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 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.

Sell Online Courses: The Options

The first part of this list options that may be particularly good for individual experts (speakers, consultants, trainers)  – some of them even have public marketplaces for helping you find customers.

The second part veers toward somewhat more sophisticated LMS and/or content creation features (with a correspondingly higher price tag, in most cases). These options still make it easy to sell online courses, but leave more (or all) of the responsibility for promotion of your courses with you. All of platforms mentioned here are offered on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis.

Learning-Revolution-CoverIf you’re trying to build a profitable business selling online courses, make sure you have the #1 guide for helping you do it successfully – Leading the Learning Revolution: The Expert’s Guide to Capitalizing on the Exploding Market for Lifelong Learning.  Get your copy today!

Academy of Mine

I’ll admit a bit of bias in putting the Academy of Mine folks at the top of this list: they are doing an excellent job using many of the very tactics I encourage in Leading the Learning Revolution to grow their own learning business, including a very active blog, podcasts, and Webinars that provide value to their audience.  Basically, they are going for relationships – not just transactions. And, of course, they’ve got a platform that makes it easy to get a courses up and running and ready for sale. Pricing starts at $199 a month, but with a special pricing of $10 for an initial month to try it out.

Link: http://www.academyofmine.com

Digital Chalk

DIgital Chalk offers a variety of plans for getting courses online as well as production services to help you do it. If you’ve got the expertise, but don’t want to have to deal with the nuts and bolts of producing a course, this is a choice to consider. The company charges a $399 set up fee and then $4.95 per registration for a basic course. The platform appears to be chock full of great features.

Link: http://www.digitalchalk.com

Ruzuku

The fact that Ruzuku’s home page reads like a section out of Leading the Learning Revolution and the company is (at least partially) located here in my own Carrboro, NC earns the company a high spot on this list. If you are looking for an easy-to -se platform combined with a soup-to-nuts approach to helping you be successful with it, look no further – I’d recommend signing up for their full-year plan (4 additional months free) and getting to it.

Link: http://ruzuku.com/

Pathwright

I had the pleasure of interviewing Pathwright co-founder Paul Johnson on the Learning Revolution podcast, and he also connected me with Jason Blumer, who is using the Pathwright platform with great success. There’s a free Pathwright 101 course that gives a good overview of the platform and using Pathwright is completely free up until the point you start selling. (The company makes money off of taking a percentage of sales once you do start selling.)

Link: http://www.pathwright.com/

SkyPrep

“Don’t let building courses intimidate you,” say the folks at SkyPrep. The company focuses on providing easy tools for getting a course online and delivering it globally. You can license the platform to use as you like, or you can elect to just sell your courses through the SkyPrep marketplace – in which case the company charges a $9 monthly e-commerce fee and takes a 10% commission on sales.

Link: http://skyprep.com/

ProProfs

ProProfs give you tools to add media, quizzes, and certificates to your existing documents, videos & presentations – and then put them into a market place that the company claims reaches more than a million users. Monthly packages start at just under $75 ($60 if you commit to a year) and the company takes 9.5% off of sales through its marketplace.

Link: http://www.proprofs.com

Udemy

The folks at Udemy say “Our goal is to disrupt and democratize education by enabling anyone to learn from the world’s experts.” From what I can tell, they have been doing a pretty good job making waves lately. The Udemy platform gives subject matter experts a simple, straightforward way to assemble content like PowerPoint slides, PDF documents, and YouTube videos into a coherent course experience.You can then publish into the Udemy marketplace and use a variety of tools to promote your masterpieces. Udemy is free for instructors – the company makes it’s money through a 50/50 split whatever you sell. Apparently, as ThinkTraffic reports, some some instructors have been having quite a bit of success.

Link: http://www.udemy.com/teach

MindBites

If video is your thing, MindBites is a great option. The site provides tools and guidance to help you create and publish how-to videos. These can be promoted in the broader MindBites marketplace, but the company also provides the option for you to set up your own customized storefront that you can link to off of your main Website or blog. A free plan is available, and paid plans start at $14 per month.

Link: http://www.mindbites.com/sell

WizIQ

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. There’s a free 30-day trial, and then paid plans start at $19 a month. It’s unclear from the Web site whether the company also takes a percentage of course sales.

