By Jeff Cobb.  Last Updated on February 19, 2024

Are you ready to share your knowledge and expertise with the world? If you’re searching for the perfect online platform to build and sell thriving online courses, your journey ends here. We’ve meticulously compared and tested dozens of options, crafting a tailor-made guide to pinpoint the ideal platform for every type of entrepreneur.

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 - create and sell online classes

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 to businesses.

Best For WP

LearnDash logo- best WordPress Learning management system

LearnDash

Powerful course authoring tools and delivery capabilities right inside of the popular 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.

How We Evaluate and Test Online Course Platforms

Reviews of online learning platforms on the Learning Revolution site are overseen by the site’s founder, Jeff Cobb, an e-learning industry expert with more than 20 years of experience working with online course platforms. All evaluations are conducted by a team of analysts who have extensive experience using, testing, and writing about these types of platforms. We dedicate numerous hours to researching each platform, ensuring each aligns with the needs of online course sellers, and vetting specific areas like core features, usability, pricing, and customer satisfaction. Our reviews are unbiased, and while we will participate in affiliate programs, if available, we do not accept payment for placement in our articles or links to external websites.

Find the Perfect Online Course Platform

The platforms covered on this page are specifically for creating and selling online courses. Why is this important to know? Simply because most course software available is not designed to sell online courses. It’s made to deliver internal corporate training or to support academic programs. Here, you’ll find software that can help you, an expert, create courses to monetize your experience.

Before diving into the course platform reviews, it’s best to have a deep understanding of your business objectives and the type of learning experience you aim to provide. Even within the realm of dedicated course platforms, variations abound. Choosing the wrong one can lead to technical headaches and hinder your online business. Take the time to understand your specific needs and find the platform that best fits your goals, budget, and desired level of control.

Unlock the secrets to choosing the best online course platform – for free! Download Learning Revolution’s comprehensive online platform selection guide which breaks down each option, reveals expert insights, and walks you through a stress-free selection process. Use it along with the information you’ll find on this page.

Reviews have been broken down into several categories based on business objectives and goals.

Online Course Platform Categories

Disclosure: We are supported by our readers, like you. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. You can read our full disclosure here.


Thinkify Banner Image

All of the online learning platforms listed here are strong choices, but one stands out as the best all-around option: Thinkific.

Thinkific shines with its abundance of features, yet remains remarkably user-friendly. You can sense it was crafted by learning experts. Jump in and instantly create a free course! They prioritize transparency, clearly outlining how their plans compare, and most importantly, our readers rave about it.

You can get one month free by clicking the button below, or keep reading for an in-depth review of Thinkific.


Best Standalone Online Course Platforms

These online teaching platforms are geared toward small business owners and entrepreneurs. Included in course creation software and a turnkey way to create a branded site for selling those courses.

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. The top online course creation options provide good resources, educational content, and strong support.

Be sure to check out the free trial options, where available, so that you have a chance to try the platform before you buy.

1. Thinkific (Top Pick)

Home page of Thinkific, our top all-around pick for the best online course platforms

Thinkific provides a full-featured software solution to help you create, deliver, market, and sell online courses. It is among the most popular online course platforms because of its robust features, beginner-friendly pricing, and excellent user experience.

Using Thinkific, you can create and host world-class online courses without any technical design or coding knowledge. Its drag-and-drop website builder provides you with fully customizable and responsive website themes to create eye-catching websites and landing pages for your online course. Thinkific offers a high-quality online learning experience to your course participants and gives you various tools like surveys, quizzes, assignments, and certificates to evaluate and reward them.

Here are three features that help Thinkific stand out:

  1. The Thinkific App Store: The app store allows you to easily integrate a wide range of other platforms to help you create more impactful learning experiences and market your courses much more effectively.
  2. Thinkific Communities: This feature allows you to build online learning communities, creating a familiar space for students to connect and share under your own brand.
  3. 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 or Stripe – will always charge you a transaction fee.)

A big vote of confidence for Thinkific is bestselling author Dorie Clark – who has been a guest on the Learning Revolution podcast and is generally a brilliant and business-savvy person – has used it for her online courses.

Thinkific Pricing

The Start paid plan gets you the essential tools necessary to successfully launch your online learning business and starts at $99 per month ($74 if paid annually). It’s worth checking out.

