Here are the best online course platforms for thought leaders.
Everyone has ideas they can share. Whether it's about how to successfully garden in an urban environment or tips on how to build a business from scratch. The world is filled with opportunities for you to share your knowledge, regardless of where that knowledge comes from and whether or not you've ever taught a course in the past.
The only problem is that you need a platform for publishing and selling your online courses. Using Shopify with an app works well, but what about standalone platforms that are solely for selling online courses?
Keep reading to learn about the best online course platforms available in the market, their pricing, and who they are best suited for.
Best Online Course Platforms: Table of Contents
Academy of Mine
Pricing: From $0 per month to $299 per month.
The cheapest platform starts at $29 for “Basic” features, such as a custom domain, email and affiliate marketing, drip course content and coupon codes. However, the cheaper price tag does come with a 5% transaction fee.
Teachable is my personal favorite since it was initially intended to address some of the problems people had seen with Udemy (below). That said, Teachable has a stunning builder that's more focused on branding and uniqueness, as opposed to some of the more cookie cutter templates from places like Udemy.
Multi-language support is a plus, and the integrated blog gives you a better chance of improving SEO. Quizzes and discussion forums help keep people around, and marketing tools are amazing, offering solutions for email marketing, coupons, landing pages, international payments and affiliate programs.
Pricing: From $39 per month (Mover plan) to $79 per month (Shaker plan).
The mover plan supports online course hosting, digital downloads, and email marketing. The great thing about this platform is that it doesn’t charge transaction fees, even at the lower price tier.
It's a system meant only for constructing a site in one of these three categories: selling memberships, digital downloads, or online courses. This is pretty cool considering you can cut out the rest of the clutter of e-commerce. Upon first glance, Podia offers a clean interface for designing your website. It's simple enough for beginners, and since it's only for memberships, digital downloads, and online courses, the options are more consolidated for users in those industries.
Pricing: From $0 per month to $279 per month.
Thinkific is great for course creators that want to start without spending much. You can create three courses for free, with unlimited student support, course upselling opportunities, and no transaction fees. There’s even a payment gateway built in. If you want to upgrade to the basic plan, that will cost you $49 per month to access sales pages with coupons and promotions, email integrations and marketing, as well as drip content.
Part of the reason Thinkific looks so great compared to the competition is that of its course designer. You don't have to mess with any code if you don't want to. In fact, all of your content is organized using a simple drag and drop editor, where you stack the course content and move it around vertically.
Thinkific has some great advantages to its pricing layout. Not only can you start your course for free (something that's not offered with competitors like Teachable,) but the additional three plans are broken down in a logical fashion.
Pricing: Begins from $499 per month.
Probably one of the most expensive of the best course platform options that we’ve seen so far, This option starts with a price tag of $499 per month. You can pay a total of $4999 for the full year if you prefer and get two months free. For the professional plan, it’s $899 per month, or $9500 when paid yearly, which is slightly less of a discount.
The Academy of Mine platform is one of our top choices when it comes to making your own online courses and selling them online. This is an all-in-one solution, meaning that it provides a full website for you to launch your brand and start selling courses online.
You can even choose from a fully hosted template that provides landing pages, galleries, and course offering pages without making you set them up yourself. Academy of Mine is a solid choice since it's a complete course creation and learning management system. This means you can generate chapters or units, and give out timed quizzes, certificates, assignments, and badges. In addition, a forum is included for chatting.
Accept credit cards and PayPal to sell your courses, and tap into the several marketing features like the affiliate program, email marketing and live webinar.
Pricing: $49 per month or $470 per year.
If you’re just getting started and want to pay for your course marketplace bit by bit, then Teachery offers a $49 per month option. This comes with zero transaction fees. If you want to get a little more cash off your payment, then you can pay $470 for the entire year instead.
The easiest pricing plan ever with a unique characteristic rare among these types of platforms –no transaction fees at all.
While it might seem like other options offer a basic platform at a more affordable price (or absolutely free), you'll realize that you'll need to upgrade your plan soon to use more advanced tools and that your profit margin does not grow as it should, due to existing fees.
Pricing: From $74.75 per month to $199 per month.
Ruzuku starts with a basic plan of $74.75 per month when billed annually. You can upgrade to $83.08 for a single instructure, or spend $125 per month on supporting multiple instructors with your course builder.
Ruzuku is another online course selling solution that's packed with features. To start, the course management is quick and easy, and just about any media file can be uploaded for selling to your customers. Help your students track their achievements throughout the course, and prompt them to chat with other students in the community.
Feel free to integrate with MailChimp, and watch as automated emails go out to notify people of upcoming courses. Along with Stripe and PayPal integration, the Ruzuku system has daily backups, teleconferencing and support options through things like the phone, email, live chat, and social media.
Pricing: Free (But you give up 50% of sales if Udemy brings in a student for you).
Udemy is often considered the best online course platform for people who want to start small without spending a lot of cash. Although you don’t get a lot of customer support, or freedom, you can start for free. However, you will need to give a portion of your revenue share – up to 75% to the Udemy brand.
Udemy is by far the most popular solution for building and selling courses online. It's been known to have mixed reviews online, but its network is unmatched for bringing in more students and boosting your sales. Building your course is all done in the Udemy dashboard, and when you're done, it gives you access to the millions of potential students in the Udemy community.
Process any type of credit card, but keep in mind that Udemy keeps 50% of your revenue when they help you promote the course to a student. However, if you bring in a student without the help of Udemy, 100% of the revenue goes to you.
