Last Updated on October 2, 2022

There are plenty of bloggers who have published round-ups of the best online course platforms, but this is the only one by a 20+ year e-learning industry pro who has actually designed, built, and implemented online course platforms and helped thousands of businesses – from solopreneurs to multi-national organizations – choose the right one for them. If you are (or want to be) an online course creator/seller and want pro guidance, you are in the right place. 

Best Overall
Thinkific - best online course platform all around

Thinkific

Best balance of rich features and ease-of-use for creating, marketing, and selling online courses

Runner-Up
LearnWorlds logo

LearnWorlds

Very close runner up to Thinkific – and a better choice if you create SCORM-compliant online courses

Best For B2B
Talent LMS logo -best online course platform for B2B

Talent LMS

The best choice for capitalizing on the huge potential for selling your courses businesses-to-business

Best For WP
LearnDash - best WordPress LMS

LearnDash

Powerful course authoring tools and delivery capabilities right inside of the powerful WordPress CMS

Best All-In-One
Kajabi - best all-in-one online course platform

Kajabi

Everything you need to build your website, manage your customers, and sell digital products

I’ve narrowed my picks for online teaching platforms down to the list above because I don’t think it is helpful to provide you with a huge list of the best online course platforms. (It doesn’t really make sense that there would be a long list of the “best,” does it?!) Of course, not everyone’s needs are the same, so read on to find out why I like these platforms and other ones you may want to consider.

The Very Best Online Course Platforms Right Now

I won’t bore you with my background. If you are interested, you can find out more on my bio page. The main thing to stress here is that I have been working with and on online course platforms for more than two decades. I’ve seen a lot come and go, and I draw on my experience with building, researching, writing about, and implementing platforms to make the recommendations you find here.

You can find much of the reasoning behind my choices and – just as importantly – a process you can follow to make your choice – in my free course platform selection guide. I strongly encourage you to download that and use it along with the information you will find on this page.

Online Course Platforms – Need to Know

The platforms I cover here are specifically for creating and selling online courses. One of the most important things to know about choosing the best online course platform for these purposes is that most course software out there is not designed to sell online courses. It’s made to deliver internal corporate training or to support academic programs.

That means no e-commerce capabilities, no plug-n-play integration with major marketing tools, and usually very limited abilities to brand it and configure it the way you want to.

And here’s another important fact:

Even platforms that will work for selling online courses come in a lot of different flavors. Pick the wrong one for your online course business needs and you will have headaches.

To help narrow your field of choices, I’ve organized this post into the following:

Categories of Online Course Platforms

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It may seem like a no-brainer, but just having a clear idea of which of the categories above you fall in – along with knowing that only a small subset of online course platforms are meant for selling courses – will make your life MUCH easier.

Keep in mind that I think all of the course platforms listed here are strong choices. If you do some basic work to understand your learning and business objectives, and pick on based on that, you won’t go wrong.


As noted above, all of the online learning platforms listed here are strong choices, but I know it can be helpful for an expert to just say “look at this one, it’s a top choice” if you want to sell courses. So, here’s my all around top choice: Thinkific.

I like Thinkific because it is feature-rich but still easy to use, and you can tell it was created by people who really understand learning. You can create a free course right away, they are very upfront about how their different plans compare, and most importantly, I hear consistently from readers that that they have had a good experience with Thinkific.

Just use the button below to get one month free to create and launch your first product.


Now, let’s move on to the list.

Standalone Online Course Platforms

These are hosted course platforms geared toward solo edupreneurs or small businesses that want course creation software along with a turnkey way to create their own branded site to sell online courses. (Also, unlike Udemy, which is discussed below in a different category, they allow you full control over your user data.)

While the feature sets are relatively similar, they can be very different in their “look and feel” as well as in how focused they are on helping course entrepreneurs succeed – i.e., by providing good resources, educational content, strong support. Be sure to check out the free trial options, where available, so that you have a chance to kick the tires before committing.

This is the only category where I have a #1 choice and a very strong runner-up.

1. Thinkific

Thinkific online course platform homepage screenshot
Thinkific course platform homepage

Thinkific provides a truly full-featured software solution to help you create, deliver, market and sell online courses. Aside from the fact that I use it myself, another big vote of confidence for this platform is that my friend Dorie Clark – a bestselling author multiple-times over, guest on the Learning Revolution podcast, and generally a very smart and business-savvy person – has used it for her online courses.

I also like that there is a free plan, but – unlike many of it’s competitors – Thinkific does not charge transaction fees on any of its plans, paid or free. (You still don’t quite get to sell online courses for free because your payment processor – e.g., PayPal, Stripe – will always charge you a transaction fee.)

I’ll also mention that the Thinkific App store really helps this online courses platform stand apart from most of its competitors. With the app store, you’re able to easily integrate a wide range of other platforms to help you create more impactful learning experiences and market your courses much more effectively. And Thinkific’s own Spaces feature makes it possible to run compelling cohort-based courses.

Thinkific’s Pricing: The Start paid plan comes with a bump in the features you get access to and starts at $99 per month ($74 if paid annually). Definitely worth checking out.

To go deeper, here’s our full Thinkific review.


2. LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds online course platform homepage screenshot
LearnWorlds course platform homepage – June 2022

While I rank Thinkific as my top all-around choice, LearnWorlds is a very close second for the average online course creator – and I also use it for certain offerings. The learning curve is higher, but it pays off with more sophisticated e-learning features – like the ability to support SCORM (the only platform in this category that does.)

LearnWorlds has picked up a lot of momentum in recent years. The company positions itself as a “premium” option that provides for high interactivity, social learning tools to complement standard course content, and white labeling.

The company also puts a lot of emphasis on its tools for building sales pages for courses – and these do indeed look impressive. You can even test them out without signing up through a simulator that LearnWorlds provides. LearnWorlds is also getting closer to an “all-in-one” than other platforms in this category with the full website builder capability it introduced in 2020 and continues to enhance.

Unlike many of the company’s here, LearnWorlds also offers services for uploading and converting your content, developing courses, and customizing your LearnWorlds school. All in all, it’s a very good option, deserving of the “premium” label.

LearnWorlds Pricing: You can try LearnWorlds free for 30 days (no credit card required), then pricing starts at $29 per month ($24, if billed annually). The company charges $5 per sale on its starter plan, but no additional fees on its other plans.

Use the code LEARNINGREVOLUTION50 when checking out at LearnWorlds and you will get 50% off for the first month of a Pro plan or higher.

To learn more, read our full LearnWorlds Review

Other Good Standalone Options

Teachable online course platform homepage screenshot
Teachable course platform homepage – June 2022

Naturally, Thinkific and LearnWorlds are not your only options for a standalone online training platform. It’s a crowded market right now and, while there is plenty of junk, there are also some very solid options that may be worth considering if you are looking for lower costs, a simpler interface, or stronger features in a particular area – like, for example, video.

Here are the other options I think are most worth considering:

Teachable

One of the first online course platforms to launch in this category and still one of the most popular. In my opinion, Teachable offers one of the cleanest, most straightforward administrative interfaces out of any platform on this page. If you are looking to get pretty straightforward, on-demand courses up and running quickly, it’s a strong option.

Teachable Review: Teachable Review


Teachery

I think Teachery probably doesn’t get the level of attention it deserves in the online course platform market. Most course creators will outgrow it’s feature set in a year or two, but i f you are just getting started out, I’m not sure there is an easier, more straightforward course development platform to use – and at a very reasonable cost.

Teachery Review: Teachery Review

Uscreen

While pretty much all of the platforms covered on this page enable you to upload video and create video-based courses, most of them don’t offer true app-based delivery of those online courses on mobile devices and none, other than Uscreen, support OTT distribution into channels like Apple TV, Roku, and FireTV.

Bottom line: If you have a heavy focus on video and want a top-notch video training platform, you should definitely check out Uscreen.

Uscreen Review: Uscreen Review

All-In-One Course Platforms

Photo of Swiss Army Knife for All-in-One Online Course Platforms Concept

This category of online course software provides everything you need not just to create and sell online courses, but also to manage your full web presence and sell other digital products. 

In general, their online course capabilities are not as sophisticated as what you will find in the best standalone online course platforms, but they make up for that in usually having a much stronger web content management system (CMS) along with native (i.e., not plug-in) e-mail marketing and customer relationship management tools (CRM).

My favorite in this category is:

1. Kajabi

Kajabi online course platform homepage screenshot
Kajabi course platform homepage – June 2022

Kajabi describes itself as “the one system you need to market, sell, and deliver your knowledge online.” As it happens, selling online courses is a big part of the equation. Along with courses, you’re able to sell memberships, training portals, file downloads, and pretty much any other digital product you can come up with.

For many people who just want to sell online courses – and who are already set with a website and marketing tools – this may be overkill. Then again, if you don’t have those things or simply want to get everything under one roof, Kajabi may be just the ticket. And Kajabi has done a lot in the past couple of years to add new features – like a full-fledged e-mail marketing system and the ability to support scheduling coaching sessions.

The company massively upgraded its web page builder capabilities a couple of years ago, making it more powerful than ever for creating websites and online courses. And, more recently, Kajabi released Kajabi Email, featuring a powerful visual editor to to create attractive, high-converting e-mails fast. The web page builder and e-mail capabilities are included with every plan.

