Do you have a flair for the writing arts? Are you a digital marketing guru? Do you love sharing tips and tricks on programming languages? Is your knowledge worth sharing with others?
If yes, then you have the potential to earn a lot in the e-learning industry.
By creating a course and selling it on an online course platform, you can serve the audience who’ll pay to listen to you and leverage your time lucratively. Most importantly, these platforms have made course building and marketing a matter of a few clicks only.
Here’s what an online course platform can help you with:
- Create or integrate your course with an existing site
- Price your course and collect payments
- Build landing pages
- Upload content, including videos, assignments, and quizzes
- Create membership communities
- Host webinars
If you want to tap into this field and sell an online course, then there is no better time than now to do so. And for that, you need the right platform. The best online course platforms offer you all-around ease so that you can focus on the crucial stuff like creating content.
If you’re confident that your course will sell, then choosing the right platform is the next step to initiate your very own 6-figure per month educational empire.
15 Best Online Course Platforms for Launching Your First Course
So you know how to create an online course that sells, but do you know how to market it effectively?
Creating the course is one of the easiest parts of the journey – when you are a master of your lesson! The biggest dilemma you will face as an instructor is selecting an online course platform.
Many platforms have some standard features like an LMS. However, there are many aspects to consider when researching your ideal platform. You will need to compare things like pricing, look at customer reviews, and what support you can expect from the platform.
Choose a platform that gives your students a customized yet professional experience. It should be unique and advanced, yet acceptable for students. Host your course on a platform that feels like your class. Balance pricing, ease of use, and content creation variety.
Read on ahead to learn about some of the top platforms on the internet and how they can be suitable to your distinct requirements.
1. Teachable – The Easiest Online Course Platform
If you’re looking for a medium that would make your life easy, then Teachable is the one to pick. You can conveniently upload all your content and effectively communicate with your students, customize your teaching area like a class and do much more.
Teachable works wonderfully for new course creators, coaches, solo entrepreneurs, and creative professionals. It has a user-friendly course authorization with quiz capabilities. Further, you can host a blog, and create and edit a landing page on the platform. The dashboard comes with built-in tools for tracking affiliate metrics, and sales and automated marketing. Its eCommerce features like easy course checkout and multiple payment options, plus the dedicated app that schools can use for mass teaching are the plus points for the platform.
Teachable offers a 15-day free trial which can be upgraded to the following plans:
- Basic plan: $29/month: 5% transaction fees, drip content, course builder, 2 admin users, members-only community.
- Pro plan: $99/month: no transaction fees, basic features, 5 admin users, course certificates, and advanced reports.
- Business plan: $249/month: pro features, 20 admins, bulk student enrollments, advanced coding customization, and group coaching calls.
2. Udemy – The Right Online Course Solution for Beginners to Advanced Educators
Udemy is considered one of the most popular online course platforms. That’s because it makes it possible for everyone to create a course and offers several learning materials, including PPT, PDF documents, text, and videos. There is a community space where students can post questions, seek answers and generate topic-related discussions.
As for ease of use and interface, Udemy is an amazing place if you’re just starting out as an instructor and want to get the lay of the land. It hosts courses on every topic imaginable. From guitar classes to professional website development, there are courses for everyone.
Several seasoned trainers who teach advanced skills also prefer Udemy for the pricing options, seasonal sales, and the platform’s popularity and credibility that allows effortless course marketing.
There are no setup costs on Udemy, plus, there is absolutely no need to be tech-savvy. The platform is good for self-paced learning and video courses. There is a dedicated app for Android and iOS devices. Also, the learners can leave their feedback and rating as social proof to help improve and market the course further.
To promote online courses using social media on Udemy, instructors can encourage their learners to leave feedback and rating, which can serve as social proof to improve and market the course further.
Signing up as an Udemy instructor is completely free! To be compensated for any courses you offer, you only need a Paypal or Payoneer account. You may publish as many classes as you like as soon as you join up.
- If you are not enrolled in any of Udemy’s promotional schemes, Udemy receives a 50% cut of the income.
- Udemy determines the gross amount of sales actually collected by Udemy if you capture a sale through your own marketing efforts. If you can bring in a consumer through your own promotion, Udemy will take a considerably lesser cut, leaving you with 97% of the income.
- If you make a sale via one of Udemy’s advertising and promotional offers, such as affiliates or sponsored advertising, you will receive 25% of the income.
3. Thinkific – The Best Online Course Platform For Seasoned Educators
Thinkific is a great platform for professionals who are dedicated to teaching or want to provide student experiences as part of their business model. The platform lets users build fully custom, branded course websites with drag-and-drop menu options, where they can track the progress of their students, check growth metrics, market and so much more.