Link: http://www.wiziq.com/

Learning Cart

As the name suggests, Learning Cart is all about hooking e-commerce up to your online courses. The platform can be used to sell just about any kind of online content, and I like the fact that it also has an integrated blog engine to help you with your content marketing and SEO. It also has a number of nice integration – with GoToWebinar and Google Analytics for example. All in all, it is quite sophisticated for $149 per month.

Link: http://www.learningcart.com

OpenSesame

OpenSesame is the first 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. 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.

Link: https://www.opensesame.com/sell-online-elearning-training-courses

Mindflash

Mindflash aims to give you a simple, straightforward approach to creating and managing courses for a targeted audience (e.g., employees, members) while also having the ability to publish into their public marketplace and make some money from sales there. As might be expected, you can use PPTs, video, and various document types to put together courses, and the system also has a quiz/survey authoring tool. Plans start at $49 per month is you want to train a private audience, but if you just want to publish and sell in the public marketplace, the platform is free. The company takes 15% of your sales. (Note: See the comments section below. It appears Mindflash will close its public marketplace on December 12, 2012.)

Link: http://www.mindflash.com/marketplace/sell-online-courses/

Coggno

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. 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.

Link: http://coggno.com/lms/sell-courses

Learning-Revolution-Toolbox-coverIf you want to sell online courses, a great platform is only part of the equation. You also need to create great content and market effectively.  creating and marketing online. My free eBook The Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox is chock full of the tools and tips you need for success! Just sign-up below to get your copy. You can unsubscribe at any time, and I never share your e-mail address.

Litmos

Litmos offers a relatively full-featured LMS with built-in e-commerce options for selling your content (including SCORM courses). If you don’t care about having a marketplace for your content, and are looking for good flexibility for offering both live and on-demand training as well as integrating with other platforms (like, for example, Salesforce), it’s definitely worth a look. There’s a 14-day free trial followed by monthly pricing staring at $49 per month for the Starter edition.

Link: http://www.litmos.com/learning-management-system/sell-online-courses/

Educadium

With its CampusPay LMS services Educadium offers a way to add a simple e-commerce solution to its EasyCampus platform. EasyCampus is, indeed, an easy platform on which to get up and running, but is nonetheless a relatively feature-rich LMS with a range of options for adding on features and services that fit your needs. Pricing for the platform starts at $39 per month and e-commerce fees range from 6.5% to 10% of sales, depending on which subscription package you choose.
http://www.educadium.com/campuspay

Inquisiq

Inquisiq steps up the game quite a bit by offering features like multiple branded site instances (e.g., so that you can set up branded training portals for your business-to-business course sales) and a variety of discount code options for purchasers. Like Litmos, it also provides for issuing certificates to users who complete/pass courses. If you sell primarily to business (as opposed to individual) buyers, you want to be sure to check out this option. There’s a free trial available (for an unspecified period of time), then pricing starts at $200 per month.

Link: http://www.inquisiqr3.com/solutions/sell-your-courses-online/

EZLCMS

While most of the options above have some level of content authoring capabilities, EZLCMS aims to take things a step further with its Adaptive Course Authoring PowerPoint Plug-In. The company says the plug-in ‘will convert your presentation into a mobile-friendly HTML based courseware product that can be delivered on computers and mobile devices.” If you happen to be delivering serious assessments as part of your offerings, EZLCMS also offers item analysis as part of its reporting capabilities. There’s a free 15 day trial and after that pricing starts at $199 per month.

Link: http://www.ezlcms.com/index.php/e-commerce/

If you have used/had success with any of these, or have others you would like to see on the list, please comment and share.

Jeff

Bonus Option: CourseMerchant

If you happen to have already gone down the Moodle path (widely used open source LMS) for your course delivery needs, then you may want to check out CourseMerchant. While Moodle itself provides a very basic e-commerce option, CourseMerchant helps you take things to a much more sophisticated level – including the ability to bundle courses, offer discounts, and sell multi-seat licenses that allow for the seats to be easily allocated to learners. The CourseMerchant folks are also behind CourseIndex.com, a network that enables you to promote your courses through affiliate marketers.

Link: http://www.coursemerchant.com/
Link: http://www.courseindex.com/

P.S. – Ready to take your efforts to sell online courses to new levels? Don’t forget to sign up to get your free copy of The Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox. It’s chock full of tools and tips to help you create and market your online courses.

