Last Modified:
January 15, 2022

best online course platforms

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In the past year alone, online courses have made over $46 billion according to Statista. The same study indicates that the e-learning market will likely grow to $240 Billion by 2022.

I remember when I first started my online business and I focused 100% on selling online courses.

At the time, it seemed like a no-brainer because you don’t need a large following to make a decent income, and I definitely didn’t have that.

Right from the start, there were some months I was able to make over $500, which blew me away. But since then, things have changed and now there are a TON of online course platforms available.

But which online course platform is best for you?

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

What Are the Best Online Course Platforms?

1. Thinkific

Best Overall Online Course Platform With a Free Plan (FREE or $39/month).

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

They boast 51,000 instructors 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 own course to match your existing brand. 

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

Thinkific Tutorial:
Key Features:
  • Drag and Drop Feature: Easily organize course content and digital downloads 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. 
  • Unlimited Courses – Thinkific doesn’t place limit on the amount of courses you can create at one time with all paid plans.
Pros of Thinkific:
  • Provides full access to HTML and CSS
  • Easy management and support for learners for a better learning experience
  • Supports more than 30 languages
  • Robust marketing tools 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 the premier is $399/month. For anyone just getting started, the basic plan is your best bet as it limits transaction fees and has few limitations.

Or Read my In-Depth Thinkific Review to Learn More


2. LearnWorlds

Best Online Course Builder for Selling Interactive Courses (FREE Trial or $29/month)

LearnWorlds is a robust online course creation software 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 course 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 to increase your course sales 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. 

LearnWorlds Tutorial
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 excellent 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
  • No transaction fees for all paid plans
Pricing:

You can get started on LearnWorlds with their free plan. If you decide this is the platform for you, plans start at $24 per month. Plans come with numerous features like drip-feeding courses and you can easily upgrade as your business grows. 

Or Read my In-Depth Learnworlds Review to Learn More


3. Teachable

Best Online Course Platform for Beginners (FREE Trial or $29/month)

Teachable is 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, course 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 course sales.

Teachable Tutorial
Key Features
  • Import Content: Quickly import content from Google Drive, One-drive, and Dropbox into your learning management systems.
  • Create an Online Certification Program: 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 custom 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 free and then just $29. 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.

Or Read my In-Depth Teachable Review to Learn More


4. Podia

Best All-in-One Online Course Platform For Webinars, Memberships, Online Courses and More (FREE Trial or $39/month)

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 a 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 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 business. You can try out the platform with a free 14-day trial.

Or Read my In-Depth Podia Review to Learn More


5. LearnDash 

Best WordPress LMS plugin for Businesses and Solo Course Creators ($159/year)

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 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 instructors who are already using WordPress and want full control over every aspect of their course business, including customization, branding, and customer information. In addition, Learndash has many add ons like the “Instructor Role” plugin created by WisdmLabs.

The instructor role that this plugin creates allows you to enable multiple instructors for your website and create online schools/courses with various teachers like Udemy and other course marketplaces.

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 and learning modules.
  • Learner Progress: Keep track of learners’ progress via the sleek profile area.
  • White-Labeling – You can white-label all materials to your own business. 
  • Unlimited Courses – Because this is a WordPress plugin, there’s never a limit on the courses you can host.
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 your course site
  • Arrange courses in any order you please
Price: 

The basic plan from LearnDash costs $159 per year. 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 year. 

Or Read my In-Depth LearnDash Review to Learn More


6. Kartra

Best Premium All-in-One Platform With Sales Funnels, Webinars, Student Help Desk, and More ($1 14-DAY TRIAL or $99/month)

Kartra is one of the best online course platforms 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. This is why I feel that it’s the best online course platform for those that intend to create a true community.

I feel that this platform is beneficial 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 online 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 pages, 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.

Or Read my In-Depth Kartra Review to Learn More


7. Systeme.io

Best Affordable All-in-One Platform For Those Looking to Build a Business. (FREE or $27/month)

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

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

On the dashboard, you can find the funnel builder, email marketing tool, marketing automation tools, and much more. Here’s an in-depth Systeme.io review as well.

Key Features:
  • Funnel Builder: This software allows you to build course 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 the best online course for your audience.
  • 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:
  • Free Plan – $0. This plan is great for those that want to test out the platform and it’s functionality. All things considered, it’s a pretty generous plan for being free and includes sales funnels, unlimited storage, and even the ability to run an affiliate program.
  • 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.

Or Read my In-Depth Systeme.io Review to Learn More


8. Teachery

Best Budget Online Course Platform that Allows for Unlimited Courses (FREE TRIAL or $49/month)

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 have zero 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 uploading is simple with 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 create your own private membership site for your students.
  • Sales and Landing Pages: Allows you to easily create new sales or landing pages to drive traffic to that helps you with your course sales.
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.

Or Read my In-Depth Teachery Review to Learn More


9. Academy of Mine

A Complete LMS E-Learning Platform For B2B And Corporate Entities ($499/month).

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.

This makes it one of the best online course platforms for B2B as you’ll be able to white-label all your courses to match your brand and use courses to train teams if needed. The software allows you to build a fully-fledged website so you can host and market your online training program 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. 


10. Kajabi

Best Web-Based Online Learning Platform For Professionals ($119/month)

Kajabi is a popular course creation platform 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 (or digital downloads) up and running without the need for any special design skills. 

If it’s your first time making online courses, 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 as well as podcast hosting
  • 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. 


11. iSpring Market

Best Online Course Platform For Simplicity and Functionality. (FREE TRIAL or $77/month)

iSpring Market is an extremely easy-to-use but full-featured platform that allows you to set up a online course marketplace in a couple of clicks, upload learning materials in a flash, and start selling courses right away.

With an intuitive course builder, you can combine various types of content in any type of format into structured online courses. Unlike many other platforms, iSpring also supports interactive SCORM courses, quizzes, and role-plays built with an authoring tool.

All of your courses are exhibited on the online storefront, and each of them has its own page with a description, training program, and reviews. You can customize the look and feel of the marketplace to make it fit to your brand perfectly.

iSpring Market has a great analytics engine. You can not only monitor your revenue data but also keep track of learner progress and results that can help you see what needs to be improved in a course to increase profits. If you’re interested in learning more, I’ve written a full iSpring Market review that goes into further detail, as well as a review on iSpring Suite, which helps people create better courses faster.

Key Features
  • Full LMS functionality: The platform provides all the necessary tools to organize and manage the learning process.
  • Learning tracks: You can combine multiple courses into a long-term step-by-step curriculum with defined completion rules and deadlines.
  • User-friendly learner portal: All learners get access to their own convenient portal where they can view courses, see deadlines, and track their progress.
  • Webinars: iSpring integrates with Zoom, so you can host live webinars to promote your courses.
  • Gamification: You can award your course takers with points and badges to motivate them to learn even more effectively and keep them coming back.
Pros of iSpring Market
  • Intuitive interface for both sellers and learners
  • Supports all types of content, including SCORM courses
  • Easy style and domain customization
  • Detailed analytics and strong reporting
  • Coupons for course enrollment with discounts
  • Can automatically award certificates
  • No go-betweens or additional transaction fees
Pricing: 

The fee you pay depends on the number of active learners (only those who have logged onto the system during a month) and storage volume. Pricing is determined on a per month basis, is billed annually, and starts at $77 per month ($924 per year) for 500 users and 25 GB.

Or Read my In-Depth iSpring Review to Learn More


12. Wiz IQ

Best Affordable LMS and Virtual Classroom Software ($20/month). 

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. 


13. Pinlearn

Best Live Video Tutoring Course Platform. (FREE or $399 Lifetime)

A versatile eLearning platform builder with built-in features to sell not only self-paced courses but also take 1-to-1 live classes and group webinars. Sell on your own, invite other tutors on your platform, or do both.

Pinlearn is a one-stop solution to all your eLearning business needs. Whether you want to sell self-paced courses, earn from live video lectures, or monetize group webinars, Pinlearn supports them all on a single platform.

It’s an eLearning marketplace solution. You can sell not only your courses but can also allow other tutors to sign-up and sell their courses and classes. All tutors get a dedicated Tutor-Dashboard on the front-end to manage their profile, courses, classes, appointments, students, and earnings.

The platform gives everything a tutor needs for creating courses, hosting webinars, and taking 1-on-1 lectures via video conferencing. The integrated session recording option makes it even easier to save live lectures for future reference.

Key Features:
  • Course Management: Create and sell self-paced courses using integrated course-authoring workflow and course-monetization channels.
  • Live Video Conferencing: Schedule and host live lectures in private and group modes using an integrated video conferencing tool, calendar, and event manager. 
  • Dedicated Dashboards: Dedicated dashboards for the admin, tutors, and students to manage their respective profiles, data, and associated workflows.
  • Payment Gateways: Integrated multiple payment gateways to make, track, and manage online transactions seamlessly.
  • Detailed Analytics: Detailed analytic and report generation for respective users for associated data, events, transactions, earnings, and many more.
  • Marketing Tools: Integrated multiple marketing tools for SEO, adverts, promotions, notifications, and communications with the users.
Pros Of Pinlearn:
  • Your own course website can be deployed in only a few hours.
  • One-time payment to own the source-code; no-recurring payment required.
  • They give 100% access to an unencrypted source-code. 
  • Users are able to host the website on a compatible web-server of choice.
  • The website, classes, and courses can be offered in multiple languages.
  • Can be used for targeting both self-paced and live video tutoring market.
  • The platform is mobile responsive. Learn on any mobile, tablet, or computer device.
Pricing:

Since they provide source-code access, they don’t have any trial offer. However, you can also find a FREE online demo on their website to test the actual software in action.

There is no recurring payment. You can purchase the source code by making a one-time payment of a respective package. You can upgrade your Regular package to a higher option (Premium package) in later stages, too. Currently, there are only two packages:


What are the Best Online Learning Platforms?

