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15+ Best Online Course Platforms (Ultimate Guide for 2021)

Online Course Platforms

Last Updated on 4 months by First Guide

If your website is thriving with ads and affiliate marketing, creating an online course is something to consider.

Learning management systems are not something only universities can take advantage of.

Course creators can use a platform like Thinkific, Udemy or LearnDash to create an online course themselves.

You’ll have to hustle a bit if you want to grow your audience.

But it’s not just about working hard.

You also need the right toolkit.

That’s why  i have researched and gathered some of the best online course platforms available.

With online course estimated to be worth $325 billion by 2025  and with higher education shifting from lectures to virtual classrooms, I am sure you can also profit from online course platforms.

I reviewed and ranked the 15+ best online course platforms and provided the top 10 ways to create and sell online courses.

This ultimate guide ranks and compares software based on reliability, features, marketing tools, profit potential, technical support, and pricing.

Now let’s get started.😀

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links where I may receive a small commission for at no cost to you if you decide to purchase one. However, these are the tools I fully recommend when it comes to launching online courses and the commissions help me provide free content.

Table of Contents

17 Best Online Course Platforms To Sell Your Course

  1. Teachable
  2. Thinkific
  3. Kajabi
  4. Academy Of Mine
  5. Podia
  6. LearnWorlds
  7. Ruzuku
  8. WizIQ
  9. LearnDash
  10. Sensei
  11. LifterLMS
  12. Coursera
  13. Treehouse
  14. Udemy
  15. SkillShare
  16. Udacity
  17. LinkedIn Learning

What Is An Online Course Platform?

An online course platform will help you create, customize, host, secure, and launch an informational product.

These virtual courses are similar to offline classes in a lot of ways: an instructor provides an engaging educational experience through video, image, text, audio, and PDF files.

Students follow along with the LMS software, take notes, perform exercises, and complete exams to test their knowledge.

Online Course Platforms

Source: foundertips.com

Tools like Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Podia, and Ruzuku all feature a robust feature set for course creators.

Their course software includes a dedicated fully-responsive website experience, easy content uploads, the ability to edit the look and feel of the class, marketing features, course completion certificates, a sales funnel, and more.

Course creators choose a platform to use, then charge their students a set fee to access their courses.

What Are the Best Online Course Platforms?

The good thing is, there’s plenty of fish in the sea.

If you need a lot of control over your course’s layout, you can choose something focused on online course creation.

If you’re not that picky with your curriculum, you can go for an all-in-one solution.

Basically, you’ll always have options suited to your needs.

On top, an online course platform is generally geared towards helping you create the best online course you can.

And it’s not just about the online courses themselves.

If you’re using Webflow to design your site and you don’t have a lot of plugins at your disposal, you can choose a hosted learning platform.

They take care of everything from website security to marketing for your online learning products.

But it’s a bit more pricey than other options.

If you’re an old school webmaster based on WordPress, you can choose an LMS plugin to go along with your already existing platform. It’s cheaper, but it’s harder to master.

A general rule of thumb is to follow the path of least resistance.

There are many ways to create and market your course.

And here are the broad categories for what each type of platform offers.

Hosted Course Platforms

Hosted course platforms are easy to use, and they generally offer an all-in-one package.

You don’t need to worry about hosting, they do it for you.

You can easily edit the appearance of your courses, without knowing any CSS or Javascript.

You can get started really fast.

And in most cases, you also get a lot of tools for marketing and selling your course.

But there are downsides.

They’re more expensive to use than a WordPress LMS plugin.

Ease of use means some sacrificed customization.

And you can’t always tweak the online course structure to your liking.

The good thing is that you’re empowered.

You can create something from the ground up in no time because you get a lot of pre-made resources.

This lets you focus more on how you sell your courses.

On top, you generally have features to design sales pages.

So it’s easier to validate your idea by creating the basic offer and seeing if people are eager to join.

WordPress LMS Plugins

WordPress plugins are a whole different ballgame.

You’ll need to spend more time learning how to use the tool.

After that, it’ll usually take more time to create and sell online courses.