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

Thinkific Highlights

Course Creation: Module-based drip courses, live sessions, and membership sites.

Course Material: Videos, text lessons, PDFs, attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Yes, user-friendly drag & drop website & landing page builder.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Classroom environment, mandatory video viewing, comments section with every lesson.

Teacher Features: Quizzes, multiple-choice questions, achievement certificates, surveys/polls.

Email Marketing: Integrates with other email marketing tools but doesn’t offer native email features.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: Beginner and intermediate course sellers looking for robust course creation features.

Paid Plans: Start From $99/month.

Free Plan: Yes.

Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial with paid plans.

Try Thinkific for Free


2. LearnWorlds (Runner Up)

LearnWorlds online course platform homepage screenshot

LearnWorlds is a very close second for the average online course creator. The learning curve is higher, but it pays off with more sophisticated e-learning features – like the ability to support SCORM

Despite being a much newer online course platform than many others on this list, LearnWorlds already has a strong claim for being the world’s best all-in-one course platform. The company puts a lot of emphasis on its tools for building sales pages for courses. Its site builder is among the best in the online course industry, with robust website and landing page building features and a highly engaging drag & drop interface.

On the course creation side of things, LearnWorlds gives you complete control over your content visibility and how your students can engage with it. For example, you can enable mandatory video viewing to ensure your students don’t skip lessons. Similarly, you can lock lessons and allow drip courses that follow a fixed schedule or bind access to the completion of previous lessons.

Unlike many companies here, LearnWorlds also offers services for uploading and converting your content, developing courses, and customizing your LearnWorlds school.

Plus, their latest innovation, the AI Assistant, uses cutting-edge generative AI technology to help you enhance course content creation and student engagement. Their AI assistant is also useful for creating marketing and sales material for your marketing emails and landing page copy.

Here are a couple of examples to give you an idea of the platform’s quality.

Tim Stevenson started the School Of Calisthenics using LearnWorlds and grew it to over 40,000 users in one year! It contains multiple courses, embedded videos, HD images, and all the other elements you expect to see on a professional website.

LearnWorlds Example - School of Calisthenics

LearnWorlds Highlights

Course Creation: Module-based drip courses, live sessions, membership, subscriptions, and bundles.

Course Material: Videos, audio, embedded lessons, text lessons, PDFs, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Yes, an advanced feature-rich online school builder to create your course website and landing pages.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Classroom environment, automatic video transcripts, in-video actions and CTAs, mandatory video viewing, and comments section with every lesson.

Teacher Features: Multiple types of quizzes, tests, and assessments, along with graded assignments, surveys, and branded course completion certificates.

Marketing Features: Affiliate management, coupons, promotions, custom domains, and email marketing integration.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: Beginner and intermediate course sellers looking for an easy-to-use course creation platform with an advanced website builder.

Paid Plans Start From: $29/month.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes, 30-day free trial with paid plans.

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 TAG50 when checking out at LearnWorlds and you will get 50% off for the first two months of a Pro plan or higher.

To learn more, read our full LearnWorlds Review.

Try Learnworlds for Free Button

3. Teachable

Teachable online course platform homepage screenshot

Teachable was one of the first online course platforms to launch in this category and remains one of the most popular for good reason. It enables you to offer online courses “on your website and control your branding, student data, and pricing all from one place.”

Teachable offers one of the cleanest, most straightforward administrative out of any online course platform. It comes with robust website and course-building features to help you set up professional courses without any technical and coding skills.

The website builder’s back end consists entirely of drag & drop elements using which you can fully customize your site’s look & feel. It also offers advanced options such as adding tracking scripts to your page or directly editing the HTML code.

The course creation and management software features are among the best in the online course industry. You can create lessons and lectures using different content types that most other course platforms don’t offer. For example, you can add code examples to a lesson for your students.

Similarly, you can add upsells to individual lessons to generate additional sales from your content.

Teachable even offers a dedicated marketplace named Discover, where you can publicly sell your online courses to thousands of students. 

You can find numerous examples of Teachable courses and membership programs in all kinds of niches on Discover.

So why didn’t Teachable rank higher in our reviews? Despite its solid course creation and student management features, Teachable lacks marketing and sales capabilities which is why it isn’t truly an all-in-one course platform. But if you are looking to get pretty straightforward, on-demand courses up and running quickly, it’s a great option.

