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

It's a whole new world out there is you are an individual subject matter expert of a small training/education organization looking to sell online courses. This post will help you narrow down the choices quickly. And you may also want to grab the free learning platform guide to help you make the right choice faster.

Image of e-commerce related to sell online courses

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 draw on two decades of experience working with online course platforms to narrow down the options and take a quick look at some of the best of what’s out there for helping you create, market, and sell online courses on the Web.

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Online course revenue declines globally! Should you be worried?

A reader wrote in not too long ago concerned about news that online course revenue is in decline globally. The news, unfortunately, is true – at least for self-paced courses. A recent report from Ambient Insight Research projects a 6.4 percent, or $13.4 billion (!), drop in self-paced online course revenue globally over the next 5 years.

online course revenue declines - photo of downward revenue graph

Obviously, if selling self-paced online courses is something you do or plan to do, a decline in online course revenue definitely does not sound like good news. But should you really worried?

Yes, and no. [Read more…]

Are you undervaluing what’s unique about your course?

unique you

I decided to write this post in response to some common questions I get from Learning Revolution e-mail subscribers. These include:

  • Questions about which platform is really “best”
  • Questions about whether people will really be willing to pay for content that does not seem all that unique (to the writer)
  • Questions about how to protect content from being downloaded, shared, copied, etc.
  • Questions about the best course designs, formats, media, etc.

On the surface, these may see like completely unconnected questions, but they all suggest underlying assumptions about what does or doesn’t make a course valuable. None of these, I would argue, is the most important factor. The most important factor, the thing that makes your courses unique, is you.

I don’t say this to make some sort of “woo woo” touchy-feely point. No, my argument comes from cold hard business facts: [Read more…]

Learning Management System for Small Business to Sell Online Courses

The learning management system for small business category has improved dramatically in the past few years for businesses interested in selling online courses. It used to be that if you wanted to sell courses, you either had to develop custom software or bolt e-commerce onto platforms that were built for corporate training or delivering college classes. Needless to say, this usually came with plenty of headaches and and a less than ideal experience for customers and channel parters.

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

These days, many small businesses may be able to take advantage of the new breed of platforms geared toward solopreneurs and very small entrepreneurial businesses.  I cover these in 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.

However, based on my own experiences and feedback from many small business owners, some of these platforms may not meet the more sophisticated demands of established businesses, particularly those that already have a significant base of face-to-face education customers. That’s why I decided to create a separate “learning management system for small business” page.  The following is my short list of platforms to consider. [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 offer a marketplace for your courses? 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…]