Teaching courses is a great gig, heck, I’ve been doing it for over 10 years. But sometimes you need to spend time learning as well. Whether that’s to learn how to use a specific piece of software, how to grow an audience, how to create a funnel for your courses, or really any other skill that’ll help you achieve a professional or personal goal.

And this is where online learning platforms come into play.

An online learning platform is a place where online course creators and anyone else can go to find verified instructors to teach you about topics you’re looking for guidance on.

These platforms are usually course marketplaces that have a large database of students already, which is great because it makes for a more collaborative learning environment, but it’s also a great opportunity for instructors to get exposure to potential students as well.

I encourage you to use one of my recommended online course platforms above because you’ll have control of all aspects of your business, but these can be a great way to get started if you have no audience or if you’re looking to learn something new.

1. Udemy

Udemy’s e-learning platform allows you to easily create and publish courses on a wide variety of topics, such as marketing, business, entrepreneurship, web design (even tutorials on web design software if needed), and much more. It allows students to go at their own pace, making it the ideal platform for busy people who want to advance their skills and knowledge in their spare time. 

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.

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. 


2. Skillshare

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: Instructors 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. 


3. Coursera

Coursera is an incredible online learning platform that allows instructors 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. Aside from just courses, Coursera even goes as far as offering online degree programs for students who attend.

From my understanding, instructors 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. 


4. Linkedin Learning

Formerly Lynda.com, Linkedin Learning is the best 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.


What are Online Course Platforms?

The best online course platforms help instructors create and sell online courses to their student body. You can think of them as traditional classrooms, but in a virtual environment.

Instructors are able to create an engaging virtual classroom environment by providing students with numerous media types like video, images, audio, downloadable files, text, and on some platforms, interactive elements like quizzes and whiteboards.

Just like in a traditional classroom, students will take the course and learn from the lectures, perform classroom exercises, take tests and quizzes, and take notes. Most of the platforms also allow for certificates of completion once the courses are complete as well.

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 become a course creator and start teaching online. Just select which category works best for you and you’ll see my list of the best platforms, or watch the video to better understand them.

Dedicated Online Course Platforms: For 98% of people reading this post, this is exactly what you want. These are platforms that are solely dedicated to helping you create courses and your own online school. This includes Thinkific, Learnworlds, Teachable, and Teachery.

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

WordPress Online Course Plugins: WordPress plugins 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 their own website. This includes Learndash.

Enterprise LMS Platforms: These are learning management systems that would be used to help businesses roll out training materials to their staff or sell online courses at scale and are less focused on individual small course creators. These include Academy of Mine and Wiz IQ.

Online Learning Platforms: These platforms are affordable marketplaces where students can go to learn skills while on a budget. They typically have hundreds or even thousands of instructors and an established student base but aren’t the best for teaching because you don’t have full control of your student information and pricing.

How to Choose an Online Course Platform

While all of the online course creation software in this post can be really helpful to those looking to start an online school, sometimes it’s difficult to know what to look for when trying to find the right fit. The list below can help you understand what functionality you should pay the most attention to when choosing a platform. Or, just watch my video.

  • Established Reputation: Choose established online course creation platforms that have 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 course creation platforms 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, payment gateways, Mailchimp, Google Analytics, and other platforms to improve your student experience.
  • 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? Things like working with Zapier or having discussion forums come to mind.
  • 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. 

Since there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes online course creation software and building the best online course, knowing what to look for will help remove the confusion and frustration from making the right choice. 

Summary And Top Picks

Now that I’ve given you an in-depth explanation of the best online course platforms available, I hope that you’re able to better understand which one will fit your teaching style.

Before you commit to any single platform, make sure you understand their course creation capabilities, how they help you market and sell courses, how the platform supports instructors, and what student management capabilities there are.

While these factors alone won’t sell your courses for you, they’re instrumental in being a successful online course instructor.

Here are my most recommended picks:

  • Thinkific – Best Overall Online Course Platform With a Free Plan (FREE or $39/month)
  • Learnworlds – Best Online Course Builder for Selling Interactive Courses (FREE Trial or $29/month)
  • Teachable – Best Online Course Platform for Beginners (FREE Trial or $29/month)
  • Podia – Best All-in-One Online Course Platform For Webinars, Memberships, Online Courses and More (FREE Trial or $39/month)
  • Learndash – Best WordPress LMS plugin for Businesses and Solo Course Creators ($159/year)

Creating and selling courses is a great way to leverage your knowledge and skills to create a profitable business, plus they’re one of the best forms of digital real estate available.

While there’s no shortage of online education platforms available for instructors, choosing from the best online course platforms is just the beginning. Once you’ve chosen one, it’s time to dive in and begin sharing your knowledge with the world.

If you still aren’t sure which one is right for you, consider reading my online course platform comparisons below. I wrote these to compare the best options head-to-head so you can see what would be more fitting for your business.

  • Thanks for organizing this blog post! Very helpful and useful information for educators or soon to be educators, especially at the strategy formation stage of their online adventures. It’s also helpful for those in need of a quick overview of the core tools/platforms to focus on right now, in order to customize their own toolkit for educator success.

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