Kajabi Pricing: You can try Kajabi for 30 days for free. Once a paid plan kicks in, Kajabi pricing starts at $149 a month ($119 if paid annually).

For a more in-depth look at Kajabi, read our full Kajabi Review

Other Good All-in-One Platform Choices

Podia online course platform homepage screenshot
Podia course platform homepage – June 2022

Podia

Podia is a full-featured, but easy-to-use online course platform for selling courses, memberships, and digital downloads all in one place – and it has been gaining a lot of momentum as one of the main Kajabi competitors. Some of its key selling points are:

  1. no transaction fees (other than whatever you pay to your payment processor – i.e., Paypal or Stripe)
  2. a custom website that you can use your own domain with
  3. no limits on courses or users or webinars
  4. a strong focus on supporting affiliate marketing of your products

Podia Review: Podia Review

Kartra

While weaker from an online courses standpoint, I view Kartra as a couple of notches above Kajabi when it comes to marketing muscle. Kartra will work best if your focus is on video content – it does not have the level of online course builder, student management, or assessment capabilities that the more course-focused platforms covered here have. But if video is your thing, and you want a ton of marketing muscle, Kartra is hard to beat.

Kartra Review: Kartra Review


New Zenler

Zenler describes itself as “the first ever online course platform built around sales & marketing.” That seems like a bit of a stretch, but it is definitely positioned as an alternative to Kajabi at a significantly lower price point. So, if price is a major consideration, this is definitely one you are going to want to check out.

Zenler Review: Zenler Review

Uscreen

Okay, you may notice that Uscreen is listed twice – here and under Standalone Online Course Platforms above. That’s because I’m hearing reports that a significant number of Kajabi users are migrating to Uscreen.

Chances are, those users are very video focused – and Uscreen definitely outshines Kajabi when it comes to video. Once you’ve got your videos uploaded and configured, you can launch your own branded OTT apps with zero coding skills. Uscreen also enables HD live streaming and provides a range of tools – discussion, avatars, and profiles, commenting – to help you build a community around your videos.

Uscreen Review: Uscreen Review

WordPress for Selling Courses Online

If you are wondering how to create an online course with WordPress – and, of course, sell it – there are plenty of WordPress plug-ins and themes available to help you out. These can be a particularly good option if you want to sell online courses from your own website, though keep in mind that you will need more technical skills if you go this route.

My current top choice for a WordPress learning management system (LMS) is:

1. LearnDash

LearnDash online course platform homepage screenshot
LearnDash course platform homepage – June 2022

LearnDash, in my opinion, is pretty much the gold standard for serious WordPress learning management system (LMS) plug-ins and the recent release of version 3.0 has made it even better. It is a very feature rich platform that was clearly developed by people serious about e-learning (and the founder, Justin Ferriman, does have a long background in e-learning).

Once you’ve have a license, LearnDash offers a range of integrations and add-ons –WooCommerce, bbPress, Stripe, and Zapier, among many others – for free. And there are also a number of premium add-ons – including a connection to the GrassBlade LRS (for you e-learning geeks out there) – that look quite useful.

Overall, this is serious e-learning at a very reasonable price. (BTW – If you are going  to go with LearnDash,  I suggest using it in combo with BuddyBoss to add great membership/community capabilities.)

LearnDash Pricing: starts at $159 for the basic version and tops out at $329 for the Pro version and both come with a 15-day refund. Note: These are one-time, not monthly fees and they represent an insane amount of value for what you get. To continue getting updates and support, there is an annual renewal fee that is half of the initial license fee.

LearnDash Review: LearnDash Review

Other Good WordPress LMS Choices

AccessAlly online course platform homepage screenshot
AccessAlly course platform homepage – March 2022

AccessAlly

The platform really leverages the full capabilities and flexibility of WordPress while also adding in great membership features and a learning management system (LMS) that includes notable features like the ability for students to submit homework assignments and get private feedback. If you don’t want to mess with your own installation of WordPress, it’s the way to go.

AccessAlly Review: AccessAlly Review

LifterLMS

If you want a serious alternative to LearnDash for a WordPress LMS plug-in, LifterLMS is really the only choice, in my opinion. It has the very strong selling point of being free for the base version: you can search for and install it using the usual plug-in screen in WordPress. This means you can easily try out the system within your WordPress site before deciding whether it is right for you. You pay only if you decide to use any of the various add-ons available for the system.

Read our LearnDash vs LifterLMS comparison.

One last note for this section: if you are going to go the WordPress route, be sure to check out 11 Best Web Hosting Services for Creators and Experts.


Marketplace Online Course Platforms

Photo of farmers market for marketplace online course platforms concept

These are online course platforms that, in addition to providing ways to author/assemble courses, also provide an existing marketplace in which to sell courses online.

You may notice that I don’t mention these up above when I highlight my top picks. The reason is that I’m not all that fond of them. These sites tend to turn courses into commodities and drive prices way down. That’s great if you are a learner looking for a course, not so great if you are a creator trying to generate a reasonable level of income from your courses.

Still, they are popular and they do have their place. (More thoughts here on when the marketplace model may be appropriate.)

If you are going to go this route, the top choice is pretty clear:

1. Udemy

Udemy Instructor Sign-Up Page
Udemy instructor sign-up page – June 2022

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 at it.

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 by keeping 50% if it sells your course. If you make the sale, you keep 97% (Udemy takes a 3% transaction fee). Keep in mind that your are currently required to price your courses in $5 increments between $20 and $200 on Udemy (source) – quite restrictive, in my opinion. Even so, ThinkTraffic reports that some some instructors have been having quite a bit of success.

I’m not going to cover other marketplace online course platforms here. Instead, I encourage you to read 10 True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses.


Small Business – B2B Course Platforms

Keyboard Learning Management System (blue key) - online course platforms concept

Most of the best online training platforms listed on this page are geared towards solopreneurs or small, start-up businesses. While they can work for larger businesses, I’ve found over time that more established training and education companies may want to jump up to a different level if they:

  • Sell business-to-business and may need to set up separate portals for each customer.
  • Need to award continuing education credit learners.
  • Already have an extensive catalog of courses built out in SCORM or TinCan-based authoring tools like iSpring, isEazy, Articulate, Captivate, or Lectora.
  • Plan to build out a catalog of courses and don’t want to be “trapped” by using proprietary LMS tools.
  • Need to manage online and classroom-based courses in the same system.
  • Need complex assessment capabilities. (creating questions and answer pools, randomizing questions, ability to analyze the performance of individual questions – i.e., item analysis)

Because many course sellers do have these needs, I decided to create a separate “learning management system for small business” page. You can check that out for a range of options, but I’ll note here that my top pick in this catagory is:

1. TalentLMS

I’ve seen TalentLMS emerge rapidly as one of the more visible brands in the “new breed” LMS market in recent years. The company offers a very full-featured system, including a very high level of brandability and wide range of pre-developed integrations via Zapier. You can sell  your courses individually or via subscription via PayPal or Stripe.  

Perhaps best of all, TalentLMS offers a free option that gives you the ability to kick the tires. After that, the lowest price standard option starts at $39 per month (less with annual payment up front) and the lowest price “unlimited” plan starts at $109 per month (again, less with annual payment up front).

TalentLMS Review: TalentLMS Review

Also, if you happen to represent a trade or professional association, be sure to check out the LMS reviews on ReviewMyLMS.

Next Steps for Choosing the “Best Online Course Platform” (for you)

If you haven’t already, definitely grab the free selection guide for online course platforms. It costs nothing, and it will help you make the right choice faster and smarter.

You may also want to check out the individual reviews of top course platforms that have been published here on Learning Revolution.  This also includes comparisons of online course platforms like Teachable vs Thinkific and New Zenler vs Kajabi and Kajabi vs. Thinkific.

The LMS reviews on ReviewMyLMS are also very helpful as these come from actual users.

As you are considering your options, be sure that you are crystal clear about your learning and business objectives and what type of online course business you are. It really does matter when selecting an online course platform.

Next Steps Once You Have a Course Platform

As you probably realize – having a course platform doesn’t do you a lot of good if you don’t know how to create an online course – just follow the link to get my guidance on how to design an online course.

And then, of course, there is the whole issue of how to launch your online course successfully and continue to market it over time.

Be sure to check out the free Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox. It’s chock full of tools and tips to help edupreneurs with all aspects of creating and growing a successful online course business.

Other Ways to Monetize Your Expertise

Finally, keep in mind that while online courses are very popular right now, they are only one of many ways to help people learn and, in doing that, to monetize your expertise.

I’ve always maintained that you should aim to create a Value Ramp – a portfolio of offerings designed to address the needs of different audience segments at different price points. Here are just a few of the articles you’ll find here on Learning Revolution about different ways to generate income through your expertise-based business:

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions I get asked frequently about online course platforms.

What is the best online course platform?

People often want quick answers around what are the best online course platforms, but there is no single best online courses platform - there is only the best platform for you. To find it, make sure you understand which type of online course business you are and get very clear about your critical business objectives and the types of learning outcomes you aim to help your students achieve. This will help you identify the platform features that are truly most important for you and help you narrow your choices dramatically. The spreadsheet I include with my  free platform selection guide can then help you go through a clear process to make your choice.

How do I create an online course?

Most online course platforms feature tools that you can use to author online courses. These are usually pretty intuitive and make it possible to use a combination of text, images, and videos to create courses. Most also include the ability to add quizzes and tests, discussion forums, and other interactive features.

