10 True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

10 True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

Apple and orange on balancing scale for alternatives to Udemy concept

I run across a lot of blog posts that aim to highlight an alternative to Udemy, the major online marketplace for anyone who wants to create an online course and sell it.

In most cases, though, these posts highlight Udemy competitors like Teachable or Thinkific as alternatives. While, technically speaking, these are good alternatives (and I am a fan of both), I suspect that a lot of people searching on “alternative to Udemy” or “sites like Udemy” are really looking for a substitute for Udemy.

Why does it matter?!

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

A substitute, on the other hand, is a replacement – in this case, a platform that offers nearly all of the same features 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 edupreneurs flock to Udemy in the first place.

So, sites like Udemy – ones that are really like Udemy – need to offer a marketplace.

So, what other platforms do offer a marketplace for your courses? That is, which sites like Udemy may truly be a substitute for Udemy rather than (or in addition to) an alternative to Udemy? In this post, we’ll take a look at more than ten.

Udemy vs Teachable

Wondering about Teachable vs. Udemy? Check out our full comparison.

What is Udemy?

Before we jump into the Udemy alternatives, we should be clear about what Udemy is.

Udemy is an online learning marketplace that allows edupreneurs to create and publicly list their courses in different categories. It is one of the world’s biggest online learning platforms, having helped over 56K instructors teach 155K+ courses to more than 40 million students worldwide since 2009.

Udemy screenshot

Students can find relevant courses based on Udemy’s recommendations or by searching its database. Indeed, Udemy’s biggest strength is its database of 40 million+ students and average monthly traffic of around 100 million visitors. For course sellers without a website, email list, or any kind of online brand presence, Udemy is the easiest way to connect with millions of relevant students.

Clearly Udemy has some pretty valuable characteristics that any platform positioning itself as an alternative will need to respond to in one way or another.

So, let’s move on to the list of contenders.

10 Alternatives to Udemy:

Note: I update this list frequently. If you happen to notice anything incorrect in it or feel there is a platform that needs to be added, please contact me.

Coggno

Coggno website

With Coggno, you can create courses or upload existing content – and, unlike most Udemy alternatives, 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 $34.95 per month. Coggno also takes a percentage of sales. This varies depending on the price of the course and how it is sold, so be sure to check out the pricing page.

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

Curious

Curious - An Alternative to Udemy

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.

Link: https://curious.com/teach

edureka!

Edureka website

edureka! touts live online courses, 24/7 support, and high completion rates. The site is mainly tech oriented at the moment, but there is also a marketing and finance category. I can’t find instructor terms, though someone has posted on Quora that instructors don’t make more than 20 percent. (If anyone can confirm or deny, please comment.)

Linkhttps://www.edureka.co/

Learning.ly

Learning.ly website - a Udemy alternative

Learning.ly is a relative newcomer among Udemy alternatives, but give that it has the backing of The Economist Group (publishers of the widely-read financial magazine), you can expect it to be a strong contender. 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. Courses 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.

Link: http://learning.ly/pages/expert

OfCourse

OfCourse - an alternative to Udemy

OfCourse describes itself as a lifestyle and self improvement online learning platform that hosts and promotes video-led courses to over 9 million people across the UK, in addition to large audiences in Australia, The UAE, and Scandinavia. The company is not clear about the terms  that it offers to teachers, but claims there is the potential to “earn £1,000’s in passive income every month.” To get started you have to “register interest,” but it’s not clear what happens after that.

Link: http://signup.ofcourse.co.uk/start-teaching/

OpenSesame

OpenSesame - One of numerous Udemy alternatives

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.

Link: https://www.opensesame.com/site/about/course-publishers/

Simpliv

Simlpliv - and alternative to Udemy

Simlpliv focuses online learning for business concepts, software technology, and personal and professional goals. Like most of the sites listed here, the learning is primarily video driven. The company offers two scenarios for course authors to earn money. The first is a 50/50 split on any sales that happen organically through a visitor finding the course on the Simpliv site. The second – which I think many edupreneurs will find quite attractive – is 97% to the author whenever the purchaser uses a coupon provide by the author. Full details about the terms are available here.

Linkhttps://www.simpliv.com/

Skillshare

Skillshare - one of the best-known Udemy alternatives

Skillshare is probably the best known among Udemy competitors. It provides instructors with tools to create online 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.”

