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:
7 Possibilities for an Alternative to Udemy:
With Coggno, you can create courses or upload existing content – including SCORM files. You also have the option to deliver these courses privately or to distribute them through the Coggno marketplace. Coggno also provides the useful twist of enabling organizations to use a branded instance of the Coggno platform for free to offer courses to their target audience (e.g., employees, members) – thus providing yet another distribution option for your content (i.e., more of a business-to-business, or B2B, marketplace). Organizations that use the LMS in this way pay only for the content they use. For course developers looking to sell their content, pricing starts at $24.95 per month plus 10% of sales.
Like Udemy, Curious is video-focused, providing a set of tools to help teachers organize their videos and add exercises and other types of interactivity. With respect to marketing your content out to its base of learners, the company touts a “multi-channel approach – and classic marketing techniques like organic search (SEO), paid advertising (SEM), direct marketing and most importantly, social media.” Teachers earn money through revenue sharing (Curious says 70% goes to teachers), tips, and what the company calls “referral bounties.” Details can be found on the company’s Teacher Payment page.
Learning.ly is a relative newcomer launched by The Economist Group, publishers of the widely-read financial magazine. Presumably, given its publishing background, the group already has pretty good reach into a well-educated learner based that is likely to be receptive to lifelong learning opportunities. Course at Learning.ly consists of a combination of video, audio, and presentations (i.e., slides) and the company offers the interesting option of hiring “a personal concierge who is dedicated to building learning experiences from your content.” (It’s unclear how much this costs – is anyone has done it, please comment.) Teachers earn 50 percent of the revenue on all courses sold.
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Like Coggno (above) OpenSesame is one of the only options out of this group (as far as I can tell) that allows you to upload courses that you have created using a standards-based (SCORM, AICC) course authoring package like Articulate Presenter. (Udemy does not allow for this.) If you happen to be an expert, or manage experts (e.g., if you represent a training firm or association) that is developing offerings at this level of sophistication, it might be the first place you want to check out. You can also upload video, and the company claims that courses published in its system can be accessed by any learning management system (LMS). So, for example, if you know there are businesses out there that would want your content, but are going to want it on their own LMS, this could be a very powerful option. The company takes 40% of any sales you make through its platform.
Skillshare provides instructors with tools to create courses composed of video lessons and a “class project.” (All classes are have these two elements.) Classes are normally 10-25 minutes long, broken down into short videos, and they are all pre-recorded and self-paced. Once you have enrolled more than 25 learners in a class, you become eligible for participation in Skillshare’s Partner Program and can earn money through the royalty pool managed by the company – usually $1-2 per enrollment, according to the company. (Unlike Udemy – discussed below – Skillshare sells subscriptions to all of its content rather than to individual courses.) Once you are a partner, you’ll also get compensated for new Premium Members ($10 per) you bring to Skillshare through your Teacher Referral link. The Skillshare site reports that “Top teachers make up to $40,000 a year.”
Stack commerce is behind Skillwise, StackSkills, and a number of other places to buy courses. Instructors get 50 percent of sales on sites StackCommerce owns and 30 percent on partner sites. While Stack does not mandate pricing to quite the degree that Udemy does, it does determine the final price for for your courses, based off of your suggested price. The company notes that typical pricing for a course is between $9 and $49,
For experts who want to deliver live and on-demand Webinars, WizIQ is an old standby. The company provides a platform through which you can easily offer a live Webinar session – with slides, desktop sharing, audio, and video – that can also be recorded for on-demand access by learners. Courses can be published and sold in WizIQ’s online marketplace. WizIQ does also plug-ins for Moodle, Sakai, Blackboard Learn – popular learning management systems in the academic world. There’s a free 30-day trial, and then paid plans start at $33 a month (billed annually) plus a 5 percent per transaction fee of use of WizIQ’s payment gateway. (It’s unclear from the Web site whether you can use your own gateway.)
Finally, while not as open an option as the above platforms, it is worth noting that Lynda.com does accept proposals from instructors who want to offer a course on its platform.
If you have experience – good or bad – with any of these platforms, particularly as an alternative to Udemy, please comment and share.
P.S. – If you liked this post, you may also like:
- Tools to Create an Online Course
- 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses
- The 4 Critical Components of a Successful Product Launch Formula
- What I’ve Learning About Selling Online Courses
- What’s the Best Way to Market Online Courses?
- Landing Pages 101 for Your Online Education and Training Business
And check out the full range of tools to help you create and sell online courses in The Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox.