If you want to pick the right online course platform for your business, you’ll love this guide.
Online courses have exploded in popularity, and so have online course platforms. There are dozens of options available, which can make finding the right platform pretty confusing and frustrating.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.
In this guide, we’ll share some of the best online course platforms in 2022, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and help you choose the right one for your business.
This guide draws on our six years of experience working with various course builders and helping thousands of creators like you launch their courses.
Let’s get started.
Online Course Platforms – Our Top 10 Picks
- Thinkific: Best overall online course builder
- Kajabi: Best all-in-one online course platform
- Teachable: Most popular online course platform
- New Zenler: Most affordable all-in-one course platform
- LearnWorlds: Best for interactive online courses
- Podia: Easiest to use online course software
- Mighty Networks: Best for community-focused courses
- LearnDash: Best WordPress LMS plugin
- Udemy: Best online course marketplace
- TalentLMS: Full-fledged learning management system
- Hosted Online Course Platforms
- WordPress LMS Plugins
- Online Course Marketplaces
- Learning Management Systems
- What to Look For in the Best Online Course Platform?
- Best Online Course Platforms – Final Verdict
- Frequently Asked Questions
Hosted Online Course Platforms
The platforms in this category provide you with the infrastructure and the tools to sell online courses from your website.
The biggest upside of using hosted solutions is that you can build your course website without worrying about “techy stuff” like hosting, maintenance, security, and updates.
Plus, a good online course hosting platform offers all the essential features that the average course creator needs, so they are the best option for most creators.
Let’s take a look at the top hosted options out there.
Best standalone online course builder
Pros of Thinkific
- Easy to use course builder
- Powerful learning & engagement tools
- Native community feature
- Powerful site builder
- Dedicated app store
- Beginner-friendly pricing
Cons of Thinkific
- Doesn’t offer a mobile app
- Doesn’t handle EU VAT
Pricing: (Free – $499/month)
Thinkific is one of the most popular hosted online course platforms that lets you create and sell online courses under your brand.
It lets you create engaging online courses with multiple content types, including videos, text, PDFs, quizzes, surveys, etc., and deliver your content professionally through the inbuilt course player.
Moreover, you can do live classes, create assignments, drip your course content, build a community area, issue certificates and create learning paths.
When it comes to site building, Thinkific offers several themes and a powerful site builder. As a result, you can build a good-looking website and create sales pages without writing any code.
Moreover, Thinkific offers essential selling tools like multiple payment methods, bundling, membership sites, 1-click upsells, coupons, affiliate marketing, etc.
Finally, you have an app store where you can find various third-party apps to integrate with Thinkifc and extend your platform’s functionality. For me, this is a standout feature as no other hosted course builder offers anything similar.
As far as Thinkific pricing is concerned, you can use their core features like content hosting for free. Or, you can upgrade to their Basic plan ($49/mo) or their PRO Plan ($99/mo) to get more features.
The best part about its pricing is that it doesn’t charge you any transaction fee on any plan, making it the most reasonably priced online course platform in the market.
Overall, Thinkific is the best standalone course platform. If your main objective is to create awesome courses and drive learner engagement, it will work great for you.
Best all-in-one online course platform
Pros of Kajabi
- Multiple course player themes
- Powerful learning & engagement tools
- Supports Coaching & Podcasts
- Native iOS and Android apps
- Website builder with blogging tool
- Inbuilt sales funnel builder
- Email marketing tools
- Excellent (24X7) customer support
Cons of Kajabi
- No native support for certificates
- Doesn’t handle EU VAT
- Starting price is steep
Pricing: ($149 – $399/month)
Kajabi is an all-in-one online course creator that allows you to build a beautiful course website, host all types of content, including videos, market online courses, deliver your content professionally, and engage your students.
Unlike Thinkific, Kajabi isn’t just focused on offering core features for creating and selling courses and memberships. Rather it also includes the ability to build marketing funnels and do email marketing.
As far as course delivery and student engagement are concerned, Kajabi does an excellent job.
Apart from all the essential course creation features, it offers powerful features like iOS/Android mobile app, Community, quizzes and assignments, Automations, learning paths, etc. This will help you create a great learning experience for your members.