If you are going to create a large number of courses or if you really need your courses to follow e-learning standards like SCORM, you may want to be careful about using the tools in an online course platform. Most do not follow e-learning standard, and you may find it very hard later to get your courses out of the platform. So, you may want to consider using an online course authoring tool separate from the platform.

Keep in mind, too, that having the tools is only the starting point.  You will need to follow a good process for creating your online course.

ABOUT YOUR HOST

Learning Revolution founder Jeff Cobb is an expert in online education and the business of adult lifelong learning. Over the past 20+ years he has built a thriving career based on that expertise – as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an author, and a speaker. Learning Revolution is a place where Jeff curates tips, insights, and resources to help you build a thriving expertise-based business. Learn more about Jeff Cobb here.

241 thoughts on “The Very Best Online Course Platforms Right Now”

  1. Have you looked at Xperiencify for building courses? It’s not an all-in-one platform (yet), but it sure has way more features for a gamified, experiential learning experience for the customer. I am building my course on it, and love the responsiveness of the tech team on their Facebook group. Very responsive to input and suggestions as they continue to add new features left and right. Highly recommend it!

  2. Hello Maureen,
    I have taken the free plan at Thinkific. Very recently published my course – Nov 2021.
    wingsofcreativity-rozario.thinkific.com
    I am all set to market my course. The support I received from Thinkific team is fantastic. Surely will take the paid plan once I start seeing small results.

    -Patric Rozario

  3. Hey Jeff! This is a great list, thank you!

    I would love to introduce you to our Teachfloor platform (teachfloor.com/). It’s an LMS for cohort-based courses in order to create, manage and monetize an online live academy effortlessly.

  4. Thanks Jeff for this list but what’s up with Skillshare? I just can’t seem to get my courses approved there. They always reply back saying I am putting promotional content inside them even though all I’m mentioning is my line of work. Anyone else having the same issue?

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Kush. I haven’t heard of anyone else having problems, but if anyone reading this has, please comment and share.

      1. Thanks Jeff for the article. Very useful it is. I am new to online teaching. The experience I have learned is just awesome at Thinkific. The other platform one should try is
        graphy.com
        This is largely for the Indian Subcontinent market – which is mega huge.

  5. Anthony Ferrara

    Thanks for this detailed and well-written review of popular LMS platforms. I have used LearnDash before but now I have switched to another great one, which I will like to recommend in addition to your list – Tutor LMS by Themeum.

  6. GrassBlade xAPI Companion integrates with LearnDash as well as LifterLMS, LearnPress, and WP Courseware too. It is really an awesome plugin that you do some awesome things on WordPress. I’m a longtime user and support is super helpful.

    It allows you to track add xAPI, cmi5, SCORM content support as well as Video Tracking support too.

  7. Have you checked out Udutu? (udutu.com) I have been on and off their site over the years and I like their workflow and they have lots of free storage and use. You can even build your training on their platform and export it all for free (SCORM and other options); they hope to have your business by helping you so much you will use them as the LMS hosting platform.

    1. We’ve had Udutu listed on the Course Creation Tools page for a long time. The focus on this page is platform for selling courses and I think Udutu is a little weak in that are – i.e., it lacks goor catalog/e-commerce/promotion feature.

  8. DEEPAK KUMAR SINGH

    Hi,
    You can also try prodicallearning.com platform if you want to create and sell courses with your branded name at very affordable price.
    Thanks

  9. Hey! Just thought I would leave a note about my experience… I’m creating my first online course and decided to try the first 2 you recommended: Thinkific and Learnworlds and I have to say Learnworlds dashboard is horrible! Thinkific is much more intuitive and attractive. Just thought I would throw that in and save someone else the time.
    Great article btw

    1. A reasonable question. I think I did have then in there years ago, but can’t remember now why I removed them. I think it was because, when I polled readers, no one seemed to be using them or have much to say about them. Will review and possibly re-list.

  10. I love reading your article and I hope that I will read some more about this stuff, it’s really informative and very entertaining. Recently I tried expertlearn.com and I had a good results.

  11. Thanks for sharing this list with us, I have introduced a platform where you can create your own online Learning Management System where you can create and sell online courses and many more that help you to manage your online Learning or eLearning

  12. Hi Jeff,

    Selling online courses as I understand it could be about how a professional training business like say the guys who bring you GTD (VitalSmarts) required a “customer” training LMS to scale the business of learning. They use the Thought Industries platform, which is similar to others like Skilljar, LearnUpon or Docebo? I’m sure each has their areas of expertise, benefits, etc. But curious if there is value in expanding on this post with a quick write up about how platforms like Thought Industries help sell online courses as well? Thank you for your consideration.
    Best,
    Alex

  13. Bruno Serratrice

    You didn’t mention learnpress that is the only wordpress plug in that allow to create a marketplace like udemy for free…

    1. Hi Bruno, very interesting,
      I am busy setting up a LearnPress site and would like for small local colleges/clients to create their own branded section with pre-loaded courses that they can choose from or load their own to sell, similar to Thinkific with a bonus of pre-loaded courses. I have a multivendor site where clients can create their own e-commerce shop and would like to have the same for e-learning. Is this really possible with learnPress and if yes do you know of any documentation/guides on how to set it up?

      I would really appreciate your input

  14. I have a WIX site, how would I find information on building a course on a site I already have? …with full control and selling through the WIX site.

    Thank you!

    1. I don’t have a great answer for you on that one. You can sell some video content on Wix, but it really just isn’t made for creating courses. You’d be better off using one of the platforms here and linking out to it.

    1. I’m a fan of Thrive, in general, but have not yet managed to review Apprentice. I expect to be able to publish a review by end of this year or January 2020 at latest.

  15. Hi, Jeff! Thank U for this great selection. I’m looking for a platform that supports online courses, memberships, and at least 2 languages (English + French). Can U help?

  16. Thanks for this valuable content.

    I’m looking for a platform that performs all-in (as Udemy) , and supports courses in other languages than English.

    I’ve designed a course in Arabic and it’s up to recording now. I need a guidance for a better choice, As Selling and Marketing isn’t my preferred area.

  17. Hi Jeff, thanks for the article. 2 questions for you. Where does Kartra fit in here? I’m social media based craft business looking for a landing spot to direct customers to video tutorials for purchase. I cannot tell what is right for me. I would only be selling 1 large/master course that i would like to have broken down into several chapters. Possibly some subsequent courses as advanced learning to the original mastercourse. I just want them protected and not shared. I like the idea of a login, or a landing page to collect the email but not entirely necessary. I could do the payment processing and send customers a link or have the platform collect the payment- not really particular just a bit lost. Really small business, small budget.

    1. Hi, Ali – Kartra will enable you to sell digital products, and assuming you are using mainly just video, that can include online courses. So, it may work just fine for your needs. It is not really really a full-featured course platform, though. Kartra itself doesn’t list “online course platform” as one of the platforms and services it replaces. Again, that may not matter if you don’t really care about things like tracking course progress, incorporating quizzes and test, awarding credit and certificates, etc.

  18. This list is not comprehensive and needs to be updated. Vonza is the best all-in-one platform in 2019. I have used several others and didnt like it. With Vonza you can Easily Create A Profitable Online Business.
    Vonza is an all-in-one platform to create and sell online courses, products, build funnels, design a beautiful website without needing 20 different apps and spending thousands of dollars. Try it out at vonza.com

    1. Thanks, Uyi – It’s not meant to be comprehensive (it’s purposely selective based on my experience and expertise, both of which are extensive) and I update it regularly. Will take a closer look at Vonza. – Jeff

  19. Hey Jeff!

    Thanks so much for putting this incredible guide together! Have you also heard of Virtually (vrtlly.me/build)?

    It’s the only online courses platform that I’m familiar with that takes place live and requires minimal effort to put together. All the video editing and PDF creation is done on your behalf.

    1. Thanks, Bill – I was not aware of that one, so thanks for alerting me. Seems like there is a new platform every day at this point!

  20. Christie Ramsey

    I teach for a large, well known (ahem, orange) online company. Many of my most advanced students (who will run out of content soon) need other options. I do not need to market and attract large numbers of students as I teach 70-90 classes weekly; I simply want to supplement and further their skills (I have three classes to offer that parents and students both ask about regularly) as they progress out of the current curricula. As they are all in China, could you possibly narrow down which of these options will work there? If by chance I can grow my own business, that would be fine, but it is not currently my short-term goal. The option to expand is certainly one I want to keep available as a possible long-term goal. TIA. 🙂

    1. Christie – “which of these options will work there” depends on what you are looking for. Do you mean that all the content will need to be in Mandarin?

  21. Hi Jeff,
    Thanks for this article. Have you ever stumbled upon a platform that combines physical and digital sales? We have a course made up of digital videos and a physical book. (For reasons I won’t go into here, the book cannot be digitized and needs to remain physical.) Currently, we provide it only through our wordpress site, which requires us to manually fulfill each order through KDP (the same POD provider used by Amazon) and then grant member-only access to the videos, streamed via Vimeo. Currently low-volume sales, but I’d still love to find a solution that packages both for me.

    1. Chris – There are higher end platforms that would do this. On the lower end, though, WooCommerce would be able to handle this. Since you are using WordPress already, you may want to consider using a WordPress LMS plugin like LearnDash in combination with WooCommerce.

      If others reading here use or offer another solution that would help Chris, please comment.

      – Jeff

  22. Hey Jeff!

    I’ve looked through this list twice and it is absolutely brilliant. It is up-to-date and listed according to its type. I’d love to see you include Plantoost, it is worth a look!

  23. Nice, Article and list. In 2019 USA based startup, Simpliv – simpliv.com is best online teaching and learning platform. It will provide all courses over the world. Compare to other platforms Simpliv is the best at any kind like courses quality, customer support, mainly Price and other areas as well.

  24. Jacqueline Litvak

    How does TalentLMS.com measure up to these systems? What is the difference? I work for a mid-size company that wants to start a certification program. We already have a web presence and a marketing group.

    Thanks!

      1. Hey Jeff, thanks for the great article.

        If I want to run everything in one ( to simplify things) and less integration. Say creating a course and then having to integrate it into my website to sell or have students use.

        I assume the all in one platform would be most useful? If so, Which all in one platform would you suggest? Where one can have a website, charge memberships , email and etc ?

        My courses are generally youth education based- in 3 different categories. I’ve done some research(will do more) but curious to know what you would do if you were in that position.

        1. Hi, Arthur – Yes, all in one would be best for this. My top pick in this area is Kajabi, but I’d also suggest taking a close look at Podia.

    1. Don – None of these are Webinar/virtual meeting platforms, which is what you would need to do what you describe. The exception is Ruzuku, which does have those abilities built in. The rest integrate with common platforms like Zoom and GoToWebinar.

  25. I’ve gone around and around 1st deciding on 3rd party .. then build my own with wp/ LMS and back AGAIN. I really prefer a 3rd party all-in-one solution.. as I am just starting out and it’s just “me” The biggest challenge that I have found is the SEO I am not sure how that works without an independent wp site or how it works with a website you build inside a 3rd party. it seems to be the big elephant in the room that no one wants to talks about. Thanks, Alix

    1. Alix – Once you go outside of a true Web site CMS like WordPress, you are bound to loose a certain amount of control over SEO. WordPress, in particular, is just really strong at that. So, you can either stay with WordPress for your main Web site and link out to a separate course platform. Most of the big ones are going top allow you to style your course site to closely reflect the branding of your main Web site, and some – like Thinkific – have some good widget tools that makes it easier to drop code into your Web site for linking out (not rocket science, but still handy).

      Another option is a platform like Academy of Mine, which is built on WordPress and, as a result, retains most of its strong SEO capabilities.

      Finally, platforms like LearnDash and LifterLMS enable you to plug the LMS capabilities right into WordPress. There are trade-offs on all of these, of course. It most depends on the degree of control you want (first option has the least, third option the most – Academy of Mine is a nice middle position).

  26. Just to put cost in some context, when I designed and built one of the very first eLearning platforms for Sun Microsystems in 1996 to train my sales force, I had to hire 23 web page creators and instructional designers to build my site. Sixty hours of on-line training cost me $1.34 million dollars. Of course, at that time, no alternatives existed and Saba, Blackboard and Moodle all came by to see SunTAN (Sun Training Access Network) to see my learner-centric model. I used Java to create custom pages on the fly depending on the audience (salespeople want just the basics and sales engineers wanted everything possible). But within 2 years I was able to show the CEO a >125% ROI (increased sales and getting them trained faster than in the classroom) and I never had any problem keeping my content updated from that point on when execs understood eLearning’s importance. Of course we didn’t call it eLearning then, Cisco’s John Chambers coined that word a year later. Today I am using LearnDash to create a site for my 4000-person active senior community and the cost will be more like $15,000.

  27. Is there a program listed in which you can assign minimum time that the student needs to remain in the course? I provide training that requires the student to complete a minimum amount of hours so I needed training in which the student cannot move to the next section until a certain amount of time has passed.

  28. Thanks for providing resources, Jeff! I just wanted to provide an additional source for people who, once they find the right source for them, can get some tips on actually making the course. I just found it while googling, same way I found this one 🙂
    freelancermap.com/freelancer-tips/12434-create-course-sell-freelance-knowledge
    Not gonna lie, I had no idea there was so much money in course creation! This is something I’m definitely looking at working on in the future when I can finally have time for personal projects.

  29. Is an LMS like “Adobe Captivate Prime” designed and meant to sell online courses? If the answer is “no” (which it seems so), why such LMS is not designed to sell online courses?

    1. Bibhash – The main distinction between Prime and the types of systems listed here is that Prime does not have built in capabilities for e-commerce and marketing. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it for selling courses, it just isn’t really set up to do that out of the box. You would need to integrate it with an external e-commerce system at a minimum.

  30. Hi Jeff,
    Very interesting article! I still have a question bugging me though: in your research were you also able to identify if there is any platform that allows to sell courses where the instructor is different than the account owner? I would like to set up a little business where I instruct the Instructors, shoot the course, direct and produce the videoclips, follow any marketing activity around the course. Then, I would get right to use and eploitat the results from them, sharing revenue with them. In this model, I would need to be the Owner-Administrator of the accounts on the platform. I’ve checked Teachable and there seems to be some limit in doing so, in how they define the “instructors”. Any indication from you ? Thanks in advance. Marco.

    1. Marco – At least based on the way you explain it here, Teachable (or Thinkific) should be able to handle that. Can you provide more detail on how it is falling short?

  31. Jeff, thank you for the summary! One question: which platforms do you recommend that allow students to upload completed assignments (content such as docs, scans, photos,…) so they are accessible for review to me as well as accessible to the student? Thank you

    1. Florian – For that type of interaction, you are probably going to best off going with an academically oriented platform like Moodle – to which you could add one of the e-commerce plug-ins I cover in the post.

  32. Hey Jeff.
    Amazing post, and pretty useful list for online course creators. Also appreciate the time and effort you put into making people’s lives easier and answering everyone’s comments around here.

    Passing by, I wanted to drop here another platform that fits the all-in-one category. It’s kyvio.com and it’s the perfect match for people with a low budget and high expectations. I would highly appreciate it if you could review and maybe add it to your list.

    Cheers

  33. Liam Dalriada

    Several of these tout the ‘marketing’ background of the founder of the website. But then the platform requires YOU (the teacher) to do the marketing of your course. It seems what they are ‘marketing’ is the platform, which is absolutely worthless to me: I’m a teacher, not a salesman. I don’t have a “web presence”; I don’t have a ‘following’; I have content knowledge and an ability to teach. It would seem that the best venue for someone like me would be one that relieved me of the responsibility and need to do something I can’t do (market/sell).

    1. Liam – These are technology platforms, plain and simple. If you want something that is going to help (at least some) with marketing, then go with Udemy or a similar platform. Even on those platforms, though, you are going to have to put some effort into marketing if you expect to make any real money. Basically, you have two choices: hire or contract with someone to do marketing for you or learn to do it yourself. If you aren’t willing to do one or the other, then you either need to go to work for someone who is, or just accept that being in the course business is not for you.

  34. One of the most exciting developments in the tech world is the number of people who are learning to write code. Simpliv allows students to select their goal/learning objective and then recommends the proper course for that student.
    Simpliv works because it makes coding accessible to any interested student, provides practical recommendations for students who want to learn how to code but doesn’t understand how these new skills might apply to their current job.

  35. I too like many of you am overwhelmed. I have course almost ready to go with supplemental materials (pdf worksheets, audio, short video) has anyone tried Course Craft? I am finding Thinkific a bit complex when trying to choose a theme.I have a website but am not sure how to implement it with the platform. I’m also considering DailyOm since it is of a spiritual/self-help nature. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  36. Alice Williams

    thank you for sharing such a wonderful information on online courses. IgmGuru is also an online training platforms that offers various courses. You may check their website at igmguru.com

  37. Hi, Jeff, informative review! What do you think about bitdegree.org? They came with the revolutionary idea, where online education is going to be based on blockchain technology – interactive-gamified courses experience, sponsored courses – token utilized to reward students by achievement tracking. BitDegree have cut a fine figure in the ICO, where attracted lots of token holders attention. For a limited time they are offering free lessons, and there’s a demand for teachers who can present a proper content.

    1. I haven’t checked this out yet, Mike, but thanks for mentioning it. I think block chain could have a very natural role to play in certification/credentialing paths – a possibility no one in that industry seems to have tuned into yet.

  38. Dainis Graveris

    I also started with Teachable and eventually got into the dilemma of picking between Thinkific vs Teachable.

    There are so many options available – am I the only one getting overwhelmed?
    Still there must be a reason why Thinkific vs Teachable keyword is being searched on Google 800 TIMES every month.

    These two are heavyweights and I would say in 90% of cases these options will be far better than all the small solutions.

    The thing is there is NO BEST online course platform – everything depends on your specific case! And that’s why a lot of people I see in comments have questions.

    But please just pick between Thinkific or Teachable and in most cases you’ll be better off in Long Term. Long term solution is what matters.

    I have been involved in online course market for years, I would love to help others get unstuck, as I remember how confusing it was when i started.

    Just ask, and if curious check out the website by clicking on my name (all site has been dedicated to helping you pick the best Online Course Platform).

    Hope that helps!

