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

As I argue in Leading the Learning Revolution (essential reading for anyone who wants to be in the online course business), 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.

Image of e-commerce related 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, an Internet connection, and one of the platforms listed here.

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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Learning Management System for Small Business

Learning Management System for Small Business - Photo of Learning Management System return key on keyboard

The Learning Management System for Small Business category has changed dramatically over the course of just the past few years. While it used to be that you had to either come up with the kind of cash that big businesses were spending or settle for something that, frankly, looked and acted cheap, it is now possible for even very small businesses to license a very modern, user-friendly learning management system at a very reasonable cost.

That’s the upside.

The downside is that there are now a ton of choices in the learning management system for small business category, so making a decision can be really tough. To help with that, I’ve pulled together a relatively short list of the systems I am highest on at the moment. These are systems that are geared toward selling online courses – the major focus of my work – but there is nothing to say that any of them can’t be used effectively for delivering internal training.

The systems listed here span three major categories: hosted, SCORM-based, hosted non-SCORM based, and WordPress Plug-ins. (If you aren’t familiar with what SCORM is, take a minute to find out whether SCORM matters for you before proceeding with your LMS search.) [Read more…]

Does SCORM Matter for Selling Online Courses?

Does SCORM Matter - graphic of e-learning data

If you are looking for a platform to sell online courses, there is a a good chance you will come across the term “SCORM” at some point. But what is SCORM? And, when it comes right down to it, does SCORM matter for selling online courses? [Read more…]

Looking for an alternative to Udemy?

photo of an orange in between two apples

Don’t mix apples and oranges when looking for an alternative to Udemy

I run across a lot of blog posts that aim to highlight an alternative to Udemy, the major online marketplace for publishing and selling online courses and a very popular option for subject matter entrepreneurs. In most cases, though, these posts highlight platforms like Teachable or Thinkific as alternatives. While, technically speaking, these are good alternatives, I suspect that a lot of people searching on “alternative to Udemy” are really looking for a substitute for Udemy.

Simply put, an alternative represents a different way of achieving essentially the same purposes – in this case, selling online courses.

A substitute, on the other hand, is essentially a replacement – in this case, a platform that offers essentially the same functionalities as Udemy.

While that may sound like just a bunch of academic hair-splitting, it’s actually a critical difference. One of the main functions of Udemy, after all, is to offer a marketplace, a ready-made destination for people who are shopping for online courses. This is one of the main reasons that subject matter entrepreneurs flock to Udemy in the first place.

While both Teachable and Thinkific offer significant advantages over Udemy in many ways, they do not offer a marketplace – and, as far as I know, have no plans to. (For other options like Teachable and Thinkific, see 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.)

So, what other platforms do? That is, which platforms may truly be a substitute for Udemy rather than (or in addition to) an alternative to Udemy? Take a look at the following: [Read more…]

Build An Audience – What I Did (and You Can, Too)

Build An Audience: Photo of Crowd at Concert

If there is a single “secret” to succeeding with selling online courses or with any other business that involves marketing and selling your expertise, it’s finding and connecting with the audience for whatever you offer.

Actually, that’s only part of the secret. [Read more…]

Focusing on the real keys to success (not technology)

Focus on Success Selling Online Courses

A lot of people end up on this site because they have come across my 15 Platforms for Selling Online Courses post. As you might expect, I also get a lot of e-mails from people sharing their challenges and asking for advice. If there is one common thread that tends to run though these e-mails its this: too much focus on technology.

People want to know which platform to use. Which course tools are best. How to best host videos, or Webinars, or eBooks, or …. name your product of choice.

But the thing is, it really just doesn’t matter that much. [Read more…]