access-Tiers: Allows you to sell many different versions of a single course. 

Pros of Zippy Courses: 

  • Very sleek and professional appearance
  • Ability to create infographics and complex quizzes
  • Multiple payment options available
  • No technical experience needed
  • Responsive and knowledgeable support

Pricing: 

Zippy Courses plans start at $99 per month and include unlimited free and paid courses. There are zero transaction fees, and you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Pricing Page - Zippy Courses

Online Course Marketplaces

This section of my comparison is focused on online course marketplaces.  These are large e-learning platforms that already have tens or even hundreds of thousands of students eager to learn new skills.  The positive to this type of platform is you have built-in demand for your course, the negatives are that you’re always competing with others and you’ll sell your courses for less than the other solutions.

This is actually where I started as an online course creator and I migrated away from these platforms once I realized how little I was being paid for the hours of course creation I did.

11. Udemy

The world’s largest online course marketplace with the largest selection of courses (FREE)

Udemy allows you to easily create and publish courses on a wide variety of topics, such as marketing, business, entrepreneurship, web design, and much more. 

As a course creator, you don’t have to build your own audience. Simply take advantage of Udemy’s massive audience of over 30 million students to start marketing your courses and make sales immediately. The platform is very easy to use, and you’re guided every step of the way during the course creation process, making this one of the best online learning platforms available.

Key Features:

  • Monitoring Tools: Udemy has robust monitoring tools to keep track of student progress.
  • Branding: The platform allows you to create and grow your personal brand.
  • Integrations: It allows various integrations with Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, etc.
  • Multiple Languages: You have the ability to teach courses in different languages.
  • Video Recording: The software has great features for recording high-quality video footage.

Pros of Udemy: 

  • Massive marketplace 
  • Advanced behavior monitoring feature
  • Plan lectures in Google Docs or Excel
  • Easily record video lessons
  • Mobile learning app

Pricing: 

Udemy is free to use whether you use text or video lessons in your courses. You can get started creating courses right away. The website even offers free lessons on how to go about this. When you start selling courses, a revenue share goes to Udemy for the service they provide in connecting you to their massive marketplace. 

What Are People Saying? 

  • “ Udemy has given me the opportunity to reach a global audience for my classes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.” Jean Lurssen – Watercolorist.
  • “Launching my first course on Udemy allowed me to quit my full-time job and start my own company. I went from working 60+ hour weeks to set my own hours and schedule.” Colt Steele – Developer and Bootcamp Instructor.
  • “There’s no greater success on the Udemy marketplace than hearing that you’ve helped a student achieve their goals. Teaching on Udemy has brought me new relationships from wonderful and insatiably curious students.” Stephen Grider – Engineering Architect.

Get Started With Udemy


12. Skillshare

The best online course platform for teaching creative skills (FREE). 

Skillshare is a course website that is dedicated to helping students to learn in an easy and engaging way and is at the top of my list. It offers courses on a diverse range of topics, including analytics, graphics design, eCommerce, cooking, music, and much more. They even have courses explaining how to make money blogging, and even how to make a living from YouTube.

When you create a course here, it becomes part of the catalog and as people watch your courses, you earn a revenue share of their membership fees.  You can also earn $10 per membership referral as well.  While earnings are typically low, this is a nice compliment to other platforms.  

Key Features

  • Active Engagement: Skillshare classes are designed to encourage active engagement primarily with video.
  • Mobile Learning: Allows students to continue learning anywhere and on any device. 
  • Earn Monthly: Course creators earn monthly royalties from their content.
  • Built-in Audience: Instantly start making sales from Skillshare’s existing audience. 
  • Social Media Links: Link to your social media profiles to increase your exposure.

Pros of Skillshare: 

  • Passive income opportunity
  • On-the-go video learning from any device
  • Easy to scale and grow online course business
  • No technical skills needed to get started

Pricing: 

Skillshare lets you start learning for free. You have unlimited access to all classes for the first 14 days, and then you can pay $8.25/month for continued access. 

What Are People Saying? 

  • “I love Skillshare for its variety of video classes they offer. You can learn anything from knitting to cooking, writing, logo design, analytics, photography, and so on. The platform has thousands of classes on any topic you can think of.” – Michaela P.
  • “I’ve spent the last year building my own start-up, and I used Skillshare to augment nearly every step of that process. We are officially launching in one week, and I couldn’t have done it without you.” – Will M.
  • “There is SUCH a wide array of skills and topics covered in some form or another. And the team does a great job of maintaining high-quality content from the instructors and their presentations.” – Amanda D.

Get Started With Skillshare


13. Coursera

A highly regarded online course marketplace, but very difficult to get approved for.

Coursera is an incredible marketplace that allows course creators to teach content that’s then featured at institutions like the University of Illinois, Duke, Google, IBM, University of Michigan, Stanford, and more.

While this is a great marketplace, the courses that are created as of the absolutely highest quality and the platform is invite-only for instructors.  From my understanding, course creators get 15% of the revenue that the courses generate, but the courses are free to MOST students on the platform.  The revenue is typically made here when Coursera staff partner with educational institutions or companies, or an individual purchases Coursera Plus.  

Frankly, this isn’t a great place to try to teach if you’re new to the online teaching world.  They’re very selective and it’s not easy to be invited, plus it doesn’t appear to be as lucrative as other options. 


14. Linkedin Learning

A very selective but good platform to teach at.

Formerly Lynda.com, Linkedin Learning is an online course marketplace that’s been integrated into the wildly popular professional social media network.

Similar to Coursera, Linkedin Learning is very selective about the instructors that they allow to join their platform and while they pay the instructors well, it’s not easy to be selected.   I wasn’t able to find out how much income instructors make, but one can assume it’s a lucrative venture given the popularity of Linkedin as a whole.


15. BitDegree

An innovative and engaging e-learning platform where anyone can earn by teaching digital, business, and workplace skills.

An innovative and engaging e-learning platform where anyone can earn by teaching digital, business, and workplace skills

BitDegree is a beginner-friendly and highly intuitive e-learning platform that allows instructors to create and publish their courses (text or video) for no initial cost.

By attracting more than 1 000 000 unique visitors every month, it offers you a vast and motivated user base from the get-go! In addition to that, the company has collaborated with the world’s gamification leaders Octalysis Group to integrate game design elements into the user UI – all to raise students’ motivation and keep them engaged in the learning process.

The platform focuses on helping its users advance their careers by reskilling and upskilling, so you are welcome to start teaching digital, business, and workplace skills. Joining the platform is free, and instructors only need to pay a percentage of their earnings (if you decide to upload free courses, you will not be paying a dime!).

An innovative and engaging e-learning platform where anyone can earn by teaching digital, business, and workplace skills

BitDegree is a beginner-friendly and highly intuitive e-learning platform that allows instructors to create and publish their courses (text or video) for no initial cost. By attracting more than 1 000 000 unique visitors every month, it offers you a vast and motivated user base from the get-go! In addition to that, the company has collaborated with the world’s gamification leaders Octalysis Group to integrate game design elements into the user UI – all to raise students’ motivation and keep them engaged in the learning process.

The platform focuses on helping its users advance their careers by reskilling and upskilling, so you are welcome to start teaching digital, business, and workplace skills. Joining the platform is free, and instructors only need to pay a percentage of their earnings (if you decide to upload free courses, you will not be paying a dime!).

Key Features

  • Course Creation Flexibility: aside from lectures, you are free to include assignments (like quizzes), additional learning materials, and create secret or invite-only courses.
  • Live Classes: You can create individual chat rooms for video conferences and present your lessons using your camera, microphone, screen share, and whiteboard. Classes are also free to record and download for later use.
  • Tools for Analytics: You can easily track your course enrollments, earnings, ratings, and other crucial numbers in the intuitive Instructor’s Studio.
  • Teachers’ Academy: There are comprehensive and detailed articles available to help you in every step of planning, creating, and managing your courses.

Enterprise LMS Platforms

The next section of my online course platform comparisons is focused on learning management systems.  These are typically the types of platforms that would be used to help businesses roll out training materials to their staff.  Whether a small 5 person business or a large enterprise client, these are more suited to help businesses than those previously listed.

16. Academy of Mine

A complete, sophisticated e-learning platform to teach and sell online courses with a focus on certifications and corporate clients.  ($499/month).

Online Course Platform - Academy Of Mine

Academy of Mine allows you to create your very own customized e-learning platform. It’s ideal for professional development, continuing education, and certifications, as well as B2B training. 

With this all-in-one solution, you will be able to white-label all your courses to match your brand. The software allows you to build a fully-fledged website so you can host and market your digital training from one convenient place. 

The platform is customizable and scalable. Its user-friendly interface makes it great for beginners and expert marketers alike. It’s also easy to share your expertise and knowledge with your students. This software is undoubtedly among the best ways for businesses and educators to market their online courses. 

Academy of Mine is best for any organization or individual that needs an e-learning platform that is custom-built. This includes coaches and businesses in education, healthcare, law, safety training, and more.  

Key Features

  • Integrated Website: Get a new fully-integrated site or connect your own.
  • Interactive Content: Engage students with interactive video, PDF, and PPT content.
  • Customized Features: Customize the different features to suit your specific needs.
  • Self-Paced Courses: Learners can complete courses at their own pace. 
  • 3rd-Party Integrations: Academy of Mine software integrates easily with other tools. 

Pros of Academy of Mine: 

  • Custom-built solutions for different needs
  • Easy integration with other marketing tools
  • Gamification for higher student engagement
  • Certificate awards for course completion
  • Convenient self-paced courses 

Pricing: 

You can get started on Academy of Mine for $499 per month. The platform doesn’t offer a free plan, but you can schedule a demo that will give you a glimpse into what’s possible when using this software. 