Moreover, the Kajabi course player has the most attractive design options among all the platforms we have used, which helps you give a premium look and feel to your courses.
Besides online courses, Kajabi lets you create other digital products like Coaching, Community, and Podcasts. You’ll them useful if you want to sell these products separately or just include them in your membership.
When it comes to site-building, Kajabi again does a great job.
It has a library of 10+ pre-built site themes that you can choose from. Plus, the page builder offers a lot of customization options. You can also create a full-fledged blog or run your podcast on the Kajabi platform itself.
Finally, Kajabi takes it to the next level with its sales and marketing features. It has a sales pipeline builder that allows you to easily create entire workflows for growing your email list, launching your product, doing webinars, or making sales.
It also has inbuilt capabilities for email marketing automation, which allows you to follow up with your leads or send them automated sales emails.
Kajabi pricing starts from $149/month, and their most popular plan costs $199/month. Whether you choose the lowest pricing tier or the highest one, Kajabi doesn’t charge you any transaction fee.
Kajabi is certainly not the cheapest online course solution out there, and its starting price is steep. So it might not work for you if you just want to test the waters or if you’re on a tight budget.
Having said that, Kajabi is the most feature-rich online course platform out there. For everything that it has to offer, it is worth the price.
It is an ideal solution for you if you want to run your entire online course business or a significant portion of it on a single platform.
Most popular online course platform
Pros of Teachable
- Super easy to use and setup
- Powerful learning tools
- Ability to create 1:1 coaching
- Handles sales taxes including EU VAT
- Automated author/affiliate payouts
- Beginner-friendly pricing
Cons of Teachable
- Limited site building capability
- Basic quizzing tool
- Restrictive payment gateway options
- Charges a transaction fee
Pricing: (Free – $299/month)
Teachable is another robust online course creation platform, and it is somewhat similar to Thinkific in terms of features and capabilities.
Like Thinkific, Teachable focuses on offering only the core features for creating and selling an online course. It doesn’t include a sales funnel builder or an email automation platform.
When it comes to course delivery, Teachable allows you to add multiple content types (videos, quizzes, etc.), drip your course content, create certificates natively, and ensure course compliance.
It also has a very well-designed course player, which results in a great learning experience.
Apart from online courses, Teachable also lets you create a “Coaching” product that allows you to run your one-on-one coaching program with ease.
It also offers powerful sales and marketing features like coupon codes, a highly optimized 1-step checkout process, 1-click upsells, sales tax handling, as well as a suite of services to manage your finances and paperwork.
However, Teachable’s site-building capabilities are pretty limited. It doesn’t have any site themes, and the page builder has limited editing options, making it difficult to customize the look and feel of your website.
As far as Teachable pricing is concerned, the platform is reasonably priced. It has a free plan which allows you to have only one course and unlimited students and gives you the basic course creation tools.
But you’ll need to be on one of the paid plans if you’re a serious business owner. You can start with their Basic Plan ($39/mo + 5% transaction fees) or the Professional Plan ($119/mo + 0% transaction fees) to get more features.
While Teachable will work for just about any creator, its ease of use combined with the flexible pricing makes it an ideal online course hosting solution for beginners.
4. New Zenler
Most affordable all-in-one course platform
Pros of New Zenler
- All-in-one online platform
- Powerful learning tools
- Live class functionality
- Native mobile apps
- Website builder with blogging tool
- Marketing funnel builder
- Super affordable pricing
Cons of New Zenler
- The platform is still in beta
- Limited membership site features
- Limited email marketing tools
Pricing: ($67 – $197/month)
New Zenler is the newest entrant in the course platform space. It is an all-in-one platform that lets you run your entire education business from a single place.
The platform offers excellent features for course creation and engagement. It has a flexible course builder that allows you to add videos, audio, text, PDFs, quizzes, live lessons, etc., to your courses.
On top of it, you can issue certificates, create learning paths, and build an online community.
In terms of the student experience, New Zenler does an equally good job. The course player is well-designed and the platform also allows your students to access your course through a native mobile app.