    1. Dainis – Thanks for commenting. I agree – mostly. Aspiring course entrepreneurs tend to put WAY too much emphasis on the technology. In most cases, simply getting on with it and going with a major, established platform like Teachable or Thinkific is the right move. Still, there can be reasons for going with other options. I get e-mails from people every day asking for advice on platforms, and I am struck by the number of times that they have specific needs for which Teachable or Thinkific are really not the right fit. It pays, I think, to take just a bit of time to think it through, apply a reasonable process, and arrive at a choice you feel confident about (which is the point of my free platform selection guide).

      1. Dainis Graveris

        Yeah, true..I also come by cases – where people just have one specific unique need, which you could never imagine..Like translating course platform to Latvian language…

        It’s super specific, though still surprised that you found a LOT of cases where these two options are not a good fit.

        Can you make one common example, Jeff – please?

        1. A LOT may be over stating it, but an easy example is just around issuing and managing continuing education credit – i.e., if you want to associated a certain amount of credit with a course and then award that amount of credit upon successful completion of the course. Neither of these platforms handle that.

  39. Hi Jeff: Great article. Do you offer consultation? I’d like to share our course requirements and would like your recommendation of the best product. Thanks so much.

  40. Hi Jeff and everyone!
    I am developing learning materials directed to patient education (ie drugs side effects, appropriate use etc). So, I expect a high heterogeneity of learning materials and many learners who will likely pick very different course choices. Course bundles would apply, such as “diabetes learning bundle” or “breast cancer learning bundle” etc, but also with a huge variety.
    The question is: in your opinion, would any of the platforms or plugins be better than others for such purpose?
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Jonathan Turkle

      Hi Alice. Have you considered LMScheckout? I usually don’t use these forums to self-promote, but I came across this post, and I noticed that we provide the same service you are asking for to several organizations that are marketing to similar types audiences with varying learning interests. We have an anesthesiologist selling certification for nurses though LMscheckout and many other organizations who want to create customer specific training to a wide variety of users. We use a similar concept to course bundling and have a means to promote recommended and related course through your custom e-commerce site. If you are interested, we are running a series of webinars to introduce our e-commerce solutions for selling and marketing courses online.

  41. Kathie-Jo Arnoff

    Hi, Jacqueline and Jeff,

    Thanks for sharing your comment about LearnWorlds and similar tools. We were planning to use a full-blown LMS (quite costly) to deliver courses for professional development. Per your suggestion, I checked out LearnWorlds and was quite impressed. Do you have any updates on how it’s going? Have you used the drip marketing? –Kathie-Jo

  42. Great…
    Looking for fitness/gym video online course platform with socialising.
    Looking into Uscreen and Muvi… but I might be wrong.
    Any thoughts/directions on this please?
    Thanks

    1. Hey Jose,
      You may consider SubscribeStar.com as a standalone platform for your subscription-based (or donation based) courses business. We have transparent pricing, flexible business flow, customizable page layout and friendly staff. Please, drop me a line and I will help you with anything in regard to your online course platform.

  43. Hi thanks for the very useful post. The big issue we are having is to reduce password sharing. None of the LMS’s seem to address this adequately. Are you aware of any that have in built 2FA or forced social login with Facebook. It may not stop it completely but would definitely reduce the amount of password sharing and loss of revenue. Thanks Ivar

  44. Tom @ We Create Online Courses

    This is an amazing resource. We’ve actually been researching all the different platforms ourselves since we create online courses for clients. Great starting point although we did locate some other ones. LearnUpon and lightspeed for example. One is more an enterprise model and the other used by some celebrities. For now we’ve stuck with teachable but time will tell.
    wecreateonlinecourses.com

  45. Thanks or sharing your experience, Jacqueline. I am sure other readers here will find it helpful. I will note, though, that in my experience whether the learning is “recreational” or not has a lot more to do with the instructional quality of the content and how the platform is used than the platform itself (or the topic). And, the amount of support that individual course producers get, even from the same platform company, can vary pretty widely. Just additional points for readers here to keep in mind.

  46. Jody, our agency just completed a client project that used a similar plugin:

    flyplugins.com/wp-courseware/

    I wasn’t the lead on that project, but the developer who was evaluated several of the WordPress LMS options and it came down to LearnDash and WP Courseware. I believe the pricing model may be similar though. You may want to contact them.

  47. Hi, Jeff. I just wanted to say thanks for this post. I want to create my first online program with videos and power point presentations and PDF files. I’m doing my research now and found your post. It is by far the most helpful one I have read! Thank you so much!

  48. Hi Jeff,
    Good comprehensive list, and hats off for your effort.

    I want to create a technical course ( having mostly PPTs and screen-cast videos).
    I thought of creating the same in Udemy because they will market the courses.

    Do other sites do market sellers content? Or Is it seller to market by themselves?

    Thanks
    siva

  49. Hi Jeff,
    Your Learning Revolution is so informative. Thank you. I’m wanting to create a website for Enrolled Agents to earn their annual CPE credits. The material is going to be a self-study course using a downloaded written course to their computer. After they have studied the material, they go back to my website and take a test, it they pass with 70% I submit the credits to the IRS and then I send the student a certificate of completion that they can download and keep in their file. The students need 72 credits every 3 years so the site needs to keep their information so when they come back and open their profile the completed courses with be there. I will also need for the site to accept credit card payments and be able for the student to go online and take a test and receive an instant percentage grade so they will know if they need to take the test again something like “congratulations, you passed’! There will not be any videos or webinars and anything live just a list of all the courses available, a cart for them to pay and a student profile for the course to be downloaded to their computer. (they can study off-line that way) What do I need to buy to get this started? I’m so excited about doing this and your site it so informative I’m so glad to have met you. Please let me know when you get a chance, Thank you again, Take care, Linda.

    1. Hi Linda – What you describe will require a more sophisticated solution than anything covered in this post. I will e-mail you to discuss.

  50. Hi Jeff
    Thank you for a comprehensive post. There is so much choice out there, the more you read the more confusing things become. I am hoping you can simplfy and point me in the right direction.
    I am setting up an education website, where I will primarily sell recorded webinars. I have a wordpress site and purchased webinar ignition (WI) under the assumption that I could record webinars and offer them through WI. I have just found out that this isn’t the case. So now I am looking for software that I can integrate into my website and allow me to sell recorded webinars multiple times to different people. I hope this information makes send! Could you tell me the top 3 platforms you would recommend.
    Thank you.

    1. Lisa – A recorded Webinar is just a video and pretty much all of the platforms listed here will enable you to set up a video as a course and selling as many times as you want to whoever you want. Just to help you narrow the choices, I would recommend starting with Teachable or Thinkific (both listed above)

  51. Ugh! Still confused as ever…I’m not sure if I need a website, a platform, or both. I’m very leery of the “simple drag/drop features”, etc. as they always seem to be anything but easy unless you’re tech savvy. I have books to sell, as well. I also teach LIVE seminars. I’m basically needing to offer online classes to companies so they can have their employees watch them, and I simply charge the employer either a flat fee or a per-employee fee. They also will want some type of monthly or weekly “tip” that can be sent as a video, email or possibly text. Any other suggestions you might have? Thank you!

  52. The fees quoted for LearnDash are not a once-only fee – they are for a one-year subscription. Renewable price = half the original price.

    1. Barbara – Thanks for noting that. Note, also, that you don’t actually lose use of the software if you don’t review – you just don’t get upgrades and support. In any event, I’ve updated the entry to reflect this.

  53. I work with a non-profit arts and crafts group. We want to create courses for our members. We have multiple instructors who will create the content, but our group will actually present the courses. All of these platforms seem to be focused on a direct relationship between course and instructor. I need something that will allow (for lack of a better term) a middle-man to manage the process. All the classes are pre-build, on-demand. Some might have a weekly live broadcast. All courses are 4-6 lessons, and are presented over the course of a month.

    1. Bob – I would nee to know a bit more about the content and process you have in mind – i.e., when you say “create,” would the instructors be providing finished course pages, or just documents/slides that you would convert into course pages. Does there need to be any sort of approval/review process?

  54. I have read all of the posts but continue to have questions regarding my desire to create training modules, with testing and online completion for businesses. I want to sell customized courses to businesses, perferbaly small businesses. My idea is to find their training needs and create the module based on their business. What type of platform, and what LMS should I purchase that allows me to create the course and then allow my client to purchase and/or use it for their access. I am assuming it will need to be cloud based. I am a retired technology and business instructor and looking to fulfill my creative outlet and make some extra money if possible. I have used educational platforms but not the current offerings that are overwhelming me when trying to make this decision. I want to be sure I am not overlooking valuable information. Any suggestions? Thanks and great posts and information!