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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for these awesome resources. Some of the very best, clean and easy to use I have found in my research. Cost is always a factor since I am an independent trainer. I have started on Udemy. Will see how it goes. I am also exploring pathwright at the moment. Clean interface, still have to see how it works.

    • Thanks for commenting, Carol – If you have a chance, drop back by at some point, please drop back by and let folks know how your experiences went with Udemy and Pathwright. – Jeff

  2. Lindsey H says:

    Don’t forget DigitalChalk from Asheville, NC as well! http://www.digitalchalk.com :)

  3. Late to the party but AT the party is DojoLearning! http://www.DojoLearning.com :)

  4. BrainCert Makes E-Learning And Passive Earning Painless. BrainCert allows instructors to create courses and upload tests easily and quickly. Once that’s done, the platform integrates with PayPal and Stripe, allowing you to profit from the information you’ve provided. BrainCert is generous with that, too, giving you 90% of the sales revenue from whatever you sell. – https://www.braincert.com/

  5. Thanks for the excellent info.
    I feel that nowadays it isn’t difficult to build your own training website using Paypal as the payment gateway.
    What do you think could be the disadvantages of going your own way?

    • Dinesh –

      Just using Paypal as a payment gateway and one of any number of approaches to managing access to content (like, for example, a membership plugin) can work just fine. The platforms listed here all manage access rights as an integrated part of the software and have done a good bit to streamline the e-commerce process. Many of them also streamline authoring of educational content and make it easier to integrate content, assessments, and social interaction (e.g., discussion boards) into a single educational experience. It all depends on what learning models you plan to use and how adept you feel at taking a more DIY approach. – Jeff

  6. Thanks, Jeff for the great list! I know this will be a valuable resource for many folks.

  7. Jeff —

    Thank you for including OpenSesame on your list. If you or any of your readers have questions or would like to know more, please let me know!

  8. Before rushing off to Udemy….you should read this. Not as great as everyone says.

    http://www.planningforfailure.com/post/63542124884/udemy-takes-more-from-instructors-censors-critics

    Some pretty angry instructors in the comments area.

    Hope this helps

  9. Jeff — I am the Publisher at Siminars. I’d love to get your feedback on our platform. Please check out siminars.com and email me if you have any ideas or questions. Thanks and have a great year ahead!

  10. Hello,

    Have you heard of EDU 2.0 ( http://www.edu20.org). EDU 2.0 is an LMS that has a beautiful user interface and a lot of features that many of the companies you mentioned here doesn’t have. Please check out a tour of EDU 2.0 https://www.edu20.org/info/tour and maybe you can add it to your list. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for the excellent article.

    For the pretty angry instructors on Udemy pricing model, i’d like to suggest Kunerango (https://kunerango.com).

    Thanks

  12. Hi Jeff,

    I have one question, if you can help. Security is always a challenge in e-learning content. Any suggestions to ensure that viewers can not download the video.

    • Most of the video oriented services (e.g., Udemy, MindBites) are going to present the video in a way that it cannot be downloaded. Or you can use something like JPlayer in WordPress, or Vimeo with the download capability turned off. Of course, there’s pretty much nothing you can do to prevent someone from making a screen recording if they really are determined to.

  13. amazing article. There’s another company I just found while searching on the web. They take away 30% better than udemy’s 50/50.

    it’s called scooltv. https://scooltv.com

  14. What about Udacity?

    • Not sure Udacity is really a fit for the type of thing I’m talking about here. I’m not aware that you can create/deliver whatever you want on Udacity – you basically have to be selected by them or one of their partners to do a course. Correct me if I am wrong, though. – Jeff

  15. Is the platform at iteachers.com (which forwards to http://www.myonlinecampus.org/) something that you’ve looked at, Jeff?

    How does it compare to these others?

    Mahalo for this fine information!

  16. I was wondering if you have specific recommendations for platforms suitable for teaching language courses. I’ve looked at several on this list so far and they look very interesting, but it’s not immediately clear to me how well they would integrate with a webinar tool for live meetings/discussions. It’s also not clear which has the most powerful quiz/testing/tracking capabilities.

  17. stephane caron says:

    Hey Jeff,

    Thanks so much for those great infos. That should most definitely help me with my plans to start up a training platform. Thanks to your infos, I can now narrow my search for the best tool to use.

    I wish to put online downloadable checklists, videos and emit certificates. And one thing also that I wish to be able to do is allow my trainees to download mobile device friendly version of my lists and videos.
    Any obvious suggestions ?