But those hurdles have their benefits. You can create an online course platform that’s better suited for your students because you get more control.

Now to state the obvious: If you want to create and sell online courses with a WordPress plugin, you better already be based on WordPress.

If that’s you, you get more control with an LMS plugin.

You can create a tailored experience for your students.

On the other hand, you’ll need to cover hosting. Courses can take up a lot of server space.

And that’s beside your regular site content, like promotional videos or high-resolution images.

You also need to be a bit more tech-savvy to implement everything you want.

But it’s a good choice if you know your way around WordPress.

Online Courses Marketplace

Places like Udemy or Skillshare spend a lot of money to entice both students and course creators.

But is it worth it?

That’s a tough question to answer.

Let’s cover the downsides. Course marketplaces will help you sell your online courses, but they take a hefty sum out of your revenue.

Transaction fees can run up to 75% for sales that you weren’t involved in.

We won’t say if it’s fair or not.

They do take care of everything, from marketing to customer support.

However, this is not to say you’ll be able to create online courses and let Udemy take care of the rest.

You still need to create some traction yourself.

But the transaction fees aren’t the worst part.

The worst part is that you generally won’t have access to your students’ email addresses.

So you can say goodbye to upsells, building an audience or growing your website.

If you’re slightly capable of selling online, maybe places like Udemy aren’t the best for you.

On top, if you look past the course creation industry, it’s generally a bad idea to have all of your eggs in one basket.

If your courses marketplace makes a mistake, that will affect you.

If they change a feature, you don’t get the choice of not implementing it.

So you sacrifice a lot of control when you go for such a platform.

But if you’re not interested in growing your own platform, it can work.

If people bought your online courses through a coupon, the platform will usually take less than 5% of your money.

So you could try online course marketplaces if you’re not eager about email marketing or hustling to reach more students.

Maybe you’re a teacher that wants the extra income.

But you don’t really want to create a fully-fleshed course website.

Or even worst, marketing content, promotional videos or landing pages for your courses.

Every learning management platform has drawbacks and advantages. More importantly, you need to choose an online course creator that works for your business.

If you’re looking to learn how to start a blog and sell online courses, look for the features you need most. Advanced features may include creating members-only areas for your students, virtual classrooms and live training for professionals, or selling your courses by accepting credit card payments all in one place.

Here are my picks for the 15 best online course platforms and eLearning Platforms to use for online courses.

1. Teachable

Best Platform for Beginners ($0-399/mo)

Teachable is one of the easiest course creators to use.

It’s got a friendly interface, great tutorials and it’s easy to set up an evergreen funnel with it.

Course creation is also flexible. From quizzes to video lessons, you can adapt your online teaching platform to your audience’s needs.

It’s also got a mobile app for students to learn while on the go, which can help bring customer engagement up.

It handles EU tax, so you can try it even if you’re not based in the US.

It’s also affordable.

Teachable has a free plan, but it’s light. If you truly want to create something, you can expect to spend anything between $29/month and $399/month.

Unfortunately, the site builder is thin.

You won’t be able to create much else than a pretty landing page, and even that is a bit counterintuitive to develop.

Besides, it doesn’t have a lot of integrations.

All in all, it’s a decent choice, but don’t count on Teachable if you need an all-in-one solution with funnel blueprints and the ability to upsell a membership site.

Try Teachable

2. Thinkific

Best Overall Online Course Platform (Free or $49/mo)

Thinkific’s mission is to power your education empire. They are one platform with a robust set of user-friendly features, email marketing tools, membership site integration for your lessons, and excellent 24/7 customer support.

They are my #1 choice because they are indeed the only platform you need to create and sell your online courses.

First, you can sign up and get a One-Month Free Trial for their most popular Pro Plan. If you want more course sales from the start, this plan gives you the ability to create unlimited courses. It also features memberships and bundles, advanced pricing options, landing pages, certificates, and marketing tools.

Next, you create and customize your course with their drag and drop editor, as shown on Thinkific.com:

After you add in your course content, you build your course site with their high-quality, well-designed templates:

Finally, you can market and sell your course with its advanced business tools:

You can easily integrate Thinkific with over 1,500 apps by using Zapier without the need for a WordPress plugin. By hooking up with your email provider, you can send highly targeted campaigns to the right segments of your audience at the right time.

I recommend the Thinkific platform as my #1 choice for course creators and entrepreneurs who are serious about creating, marketing, and selling their online courses.

Try Thinkific

3. Kajabi

Best High-End Online Course Platform for Professionals ($119/month)

Kajabi has a powerful site builder, advanced marketing, sales and data analysis tools, and decent customization for your courses.

It’s great if you need everything in one place.

It also features pre-made resources for things like email marketing or landing pages.

And the pipelines system.

I get geeky about all things online marketing, so this may be unfair praise.

But the pipeline system is great.

It offers templates for online marketing funnels, which you can tweak and analyze to your liking.

Moreover, Kajabi doesn’t just host your course.

It’s got built-in functionalities for selling any informational product, from courses to membership sites.

Whatever it lacks, it makes up with a few integrations available.

So that’s what all-in-one looks like.

But that doesn’t mean you should throw your money at it.

Mainly because your hand will get sore. Kajabi is more expensive when compared to market competitors.

The cheapest you’ll get Kajabi is $119/month, provided you pay for a whole year of the basic plan.

Plus, it’s not the best at creating a customized learning experience.

Yeah, Kajabi does a lot, but total control over your course is not one of those things.

Lastly, all the fancy marketing and sales features might not work for you.

If you already have a lot of funnels set-up and you’re just unhappy with your host, the pipelines aren’t that helpful.

If you have all your strategy set-up, their marketing features aren’t revolutionary.

Lastly, if you’re an experienced web developer (or if you’re employing one) their powerful site builder isn’t something to wonder at.

So do consider your situation before purchasing Kajabi.

But If you’re an established business and want to try one of the more advanced platforms on the market, Kajabi is a solid choice.

Try Kajabi

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links where I may receive a small commission for at no cost to you if you decide to purchase one. However, these are the tools I fully recommend when it comes to launching online courses and the commissions help me provide free content.

4. Learn Dash

The Most Trusted WordPress LMS ($13.25/month)

LearnDash is one of the most powerful and famous course plugins.

Its course builder is complex, so it’s good for creating all types of online courses.

You can also set-up student engagement features, like drip release for your content, and you can customize everything like it’s a regular WP theme.

It’s also inexpensive. It can cost you as little as $159/year.

That’s one of the best deals you’ll get with a course platform.

But it doesn’t mean it’s good for everyone.

LearnDash is pretty hard to use.

When compared to other plugins, it doesn’t have an impossibly steep learning curve.

But it does take some getting used to.

On top, you have no integrations for more complex marketing or sales.

Yeah, you can take care of everything through other WordPress functionalities.

But it still means you’ll need other tools to get the job done.

Lastly, student engagement can be pretty awkward at times too. It’s hard to manage comments and harder still to create a community around your products.

But for the right person, LearnDash is everything you need to start selling online courses.

Try LearnDash

5. LearnWorlds

Sell Professional, Social, Engaging Courses on One Platform ($24/month)

LearnWorlds is focused on student engagement.

They’ve got a lot of tools for interacting with your audience, like built-in social networks.

They also offer complex course creation features, like randomized question banks.

But LearnWorlds is pretty thin in terms of integrations.

Plus, it has a counterintuitive UI and a rough design here and there.

But it’s on this list for a few good reasons.

First, this interactive system has huge potential.

Second, early adopters can get a lot of mileage out of the tool.

If you’re one for great student interaction, LearnWorlds could be what you need.

Third, the pricing is decent. You can expect to pay between $24 and $249 per month.

Try LearnWorlds

6. Podia

Best Podcast Hosting for Digital Downloads ($39/month)

Podia is a well-rounded course platform.

They offer free migration from most online course platforms, which might not sound like a lot.

But if you’ve been managing multiple courses for the past few years, you’ve got a lot of content and a lot of students, support in the migration process helps a lot.

It’s got a beautiful, seamless design.

And it’s very easy to use.

When you pit it against other hosted platforms, there are some course creation benefits. Its member’s area is easier to customize.

And you’ve got accessible sales widgets to place anywhere on the web.

Podia looks good and you can make use of that to offer a better customer experience to your students.

But can you create a valuable product with it?

If you’re not picky about your course structure and you’re looking for a beautiful platform to host and manage your courses, Podia might work just fine.

It’s also great if you have your marketing already taken care of externally.

But it’s not on par with products like Thinkific or Teachable.

The course builder is not complex, the site builder is thin, you can’t price your courses any way you want and you can’t create a community in-house.

Podia has a free trial.

After that, you can expect to pay anything in between $39-$79 per month, which isn’t bad. You also get 0 transaction fees on all of your sales.

But you don’t have access to advanced features like you would with other learning management tools.

So if you’re looking for the all-inclusive offer, Podia might not be it.

If you’ve got a knack for great UX, you can take a closer look at it.

You can sign up and give it a test run with a free 14-day trial.

Try Podia

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links where I may receive a small commission for at no cost to you if you decide to purchase one. However, these are the tools I fully recommend when it comes to launching online courses and the commissions help me provide free content.

7. Ruzuku

Ridiculously Easy Online Course Platform ($74.75/month)

Ruzuku allows you to create a step-by-step online course with their learning platform, PDFs, and text in minutes.  You can quickly create course outlines, edit and reorder your steps with ease, launch your course, and generate sales in no time.

Ruzuku integrates with tools like MailChimp, Infusionsoft, and payment gateways like Stripe and PayPal to accept payments – and they don’t charge transaction fees.

They’re also known for their desirable community. When you join Ruzuku, you’re not buying a teaching tool; you’re joining a team to help your students learn.

Called “the ridiculously easy course creator,” Ruzuku comes with some excellent features listed below:

Finally, their platform offers unlimited courses to unlimited students on all paid plans.

You can get started with a 14-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee.

Try Ruzuku

8. WizIQ

Affordable Live Virtual Online Classrooms ($27/month)

WizIQ offers teachers and educators an easy way to set up virtual classrooms for live interactive online classes. Over 400,000 instructors have leveraged WizIQ to teach over 4 million students virtual classes across 200 countries.

They provide the latest tools for live training such as discussion boards, video streaming, mobile options, assessments, and analytics.

If you are an educator or corporate leader that wants to reach your audience live anywhere in the world, you can get started with their 14-day free trial.

Try WizIQ

9. Sensei

Quite Affordable WordPress LMS ($149/year)

Sensei offers special themes to integrate courses into your already existing site.

No, you won’t need to renounce the theme you’re using now.

And it’s a pretty straightforward tool – it’s got all the functionalities you need to create and sell online courses.

Moreover, if something’s not available in-house, you can find Sensei extensions to fill the gap.

For example, you can get an extension that enables course content drip.

The thing is, these extensions have separate prices.

And the vanilla version of Sensei could cost you anything in between $149/year and $299/year, depending on how many sites you need to add online courses to.

Try Sensei

10. LifterLMS

Pricey WordPress LMS ($8.25-83.25/month)

LifterLMS has you covered on the basic course creation features.

It’s very similar to Sensei.

But it also offers support for better e-commerce, membership sites, and other adjacent fields.

It’s also modular.

If you just need support for course creation, you can buy an extension focused on that.

But for the complete toolset, you’ll need a bundle of extensions.

And these can be anything in between $8.25/month and $83.25/month, so before you buy extensions for LifterLMS, try the 30-day trial.

If that works for you, analyze your course creation process.

Think about what you need to sell better.

And then decide if you should invest in LifterLMS.

Try LifterLMS

11. Academy of Mine

This Enterprise Platform is Custom-Built to Your Business Needs ($499/month)

Academy of Mine is heavily focused on student engagement.

The course creator is drag and drop, which makes it easy to hit the ground running with the platform regardless of your skill level.

