15+ Platforms to Create and Sell Online Courses (and Counting)

Looking to sell online courses, but confused by all of the platform choices? In this post I draw on my two decades of eLearning industry experience to highlight the top online course platforms and help you narrow your list.

While you are here, be sure to grab the free platform selection guide to help you make the right choice faster and smarter. (And, if you are ready to create online courses and other online education content, be sure to check out the free Learning Revolutionary's Toolbox!)

Sell online courses - Image of hand holding credit card, other typing on computer keyboard

To sell online courses, it used to be that you had to master an authoring tool, license a complex learning management system (LMS), 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 the digital video camera in your phone, an Internet connection, and one of the options in the following list of online learning platforms.

Here’s a concise look at some of the best of what’s out there for helping you create and sell online courses on the Web. [Read more…]

Which Type of Online Course Business Are You? (And Why It Matters)

Photo of man surround by question marks thinking "Which online course business type am I?"

Getting into the online course business is all the rage these days. You can find any number of newly-minted experts with advice on how to do it, and the market for platforms to help you create and sell online courses is booming.

It’s precisely because there is so much going on out there that it is important to step back and be clear about which type of online course business you represent. Doing this before starting to make critical business decisions will make your life easier in many areas, but I’m going to focus on one area in particular for this post: choosing an online course platform.

You see, choosing the right platform to sell online courses is highly dependent on identifying platforms that were actually designed to work well for the type of online course business you represent. That sounds easy enough, but it gets mucked up all the time out there on the Web.

I continually see lists and reviews that lump together platforms that were designed with very different businesses and audiences in mind. This is confusing for prospective platform customers and apparently it is even confusing for Google, which – for all its supposed smarts – doesn’t seem to know how to keep these types of misleading lists and reviews out of its top rankings.

So what are some major types of online course businesses? Currently, I put them into five categories:

  • Solo or Small Business Edupreneur
  • Traditional training firm going/expanding online
  • Trade or Professional Association
  • Continuing Education Department
  • Corporate Extended Enterprise

These aren’t meant to be exact or exhaustive, but hopefully as I provide a little more information on each, you’ll understand why it is important to distinguish among them. Keep in mind that when I say “online course business,” I am talking mainly about businesses that market and sell online learning to adult learners. So, I’m not focused corporate training departments and I am also not focused on most traditional academic programming.

Now, here’s a bit more detail on each category. [Read more…]

Thinkific Review by a 20-Year E-learning Industry Veteran

Screenshot of Thinkific Web Site for Thinkific Review

If you are selling or thinking about selling online courses, you don’t have to do much searching to come up with a Thinkific review. There are plenty of Thinkific reviews out there. The main difference this one offers is that it is written by someone with:

  • More than 20 years experience in the e-learning industry, with a specific focus on businesses that sell education (as opposed to, for example, corporate training departments, that do not have to convince their learners to buy)
  • Extensive experience designing, developing, and implementing online course platforms (I was the founder and CEO of an e-learning platform and course development company.)
  • More than a decade of experience tracking and researching online course platforms and helping organizations and individuals pick the right platform for selling courses

I’ve been closely tracking Thinkific and other providers that have emerged as a new class of online course platforms in the past several years. These are platforms that are much more user-friendly and less costly than traditional learning management systems, or LMSes. They are a real boon for solo edupreneurs and small companies that want to get into the online course business. Over time, I think they also have real potential to disrupt the traditional learning management system market.

I plan to do in-depth reviews of a number of these platforms, but I have chosen to do a Thinkific review first because (a) I think the company currently has the most momentum out of any of the comparable online course platforms in the market, and (b) I consistently hear from Learning Revolution readers that they have had a good experience with Thinkific.

So, having said all that, let’s get started. [Read more…]

Camtasia Review – The Go-To Software to Create Video Tutorials

Screenshot of Camtasia dashboard for Camtasia Review

Camtasia is a great tool to create video tutorials.  It offers remarkable screencasting and video editing capabilities at a very reasonable price.

If you are looking to make video tutorials a part of your business model then you have probably noticed there is an abundance of software to choose from. We now have access to a range of tools that make it easier than ever to create video tutorials that not only look amazing but are engaging for your students.

However, the wide variety of options available can make it overwhelming and difficult to know where even to begin. If you are struggling to find a tool that will meet your needs but doesn’t require you to go to film school to learn how to use it then I recommend Camtasia as the first option to consider. [Read more…]

7 “Must Dos” for Running Successful Webinars

Are Webinars part of how you create and deliver online education?

If they are, then you probably realize you are far from alone – the Web is jam packed with Webinars, many of them free, and a lot of them of pretty low quality. Whether you are trying to make money directly through selling Webinars or indirectly by using them as a means of lead generation, you need good ways to stand out from the crowd.

Running successful Webinars isn’t rocket science, but it does require some basic knowledge about the medium and attention to details. To help you out, here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Leading the Learning Revolution, updated and adapted slightly to reflect my ongoing experience with Webinars. [Read more…]

Empowerment is Your Business Plan

Photo of businessman as superhero

I was really struck by some data that came out of a Pew Internet Research report on lifelong learning a while back.

According to the report, 61 percent of U.S. adults have “little or no awareness” of the concept of distance learning.

And, while 74 percent said they had engaged in some sort of personal learning activity in the past year, only 16 percent had taken an online course. The numbers were actually worse for professional learning.

Maybe the percentages are better in some other countries, but I doubt they are enough better to escape the core lesson. Namely, there is a good chance a big part of your prospective audience is unlikely to participate in an online course.

It’a sobering thought, but I think it is actually an incredibly useful one for any knowledge end learning entrepreneur.

Why? Because you shouldn’t really be in the online course business. [Read more…]