    1. Marjory – I can’t really answer this without more information. Any of the platforms here could, in theory, do what you describe. It will depend on how you need the purchase and access to happen. Will the clients always come to your site, for example, or do some need to be able to run the courses on their own platforms? Do you want to provide clients with their own, branded entrance into purchasing your courses? How much control do you want to provide clients for enrolling and managing their own learners? If you need to jump up to any of the more sophisticated scenarios suggested here, consider the platforms listed in this post: https://www.learningrevolution.net/learning-management-system-for-small-business/

  55. Hi nice job with this comprehensive write-up,
    I tried still cannot really figure the difference between LMS and authoring tools.
    Is authoring tool a part of an LMS ?
    I actually thought authoring tools are just platforms used to link texts, pictures, videos and audios to form a flow in a presentation… so not so sure how that was independently used for elearning in the past

    Thanks very much
    F.Mike

    1. Mike – Good question. This has become a somewhat confusing area as more and more LMSes have added/improved their authoring capabilities. In the “old days” an LMS was mostly just a database that handled enrolling learners into courses, presenting a “menu” to enable them to launch/access the courses, and tracking their progress through the course based on communication between the course and the LMS. Eventually, though, LMSes started including tools to do just what you describe – i.e., link texts, pictures, video, etc together into a flow. The main issue with this is that every LMS does it a bit different, So, if you build your courses in the LMS, you will almost certainly have to re-build them when you move to a new LMS. Authoring tools are LMS-independent. You build your course in the authoring tool and then can import it into any LMS. There are standards that have been developed to support this – SCORM being the main one historically. For some additional info on all of this see:

      https://www.learningrevolution.net/move-my-online-course/
      https://www.learningrevolution.net/does-scorm-matter-selling-online-courses/

      I also discuss authoring tools more at:
      https://www.learningrevolution.net/tools/create-an-online-course/

  56. Am I able to use any one of these platforms to:
    Sell courses AND individual lessons?

    IE. 50 videos…
    50$ for entire course. 1$ Per video lesson.

  57. Oliver Pascual

    Hi Jeff,
    I was looking for some useful Online Courses online and suddenly found your post. You have shared very useful information about the online course platforms which will surely make the process of choosing easier for everyone.

    Each platform is described in detail and I also appreciate that you’ve encouraged everyone to share their online platforms at your blog post. This way, people looking for online training can get an excellent and wide selection of the latest platforms that provide online courses. Also, big thanks for keeping this useful list updated.

    Here, I want to share a platform which provides useful business, computer, safety, banking, management, leadership and several other useful courses.

    The link for the website is knowledgecity.com

    Hope you check it out!

  58. Lindsey Mercer

    This is a wonder post and has truly crystallized everything for me. I will be creating some video based courses and just need a “no frills” platform that enables me to enter this territory without breaking the bank. I was originally thinking of setting up everything through WordPress but am now gravitating towards Thinkific. My question is this…
    Let’s say I start with Thinkific but a year from now ultimately decide to shift over to another platform like WordPress / Learndash or Kajabi. What are the potential risks and repercussions of doing this? Is it not that big of a deal or is it not advisable? My thoughts are this. As long as you can export the customer list from the old system (with their passwords) and then import it into the new system you are fine. But I am not sure if most systems support this. Any input is appreciated.

    1. Lindsey – I actually just published a post related to your question: https://www.learningrevolution.net/move-my-online-course/

      Really, it comes down to the nature of your content and how much you rely on the tools contained within any specific platform to create your courses. If you rely on those tools heavily, then you will have to redo quite a bit when you go to a new platform. Maybe not a big deal if you don’t have a lot of courses and the courses you have aren’t all that large. But it could be a big deal if that is not the case.

      As far as dat goes, with most platforms you will be able to export the names and e-mail addresses of your customers, but there is a very good chance you would not be able to simply export passwords and import them into your new system. This would require a more complex level of migration (unless you have the tech skills) will probably require some help. That said, it is often possible to import the names and e-mails and then have people reset their passwords to simply establish a new password in the new system.

  59. Re: All-in-one platforms
    (eg Rainmaker, Academy Mine…)

    After taking a subscription of any type of these platforms – what will happen to the website, domain and contents upon cancellation? Are they easily transferable?

    E.g. because I’ve learnt to make my own website and features and can do so without paying expensive subscription fees? Or I find cheaper prices else where?

    Thanks

    1. Ally – The domain remains in your control always. You would just point it to your new site. Content is a bigger question. The ones that are WordPress-based would technically have an export functionality for all of the content and you should be able to get a copy of the database – all of which would you allow to set most if it back up in another WordPress installation. But there is definitely a lot of devil in the details – so, be sure to ask about this up front and make sure you feel confident you will be able to get your content out in a usable form. (Keep in mind that, when you build courses in a proprietary delivery platform, as opposed to in a separate authoring tool, you are almost always going to have to do some re-constructing when you switch to a new site.)

  60. Terry Jarrell

    Very glad to have found this post! I am an Apple consultant and instructor for legal professionals and I teach tech courses for which the students/viewers receive CLE credits for completing. My courses are pre-recorded videos, 1 – 4 hours in length and ready to upload. I have been scouring around trying to find a good platform that can do a few things I need:

    1: Collect payment at registration
    2: Provide on-demand viewing 24/7
    3: Confirm the course was completed prior to delivering a closing email or certificate with accreditation number
    4: Integrate with my existing website (optional but desired)

    Does anyone know of anything that might be a good fit? I have sold on Udemy before for consumer level, non-credentialed courses and I have been tinkering with Thinkific which I like very much, but they do no limit the ability for the viewer to simply skip to the end of the video as pretend they completed it. Otherwise, Thinkific might be ideal but without that sort of control over content consumption, it’s a deal breaker for me.

  61. I wanted to set up all our courses with Academy Mine a couple of years ago. We have one large 12 part course and 15 smaller (4 part) courses and over 200 students. I paid someone else to set it all up and learn how to use it as I just didnt have the time myself. It took 6 months of paying this person a wage of $500 per week (around 2 grand a month) and around $200 a month for the platform. Six months and over $13,000 spent setting it up , on the day we launched the whole platform crashed as it turned out out courses and resources were just too big. Now I use online classrooms I create myself using web pages and downloadable PDF content. Students email their course work submissions to me. It works and costs nothing but I often wish for a more streamlined way to complete assessments.

  62. Hi, looking for advice on which site to list a Personal Development course – we sell the course via our website and its all set up and ready to go so we don’t need Course Creation tools like quite a few of the sites seem to want you to use. So we are looking for new places to sell our ready made course online to gain a wider audience and sales. Any recommendations and wise words for us?

    Many thanks in advance!

    K

    1. Kay – I don’t know of any place where you can simply list a course that is for sale, and I’m not sure how effective that would actually be. It sounds like what you really need are good ways to drive traffic to a sales page for your course on your Web site. The best way, by far, is through your own e-mail list. To the extent that you don’t have that, or in addition to that, consider the suggestions at https://www.learningrevolution.net/best-way-to-market-online-courses/ as well as https://www.learningrevolution.net/build-an-audience-for-selling-courses/

  63. Thanks for chiming in with the update info – Udemy changes often enough that it can be hard to keep up. The post has been updated to reflect this info.

  64. I am brand new to this. I did not even know there were such platforms. I have looked at some of the reviews here, but no idea which to try. There are a lot of them. The one that jumped out at me is called Teachable. mainly because of their pricing structure. Since I am just starting out, I have no idea how many classes I might sell, so I cant afford to pay a monthly and they just take a percentage of my sells. What I am looking for though are suggestions and recommendations. I dont want to invest lots of time and money into developing classes on Teachable, if its not a good platform.

    1. Phillip – Hopefully some other will chime in hear with their comments. Teachable is certainly a solid platform, and I have had a number of readers give it good reviews – though some have also commented that the level of service/support could be better. In any event, I don’t think there is any doubt that they are in it for the long haul. What it really comes down to is whether they have everything you feel you really need to support both your learning and business model. If it appears they do, I’d say go for it.

  65. Thanks for this great list, and keeping it updated as well. Would you say there are any platforms better suited than others for offering courses about professional skills development?

    1. Not really – it depends on the nature of the material, the learning objectives, and the audience. In theory, any of the platforms listed here could support professional skills development.

  66. I’ve been using withcoach.com for several months now and really loving it. I tried other platforms first, but theirs is easier to use.

    1. I am checking out withcoach as well. It is the brainchild of a couple of Canadians, and all other features being equal (or better), I’d like to keep my support with my fellow Canucks.

  67. How about Alison, anybody had an experience with this company? I see they offer free courses but make some profit from the certificates

  68. Hi, thanks, this is very helpful! One question: Here in Holland people use IDEAL instead of Paypal to make payments online. Do you have any suggestions on high quality e-learningsoftware that has IDEAL payments integrated?

    1. Abey – I don’t know of any offhand – just not something I really track. Hopefully someone else here will have some input, though.

  69. I’m just going to throw my two cents in here after seeing so much negative stuff about Udemy. While I understand the criticism related to such aspects of the platform as controlling user data and communications with students as well as some difficulties with the review process, I have had an excellent experience with them. The bottom line is, Udemy courses sell. For those of us who don’t like to do a lot of marketing or aren’t very good at it, Udemy has a huge user base and very effective marketing.

    I have tried other platforms with mixed success, but once you get their system down, which I think isn’t too complicated, you can create a good course and get it approved pretty quickly. They just have some specific requirements for your video files that they use to manage quality and standardize the service bit. I think that’s reasonable. At any rate, I just wanted to say that I have 19 courses on Udemy, with one more in the works right now, and I make more money on there per course than any other platform that I have tried BY FAR.

    1. Oh, and also I have recently discovered two newer marketplaces similar to Udemy that market the courses for you and do a profit share: CyberU, and On-Ed. I am in the process of testing them, I will return to the thread to let you know my experience.

  70. Vincent Mateljan

    Completely agree – I’ve heard many stories about people using Moodle and then finding that they either don’t have the time/expertise to configure things themselves, or don’t have the budget to engage a consulting firm to do it for them. Out of the box solutions are much better for small businesses as they can get started easily themselves at a relatively low pricepoint.