Plus, It has built-in support for gamification, offering certificates and incentivizing teacher-student interaction with an intuitive learner management dashboard.

This can really help your site because you can loyalize customers and turn them into brand ambassadors.

If you’re a teacher and want to move your learning platform online, try this tool.

Not to mention, you can better incentivize learning when you have so many tools to engage your learners.

But it’s not all roses.

It’s hard to recommend this online course platform since it serves a niched part of the course creator market: the people that are focused on engaging their students.

And their product is developed to support that.

But their pricing isn’t.

The cheapest you’ll get this tool is $4,999/year if you pay yearly (2 months free). That’s the price for their basic plan.

So you can give it a try if you want.

But do remember that it addresses a niched part of the market, and you’ll need to spend serious bucks for it.

Try Academy Of Mine

What Are the Best Online Learning Platforms?

Online learning platforms connect teachers to students to educate from the comfort of their own home.

With social distancing becoming the norm and many colleges moving to online classes, there are plenty of ways to educate yourself from home.

Often called massive open online courses (MOOCs), they are slightly different than paid platforms. Instead of hosting files yourself, your courses go into a marketplace where students can pay for them directly.

The benefit is that you can leverage these websites to reach a new audience. The downside is you won’t earn as much money per sale, and there is stiffer competition in the market.

Ultimately, I recommend using one of the providers above. But if you have no audience yet and want to test a small course on an existing audience, you can use one of the options below.

Here are my picks for the best online learning platforms.

12. Skillshare

SkillShare is also pretty popular, so there are a lot of potential customers on the platform.

And they do a pretty good job of marketing the ecosystem.

However, it has more limitations than Udemy.

You’re very limited in your teaching methodologies. For example, your lessons must fit a certain time segment.

Even more importantly, you don’t get paid if you have under 25 students enrolled.

Yup, that’s right.

You could be teaching people and still not making any bucks. At least if you didn’t bring in any Skillshare premium members through your courses.

When you do cross the 25 students threshold, you could be earning as little as $1 per learner.

By the looks of it, Udemy has better terms.

But that doesn’t mean you should immediately steer clear of SkillShare.

You don’t get paid right away.

But you also don’t need to invest much.

And some people report Skillshare’s ecosystem is better equipped to send students your way.

As long as you’re comfortable with their creative limitations, it’s as good a choice as Udemy.

What does Skillshare cost?

Skillshare is free for creating a premium course experience. They pay instructors $10 for paid membership referrals and monthly royalties for each minute of content watched.

Skillshare Advantages

They have a large user base of creators and entrepreneurs. If you are offering content that would be suited for a creative audience, Skillshare is a great platform to get noticed.

Lessons on web design, email marketing, photography, painting, personal branding, and creative topics are the most popular.

The quality of the classes is reliable. Skillshare prides itself on professional, high-quality courses. They can help with outlining your course based on the needs of their audience, and can also assist with production.

Skillshare Disadvantages

Earnings run through a royalty system. Each month, between 30 and 50% of Skillshare’s premium subscription revenue goes to a royalty pool for teachers.

The remaining funds go to marketing and promoting classes, supporting the platform, and running day-to-day operations. This royalty system works for well established Skillshare teachers, as the more minutes watched, the more revenue share you receive.

However, this makes it difficult for new instructors to receive much compensation when they’re just starting. Plus, students who watch at 2x speed only count as half the minutes toward the royalty pool.

Another disadvantage is they only offer email support. Although Skillshare has helpful support articles, the only option to contact them is via email.

Skillshare Review: Final Verdict

Skillshare is an up and coming online course marketplace with over 4 million students. With a large user base of creators and entrepreneurs, Skillshare is a great option for instructors in creative fields.

Their classes are all high quality, and they can help make sure that your class will best match the needs of their audience for maximum impact.

However, based on the royalty system for earnings, and no live support, you may be able to make a lot more sales with a marketplace like Udemy. If you’re a creative course creator and want to reach a new audience, their online courses are worth a try.

Sign up with Skillshare and get 2 months of free classes.

Try Skillshare

13. Udemy

Udemy is one of the largest course marketplaces.

They’re spending a lot to advertise their platform.

And for a marketplace, it’s not a bad choice.

Commissions are that bad either. You get 97% of your sales if you bring customers in.

But if Udemy sells your course through their marketplace, you only get half of your course’s price.

It’s fair to some extent – they do their best to onboard a lot of students.

But that also means you’ll be scrambling for student reviews to boost your standing inside Udemy’s ecosystem.

In terms of creating a course, Udemy doesn’t have the most complex course builder.

You won’t have the tools to create a standalone online school.

But it’s definitely the best online courses marketplace.

On top, there’s a community of instructors ready to help you.

If you’re willing to sacrifice control over your business, Udemy is great.

What does Udemy cost?

Udemy is free to use. They charge a 3% rev share for sales through instructor coupons, 50% for students who found your course through organic search (SEO), and 75% for transactions made through paid search marketing efforts.

Udemy Advantages

You get access to a large user base. Udemy’s 24,000 users are all potential students who will pay for your course. But just because you’re on their platform, it doesn’t mean you’ll start raking in sales right away.

You have to develop a strong marketing and sales strategy, much like a new e-commerce company, author, or real estate agent. It’s all about getting your name out there.

They provide a substantial revenue share for tuition fees. Udemy instructors set their course prices and receive revenue at 100% of the tuition fee for new users and 50% for existing users. That’s a substantial commission on sales and a massive benefit to using their platform.

You can participate in Udemy marketing promotions. Every so often, Udemy runs promotions that can help you reach a larger audience on their platform. These marketing promotions are opt-in, so instructors can choose to participate or not.

They have reliable technology and support. Udemy offers free 24/7 support, and they also have a vast library of helpful articles.

Udemy Disadvantages

There is intense competition with other courses. Udemy instructors are at the mercy of the placement and appearance on the Udemy website, which is controlled by their proprietary algorithms.

It can be difficult to outrank other instructors on particular topics if you’re new to the platform.

There is also stiff competition with other course publishers. Udemy isn’t the only course marketplace ranking on search engines for your course topics.

Other marketplaces like iSpring Learn, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare can compete with Udemy in organic search, which can be a disadvantage for Udemy instructors.

They have lenient return policies. Refunds are guaranteed to all students within 30 days for any reason. Because of this, students could take a course, complete it within 30 days, and get a guaranteed refund – decreasing your sales.

Udemy Review: Final Verdict

Udemy is one of the most well known, widely used, and professional online course marketplace out there. With a robust rev share model, a vast audience to tap into, 24/7 support, and marketing offerings, you can’t go wrong with their platform.

Although there is healthy competition with other course creators and platforms, the company is likely to maintain its lead in the market.

Try Udemy

14. Treehouse

Treehouse is a relatively new marketplace that believes in the democratization of education. Their platform is “committed to making education accessible to students of all races, genders, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds.”

They feature 300+ technical courses on coding and development, over 50,000 students, and over 27,545 minutes of video (and counting).

Treehouse partners with some big names, including Microsoft, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, and Google Developers.

What does Treehouse cost?

Treehouse offers a 7-day free trial. Then you can choose from three different plans ranging from $25 to $199 per month.

Their basic plan features on-demand courses, interactive practice sessions, and access to their online community.

The pro plan gives you access to bonuses, beta features, and downloadable content.

And if you’re looking to create a real portfolio and get job-ready skills, their Techdegree plan gives you personalized feedback, real-time support, and a custom curriculum.

Try Treehouse

15. Udacity

Udacity is one of the biggest learning platforms.

But it’s not open season like on Udemy or SkillShare. Udacity is really picky about who they let on the platform.

You can’t get started on Udacity.

Here’s a quote for you:

“Our team of Curriculum Managers will onboard you to Udacity’s framework for creating top-quality content.”

So right off the bat, you know you don’t get a lot of control over your course structure.

They have a special team that guides you through developing courses.

But at the same time, they expect instructors to pitch into marketing efforts.