  18. Hi Jeff, this is a great list. Click 4 Course is another relevant one to add… especially for companies looking for a very cost-effective platform (starting at just $19 per month). It also includes a company-branded website for students to access the course. It’s super easy to use as well. http://www.click4course.com

    Thanks! Jacob

  19. Many good solutions out there – I’m adding ours to the pile – worldclass.io is a platform with built in quizzing, MOOC, gamification and commerce modules + rich analytics and user mgmt.
    We’re 100% customisable and you can configure the front-end to go with any design or hosting service you’re currently using.

  20. Hello, Jeff – great list, thanks for the detailed insights. A question for you: do you know which of these companies and systems will provide sales and distribution of my existing courses in my existing LMS? It appears that most (all?) required the content to be converted to or loaded into their LMS/CMS.

    thanks!

    • Bob – Apologies for the delay in responding. I was not notified of the comment for some reason. As far as I know, none of these support pulling content from another LMS. That has always been somewhat tricky territory – hopefully something that will be addressed as emerging standards (Tin Can) gets more broadly adopted and implemented. – Jeff

  21. Good list Jeff, its missing us though, Firmwater LMS has been built specifically for training companies to sell, deliver, track and report their online training courses. Here is a link to our patnership with Shopify – http://www.firmwater.com/lms/features/sell-courses-online.php – let me know what you think, I hope to see us added to the list.

  22. If you are looking to sell videos from your website take a look at http://www.HostStreamSell.com, they even have wordpress plugins for easy integration.

  23. Great resources Jeff. It will make it easy for Selling online courses in various platform.

  24. Thanks for the post, Jeff! The info on Udemy is not current, late last year the pricing structure changed. Right now, instructors get 50%. And depending on other factors, you might only get 25%.

  25. Hi Jeff, I know you are planning to update this list soon. When you do please add Skilljar to the list – (www.skilljar.com).
    Thanks! Keegan

  26. Don’t forget Lightspeedvt.com. They specialize in creating interactive video training courses for speakers, consultants, and other experts. They’re based out of Las Vegas and have done work with Bravo (Top Chef’s Cooking Courses), GM, and countless speakers. They’re start-up fees are a little steep for most people, but it’s definitely what you’re talking about in the article.

    Jeff

  27. Michael says:

    Pathright catalog seems to be dead.

  28. Great info!! We also provide a platform for instructors to promote their online courses. http://WWW.crunchadeal.com

  29. I’ve had my course at Udemy for awhile, but now they are starting to delete legitimate reviews due to their “spam review filter.” How does that make you feel to work hard for your reviews as well as your course, then have a system work against you?

  30. Hi Jeff,

    We sent a note to you in May about adding Click 4 Course to this list, but we’re not sure if you got it. Would you be able to at it? Based on services you’ve listed, it would be a great addition to this list. We hope to hear back from you, and also see our service on your list!

    Thanks,

    Jacob Bradley
    Support Team
    support@click4course.com
    http://www.click4course.com

  31. Out of the gate your first resource is simply a version of WPLMS theme found on theme forest. There is not even a business behind the associated link to academy of mine. I find that really odd. Their demo video talks about the unique platform and marketing presence, yet they have no product, or classes. I just find that strange.

  32. Great list Jeff! This industry is really growing! Don’t forget to add LFE.com, or Learning from Experience, is a great FREE only platform for experts in all fields to make money off their expertise.

    We provide all the tools and then leave all the decisions on your course business up to you. Sell your courses from your website or your Facebook fan page. Don’t have a website? We partner with Wix.com, the best and easiest website creation platform, so all of our authors can have their own free professional site.

    All of these tools come free – we only make money when you do. When you have a sale you keep 85% and we get 15%. That’s it.

    You can go to http://www.lfe.com/the-lfe-platform/

  33. Hi Jeff, just wanted to say many thanks for mentioning Course Merchant on the list.

    We would love to show you a demo some time if you had a spare hour or so, be great to get your detailed thoughts.

    Once again, many thanks for the mention.