Pricing Page - Academy of Mine

What Are People Saying? 

  • “We were in need of an LMS to create a program that would function differently than a traditional online course. To accomplish this, we needed several customizations, which AOM quickly completed.” Chitra Patel – Owner, Health, Wellness & Fitness.
  • “The BEST feature is the Support Team! Hands down, always reliable and always responsive to our needs. Oh yeah, the price is awesome too!” Randy Fuller – VP, Southern Technical Institute.
  • “I wish we found you guys years ago! I can’t wait to start transferring our students over to AOM! I think they will love it because it’s so much more user friendly and easier to navigate. I just wanted to say thank you!” Karen Baynes – Manager, 1st Choice Real Estate School.

Get Started With Academy of Mine


17. Wiz IQ

An affordable, easy to use LMS and virtual classroom software ($20/month). 

Online Course Platform - Wiz IQ

WizIQ provides a complete solution for businesses and tutors who want to deliver online classes. It also allows you to launch self-paced courses for your students. The platform has a user-friendly interface that gives you the ability to use your own branding in all your course materials. 

Students can access courses on any device and from any location. The training portal has a course builder, virtual classrooms, test and assessment builder, eCommerce and reports, and various other amazing features. 

You also get customized mobile application features. All in all, this is an amazing tool that can help you replicate a physical classroom learning management experience online. 

WizIQ is best for teachers and educators that want full engagement with their students via live interactive virtual classes.

Key Features 

  • Virtual Classroom: Deliver engaging live video lessons with HD video conferencing.
  • Mobile Learning Management System: Learners can access course content on the go. 
  • LSM eCommerce: Easily sell self-paced and instructor-led courses.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Track your learners’ growth and performance easily.
  • Course Assessments: Create multimedia tests and assessments in different formats.

Pros of WizIQ:

  • Real-time messaging for unlimited participants
  • Customizable learning management system portals
  • Train external stakeholders, partners, or promoters
  • Mobile options for on-the-go learning management
  • Discussion boards for easy communication
  • Video streaming

Pricing:

WizIQ pricing options are based on rooms, attendees, and registered users. It starts at $20 per month for the basic plan. They don’t offer a free version, but you can try out the software with a free 14-day trial. 

Pricing Page - Wiz IQ

What Are People Saying?

  • “User-friendly and ‘No-headache’ LMS. The process is quick and a simple structure is helpful. I think the overall concept and model is very good and useful for online teaching and virtual classes.” Gautam P. – CEO & Principal Consultant, Education Management.
  • “Wonderful Tutoring Experience. Based on my 2 years experience I really recommend this VC hosting provider for anyone that aims to arrange online classes or meetings.” – Emy S.
  • “Online Teaching is best through WizIQ. The best thing about their tool is that it provides multiple classrooms at a single session, which is very helpful to conduct tests and exams.” Hudha I. – Operations Coordinator, Education Management.

Get Started With WizIQ

What Should You Look For in an Online Course Platform?

Online course platforms allow you to do a lot more than simply publish pages online. They allow you to offer an organized educational experience, which is vitally important for anyone who wants to create their own course or sell digital downloads.

In order to start offering your own digital training, you must choose a reliable course platform. Not all platforms are made equal, and if you’re going to pick the best one to suit your needs, you’ll need to understand what features to look out for: 

  • Established Reputation: Choose an established online course platform that has a good reputation and tons of positive reviews from real users. 
  • Ease of Use: Consider your own skill level, as well as that of your students. Choose a platform that you and your learners will find easy to use. 
  • Appearance: You want a provider with tons of unique and professional-looking themes and templates, as well as full customization features. 
  • 3rd-Party Integrations: Choose a platform with many 3rd-party integrations to other software and services, including student information systems. 
  • Marketing Automation: Some platforms come with tools, such as email autoresponders, to help you automate different aspects of your course marketing.
  • Technical Support: This is vitally important for you and your students. Choose a platform that has a responsive and knowledgeable technical support team. 
  • Cost: Is the online course platform affordable or does it require significant investment upfront or every month? 
  • Special Features: What other special features does the course creation website/software offer that differentiates it from others?
  • Ready-made Market: This is something to consider if you don’t have an audience of your own to market your course to, and it will help you make the right choice between course creation software and a course marketplace. 

As you’ve gathered from our list above, there are dozens of great options available for you to choose from, each of which offers a unique set of features.  

Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating great online courses, knowing what to look for will help remove the confusion and frustration from making the right choice.  Similar to teaching styles like SCORM or TPACK, there are multiple options available and you need to decide what’s best for you.

Summary

Creating and selling an online course is a great way to leverage your knowledge and skills and you can use this guide to help you choose the best platform to suit your needs.  While there are many different options, one of these is the perfect solution for exactly what you’re looking to accomplish as an online course creator.


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