  71. Your blog was really helpful 🙂 Online Learning is much easy and it saves a lot of time, well you can study as well as do other things
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  72. I used Teachble to build my first school where I presently have ten courses available with ten more yet to upload. However, while I do like the way that their software makes my school look, it was pretty steep learning curve to figure out how to use it to create a school and courses since their website is not at all intuitive. In addition, I found numerous small annoyances with their software which made the process more cumbersome.

    But, the main problem with Teachable is that their advertising leads you to believe that all you have to do is build the school and students will flock to sign up! However, nothing could possibly be further from the truth!!! Fortunately, I have over twenty-five years of retail experience and thus, I knew that going in.

    However, while they do provide some learning resources with their blog and their free webinars, they do not have single resource that provides you with a complete step-by-step process for marketing your courses. Also, they fail to make it clear that marketing an online course is very different from marketing a standard web site. Thus, I had to spend numerous hours on YouTube watching instructional videos to discover that, unlike a standard web site where you build, and then publish, the site and then vie with competitors for top ranking on Google and Bing, you instead have to build a permission based e-mail list to market to. But, they also fail to provide you with the resources to accomplish that task and thus, you have to turn to other service providers such as Mail Chimp and Timer Monkey to launch an e-mail marketing campaign. Plus, while they do have some resources on building an e-mail list, it is woefully inadequate and far less than clear.

    In addition, on the few occasions I have contacted their customer service for clarification, I have gotten a couple of good answers from one technician and half-assed answers from others. For instance, I read an article on their blog about how to implement an evergreen e-mail sequence but, it was poorly written and left out quite a bit of pertinent information. But, when I contacted their customer service to ask for clarification, they had no idea what I was talking about and repeatedly gave me half-assed answers to my questions! Thus, I had to turn to a video on YouTube to learn how to implement an evergreen e-mail marketing sequence.

    But, what has really set me off is that when I first signed up with them, they sent me e-mails on a regular basis but, suddenly stopped doing so. Then, the other day, I got a pop up window at the bottom of my screen informing me that their Teachable Summit was starting right then! So, I followed the link and signed up for their summit. But, not only did not receive notice of the impending summit via e-mail, I did not receive a confirmation e-mail that I had signed up for the summit! Thus, I contacted their customer service again to ask why I received neither notice of the summit nor a confirmation e-mail and that is when the run around started! First, I was told to check both of my e-mail addresses and my Spam folder. But, after my reply to that message, I was then told that their e-mails had bounced back to me too many times and that I had been removed from their e-mail list! Thus, they told me to add their e-mail address to my safe sender’s list and they would send me a confirmation e-mail. But, that was complete bull because, when I checked my safe sender’s list, their e-mail address was listed on both e-mail accounts! So, I sent them a reply stating that their e-mail address as well as their domain name was on my safe sender’s list and that I did not appreciate being lied to!!!

    However, I find all of this very suspicious since their e-mails to me suddenly stopped after I received a survey from them where I left poor feedback for them because their advertising is misleading, they only provide half of the solution for marketing an online course, and very little of the information needed to do so. But, after informing the customer service agent of this, I have not had reply from them of any sort whatsoever! Thus, I am now searching for a new home for my online outdoor academy!

    1. Bill Bernhardt,

      I’m honestly not sure what you expect from Teachable. I’m not a customer of theirs, as I built my courses with Thinkific. However, they’re a courses site. they don’t do mailing lists, nor as far as I know is there a courses provider who does also do mailing lists. They are two totally different products.

      Also, you can’t expect their customer support to give support for something written in one of their blog posts. They support their product, and that’s it.

      I recommend going with ConvertKit for your mailing list provider, incidentally. But, I hope you can have some more reasonable expectations of your service providers.

  73. You may also like this e-Learning platform which allows you to create your own e-shop – marketplace and there sell your courses for FREE and with no extra effort! This e-shop function can be switched on by one click in the platform settings. You only need to select the courses you want to display. Personalizing your e-shop by using your company’s logo and colors, so that the visitors would recognize the e-shop as yours, is a question of only a minute. so lets try and get more profit!

  74. Yes this is great content but now we have many more other option.there is lot of other platform provider who provide same features with whitelable solution. You can create and manage your own UDEMY, Lynda etc.

    With same platform you can conduct live classes and can provide recorded one.

    You guys should try edugyaan.com

    EduGyaan is another company who provide better platform at low cos.

  75. Hello Jeff..thanks for this information. My needs seem to be a little different, and I hope you can be able to guide me. I work for a non-profit organization and we offer elearning courses for business owners at no charge. Our approach is to develop the content, have someone produce it as an ecourse — and we own it. I don’t understand the monthly fees that all of the platforms you mentioned seem to have. Wondering if you have suggestions of elearning developers that produce the courses without any ties into monthly fees and revenue sharing. Thank you!

  76. There is an another very good online teaching platform called Learnyst Teach Online.They help you build your own branded school.
    You can visit and can signup to it from here learnyst.com

  77. Check out 247digitalclassrooms.com. Their online learning platforms are affordable, simple to use, and cater to educators, tutors, coaches, and people looking to start a virtual school.

  78. Hi everyone!
    Just find out Thinkific using stripe , for 0 payment term but sadly stripe doesn’t recognise Malaysia. So sad ????

    Great post Jeff. Thanks a lot!

  79. Hi Jeff, great job you did on this post (it’s been going on for quite a while now ). Did you ever tried MATRIX LMS? What’s your thought on it? It looks very user friendly (feels like a social media platform) and it has a lot of great features.

  80. In a bit of a quandary w/ LMS. We are a small religious order with a newly formed seminary wherein we would like to offer an eLearning option. Most of the sources described above are either web-based/ clud based platforms. We would like something more like an authoring tool platform, like Moodle, to create our courses and track everything from our own website.

    We tried Moodle and were OK w/ it except that there were security issues. We wound up being hacked and our webhost didn’t much appreciate that!

    Is there something along the Moodle line that you could recommend that might meet our needs?

    Much appreciated.

    Fr. Lev

    1. You might give Educadium a shot – it is Moodle-based, but much friendlier to use, and they deal with the security.

  81. Paco de Onís

    Hi Jeff – thanks for this great blog and the lists of online course platforms! I’m just curious as to why you don’t include SkillShare in your lists of platforms.

  82. What do you think is the best platform to import an existing powerpoint presentation and convert it to an online course?

  83. I must admit, most of these websites are too expensive or offer little features for small start-ups. I was thinking about going with Udemy because they’ll help promote the course if you split the profits, but then I got greedy and thought about using wordpress to start my own, but it would be a pain in the butt to have to constantly update all those plugins. So I’m leaning towards Udemy and ValueAddon. I hate that I have to pay a monthly fee for VAO, but i like their platform set-up. I may try both and see which one performs best. Most likely it’ll be Udemy because they’ll do the marketing. We shall see though.

  84. Hi Jeff, great job you did on this post (it’s been going on for quite a while now ). Did you ever tried MATRIX LMS? What’s your thought on that platform? looks very user friendly (feels like a social media portal) and has a lot of great features.

  85. Give your customers on demand access to courses and leverage your core brand in minutes, not months.Create unlimited courses consisting of ‘Sections’, ‘Lectures’, ‘Assignments’, ‘Exams’ and ‘Certificates’ where contents of any format can be very easily inserted by you. createonlineacademy.com/features/

  86. Denise DeLuca

    I created a course on Udemy last . It was easy and they provide support. BUT I just learned they changed thier pricing structure, which suddenly knocks my course out. This is putting me in a terrible position. Be warned!!

  87. Yes, how you promote/what kind of support you get is a significant factor. At a site like Udemy, you at least know there are many people showing up looking for courses. (Of course, there is still no guarantee your course will get a lot of visibility.) To be honest, if you can be effective promoting yourself on Udemy, then you can probably be successful promoting through your own site – and even if you have a course on Udemy, you will almost certainly still want to have your own site to support promoting the Udemy course (and – very important – collecting e-mail addresses).

  88. Hello Jeff
    Great article. Do you have any knowledge of platforms specifically targeting creators and consumers of learning courses for children, k-8? My company produces engaging, video animation educational/earning programs for kids (and their parents) covering core foundational subjects such as language arts, science, history, etc. They are available on our own company site as well as Udemy, Gumroad, Teacherspayteachers, but for the most part these sites are not specific to children.

  89. Stephanie Tanner

    I just saw your comment and I thought you might be interested in Gumroad. It is similar to Udemy, but they take a smaller slice.

    1. Hi people! I’m an ex high school teacher & have run a biz as a Dread Loctician & Trainer for over 10 years. I have 3 online courses teaching people how to make & maintain dreads naturally & how to run small home based biz as Locticians. I use gumroad. They have a few glitches, but all in all, I’m very happy with it. I sell them via my ems & website though, I haven’t yet began using their tools to sell via them as a course market place.

  90. you should checkout e-sky.ca, its easy to host, you can sell directly on their site and their sales folks can offer your content to businesses (whenever applicable of course) and there is always the possibility to do a revenue sharing model without upfront cost for hosting. 1-855-MYESKY-1

  91. I would not recommend Udemy. Their support is horrible. No one answers emails or support tickets. Can’t get approved for the Facebook group. They may be making a ton of money, but won’t last long if their support doesn’t improve. I’m looking for another website that has good support.