Teachable Highlights

Course Creation: Module-based drip courses, live sessions, and membership sites.

Course Material: Videos, text lessons, PDFs, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Yes, user-friendly and fully customizable drag-and-drop website, and landing page builder.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Classroom environment.

Teacher Features: Graded quizzes, multiple-choice questions, achievement certificates, and student analytics.

Marketing Features: A/B testing, coupons, and custom domains (no native email marketing features).

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: Beginner and Intermediate course sellers looking for a customizable website builder and A-class student experience.

Paid Plans Start From: $59/month.

Free Plan: Yes.

Free Trial: Yes, preview advanced plan features free for 14 days, no credit card required.

Teachable Pricing

Teachable pricing starts at $59 per month ($39 if paid annually) for its basic plan. With the lowest-level paid plan, you still pay a 5% transaction fee on all sales. Transaction fees disappear once you jump up to the next level. All plans include unlimited courses and student.

Read the full Teachable Review for more information.

Try Teachable for Free Button


4. Teachery

Teachery homepage

Teachery claims to be “the only online course platform that helps you craft the content inside your online course” but the reality is that most course platforms accomplish this. 

Teachery course creation interface is exceptionally user-friendly. Basically, Teachery provides you with two rock-solid course templates – a “minimal” template and a sidebar template – and guides you through every step of the process for getting your content into the template and getting set up to sell effectively. You can add new pages to your site or change the structure of a page using content blocks that allow you to add images, audio, video, HTML code, and other content types to your site. Its website and landing page builder allows you to fully customize the themes according to your brand identity.

You can use Teachery to sell digital downloads and video courses. You can also configure drip courses and decide how your audience accesses your content. For example, you can offer full course access, unlock lessons on a fixed timeline, or only grant access to a new lesson when a student completes its prerequisites.

Overall, Teachery is not as feature-rich as some of the other options in this article. But that may be precisely what many course creators need to stop dreaming about having a course and simply get started.

Teachery Highlights

Course Creation: Unlimited Module-based drip courses, memberships, and bundles.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, PDFs, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Yes, it offers a website and landing page builder with customizable templates.

Online Community: No.

Student Engagement Features: Classroom environment, and comments with every lesson.

Teacher Features: None.

Marketing Features: Offer email notifications for advanced email marketing, only integrates with Mailchimp and ConvertKit. Offers coupons and affiliate program management.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: Creators looking for an affordable platform with basic course selling features.

Paid Plans Start From: $49/month.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes, a 14-day free trial.

Teachery Pricing

There’s a 14-day free trial (no credit card required), and then the paid plan is either $49 per month or $470 per year. (Complete Teachery review here.)

Try Teachery for Free Button

Best All-In-One Courseware Platforms

1. Kajabi

Home page of Kajabi, our pick for best online course platform in the "all-in-one" category

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. This may be overkill for many people who just want to sell an online course – and who are already set with a website and marketing tools.

Then again, if you don’t have those things or simply want to get everything under one roof, Kajabi may be just the ticket.

Think of it as a complete marketing and sales generation platform for online courses. You can use it to create websites and landing pages for your online course and generate sales by setting up optimized marketing funnels for various business goals. It allows you to create Pipelines (sales funnels) that cover everything from traffic generation and conversion to lead generations and course sales. Its email marketing features allow you to create automated email campaigns based on triggers and conditions.

Kajabi has done a lot in the past year or so to add new features – like a full-fledged e-mail marketing system and the ability to support scheduling coaching sessions.

Kajabi Highlights

Course Creation: Mini-courses, drip courses, digital downloads, memberships, and coaching programs.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, podcasts, PDFs, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: High-quality drag-and-drop course website and landing builder.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Learning tracks, transcripts, and CTAs.

Teacher Features: Student progress reports, quizzes, certificates, surveys, analytics.

Marketing Features: Native email marketing, marketing automation, sales funnels, tagging, and affiliate management.

Learning Curve: Medium.

Best For: Advanced course sellers looking for complete email marketing and automation features along with course selling capabilities.

Paid Plans Start From: $149/month.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes, 14-day trial.

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.