But New Zenler doesn’t just stop at course creation and delivery. It lets you build a full-fledged website with a blog, create course sales pages, price your products, build checkout pages, and process payments.
In addition, you have several powerful marketing tools — webinar functionality, marketing funnels, email marketing, and affiliate marketing tools.
New Zenler pricing currently has two plans – the Pro plan ($67/month) and the Premium plan ($197/month).
Both plans offer all the platform’s features, including unlimited courses and students, and charge zero transaction fees.
For an all-in-one online course platform, New Zenler’s pricing is unbeatable. So if you’re looking for a single platform to launch your business without the price tag that comes with platforms like Kajabi, it will work great for you.
While it’s been in the market for some time, New Zenler is still in beta. For now, you can use most of its features for free.
Best for interactive online courses
Pros of LearnWorlds
- Powerful learning tools
- Ability to create interactive videos
- Zoom integration for live classes
- Native community builder
- Features for copyright protection
- Powerful site builder
Cons of LearnWorlds
- Cluttered user interface
- Course builder isn’t very flexible
- Doesn’t offer a native mobile app
- Doesn’t handle EU VAT natively
Pricing: ($29 – $299/month)
LearnWorlds is another popular online course creator in the market. It has a strong focus on delivering an interactive learning experience.
Some of the features that make it stand apart from the competition include an interactive video player, interactive eBook reader, advanced quiz and exam capabilities, online community builder, and copyright protection.
Apart from the course creation features, LearnWorlds has a powerful page builder that allows you to create beautiful sales pages and other pages for your course website.
Moreover, it offers useful e-commerce features like payment processing, bundling, subscription plans, coupon codes, etc.
As far as pricing is concerned, LearnWorlds pricing starts at $29/month, where you have to pay $5 as transaction fees for every sale. Or, you can upgrade to their $99/month plan to avoid paying transaction fees.
However, their most popular plan is the Learning Center Plan which costs $299/month and is expensive.
Overall, LearnWorlds is the best online course platform in terms of learning and engagement tools and is an ideal platform for online courses with strong interaction elements.
MORE ON LEARNWORLDS:
Easiest to use online course software
Pros of Podia
- Super easy to use
- Attractive design out of the box
- Ability to create community/coaching
- Handles EU VAT
- Inbuilt live chat widget
- Offers free migration
Cons of Podia
- Course builder lacks flexibility
- Lacks essential learning tools
- Doesn’t offer a mobile app
Pricing: (Free – $199/month)
Podia (previously Coach) is the easiest-to-use online course platform in the market that lets you create and sell online courses and other digital products from your own website.
When it comes to content delivery, the platform allows you to create engaging multimedia lectures with videos, audio, text, PDFs, certificates, etc., which are then delivered through the beautifully designed course player.
Having said that, it doesn’t support essential features like Graded Quizzes and Content Locking, and you should consider this while evaluating the software.
Apart from online courses, you can create Community and Coaching products. If you’re looking for additional ways to monetize, you’ll find this handy.
When it comes to website creation, Podia lets you build sales pages for your products. However, there are no site themes available, and the page builder isn’t very flexible, so you can’t create a full-fledged website on the platform.
As far as sales and marketing are concerned, the platform includes essential features like payment processing, bundles, coupons, affiliate marketing, and email marketing. However, it doesn’t allow you to create sales funnels or landing pages.
Podia pricing is reasonable. It has a free plan (8% transaction fee) which allows you to create one digital download and one Coaching product. However, you can only create draft courses on the free plan.
If you want to create online courses or not pay any transaction fees, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
On the Mover plan ($39/month), you can create and sell online courses and digital downloads but not memberships/coaching. These are available only on the Shaker plan ($89/month) and above.
While Podia isn’t the most powerful online course creation software out there, it will work great for anyone looking for a simple, affordable solution to create and sell courses, memberships, and coaching.
7. Mighty Networks
Best for community-focused courses
Pros of Mighty Networks
- Easy to use course builder
- Powerful community builder
- Native livestreaming functionality
- Free iOS/Android mobile app
Cons of Mighty Networks
- No quizzing tool
- Website builder lacks flexibility
- Charges a transaction fee
Pricing: ($39 – $119/month)
Mighty Networks is pretty different from all the other course platforms on this list. It is first a community platform and then a course builder.
So the platform offers the most powerful features for community building. Apart from the ability to create engaging posts, it supports features for livestreaming, member directory, group messaging, community notifications, etc.
In terms of course creation, Mighty Networks offers a drag-n-drop course builder, native video hosting, a well-designed course player, features for content dripping and locking, free mobile apps for students, etc.
Moreover, you can build sales landing pages, bundle your products together, and sell them for a one-time price or a recurring fee.
Mighty Networks pricing starts from $39/month. However, the course builder is available only on the Business plan, which costs $119/month and is on the higher side.
Apart from the monthly fee, the platform charges a transaction fee of 3% and 2% on the Community and Business plans.
Mighty Networks isn’t a typical online course platform, but it will be an excellent option if you want to build a community-centric online course business or create live cohort courses.
Best all-in-one platform for sales and marketing
Pros of Kartra
- 200+ landing page templates
- Full-fledged email marketing tools
- Powerful checkout page builder
- Has video marketing tools
- Inbuilt scheduler and helpdesk system
- Affordable pricing
Cons of Kartra
- Not easy to use
- Lacks important learning tools
- No sales funnel builder
Pricing: ($99 – $499/month)
Kartra is another all-in-one platform, but unlike Kajabi and New Zenler, it is primarily a sales and marketing platform.
It does have a course builder, but it’s not as advanced. The platform allows you to host your video content, structure your course, create quizzes, drip your content, enforce linear progression, and deliver through the course player. But that’s it.
Where Kartra really stands out is its sales and marketing suite. It has everything you need, from landing pages to checkouts to email marketing.
More importantly, all these tools are pretty powerful and give you similar firepower as standalone solutions would give.
Talking about Kartra pricing, the Starter plan costs $99/month and has all the platform’s features. However, the plan limits the number of courses, videos, emails, etc., and you can get these removed by switching to the Silver plan ($199/month).
If you’re planning to build a full-fledged eLearning business, Kartra won’t be the best option for you. But if you need to create a few simple online courses and want more powerful marketing tools, Kartra will work well for you.
MORE ON KARTRA:
Simple, affordable course platform for beginners
Pros of Teachery
- Super simple to use
- Two customizable course templates
- Beautiful design out of the box
- Friendly customer support
- Affordable pricing
Cons of Teachery
- Lacks important learning tools
- Doesn’t support PayPal gateway
- Limited site-building features
Teachery is a super simple solution for creating and selling online courses. While the platform isn’t the most powerful in terms of course creation features, it makes creating a course on the platform extremely easy.
It has a live course editor which updates in real-time. Plus, you can choose from two course templates: Minimal and Sidebar.
Apart from course creation, Teachery supports essential eCommerce features like course landing pages, payment processing, checkout pages, promo codes, affiliate marketing, etc.
Teachery pricing is straightforward. It has just one pricing plan (costs $49/month) which includes all the platform’s features and offers unlimited courses and students. Plus, there is no transaction fee.
Overall, Teachery is a good option for beginners. They offer the right amount of features one needs to create and launch an online course and have affordable pricing.
There are a few other hosted platforms that we haven’t included in this guide.
The first one is SamCart Courses. While the platform has a decent course creator, it is primarily a checkout page builder, and we don’t recommend it as an online course software. (Full SamCart Courses review here.)
Another platform we haven’t included here is Uscreen. While it lets you create video-based courses, it is better suited for building a subscription-based video-on-demand (VOD) business. (Full Uscreen review here.)
Finally, there is ClickFunnels which allows you to create an online course, but it doesn’t offer many essential features. So we don’t recommend using the ClickFunnels membership site.
WordPress LMS Plugins
To create an online course on WordPress, you’ll need what is called an LMS plugin. These plugins allow you to organize your content and deliver it to your students in a user-friendly way.
The biggest upside of using WordPress for building a learning platform is that it offers you unlimited flexibility in terms of features and functionality.
However, it requires you to be more tech-savvy. Unlike hosted solutions, you’ll need to go through a not-so-easy installation and setup process that involves, at the very least, site hosting, a theme, and several plugins, as well as the use of a separate video hosting platform.