  92. I just started some courses on Udemy and love the platform. I think the most prevalent instructors probably make a ton, funny that Udemy sells for $10 every other week (I thought I was special). I’d be interested to see how others work. I think I have a technology that we just created that could be really helpful for course creators if you’d like to chat more I’d love to meet virtually. It’s patent pending and has never been done, we are backed by the CEO of LifeLock and just presented to the CMO of Facebook but looking to get it into the hands of course creators that do video. Let me know if you’d like to connect.

  93. I’d like to create a site that offers hundreds of my courses for free – and monetize the site through advertising, referrals, etc. Any ideas on the best platform for this type of model?

  94. The article glazes over a lot of hard facts about some of the platforms. All I can say is let the buyer beware. Many of these sites have hidden charges they don’t spring on you until you go do do something, anything.

    For instance, you are led to believe that using your on domain name is a feature but once when you go to use it, you are going to be charged $99.00 and be sold an SSL cert that has a reoccurring monthly fee of $25.00.

    You need to ask about hidden charges and fees and understand what it is your doing. Some of these platforms have no information on how to opt out or cancel once you sign up. Some of these sites have no point of contact and telephone number and emails that are truly bogus.
    emails addresses like [email protected]

    With one of these well known platforms, I had to do a whois to find the real owner of the company and email him directly to cancel my account.

    Do not sign up for any reoccurring payment using your credit card. You will find that your bank cannot stop the payment and the provider will not allow you to remove your credit car or cancel.

    If you sign up either use PayPal or offer to pay month to month.

    I see a lot of slick advertising with pictures of the supporting staff shown as all being young, very diverse, affluent, and attractive and they only have a first name. I would suspect that a lot if not all the claims of endorsements on most of these sites are bogus.

    Watch yourselves!

    1. Cliff – Thanks for your comments. And, I agree – do your homework and buyer beware. This was never meant to be a comprehensive buyer’s guide – merely a brief overview of some of the major available options. And, as I state clearly at the beginning, I do not endorse any of these products. This is starting point for doing the work that will – I hope – land you on the platform that is right for your needs. But the “doing the work” part is critical.

  95. They all, except for UDEMY, want money up front to host your courses. UDEMY does not and they have a great platform and process. But as I have noticed of late, they seem into be getting to big for their proverbial britches and are turning some off now because they aren’t as friendly as they once were and they are doing some strange stuff

  96. Hi Jeff,

    WizIQ has come a long way during last few months. We all know about its much loved Virtual Classroom. Now, it’s spreading wings in a direction. It recently launched Online Academy Builder – A DIY platform that allows users to create their own online teaching website in a few minutes. A lot of other improvements have also been made. You can find more details on the website – wiziq.com

    Regards,
    Amanjot

  97. Hi Jeff
    Great list thanks. Do you know of any particular LMS that offers interactive video with one or many students in the same way that Adobe Connect does? The standard webinar format is OK but most seem to only have a text chat option for the students which can be limiting in terms of teaching.

    Thanks
    Phil

  98. Hi, Jeff.

    I have one question, being a real novice. I want to use a platform for on-line learning that not just allows for pre-taped videos, slide shows with audio, and other “static” mediums. I want a platform that allows for live teaching where I can either see the individuals (as I teach self-care/body work), hear the individuals and their questions (but they see me), and/or get their chats (latter being less desirable – other two being more as they create a real live classroom feeling). Which on this list does provide that live video teaching/ “conferencing” option. Or alternatively – do people mix and match platforms.

    Thanks, Nikki the Novice (even so dinosaur that I’m just now updating my own site to mobille)

  99. If I’m planning to have 100 of teachers or more tutor several hundreds of students, which platform should I choose? I saw e-lecta offers such classrooms where several teachers can have their own virtual room for teaching. Anybody else?
    I also want to be able to sell webinars and other courses on the same platform. Any suggestion?

  100. Hi All,
    To sell courses online you can use Moodle as the LMS wherein you can create any number of courses and add course content related to them.
    Moodle has a robust system which can be used by site owners to manage and maintain courses.

    To sell them online you can use WordPress as the CMS wherein due to its simple and easy to use interface will help you to create a great user-interface for buyers on your site.

    We have come up with a plugin which integrates both Moodle and WordPress which helps in sync of courses created in Moodle with WordPress.
    Edwiser has its own payment gateway which can be used by you to sell course individually, but if you wish to sell courses as products you could get the WooCommerce Integration extension which would help you in selling courses as products, sell one or bundle more than one course into product, set subscription for the product along with many WooCommerce features.

    To get more information regarding this click on this link edwiser.org.

    Regards.
    Rajiv

  101. Hi Jeff. First off, excellent guide! My question really pertains to pricing model. Are you aware if most of the successful sites go with the standard monthly membership fees or do they go with a one-time purchase to get lifetime access? It is an odd conundrum and one I have been thinking about while I am putting together my content. Thanks in advance for your response!

  102. Rajiv Sathian

    Hi,

    Since the discussion is related to creating and selling courses online.
    With the experience we have in this field, I recommend Moodle to be the best place to create courses online, you may find Moodle to be tedious but trust me once you start using it you will find it to be very handy.
    But when the plan comes to sell courses in Moodle, yes it is not easy so I would recommend use WordPress as front-end to create a dedicated site to sell your courses online.
    Looking into these requirements we came up with Edwiser Bridge which integrates Moodle with WordPress, syncs courses created in Moodle to WordPress, along with the WooCommerce extension site owner can sell courses as products, even bundle more than one course as products.

    Looking forward to your view regarding Edwiser.

  103. Thanks for posting this list! I googled and thought I’d have to search on my own, and your list was first in line. (recently updated, too!) You saved me countless hours of work finding and investigating these options. We’d like to offer some of our safety classes online. As a small business, your first paragraph resonated with me. I can’t afford to license an LMS, authoring tools, and do the development to connect them to our website. I need an affordable SAAS solution. You rock!

  104. Hi Jeff. Thank you for this information. I was building a driver safety course on Udemy, but since I am basically a writer not a videographer, could not meet their requirements. Is there a place you would recommend for someone wanting to open a course solely based on writings? Thanks, John

  105. Hi, I was wondering if you had any information on yescourse.com. I keep getting advertisements from them, but haven’t seen anything reviewing them (except from them) online. Thanks in advance.

  106. The focus here is on platforms that make it easy to sell courses. As far as I can tell, ScormLMS isn’t really focused on that, but let me know if I am missing something.

  107. Have you checked out Jasper / Refined Data? Their platform is built on Moodle and integrates with Adobe Connect, and is used by many respected companies and universities, as well as Kaplan test prep etc.

    refineddata.com

    I’m curious which platforms you most highly recommend for their use of open-source code and value? Thank you for this post!

    1. Melanie – Refined Data has a nice solution, and I have included them in selection processes I have run before, but I think of them as more appropriate for larger organizations – rather than the individual subject matter entrepreneurs and small firms that are the main audience here. Am I off the mark in thinking that?

  108. This is a great list! Yet new powerful solutions appear every day.

    For a fresh approach I suggest you have a look at learnworlds.com, a white-label platform for creating your own online school and full-fledged professional training community (disclosure: I am a co-founder there)

    With LearnWorlds you have everything you need to easily create rich online courses (that combine videos, texts/images, formal and informal assignments and tests, certificates etc.). On top of that you get the opportunity to convert your videos into interactive experiences (with titles, bookmarks, definitions that you can add on the fly, without the need for expensive post-production) and your texts into interactive ebooks (with personalized notes, highlights etc.)

    More importantly, you get a set of tools that will help you create a vibrant learning community for your learners, like:
    – Personal profiles for your clients to present their skills and experiences
    – Social networking and People Search for your clients to be connected and form teams
    – Daily newspaper for your clients to be informed about the topic from the best relevant sources,
    – Gamification, with custom badges, for your clients to be motivated (e.g. an “Android Guru” badge)

    Of course LearnWorlds is fully white-label so it can blend with your existing site/blog

    hope that helps:)

  109. Stephan Pineau

    Once your Training company has sold its best content thanks to one of those great platform, you have to manage it !
    Training Orchestra provides an “ERP for Training Companies” to manage the back end (orders, invoice, schedule, profitability…). Our training management software for training companies bring the experience of more than 250 clients, and just received the Brandon All Gold award.

    training-orchestra.com

  110. el mustapha ben bihi

    I think Udemy is the best since they are providing a powerfull course creation tool for free and also their review process in term of quality is better that other websites. and the best advantage that the registration is free of fees!!!

  111. Hi, i’m part of a startup LMS company called Aktiv Mind LMS. Our platform allows businesses to create courses and tests in order to train their employees. Our platform runs on all devices such as PCs/Macs, as well as tablets and mobile phones. We are offering a free 1 month subscription for new subscribers.
    Thank you

  112. Istvan Holczer

    Hi Jeff, Hi All,
    thank you Jeff for the listing of the platforms!
    Is it possible to upload and try to sell the course on different and several sites?
    Ad absurdum: is it possible to upload them to ALL learning sites / platforms?

    Thank you and bye
    Steven

  113. This is a great list. There is a company called uscreen.tv they also have an easy to use platform which enables you to sell courses online and setup a video subscription website, I know a few companies that use them.

  114. Don’t forget the popular flextraining complete learning framework. It lets you author complete courses – from simple to complex – and use e-commerce to gain revenue for them.