The platform allows users to upload course content in PDF, PPT, Word, and Text formats, plus videos. Also, trainers can choose to mark course materials in lifetime access or expiry points. As an instructor, you can make use of a huge student database, conduct surveys and discussions, and teach an audience from diverse demographics and backgrounds.
Further, Thinkific allows integration of various other platforms like Shopify, MailChimp, Zoom, Google Docs etc. Videographers, podcasters, writers, actors, and other professionals who want to turn course sales into a major portion of their income can use Thinkific, but you have to be a seasoned person who knows the tricks of teaching the trade to be successful on the platform.
Thinkific has a free version, however, with limited functionality. But, it is still worth a shot if you want to test the waters. Its paid subscription plans are as follows:
- Free: $0/month: One course, one community
- Start: $74/month: Unlimited courses, one community, one administrator
- Grow: $149/month: Unlimited courses, three communities, two administrator
- Expand: $374/month: Unlimited courses, ten communities, five administrator
4. Skillshare – The Online Teaching Platform For Beginners
It is a subscription-based learning platform where learners pay a monthly charge of $12 and access everything on the platform. The site allows teachers to host single video courses to multiple series with a mandatory class project. Videos can be 30-40 minutes. The platform is intuitive, easy to navigate and there is a site-wide teacher challenge that helps newbies publish their first course in no time.
Skillshare has a community that is a rarity to be found on other online course platforms. Learners pay a monthly subscription to gain access to Skillshare’s courses. You get paid on royalties and referrals instead of people buying your course.
Skillshare is the place for creators who are recognized names in their fields. If students get excited simply by reading your name behind the course, you don’t need additional marketing.
Most importantly, Skillshare helps teachers build authority and credibility in a subject, with a fan following. According to the official website, several teachers on the platform have landed lucrative projects and work offers after being featured on Skillshare.
Skillshare is free to join for both teachers and students. Instructors get paid every time a student enrolls in their class. Top educators might earn up to $40,000 per year. Furthermore, with Skillshare’s simple style and friendly community, producing lessons is straightforward.
5. Kajabi – The Complete Course Selling Solution for Advanced Sellers
Kajabi boasts that you don’t have to do anything when it comes to promoting your course. It has partnered with Wistia, a video hosting platform that helps instructors design elaborative and informational video sessions without any difficulty. You can import your course files from your device, Google Drive, or Dropbox. It offers monthly recurring and yearly subscriptions and payment methods include Stripe and Paypal – available in most countries.
It comes with the highest price tag due to its advanced features and integrations. You can build and promote an online course on Kajabi and enjoy built-in data integration and multiple payments. It is the finest online course builder catering to the information businesses such as data sciences, marketing, and robotics.
Creators who can put a hefty price on their course should use Kajabi so that it sells enough to pay the high price of Kajabi itself. So you need to do some research about what kind of interest your course garners before investing in the platform.
Kajabi comes with a free 14-day trial. Its paid packages include:
- Basic: $119/month
- Growth: $149/month
- Pro: $319/month
6. Podia – A Convenient Online Course Platform
If technology intimidates you to no end, then Podia is the solution to all such headaches. It is a platform where you can pre-sell your courses and include all sorts of formats without a hitch. You can run your affiliate programs with Podia with 24/7 support, a simple three-step setup process, and no transaction fees.
Podia is ideal for content creators and artists who wish to expand their audience by monetizing their content with simple activities and gated videos. Other than courses, the platform works well for memberships, affiliations, digital products etc.
You can choose to customize the sales page and discount coupons on Podia, get access to affiliate tools, sell pre-recorded video courses or host webinars.
Podia comes with a 14-day free trial. Its paid packages include:
- Free: $0/month: Email marketing, chat support, one download, one coaching product
- Mover: $33/month: Free Podia subdomain, unlimited coaching, unlimited downloads, unlimited courses
- Shaker: $75/month: Free Podia subdomain, unlimited coaching, unlimited downloads, unlimited courses, affiliate
- Earthquake: $166/month: Free Podia subdomain, unlimited coaching, unlimited downloads, unlimited courses, priority support, onboarding calls
7. LearnDash – Online Course LMS Plugin for WordPress Users
If you have a personal WordPress site, then you can sell your course with this amazing plugin. LearnDash is a popular WordPress LMS plugin that is being used by some big names such as Infusionsoft, Yoast, and WP Elevation. One of its prominent features is its speed and drag-and-drop course builder which enables WordPress fans to create a course through an easy, intuitive process.
LearnDash is versatile as it can be used by enterprises, educational institutes, and companies of all sizes – in fact, everyone who has a WordPress website and would like to monetize via selling educational and informative video content.