Link: https://www.skillshare.com/teach

Teachlr

Teachlr - maybe the best Spanish-language alternative to Udemy

Teachlr has a nice interface that is reminiscent of Udemy – though without as wide-ranging a catalog at this point. Instructors can deliver on-demand and live online courses and, according to the terms of use, get to set their own prices and get to keep 70 percent of the revenues. The company appears to be based in Venzuela and offers a lot of Spanish-language content through its catalog. If you produce courses in Spanish and/or want to grow your presence among Spanish-speaking audiences, this may be just be your best option among the Udemy alternatives.

Linkhttps://teachlr.com/

WizIQ

WizIQ - a great alternative to Udemy for Webinar-based courses

For experts who want to deliver live and on-demand Webinars, WizIQ is an old standby. Among the Udemy alternatives, it is the option most focused on Webinars as a form of delivery. 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.)

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

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, so it could still be considered among the true Udemy alternatives.

But Is the Udemy Model the Best Option?

While this post is all about online course platforms that are an alternative to Udemy, you may also want to think seriously about when (and whether) it makes sense to consider the Udemy business model.

It’s always tempting to think that having access to a big marketplace is going to magically make your courses sell, but it won’t. You will still need to market your courses effectively to stand out from the crowd in any marketplace platform. My view is that it is much better to build up your own brand and have full control over all of your user data – especially e-mail contact data, which is the lifeblood of any successful online business.

So, consider which type of online course business you are, and seriously consider whether one of the platforms covered here or here wouldn’t be a better choice in the long run.

Finally, while you are here, check out the full range of tools to help you create and sell online courses in the free Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox.

24 thoughts on “10 True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses”

  1. Hey Jeff, thanks for another great post! I’ve been looking for platforms to host my content to drive an increase in sales. So far I have tried the main ones, Udemy and Skillshare with mixed success. I also tried some of the newer ones like YouAccel and SkillSuccess or Skillwise. Surprisingly YouAccel delivered the best results in terms of stable monthly income and student enrolments. I probably made the most on Udemy, but after the first month my sales took a dive. I guess it’s their way of incentivizing instructors to keep adding new content.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on which niche of courses delivers the best results. I teach mostly business related courses, specific to the food industry. It’s a tough area to break into, but it’s my main area of expertise.

    Thanks again 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Emma. I will take a closer look at YouAccel. RE: niches – I don’t think there is a one-size-fits all answer on that. In general, tech-focused topics tend to do well, probably because the audience is highly receptive and the pace of change is high (certainly two characteristics to look for in any niche). That said, you kind of have to stick with your area of expertise – or else find other experts to collaborate with. Within the food industry, I’d be looking for where things are changing fast and where regulation is going to create incentives for education/training – and (you may already be doing this) I’d probably be targeting employers over individuals. – Jeff

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this interesting post! I read it, and headed over to Curious to put a course on to their platform, and it gave me this notice when I tried:

    “Attention: Curious is not accepting new teacher content at this time.
    You will continue earning money on existing content and can edit published content.
    Questions? Email [email protected].”

    I have emailed them to find out what’s going on.

    Daniel

  3. Greetings, all! I’m curious to see if anhone has any recommendations for a need I have.

    I provide online/on-demand professional development & continuing education via my library of 130 and growing courses, each 2hrs in length play/pause/resume at will.

    I would like to offer a monthly subscription wherein, upon initial registration, the first course in my series is automatically added to the customer’s account, where it will remain accessible to the customer as long as their account stays active (subscription payment). Then, I’d like a new course automatically added to the subscribers account every 30 days.

    Any ideas, suggestions, questions?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Clay

    1. CreativeLive is a great service, but unless I am missing something, they do not appear to be a place where your average subject matter expert can create and sell a course – which would mean they really aren’t an alternative to Udemy. Plantoost seems to claim to have some sort of marketplace, but I don’t see it anywhere – there doesn’t appear to be a “there” there. They may be an excellent alternative to platforms like Kajabi, Podia, Teachable, etc., but they don’t look like a good Ydemy alternative to me. – Jeff

  4. There are several alternative to Udemy including Free and Paid E-learning platform like Lynda, CollaberaTACT, Simplilearn, KnowledgeHut etc.. One benefit of paid training is that, you can acquired certification course from the reputed institution which can be beneficial in your career graph.

  5. One of the things you want to consider when picking a platform is if the company is actively marketing to corporations to resell your content. I worked in a training organization and was routinely contacted by Udemy, Skillshare, and OpenSeasame. Many platforms are just that…platforms and don’t do additional selling to sell your topics.

  6. Hard to believe Zenler (www.zenler.com) is not on that list. If you’re a course creator, I think it’s far better than any of the alternatives you’ve mentioned. No upfront fees, you only pay if you sell. Highly recommended.