Try Kajabi for Free Button

2. Podia

Podia online course platform homepage screenshot

Podia started out as “WithCoach,” a platform aimed primarily at coaches. More recently, the company has repositioned itself as a full-featured but easy-to-use course platform for selling courses, memberships, and digital downloads all in one place – and it has been gaining a lot of momentum. Some of its key selling points are:

●  no transaction fees (other than whatever you pay to your payment processor – i.e., Paypal or Stripe)

●  no limits on courses or users

●  a strong focus on supporting affiliate marketing of your products

And, Podia still has solid features for coaches. For example, you can easily schedule paid coaching sessions from within the system through pre-established integrations with Calendly, Acuity, and other popular scheduling tools.

Podia’s user-friendliness immediately stands out when you start using it for building your online course. It walks you through the whole process of creating and selling online courses, webinars, digital downloads, and product bundles.

Its course creator supports video, audio, text, PDF, and embedded content. Plus, it offers a student experience comparable with Teachable and Thinkific.

Native email marketing features also make Podia an attractive choice at this price point. It is probably the cheapest all-in-one course platform with unlimited email subscribers in all subscription plans. However, every plan has a separate email-sending limit.

Overall, Podia is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a robust course builder with impressive marketing features on a limited budget.

Podia Highlights

Course Creation: Digital downloads, drip courses, live training, webinars, memberships, and coaching programs.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, PDFs, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Limited-feature page builder for website and landing pages.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Clean classroom interface, and comments/questions on every lesson.

Teacher Features: Quizzes, assignments, and student reports.

Marketing Features: Native email marketing, unlimited subscribers, marketing funnels, triggered sequences, forms, and A/B testing.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: New and mid-tier course sellers looking for reasonable course selling features along with native email marketing capabilities.

[2022] Learning Revolution Rating: 9.2 out of 10.

Paid Plans Start From: $9/month.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes, 14-day trial with every paid plan.

Podia Pricing

With its starter plan starting at $9 per month, Podia seems to be rapidly gaining momentum. (Complete Podia review here.)

Try Podia for Free Button

3. Kartra

Kartra homepage

Kartra is an amazingly robust online course platform designed to help marketers create, sell, and scale their online course business. The platform gives you everything you need to build a professional-looking, feature-rich website without having to hire a designer or knowing how to code.

It provides you with a long list of templates for various types of websites and landing pages such as squeeze pages, sales pages, thank you pages, and long-form sales pages.

The thing that sets Kartra apart from other course platforms is that all its components are fully integrated and work towards driving sales for your business.

These integrated capabilities include an email platform, memberships, sales funnels, video hosting, management, tracking, lead capture, a help desk platform for your customers, and a calendar capability for booking and managing customer appointments. This means that you can track your audience activity at all stages of the sales funnel and fully personalize your marketing message based on user behavior.

From a course standpoint, Kartra will work best if your focus is on video content. This is because it does not have the level of course creation, 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.

It offers in-video CTAs, sign-up forms, and user tagging features that make your videos highly engaging and help you drive more conversions. You can choose from various pre-designed CTAs like opt-in, banners, buttons, social unlock, etc.

In short, you can think of Kartra as a robust sales and lead generation platform with sufficient course creation capabilities.

Kartra Highlights

Course Creation: Digital downloads, drip courses, webinars, memberships, coaching programs.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, podcasts, PDFs, attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: World-class drag & drop website and landing page creator with dozens of professionally designed templates.

Online Community: Yes

Student Engagement Features: Learning tracks, transcripts, in-video CTAs.

Teacher Features: Quizzes, surveys, student reports, analytics.

Marketing Features: Advanced email marketing, condition-based automation, sales funnels, opt-in forms, landing pages, affiliate management, and marketplace.

Learning Curve: High

Best For: Professional and experienced digital product sellers looking for advanced email marketing, automation, and lead management features.

Paid Plans Start From: $119/month ($99 if you pay annually)

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes

Kartra Pricing

Plans start at $119 per month. (Complete Kartra review here.)


4. New Zenler

Zenler home page

New 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.

In other words, you can create courses with it but also run just about every other aspect of your online business – from your website to email campaigns and sales funnels to online communities.

With New Zenler’s sales funnels, you can create unique paths for various marketing and sales goals. For example, a funnel for a lead magnet would be significantly different from a paid video course.