LearnDash offers completion certificates and achievement badges, has an automated mail system, and can integrate Stripe, and PayPal. Further, you can integrate the plugin with MailChimp and WooCommerce. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Basic: $169 (1 site license)
- Plus package: $199 (10 sites license)
- Pro package: $339 (25 sites license)
Coursera is a major contender on this list of the top online course platforms. Not only that the platform itself is of great quality, but also the firms and institutions who provide courses on the site are actually noteworthy, and you can be one of them!
For students, Coursera is the place if you want to learn new skills from firms like Google, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, and others through professional online training. For instructors, the platform is more focused on extending their reach to prospective students.
Coursera is adaptable since it may be utilized by educational institutions and businesses of all sizes. It offers a platform for course providers to improve their reach to millions of interested students.
It provide the tools and services such as affiliate, community, feedback forms, and video plugin to instructors so they can design courses that will benefit the students.
There is no publicly disclosed commission, charge, or income reduction. However, according to several online publications, course providers can expect to receive as low as 15% of the income generated by their courses through Coursera.
9. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is an online course platform developed in 2017. Currently, the site serves over 100 million users from all around the world. With instructional resources and a dedicated support team, this scalable platform assists you along your journey of educating the students.
The platform is inexpensive and provides priority assistance even with the most basic package. You also gain access to analytical data with Mighty Networks, which helps you decide on rates and other criteria while designing an online course. Mighty Networks’ mobile application makes it simple to utilize the program.
Mighty Networks Pricing
- Business Plan: $99/month: Community features + Workflows & Zapier API, Member Data, Analytics, Live Cohort Course Creation
- Community Plan: $33/month: Native Video, Zoom integration, Messaging & chat, Paid memberships
- Mighty Pro: Need to contact directly: Android & iOS Apps, White-labeled App & Web experience, Migration Support, Strategy Support & Services, Branded App Notifications
10. Creative Mind Class
CreativeMindClass is ideal for video classes with workout and assignment modules. The monetization mechanism is straightforward. Course providers control the pricing of their online courses, and CreativeMindClass receives a part of their earnings when students purchase the course.
The platform is most suited for teaching creative skills, design, photography and video, and lifestyle courses, but it can actually handle any sort of course.
The entire platform has a modern appearance, which is always a good indicator that the authors are up to date on the latest website and online course design trends. The emphasis on design permeates the whole platform, including its pages and panels.
CreativeMindClass is primarily intended for video course producers. All the templates and graphic components you use to design your sites are optimized for video embeds.
The platform resembles Podia or Kajabi. With CreativeMindClass, you can create your entire website and add a functional online course module all in one spot. Furthermore, you don’t need any coding knowledge to pull it off.
- Entry-level plan: 8% of income: Unlimited online courses
- Pro plan: 12% of income: Unlimited online courses, community feed, engagement exercises, lession discussions
- Empire Plan: 16% of income: Unlimited online courses, community feed, engagement exercises, lession discussions, class campaign support, class recommendations
The first thing that distinguishes LearnWorlds from other finest online course platforms is that they refer to their user websites as online schools.
LearnWorlds’ course builder includes a variety of innovative features. Upload videos from your PC or Vimeo when adding content to your course. Then, select from various editing choices for your videos, such as adding text, photos, points, logos, titles, and interactive buttons. You may also import course content from SoundCloud, YouTube, and other sources.
LearnWorlds connects students and instructors through an online community that is available at every school. Most discussion forums are geared at studying course material, whereas LearnWorlds’ communities are built for social interaction. LearnWorld offers an opportunity for course creators and providers to engage the student via multiple approaches, including discussion panels, survey feedback, and online communities.
Learn Worlds Pricing
- Starter plan: $24/month: one admin, unlimited paid courses, 4 payment gateways, custom domain
- Pro Trainer: $79/month: five admin, unlimited courses, customizable certificate, customizable page builder
- Learning Center: $249/month: iOS & android app, premium onboarding, dedicated customer success manager, Unlimited SCORMs / HTML5, multiple Zoom/Webex accounts
12. Academy of Mine
Academy of Mine bills itself as a flexible e-learning platform. In terms of features, Academy of Mine provides a comprehensive set of tools such as LMS, group portals, migration, and account management for launching a simple online education website.
In reality, the platform is more aimed toward assisting you in customizing your setup to meet what might be rather specific demands such as live streaming options, quiz panels, online discussion panels, and subscription bundles.
Academy of Mine Pricing
- Essential: $599/month: 250 Active Users, 500 GB Storage, 25 B2B/Groups Portal
- Professional: $999/month: 1,000 Active users, 1 TB Storage, Advanced Custom User Profile Fields, Unlimited B2B/Group Portals
- Enterprise: Custom pricing: 1,000 or more Active Users, Unlimited Custom Features on Demand, Build your Own LMS, Dedicated Account Manager, Full-Scale Migration from Existing LMS
Teachery, launched in 2014, is a modern addition to the industry of top online learning platforms. Their key selling point is that they are a solution for online course newcomers. You may have the best course, but the execution needs to be flawless to get this tech-savvy generation of Gen Z students interested in your course – Teachery is the solution to this problem.