  7. Hey Jeff,

    Do you any marketplace that is targeting language learner? I noticed that Marketplaces like Udemy, Lynda are more designed for people who want to pursue IT relevant skills. I am a language teacher looking for a marketplace that could get my courses exposed to language learners, especially Chinese and Japanese people.

    Thank you in advance!
    Summer

  8. Hello Jeff,
    This is quite a great list of Udemy alternatives. I personally preferred Coursera and Edureka for affordable online courses. What do you think about it?

    1. Rocky – I’ll take a look at Edureka. As far as Coursera goes, my understanding is that you have to work for a Coursera partner to be able to author courses on the platform – i.e., your average course entrepreneur can’t create and sell courses there (which is what this site is focused on). – Jeff

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24 thoughts on “10 True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses”

  1. Hey Jeff, thanks for another great post! I’ve been looking for platforms to host my content to drive an increase in sales. So far I have tried the main ones, Udemy and Skillshare with mixed success. I also tried some of the newer ones like YouAccel and SkillSuccess or Skillwise. Surprisingly YouAccel delivered the best results in terms of stable monthly income and student enrolments. I probably made the most on Udemy, but after the first month my sales took a dive. I guess it’s their way of incentivizing instructors to keep adding new content.

    I was wondering if you had any thoughts on which niche of courses delivers the best results. I teach mostly business related courses, specific to the food industry. It’s a tough area to break into, but it’s my main area of expertise.

    Thanks again 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Emma. I will take a closer look at YouAccel. RE: niches – I don’t think there is a one-size-fits all answer on that. In general, tech-focused topics tend to do well, probably because the audience is highly receptive and the pace of change is high (certainly two characteristics to look for in any niche). That said, you kind of have to stick with your area of expertise – or else find other experts to collaborate with. Within the food industry, I’d be looking for where things are changing fast and where regulation is going to create incentives for education/training – and (you may already be doing this) I’d probably be targeting employers over individuals. – Jeff

  2. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this interesting post! I read it, and headed over to Curious to put a course on to their platform, and it gave me this notice when I tried:

    “Attention: Curious is not accepting new teacher content at this time.
    You will continue earning money on existing content and can edit published content.
    Questions? Email [email protected].”

    I have emailed them to find out what’s going on.

    Daniel

  3. Greetings, all! I’m curious to see if anhone has any recommendations for a need I have.

    I provide online/on-demand professional development & continuing education via my library of 130 and growing courses, each 2hrs in length play/pause/resume at will.

    I would like to offer a monthly subscription wherein, upon initial registration, the first course in my series is automatically added to the customer’s account, where it will remain accessible to the customer as long as their account stays active (subscription payment). Then, I’d like a new course automatically added to the subscribers account every 30 days.

    Any ideas, suggestions, questions?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Clay

    1. CreativeLive is a great service, but unless I am missing something, they do not appear to be a place where your average subject matter expert can create and sell a course – which would mean they really aren’t an alternative to Udemy. Plantoost seems to claim to have some sort of marketplace, but I don’t see it anywhere – there doesn’t appear to be a “there” there. They may be an excellent alternative to platforms like Kajabi, Podia, Teachable, etc., but they don’t look like a good Ydemy alternative to me. – Jeff

  4. There are several alternative to Udemy including Free and Paid E-learning platform like Lynda, CollaberaTACT, Simplilearn, KnowledgeHut etc.. One benefit of paid training is that, you can acquired certification course from the reputed institution which can be beneficial in your career graph.

  5. One of the things you want to consider when picking a platform is if the company is actively marketing to corporations to resell your content. I worked in a training organization and was routinely contacted by Udemy, Skillshare, and OpenSeasame. Many platforms are just that…platforms and don’t do additional selling to sell your topics.

  6. Hard to believe Zenler (www.zenler.com) is not on that list. If you’re a course creator, I think it’s far better than any of the alternatives you’ve mentioned. No upfront fees, you only pay if you sell. Highly recommended.

  7. Hey Jeff,

    Do you any marketplace that is targeting language learner? I noticed that Marketplaces like Udemy, Lynda are more designed for people who want to pursue IT relevant skills. I am a language teacher looking for a marketplace that could get my courses exposed to language learners, especially Chinese and Japanese people.

    Thank you in advance!
    Summer

  8. Hello Jeff,
    This is quite a great list of Udemy alternatives. I personally preferred Coursera and Edureka for affordable online courses. What do you think about it?

    1. Rocky – I’ll take a look at Edureka. As far as Coursera goes, my understanding is that you have to work for a Coursera partner to be able to author courses on the platform – i.e., your average course entrepreneur can’t create and sell courses there (which is what this site is focused on). – Jeff

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