Plus, you will need to take care of site maintenance, performance, and security on an ongoing basis, which can be overwhelming for most creators.
With that in mind, let’s discuss some of the best WordPress LMS plugins.
LearnDash is the most popular WordPress LMS plugin used by top businesses, universities, and training organizations.
The core plugin is pretty robust and includes important features like drag-n-drop course builder, quizzes and exams, assignments, dripping, prerequisites, certificates, badges, student notifications, etc.
Moreover, LearnDash has tons of free/premium add-ons that allow you to extend the functionality of your course website easily. So if there is a feature that isn’t available in the core plugin, you can easily find an add-on for that.
For example, if you want to build a full-fledged community for your LearnDash course, you can do that using BuddyBoss.
When it comes to e-commerce capabilities, LearnDash has in-built shopping cart functionality, and you can process payments natively using Stripe, PayPal, or 2Checkout.
While the shopping cart functionality is really basic, the good thing is that LearnDash has direct integrations with popular cart solutions like SamCart, WooCommerce, and Easy Digital Downloads.
When it comes to pricing, LearnDash is very reasonably priced. You can get a 1 site license for just $159/year. If you want more than 1 license, you can buy the Plus Package, which costs $189/year and gives you 10 site licenses.
The plugin has a drag-n-drop course builder, and it supports course creation features like user progress, quizzes, assignments, certificates, etc. Plus, AccessAlly includes full-blown membership management software.
When it comes to e-commerce functionality, AccessAlly has a lot to offer for a course plugin. So you can create conversion-focused order forms, process one-time or recurring payments, create upsells and cross-sells, and even run your affiliate program.
As far as pricing is concerned, the lowest tier costs $99/month, and their most popular plan costs $129/month. So AccessAlly is definitely priced on the higher side.
12. Tutor LMS
Tutor LMS is a relatively new WordPress LMS plugin which has gained a lot of popularity over the past couple of years.
The plugin has all the important features that most people would need to deliver online courses. And it should work for you irrespective of whether you’re an individual creator or a training organization.
What stands out about Tutor LMS is the drag-n-drop course builder, which lets you create powerful courses with quizzes, assignments, and other lesson types. Still, pretty it is easy to use.
However, Tutor LMS doesn’t have any inbuilt shopping cart functionality. So if you want to sell your courses, you’ll have to rely on its integration with shopping carts like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads.
When it comes to pricing, Tutor LMS has a free version which is good for setting up your courses. But if you want to sell your courses actively, you’ll need a Pro license which costs $149/year for 1 site and $199/year for 5 sites.
LifterLMS is another great option for building WordPress-based learning websites and delivering online programs.
It has an easy-to-use course builder and supports features like quizzes, assignments, certificates, learning paths, content dripping, a community forum, etc. Plus, you can always add new features using the additional add-ons.
Moreover, LifterLMS has inbuilt membership capability as well. So if you want to build a traditional membership site that includes more than just online courses, you can do that with LifterLMS.
Finally, LifterLMS offers handy e-commerce features, including the ability to process one-time and recurring payments, create coupons, and bundle your courses.
As far as the pricing is concerned, you get the core plugin free of charge. However, if you want to process payments or integrate with your email service, you’ll need to upgrade to the Universe Bundle, which costs $360/year.
If you need features like advanced quizzes or social learning, you’ll need to buy add-ons for them individually. Or, you can upgrade to the Infinity Bundle, which is super expensive ($1,200/year).
While using a WordPress LMS vs a hosted course platform might look like a cheaper option, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
With WordPress, several other costs are involved, like website hosting, site theme, plugins, video hosting, etc., which you must consider.
Online Course Marketplaces
The course marketplaces list courses from multiple instructors, and the students pay to watch the courses on the platform.
These online teaching platforms provide you with the infrastructure to host your content and actively help you with sales and marketing.
You will usually have to give a percentage of your sales to the platform, varying from as little as 25% to as high as 75%. As far as we’re concerned, revenue share is less of an issue.
The bigger issue is that you don’t get access to student email addresses, and you have little control over the platform’s policies, branding, course pricing, etc. This makes marketplaces a bad option for selling courses in the long run.