Its course creation features allow you to create top-quality online courses with audio, video, text, and other content formats. And to top it off, New Zenler has one of the most robust and user-friendly website builders in the online course industry.

This is why despite being a new entrant, New Zenler is competing hard with Kajabi and Kartra for being one of the best course hosting platforms.

New Zenler Highlights

Course Creation: Digital downloads, drip courses, live training, webinars, memberships, and coaching programs

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, podcasts, PDFs, attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: High-quality page builder for creating your course website and landing pages.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Learning tracks, comments/questions on every lesson.

Teacher Features: Quizzes, surveys, certificates, student reports, and analytics.

Marketing Features: Native email marketing, marketing funnels, triggered sequences, forms, and A/B testing.

Learning Curve: Medium.

Best For: Experienced course creators looking to scale their businesses by running automated email marketing campaigns.

Paid Plans Start From: $647/year.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: Yes, you can use the platform for free but need to upgrade to start selling.

New Zenler Pricing

New Zenler offers Pro and Premium plans priced at $67/month and $197/month, respectively. Both plans offer similar features, but the Premium plan comes with higher limits designed for customers running established and growing eLearning businesses.

Read the full Zenler Review.

Try New Zenler Free Button

Selling Courses Online with WordPress

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.

1. LearnDash

Home page of LearnDash, our pick for the best online course platforms that are built on WordPress

LearnDash is pretty much the gold standard for serious WordPress learning management system (LMS) plug-ins, and the release of version 3.0 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, had a long background in e-learning).

The best thing about LearnDash is that you don’t need to go outside your WordPress editor or dashboard to use it! You can create new courses, manage students, upload lessons, and collect payments while staying within your WordPress dashboard.

Another hugely impressive thing about LearnDash is the student assessment and management features. It offers more quiz types than any other LMS and provides you with detailed student performance reports based on which you can take various administrative actions.

Do you need to be an advanced WordPress user to configure LearnDash? Not really.

Its backend is quite user-friendly, and all the necessary options and features are clearly listed. However, you do need to be familiar with the WordPress backend to use it.

In short, if you’re a WordPress user looking to sell online courses on your site, LearnDash is definitely one of the top contenders you should consider.

Here are some of its core features comparable with any standalone LMS tool.

● Eight different types of quizzes

● Supports videos, audio, text, PDFs, and file attachments

● Drip courses, mandatory content, linear and open progression

● Student badges, leaderboards, completion certificates

● Graded assignments and evaluations

● Automated email notifications on course milestones

● Additional payment gateways via Woocommerce integration

● Full, recurring, and subscription payments

● Fully customizable course themes and templates

● Works with any WordPress theme

● Group course access for organizations and teams

● Integrates with dozens of business and marketing applications

LearnDash Highlights

Course Creation: High-quality video courses, drip content, digital downloads, bundles, and memberships.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, PDFs, presentations, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Feature-rich drag & drop page builder with many themes and advanced capabilities.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Leaderboards, badges, points, discussion forums, and comments/questions on every lesson.

Teacher Features: Quizzes, certificates, surveys, graded assignments, individual and group tasks, and student reports.

Marketing Features: A/B testing, landing pages, forms, email notifications, bulk access, and integration with tons of marketing tools.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: Mid-advanced course sellers looking for an easy-to-use WordPress learning management system.

Paid Plans Start From: $199/year.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: No, but offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

LearnDash Pricing

LearnDash pricing starts at $199 annually for the plugin version and tops out at $799 for unlimited sites. Both come with a 15-day refund. 

LearnDash has also introduced a cloud version – LearnDash Cloud – that provides a fully-hosted course website similar to the standalone platforms above but built entirely on WordPress. You get all the upsides of using WordPress without having to install and maintain the software. Pricing starts at $29 per month or $299 if paid annually.

Check out our in-depth LearnDash Review.

Try LearnDash Now Button

We recommend using LearnDash in combination with BuddyBoss to build a powerful online course and membership/community solution. Full BuddyBoss review here.

2. AccessAlly

AccessAlly online course platform homepage screenshot

If you want to combine the ability to sell online courses with the ability to manage a full-featured membership site – a powerful combination for edupreneurs – then AccessAlly is arguably the best choice there is.

The platform leverages the full capabilities and flexibility of WordPress while also adding great membership features and a learning management system (LMS) plug-in that includes notable features like the ability for students to submit homework assignments and get private feedback.