So Udacity is kind of a hit and miss.

If you’ve got previous experience teaching online, you might get a good deal on Udacity.

Other than that, Udemy or Skillshare will fit your needs better.

Try Udacity

16. Coursera

Coursera

Coursera is a professional online course marketplace with virtual classes from some of the world’s best companies and universities like the University of Michigan, Duke, and Stanford.

Instructors teach Coursera courses at some of the world’s top universities, take about 4-6 weeks to complete, and include video lectures, peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.

What does Coursera cost?

Coursera is free to join, and you must be logged in to see pricing information on individual courses. There are three tiers of class offerings at Coursera.

  • Main courses run on a subscription basis and cost $29-99/month. These take the standard 4-6 weeks to complete, and you receive an electronic course certificate upon completion.
  • Specialization courses are for mastering a specific career skill and cost between $39-79/month. In these online courses, you tackle real business challenges with hands-on projects and more rigorous coursework.
  • Online degree programs. If you’re looking for more advanced education, you can even take part in university-recognized online degree programs. These take 1-3 years to complete and cost anywhere from $15 to $25,000.
Try Coursera

17. LinkedIn Learning

LinkedIn-Learning-online-courses

LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) is another online course marketplace tailored to business professionals. With over 1,000 business courses on topics like project management, web development, and digital marketing, they’re an excellent platform for working professionals looking to keep their skills up-to-date.

hey also offer certifications that you can add to your LinkedIn profile, showcasing your expertise and improving your online resume.

What does LinkedIn Learning cost?

Monthly fees tie to a premium LinkedIn membership, which is $29.99/month or $24.00/month if you pay annually.

Try LinkedIn Learning today and get one month free.

Try LinkedIn Learning

How To Pick The Best Course Platform

So you know what type of platform to choose.

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it.

What features do you need?

What reviews to look for?

What pricing plan is right for you?

Let’s take them step by step.

#1 Your Situation

Always keep your own website and skills in mind.

Try to get a good sense of what you can or cannot implement in terms of:

  • Marketing content
  • Course content
  • Teaching methodologies
  • Tech savviness
  • Existing assets
  • Objectives

If that sounds vague, let me explain.

For example, if you want to create SEO optimized content to market your course, you should choose a WordPress plugin instead of a SquareSpace – Teachable combo.

It’s an ecosystem that better enables that marketing strategy.

Let’s take another example. If you’re bootstrapping and you’re not a digital native, an all-in-one solution like Kajabi could work better for you.

You wouldn’t have the know-how or the funds to create and sell your courses any other way.

Try to asses your situation then.

#2 Your Teaching Method

This is something a lot of reviews leave out.

Or focus too little on it.

The first thing you’ll do on any course platform is to create your course.

So you need to be sure you’ve got all the tools to empower your teaching method.

If you’re one for standardization, make sure you can create complex quizzes with randomized question banks.

If you’re keen on complex lessons, with videos, assignments and text support, make sure you choose a platform that allows for multiple content types in a lesson.

Let me paint a clearer picture.

A tool like Kajabi will help you sell online courses a lot.

But they don’t have a powerhouse for course creation.

On the other hand, a WordPress LMS won’t have a lot of in-house marketing features.

But you’ll get crazy customization features for your lessons.

If you’re not too picky about your course structure, most of the platforms you’ll read about today work.

However, if you want to deliver a complex learning schedule, you might need to try different tools until you find the right one for creating your best online course.

#3 Marketing And Sales

Learning management is important.

But marketing and sales are equally fundamental if you want your online school to succeed.

Your courses can be the best out there.

If you can’t drive sales, all the crazy quirks and complex lessons don’t matter.

If you’re going for a WordPress plugin, don’t expect too much.

They’re cheaper because you can use the regular WordPress toolkit for marketing.

If you’re going for a hosted course platform, don’t let it off the hook if there’s no support for email marketing.

You need a way to sell online courses.

And if a platform can’t support your efforts, dig more.

You should also remember that this choice also has a lot to do with your existing website.

