15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses (and Counting)

As I argue in Leading the Learning Revolution, it’s  a whole new world out there if you are an individual subject matter expert or a small training/education organization looking to sell online courses.

It used to be that you had to master an authoring tool, license a learning management system (LMS) – or come up with a workaround –  figure out hosting and e-commerce, and then somehow deal with end user support. These days, you can get across the finish line with little more than a Web cam and an Internet connection.

In this post I take a quick look at some of the options that are out there for helping you distribute and sell online courses and instructional videos on the Web.

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Michael Stelzner of Social Media Examiner: How Virtual Conferences Can Mean Real Revenue

I recorded all of the interviews for Leading the Learning Revolution for use as podcast episodes, and this is the first one I released.

In this launch episode, I talk with Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, host of the Social Media Marketing Podcast, and author of Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition, and a big believer in the virtual conference business model. If anyone knows how to take content online and turn it into a successful business, Stelzner certainly does. Get your notepad ready, and listen in for some great inspiration and practical tips.

Play the Podcast

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Want to master social media for promoting and selling your courses? Join the Social Media Marketing Society today!

Want to master social media for promoting and selling your courses? Join the Social Media Society!

Get the Show Notes

00:50 Introduction of Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, host of the Social Media Marketing Podcast, and author of  Launch and Writing White Papers.

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What I’ve learned about selling online courses


I’ve been working in the learning technology and adult education markets for nearly two decades now and I’ve been witness to the success and failures of many education business, including my own. Both as part of my own ongoing development and with the hope of being of some help to you, I thought I’d jot down a few of the key lessons I’ve learned.

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What’s the best way to sell online courses?

sell online courses

Or any other courses, for that matter…

I recently responded to a voice message left on the Learning Revolution site (you can do that by using the “send voicemail” option on the right side of the site). I’ve already shared that response with my e-mail subscribers, but I decided it was something I should also share here on the blog.

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What is a Subject Matter Entrepreneur?

Subject Matter Entrepreneur

There is a good chance you are, since you’ve landed on this page.

I define subject matter entrepreneur as:

  • someone with (or with access to) significant subject matter expertise
  • who assumes the risk of leveraging that expertise to create new sources of value
  • with the aim of generating a positive return on investment

Put more simply, subject matter entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses based upon their expertise in a particular topic or skill.

What are some examples of subject matter entrepreneurs? You can find them all over the Web. They include:

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The Key to Long-Term Success: Actually Creating and Demonstrating Educational Impact!

Picture of bowling pins as ball hits them

An article in the Wall Street Journal a couple of years ago highlighted how corporate training programs are often a waste of time and money. With “little practical follow-up or meaningful assessments,” the article argued, “some 90% of new skills are lost within a year.”

You can debate the validity of the research highlighted in the article if you want, but I know from first hand experience – and you probably do too – that training and education too often gets treated as a “nice to have.” And that viewpoint applies whether you are dealing with a big corporate budgeting department or an individual customer.


I’d argue one key reason is that people question intuitively whether most training and education offerings really have any impact. It’s not hard to see why when, as the the WSJ article suggests, we often do very little to create or demonstrate educational impact. (Corporation are hardly alone in this: research at my company, Tagoras, shows, for example, that very few trade and professional associations do anything to assess the impact of their educational offerings.)

As a result, potential purchasers may put off buying decisions or – arguably worse – undervalue training and education and shop based on price.

Naturally, these are circumstances you want to avoid if at all possible.  If your goal is to thrive over the long term, you need to create real impact with your offerings and you need to be able to show that you are creating impact.

3 Ways to Demonstrate Impact in 2015

So how can you demonstrate more impact with your learning products?

First of all, of course, you need to develop and facilitate great learning experiences that follow the adult learning principals and design approaches I’ve advocated in various places (including, of course, Leading the Learning Revolution). In other words, you need to start with a great product.

But even great products usually need some help when it comes to communicating their value. So, here are three steps to make sure you are taking.

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Are you ready for the podcasting revolution?



I’ve been singing the praises of podcasting for years. (See, for example, 5 Reasons to Embrace the Lowly Podcast from way back in 2009) and even suggested a couple of years ago that we were on the verge of a podcasting revolution. In the meantime, interest in podcasts has continued to accelerate and listenership is growing rapidly. Jay Baer has done an excellent job of illustrating why in the infographic below.

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