Pricing: From $119 per month to $319 per month (billed annually).
Kajabi starts at $119 per month for the basic plan for a single website, three pipelines, three products, and unlimited access to marketing emails. If you’re looking to deliver an excellent learning experience with a fantastic checkout and access to digital products for a low price, this is the top online course platform for you.
Kajabi excels when it comes to creating landing pages and sales funnels. This solution provides you with all the tools you need to convert prospects into fully paying customers.
We also love that you can manage the entirety of your e-mail marketing campaigns within Kajab itself. So, there's no need to sign up with a third-party platform. However, if you've already built a list with an e-mail marketing platform outside of Kajabi, you'll be pleased to hear this solution seamlessly integrates with the following solutions:
Plus, if you're taking content marketing seriously (which we assume that you are), you should note that Kajabi also offers a pretty robust blogging platform. Although it's not as powerful as WordPress, Kajabi is streets ahead of the majority of its competitors where blogging functionality is concerned.
Pricing: What you pay for this solution depends on the number of learners actively interacting with your courses.
A learning portal with up to 500 active users pays $37 per month, while 1,000 learners cost $77 per month. The cheapest package in terms of cost per user accommodates 2,000 users and will cost $247 per month on an annual billing schedule. Anything higher than that qualifies for a custom quote.
Speaking of which, iSpring Market allows you to deliver your courses through typical documents (XLS, DOC, PDF), presentations (PPT), and media files like MP4, JPG, and FLV. You can also host and sell webinars within the platform. As well, it’s possible to run tests and assessments, gamify your online course experience, and engage students via dialog simulations. Interestingly, the system automatically issues certificates to students who pass the tests. You might also want to set your iSpring Market system to award graduating learners course completion certificates, along with badges, and perhaps some points too.
Ultimately, when new students start rolling in, payments for their courses are processed via Authorize.net, PayPal, and Stripe. Now add iSpring Market’s flexible currency system to that, and you have yourself a learning management system that can accept all the major global credit/debit cards in about 30 different currencies.
Pricing: from $25 per month.
Another of the best online course platforms for people on a budget, you can begin building your course sales from only $25 per month billed annually. They have also had a free plan with a free trial. WizIQ might not be the best known option for downloadable content, but it can be quite affordable.
The WizIQ system has some unique features because it provides two solutions, one called the online academy and the other called the virtual classroom. The online academy is more for posting videos and other files to sell. The students can follow along whenever they want and access tests, assessments, and document sharing. Mobile learning is a huge plus, and the course management includes an interactive whiteboard for sharing with students.
On the other hand, the virtual classroom module works for video and audio calls, breakout rooms and polling. It's great if you want to chat with your students live, while also selling your content.
Pricing: As one of the best online course platform options around,
LearnWorlds makes it cheap and easy to access everything from teaching to gamification tools for a pricing starting at only $29 per month. You get a custom domain and unlimited paid courses for the Starter plan, plus coupons, a payment gateway and more.
LearnWorlds is a fantastic page builder and marketing tool for anyone who has ever hoped to start their own schooling solution. LearnWorlds allows anyone to set up a fantastic online education platform with multiple teachers and a complete course catalog too.
You can add multiple instructors to your course and select exactly what you want your teachers to teach. While instructors can author the courses in your environment, they won’t be able to change general settings on their own.
As the admin of your school, you can offer all the courses that you want, with various earning opportunities. You can also get access to branded apps for your school too. There are even a bunch of unique tools to tap into, as well as the option to upload videos from Vimeo or your computer.
You can also edit various components of your course, and make sure that they work well on mobile android and iPhone devices. There’s Even the opportunity to import content from Microsoft Word and SoundCloud, or YouTube.
Pricing: Pricing is set annually, so it’s quite affordable compared to some of the other leading tools that we’ve seen.
You pay $159 per year for support for your website. If you want to run a 10-site license, then you’ll pay around $189 per year instead. For 25 sites, you upgrade to $329 per year.
LearnDash is a fantastic tool, used by countless Fortune 500 companies and leading educational environments. LearnDash is adored for its speed, impressive online course materials, feature set, and so much more.
LearnDash is a leading full-suite tool, complete with access for features that allow you to sell courses however you choose, drip out information, and even reward your learners too. The pricing is available on an annual basis, so it’s quite affordable to begin with. You only need to pay a little to get started.
One of the most exciting things about LearnDash is that it’s a WordPress plugin. This means you can add it straight to your existing WordPress site, without having to worry about building your own environment from scratch. This user-friendly solution comes with access to tools that allow you to create multi-tier courses where you can deliver content according to a person’s knowledge.
There’s also a host of tools for frip-feeding your content to your audience based on a schedule, complete with lesson timers. You can also show gradebooks to your student, market courses with shopping carts and memberships and so much more.
Pricing: The price of SkillShare starts at $10 for the pro plan.
You can create a premium class for free if you only want one option for teaching your students. However, you do need to upgrade if you want to earn things like royalties and premium membership referrals.
Skillshare is a well-known tool for anyone who wants to sell online courses to their email list for a monthly fee. If you’re looking for an online teaching platform that allows you to expand your course business opportunities and teach new skills with ease, then this could be the option for you.
This platform comes with a membership plan for students that offers access to a wide range of premium courses. As for creators, if you’re not looking to build your own external course website, Skillshare gives you the ease of use that you’re looking for if you want to sign up and publish an online course.
The most important thing to remember is that if you want to get paid for your educational opportunities, you do need to pay to get your course included in the Skillshare premium catalog.
Ref: Ecommerce platform