Teachery also offers excellent training on how to set up your courses, arrange payments, and track course success so you can prepare responsive courses without knowing anything about technicalities and coding.
You may also offer subscriptions, course packages, and free courses through the seamless Teachery tools.
- Monthly plan: $49/month
- Yearly plan: $470/ year
14-day free trial is available with both plans so you can test the service before making a final decision.
You may use Pathwright to develop an online course that is 100% actionable for learners. The course builder in the app is one of the most fluid and intuitive we tried, and the action-oriented approach to course content is no exception.
Begin by outlining your course curriculum, then add specific actions for students to accomplish. Pathwright allows you to select the action students must do from a dropdown menu as you add each step: watch, read, take, submit, attend, listen, or to-do.
Consequently, they have created a clear route (their phrase) that guides students through the course content. Another advantage: While rapid design customization is restricted, CSS-savvy users who wish to build a customized look and feel for their courses have virtually unlimited options.
- Monthly Starter: 99/month
- Monthly Essential: 199/month
- Monthly Complete: 499/month
- Monthly Enterprise: 1499/month
- Annually Starter: 89/month
- Annually Essential: 179/month
- Annually Complete: 449/month
- Annually Enterprise: 1349/month
15. Talent LMS
In recent years, TalentLMS has emerged as one of the most recognizable names in the “new breed” LMS industry and online course platforms. It provides a highly feature-rich system with a high level of brand ability. You may sell your courses individually or as part of a subscription using PayPal or Stripe.
Furthermore, TalentLMS provides a free alternative that allows you to test the demand of your course among the students. By subscribing to the free plan, you can evaluate the performance of your course. This approach will help you decide if TalentLMS is the perfect fit for your course. Additionally, you can also test the interface, community pages, and basic functions that students use, such as submit, read, preview, online quiz, etc.
- Free Plan: $0/month: Upto 10 courses, 5 users
- Starter Plan: $69/month: Unlimited courses, 6-40 users
- Basic Plan: $14/month: Unlimited courses, 20-100 users
- Plus Plan: $279/month: Unlimited courses, 50-500 users
- Premium Plan: $459/month: Unlimited courses, 400-1000 users
Are Online Courses Profitable?
Selling original courses on an online course platform is a booming market all over the world. From 2021 to 2026, the e-learning courses market is predicted to rise by USD 109.05 billion, with the industry expanding at a CAGR of 16.75%.
The market is super lucrative and profitable. The post-pandemic world is still adjusting to unemployment with a pressing need for individuals to upgrade their skillsets. Online courses are an excellent way to fill the knowledge gap, especially in an age where digital learning has become a necessity. Not only does it offer ease, but it also gives freedom to people to learn at their pace without adhering to a strict schedule or the complexity of commuting to and from physical classes.
If you’re not selling an online course, then you’re missing out on an ample earning opportunity. As an instructor, you may earn from a few hundred to a six or seven-figure income annually.
Some factors to consider that affect your potential revenue are:
- The course idea and the format of the content presentation
- The price of your course
- Your target audience
- Marketing and sales experience
- Present student list
Hire a Professional Course Promotion Agency
Hiring a course promotion agency is one of the smartest decisions you can make to attract more prospective students. A professional course marketing agency such as ThinkOrion can help you identify your target audience and the right marketing channels to promote your course.
An effective digital marketing strategy devised by a professional course promotion agency can help you improve your reach to prospective students so you can bag more enrollments!
By hiring #1 marketing company that has your back, you can sit back and pay all your attention to developing a course instead of worrying about reaching your potential customers.
eLearning platforms are the textbooks of tomorrow. If you have knowledge that fills an essential gap, then this is something worth investing your time in. As an online education marketing agency, we understand the importance of choosing the right platform to maximize your reach and impact.
As for the choice of the right platform, we suggest Udemy for beginners as well as seasoned sellers because of the large community, the pricing, and the marketing options.
It may take some time to find the best online course platform but consider that a wise step towards changing your future. Certain factors of each platform have a definitive effect on growing your business, so your choice should be based on hard facts. The rest depends on how valuable your course is to your target audience. Good luck teaching online!
In today’s competitive market, it is essential to have a well-planned and executed marketing strategy. Think Orion offers digital marketing services for higher education institutes, edtech marketing services, and more! Think Orion offers end-to-end support to optimize your entire digital marketing strategy.