So, marketplaces are a good option only for creating an additional sales channel for your courses. With that in mind, let’s discuss the top course marketplace options out there:
You might have taken a course through Udemy because they’re easily the largest course marketplace out there. They are also a good opportunity for course creators to list their courses.
Thousands of creators teach courses in various niches and make a decent income through the Udemy platform.
We like that Udemy gives instructors a lot of guidance to create their own courses and market their offerings online.
You can use Udemy for free and simply create a course to share your know-how. After that, you can market your course on the marketplace or to your own audience.
If you sell directly to your audience, you get 97% of the profits, and Udemy takes 3%. However, if a sale comes through Udemy’s marketplace, you get 37% of the sale, and Udemy keeps the rest as the marketplace fee.
If you’re just starting out teaching online and aren’t sure where to start, Skillshare might be an appropriate teaching platform for you. You can create courses that feature videos and a class project taught in short 10-25 minute segments.
The only downside is that you must get 25 students enrolled in your class before earning any money.
Once you hit 25 enrollments, you can start to make between $1-2 per enrollee as part of the SkillShare Partner Program. You can also get compensated for premium members by using your referral link.
Overall, SkillShare is an uncomplicated way to make some money from your passions, and with some hard work, your side hustle can start to bring in some extra cash.
OpenSesame is one of the best online training platforms out there and is a great option for those creating training programs for businesses and companies.
All you need to do to get started is to create a profile and upload your courses. After that, OpenSesame will put them on their marketplace for sale.
The best part is that they offer your courses to any existing learning management system. This is awesome for those that know different companies want their course material but operate on different LMSs.
It is free to get started, but OpenSesame will take a 50% share for all courses sold as payment.
These aren’t the only online learning platforms in the market. There are dozens of other platforms (e.g. LinkedIn Learning) where you can teach online courses and make money.
Learning Management Systems
These are more sophisticated than the other categories of online course solutions we discussed previously, and most solopreneurs or smaller businesses won’t require one.
Full-fledged Learning Management Systems are better suited for established businesses who want a thorough online educational network or sophisticated learning management capabilities to train their customers, employees, or partners.
TalentLMS is a popular Learning Management System that gives you everything you need to train your employees, partners, and customers.
TalentLMS is cloud-based, so you don’t have to worry about installing or backing up anything you create.
It is fully customizable, so you can keep the theme consistent throughout your training if you already have an established brand.
Their full range of analytics also gives you the power to fine-tune your courses and marketing strategy to make the most of your course.
TalentLMS pricing starts at $69 per month, and there are multiple plans you can choose from.
18. ProProfs Training Maker
ProProfs has one of the most comprehensive learning management systems out there. So whether you want to train your employees or customers, you can do that with ProProfs Training Maker.
ProProfs Training Maker has all the important features that you need to create awesome training courses, including an easy-to-use course builder, inbuilt video hosting, support for SCORM and Tin Can, learner communities, robust reporting, and tracking capabilities, etc.
However, the best part about ProProfs training maker is that it also gives you access to some of ProProfs’ other popular software like the Quiz Maker, Survey Maker, Knowledge Base, and ProProfs Collaborate.
Another unique thing about ProProfs Training Maker is its library of pre-made HR, Compliance, and Workplace training courses. You can use these courses for your organization as they are, or you can modify them based on your needs.
As far as pricing is concerned, ProProfs has very straightforward pricing based on the number of learners; it has three pricing plans – Free, Essentials, and Premium.
The Essentials Plan costs $120/month for up to 100 learners, while the Premium Plan costs $240/month for the same number of learners.
19. iSpring Learn
iSpring Learn is another powerful online training platform that helps large companies train their employees by offering features like learning paths, advanced gamification, user management, and detailed tracking and reporting.
With iSpring Learn, you’ll be able to see employee progress, set company goals, measure the impact of your training, and change what isn’t working.
It also has a mobile app that allows your employees to take learning courses even while traveling or without an internet connection.
iSpring Learn is one of the best learning management systems for corporates and is used by the likes of PWC and Unilever.
Prices for training employees start at $366 per month (100 Active Users) and go to $1,410 per month (500 Active Users). If you need more active users, you can request custom pricing for the LMS.
What to Look For in the Best Online Course Platform?
While this list has all the best course builders in the market, people still struggle to find the best one for them because they aren’t sure what to look for in one.
If you don’t understand what an online course platform should offer, you’re very likely to make the wrong choice.
Let’s discuss some of the most important things that you should consider.
Types of Online Course Platform
All the online course platforms can be fit into a few categories. Each category works best for various needs, so you should first decide the type of platform you’ll use.
For example, suppose you want complete control over your business, brand, and customer information. In that case, you should use a hosted online course software or a WordPress LMS plugin.
On the other hand, you should go for an online learning platform to leverage an existing marketplace audience.
Similarly, if you want to start your own online school but aren’t very tech-savvy, you should use a hosted course platform vs a WordPress LMS plugin.
All-In-One vs Standalone Platforms
Generally, most course creation platforms offer mainly features for creating an online course and managing your course sales.
However, the concept of all-in-one online course platforms has gained popularity in the past couple of years. Apart from the course creation and selling tools, these platforms provide marketing and audience-building tools.
If you want to simplify the tech side of things and want everything under one roof, you should go the all-in-one platform route.
Otherwise, if you already have your website and funnels in place, a standalone platform might be a better option.
Learning and Engagement Tools
The end objective of your online course is to facilitate students’ learning, and your course platform is the medium through which you deliver that learning experience.
For me, it is one of the most important aspects of any online course creator, and here are a few things your platform should let you do:
- Create engaging courses with video content, audio, PDFs, text, etc.
- Track your students’ course progress and activity.
- Create quizzes, drip course content, and send certificates.
- Allow students to engage with fellow students and instructors.
- Deliver great end-user experience (from purchasing courses to watching content).
- Allow students to consume your content on mobile.
Again, these are some of the most commonly used features that an online course software should have. Still, you may want additional features based on your requirements. For example, if you want to host cohort-based courses, your platform should support features, such as live classes, community spaces, etc.
This is one of the most important but overlooked criteria for selecting an online course platform. First, you need to ask: does your platform integrate and play well with other popular solutions?
For example, you would want your course platform to integrate with email service providers, list-building solutions, funnel tools, and so on.
Another must-have integration that the best online course platforms should support is Zapier. Zapier is an automation tool that allows you to integrate 100s of apps, so if your platform integrates with it, it will integrate with most other online solutions.
For some of you, the budget might not be an issue. But for others, the cost to create an online course needs to be minimized.
If you’re on a low budget, it won’t make any sense to pay, say $400/month or make a significant investment upfront.
we like the “pay more as you grow” type of pricing where an online courses platform offers multiple pricing options. In the beginning, you can subscribe to one of the lower-priced plans and then upgrade as your business grows.
Finally, you should select an online course builder that offers excellent customer support. The platform should have a team of dedicated customer service guys to quickly answer your questions and solve issues related to the platform.
However, keep in mind that customer support isn’t just about answering your questions. Rather it’s about supporting you at every stage of your journey as a course creator.
For example, some platforms have an engaged instructor community where you can hang out with fellow course creators, seek advice and celebrate each other’s successes. And this can be invaluable.
These are some of the most important things you should consider while evaluating an online course platform. There can be other things to consider as well, depending on your requirements.
Best Online Course Platforms – Final Verdict
As you can see, there are many different online course creation platforms available in the market, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. So you should keep it simple!
You should first decide the type of course platform you will use based on your broad requirements and tech skills. And then evaluate the platforms within that category based on their features and your budget.
With this in mind, let us give you our recommendation.
For most course creators, online course hosting platforms work best. If you’re looking for an all-in-one course platform, we suggest you check out Kajabi. Otherwise, you should go for Thinkific, the best standalone course platform.
On the other hand, you should use a WordPress LMS plugin if you want unlimited flexibility and extendability for your learning platform. In this case, we recommend you go with LearnDash.
we hope this guide helped you find the best online course platform. Do you have any questions? Which platform do you think will work the best for you and why? Please leave a comment below and let us know.
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