    All the best and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Martin Broughton
    martin@coursemerchant.com

  34. How about MATRIX LMS? I thin they definitely should be included in the list, they have e-commerce integration with Stripe, Paypal and Authorize.net, not to mention that the platform looks amazing

  35. Roy Nelson says:

    While looking for some other providers I came across this one.
    https://www.apnacourse.com/tutoring
    They have decent enough platform, have gone through their own MOOCs hosted on platform.
    Some points about them i liked,
    – course can be completely private, with my own audience. (download restricted)
    – no revenue sharing (pay as you go model, charged per consumption hour at the month end)
    Has anybody tried it and have anything to share about pros and cons of it?

  36. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks a ton for these resources. Im looking specifically for a user controlled (interactive) video platform for training people on how to use a specific product, reviewing features and troubleshooting. We dont need to sell anything, but would love to track which video’s get watched most so that we know where the interest or pain points are for the product. I’ve looked at Engajer as a platform, and some of the training platforms here seem like a good fit, but not sure about the ‘self guided’ aspect of the video. Any additional thoughts/insights since you’ve posted this list?
    Thanks again, Leslie

  37. Hi Jeff,

    I would like to share our WordPress plugin with your readers especially the ones who would like to sell their Moodle courses online. This plugin works with your WordPress website and integrates WordPress and Moodle with WooCommerce to sell Moodle Courses online.
    You can take a look at the details here. http://wisdmlabs.com/woocommerce-moodle-integration-solution/

    Hope to get added to your list soon. :)

  38. Jeff:

    Hey! We enjoyed reading your article. But, the majority of the companies listed on this page are for long term courses/classes. At PharmPsych Sites we cater mostly to Continuing Education professionals in the medical field, many of whom just need a short term solution. In the medical field information changes quickly, and most of our users do not want to have a long term course. We make it easy and simple to do that.. In fact, our prices are below the range of what you listed; we also have some free packages. We would appreciate it if you would take a look at what we have to offer and provide us with some feedback: https://pharmpsych.com/sites/

    • Thanks – I’ll take a look. (Though I’m not sure there is anything particularly long term or short term about the platforms highlighted here. It comes down to how you use them.)

  39. Great article, thank you.

    Do you think it’s better to sell courses on your own website or to sell them on another. For example, Tony Robbins has his website, but then he sells his courses on Business-Mastery. Brendon Burchard has a website but then sells his courses on HighPerformanceAcademy.

    Just wondered what your thoughts were.

    Cheers

    • James – It really depends on what your overall business goals are and how that impacts how you manage your brand and segmenting of your market. The main thing, from my perspective, is that you want to be be selling from a site that you own (Brendon, for example, owns HighPerformanceAcademy.com) rather than relying entirely totally on a third-party market place like Udemy – at least if you are really serious about being in the education/training business. I, for example, decide a while back that I wanted to develop business brands that were distinct from my personal brand. I have a range of reasons for wanting to do that, but one key one is that I would like to have the potential (whether I ever take advantage of it or not) of selling off those brands/businesses. Not having them tied too tightly to my personal brand makes that possible. Hope that helps. – Jeff

  40. Hey Jeff,

    Thanks for the great article. I have a question for you or anyone here. My company is preparing a number of training programs for 2015. In reviewing all the platforms available, what do you think about putting a single course on multiple platforms. Can that be done? My thinking is some of these platforms have built in (huge) audiences who are accustomed to purchasing online courses, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have access to as many potential students as possible by being on multiple platforms. Any thoughts.

    Best,
    Jimmy

  41. To add another to the list: http://www.Thinkific.com is definitely another option!

    – Create and sell courses on your own site, under your own brand
    – Content importer allows easy import of videos & pdfs in bulk
    – Create courses out of multiple file types (video, PDFs, MP3s, Text, Quizzes, Surveys, and tonnes of outside sites like typeform forms, Articulate, Storyline… the list goes on!)
    – Full e-commerce, student tracking, and so on
    – Robust integrations with tools like Segment.io, Mailchimp and Mixpanel
    – $0/month to start, 10% transaction fee or less. Only pay when you start selling.

    I could go on and on, but it’s worth checking out! Disclaimer: I work with Thinkific :)

  42. Renjith krishnakripa says:

    Hi all,

    Check another two great platforms for online courses and selling below….

    https://www.skillfeed.com

    https://www.skillshare.com

  43. I didn’t end up getting the chance to work with Learning Cart due to issues with our client, but overall, the people at Learning Cart were awesome to work with. Learning Cart not only offers the ability to create and sell online courses, but you can also create a fully functioning shopping cart for selling items other than courses!

Trackbacks

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