You get all of this without having to be a WordPress whiz. It’s plug-and-play, but there is also a comprehensive “done for you” option if you want to get up and running with a course and membership site quickly.

Marc Wayshak’s membership site is an excellent example of what’s possible with AccessAlly.

AccessAlly example - Sales INsights Lab

Powered by AccessAlly, Marc’s Sales Insights Lab is a full-fledged membership program with a professional website and all the necessary backend management tools.

You can’t tell from the outside if it’s built with WordPress or a dedicated course platform like Kajabi or Thinkific.

At the backend, AccessAlly gives you comprehensive student management and engagement features such as private notes, audio bookmarks, completion certificates, quizzes, surveys, progress tracking, objective checklists,  leaderboards, graded assignments, and much more.

Its course builder isn’t as robust as some of the other tools in this list but offers sufficient features to help you create full-access and drip courses consisting of multiple modules and lessons.

On the marketing side, it integrates with all the popular email marketing tools and also offers imp[ressive affiliate management capabilities to help you market your courses.

AccessAlly is an excellent tool in a very competitive WordPress LMS industry.

AccessAlly Highlights

Course Creation: Online multimedia courses, instant and drip content access, digital products, and memberships.

Course Material: Videos, audio, text lessons, PDFs, presentations attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: No, but it comes with a standard course theme.

Online Community: No

Student Engagement Features: Gamification & points, lesson comments.

Teacher Features: Graded assignments, reports, progress tracking, quizzes & certificates, and team accounts.

Marketing Features: Integrates with popular email marketing and automation tools,  coupons, discounts, and affiliate management.

Learning Curve: Low

Best For: WordPress users looking to add a feature-rich eLearning/membership platform to their sites.

Paid Plans Start From: $99/month

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: No, but offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.

AccessAlly Pricing

The Essentials plan is $99 per month / $82 with a yearly subscription. If you are serious about a membership model, this is definitely one to check out. Read our Complete AccessAlly Review here.

Try AccessAlly Now Button

3. LifterLMS

LifteLMS example - WP101

LifterLMS is among the most popular WordPress LMS plugins with thousands of active users worldwide. It is very similar to LearnDash in its features and options.

This is a power-packed plugin that turns your WordPress website into a fully functional learning management system and allows you to sell online courses and membership programs easily.

You can use it to create attractive course pages and design courses with multiple modules and lessons. It supports all the popular content types such as video, audio, PDF, and embedded media.

On the management side, LifterLMS gives you detailed student management options like reporting, analytics, quizzes, assessments, leaderboards, etc.

To get an idea of the scale of sites eLearning programs you can create with LifterLMS, just head over to WP101, one of the biggest WordPress learning resources on the internet. WP101’s membership program is powered by LifterLMS and has served over 3 million students worldwide. The site sells individual courses, and an all-access membership program with new content added regularly.

Since LifterLMS is based in WordPress, you can use it with any popular WordPress theme and  plugins or tools you want.It also offers integration with popular email marketing and lead generation tools, making it easier to market and grow your business.

Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable WordPress LMS, LifterLMS should definitely be on your list.

LifterLMS Highlights

Course Creation: Online courses, memberships, bundles, and various other digital products.

Course Material:  Video, audio, text, PDF, and several other content formats.

Website/Landing Page Builder: Yes, it offers an intuitive multi-tier drag and drop course builder.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Course modules and lesson outline, and student comments.

Teacher Features: Multiple dynamic quiz types, assignments, reports, completion certificates, and badges.

Marketing Features: Email notifications, abandoned cart emails, automatic follow-ups, integration with email marketing tools, and affiliate management features.

Learning Curve: Low.

Best For: WordPress users looking to build a full-scale online course website with marketing and sales features.

Paid Plans Start From: $199/year.

Free Plan: No.

Free Trial: It’s free to use, but you need to choose a plan when selling products.

LifterLMS Pricing

LifterLMS has the solid 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 quickly 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. These range from e-commerce to various marketing tools and integrations.

The Earth Bundle is $199/year and gives you the entire suite of payment add-ons. Or you can purchase a Universal Bundle for $360 that includes all of the standard add-ons. (You can also try out the premium Infinity Bundle (usually $1,200/year for a month for $1.)