If you’re already comfortable with a different set of tools, like a CRM, Mailchimp and Wix combo, you don’t need many sales features.

Just check if you can integrate with your existing toolset.

On the other hand, if you’re just starting out and need an all-in-one solution, you can make the best out of big platforms like Kajabi.

#4 Flexibility And Skill

Creating videos to upload to your course is fun.

Selling online courses is rewarding.

But you need to remember that an online course is not something you can just create and forget all about.

Even if you build evergreen sales funnels, you’ll still need to update your content every now and then.

So when choosing a course platform, think about how flexible it is.

Consider how easy it can adapt to Google algorithm changes, how easy you can create marketing content with it, and if you’ve got the skills to make the best out of a platform’s features.

For example, if you’re a big fan of email marketing, make sure you can automate a newsletter.

But ask yourself some questions too.

Can you scale an online course website with the platform you’re leaning towards?

How easily can you engage students when your customers jump to a few hundred every month?

To determine if a platform is flexible enough for your needs, roll up those sleeves and start testing.

Study the platform. Read the features list and analyze reviews.

That’s how you’ll know if it’s flexible enough.

#5 Integrations

With some hustle and a bit of dedication, anyone can create a successful online business.

You’ve got a lot of apps at your disposal. Software that makes it easy to grow an online business.

So a good course platform will let you integrate with these helpful tools.

But do adjust your expectations.

Don’t expect too many personalized integrations from WordPress plugins.

They’re part of your WordPress website, so you can use the regular plugins and integrations.

On the other hand, a hosted learning platform should make up for what they lack in-house with helpful integrations.

#6 All The Other Stuff

If you’ve got a shortlist of the best tools for your business, don’t buy yet.

Features and accessibility matter the most.

But you should also consider adjacent stuff like pricing and customer support.

A lot of course platforms have similar pricing, especially if they’re the same type of platform.

But the devil’s in the details.

Look at the numbers and choose the best plan according to what you need. There’s no use in spending tens of dollars on extra collaborator slots if you’re working solo.

Also, remember to check if you’re covered legally.

A lot of these platforms are made with a US audience in mind.

There are tools that won’t help you if you need EU VAT support for example.

So consider your legal situation and whether or not it fits the platform you’re planning to use.

Whether you want to sell online courses from your website or use another platform, it’s crucial to have a good understanding of the most popular classes this year.

It’s challenging to come up with great ideas to engage students. The Online Course Report recently came out with their list of the 80 highest rated on-demand courses. Their catalog includes some of the most popular and highly rated online courses:

1. EdX: The Science of Everyday Thinking

The most popular course overall.

2. Udemy: The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0

The highest-rated course on Udemy.

3. Coursera: An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python

The most popular developer course.

5. Treehouse: JavaScript Basics

The most popular developer class on Treehouse.

As you can see from this list, students are looking for highly informative, impactful education. Now you don’t need to top the list to be successful.

6. Udemy: SEO Beginners: How I Get 1,000 Visitors a Day with SEO

This SEO class is the most popular entrepreneurship lesson on Udemy.

But you need to create classes that are not only high quality but also train your students on topics they love.

To Wrap It Up

Online courses are a great way to make money online.

And course creators have a lot of options to create and sell courses.

But choosing that tool is an important process.

When you boil it down, this is what you should consider before committing your course content to a specific platform:

  • Do you get the creative liberty you need?
  • Can you properly use the tool?
  • Does it fit your audience? What about your online presence?
  • Can you market and sell your online courses with it?

The success of your course ultimately relies on the quality of your content and how well you can market yourself.

A platform is just that, a platform. Yes, it’s a branded, engaging, interactive piece of media with your insights and experience, but it still needs planning, market research, development, and most importantly, marketing.

When choosing between the best platforms, you must ultimately decide the features that are right for you. There are endless amounts of topics to teach, and millions of students ready to learn from you.

Why not get started today?

If you’re ready to start creating and selling online courses, I recommend you get started with Thinkific.

Try Thinkific

If you know of any online course that should be added. Tell me by leaving a comment on the comment section.

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