Read our LearnDash vs LifterLMS comparison.

Try LifterLMS Now Button

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.

Best Marketplace Online Teaching Platforms

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.

The downside is that 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, but not so great if you want to create online courses that generate a reasonable level of income.

Still, they are popular and they do have their place.

1. Udemy

Instructor Sign-Up Page for Udemy, one of the best online course platforms with a built-in marketplace

The folks at Udemy say, “Our goal is to disrupt and democratize education by enabling anyone to learn from the world’s experts.” 

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. Unlike Skillshare, Udemy courses aren’t limited to creative skills only and cover a much wider range of topics. However, creative and technical skills are still the most popular categories on its platform. You can publish courses in the Udemy marketplace and use various tools to promote your masterpieces.

Since Udemy is a marketplace, its course pages follow the same design template. Similarly, its courses are structured the same way – multiple modules containing bite-sized lessons, assessments, exercises, and study material.

Here’s an example of a Udemy course page.

Udemy is free to get started for instructors – the company makes its 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 you are currently required to price your courses in $5 increments between $20 and $200 on Udemy (source) – which can be quite restrictive.

Even so, ThinkTraffic reports that some instructors have been having quite a bit of success.

That’s probably because Udemy gets millions of monthly visitors to its platform and regularly runs promotions to attract students. However, remember that most Udemy courses aren’t full-scale programs. Instead, think of them as short courses with a limited scope.

When you consider these factors, the course pricing limitations make sense.

In short, if you’re looking to start a course business without worrying about anything but content creation, Udemy is the ideal place to start.

Udemy Highlights

Course Creation: On-demand video courses.

Course Material:  Video, text, PowerPoint slides, PDF, and attachments

Website/Landing Page Builder: No, all course pages have the same design. But you can customize the look and feel with your logo and images.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Course modules and lesson outline, and student comments.

Teacher Features: Surveys, certificates, quizzes, and reports.

Marketing Features: Promoted to relevant customers through email and ads.

Learning Curve: Beginner-friendly.

Best For: Beginner course sellers looking to gain quick exposure without fully investing in a website or course platform.

Try Udemy for Free Button

2. OpenSesame

OpenSesame homepage

OpenSesame is different from the other tools discussed in this article so far. It is a library of thousands of high-quality online courses delivered by professionals with real-world experience and credentials.

As an instructor, you can create courses for OpenSesame that corporate clients, training firms, educational institutes, and other entities can use in their programs

On the other hand, if you’re building an independent course on your own LMS, you can integrate it with OpenSesame to add any lessons, courses, videos, or content from their library, making your offer more valuable.

The advantage of using OpenSesame is that it gives you access to some of the world’s most significant enterprise eLearning programs. If your course content aligns with an organization’s needs, it can include it in its internal or public educational programs, giving you exposure and adding credibility to your profile.

OpenSesame Highlights

Course Creation: On-demand online courses and educational programs.

Course Material:  Video, text, PDF, and several other content formats

Website/Landing Page Builder: No, it follows a standard course page design.

Online Community: Yes

Student Engagement Features: Course modules and lesson outline, student comments

Teacher Features: Surveys, certificates, quizzes, reports.

Marketing Features: Promoted to relevant customers through email and ads.

Learning Curve: High

Best For: Experienced professionals looking to sell courses to corporate clients or manage extensive team training sessions.

OpenSesame Pricing

The company takes 40% of any sales you make through its platform.

3. Skillshare

Skillshare homepage

Skillshare is one of the world’s most popular eLearning platforms where anyone can register to access its library of thousands of online courses.

You can sign up as a Skillshare Teacher, create and upload your video courses, and earn from course sales.

Skillshare specializes in courses for creators. Some of its most popular courses are illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more. But you can also create courses on other topics like marketing, consumer behavior, psychology, etc.

Skillshare provides instructors with tools to create courses composed of video lessons and a “class project.”  Classes are normally 10-25 minutes long, broken down into short videos, and they are all pre-recorded and self-paced.

It doesn’t offer a course builder like dedicated course platforms. Instead, all the course pages follow the same design template. Similarly, every course consists of multiple modules, lessons, and practical exercises.

Here’s an example of what a Skillshare course page looks like.

Once you have enrolled more than 25 learners in a class, you become eligible for participation in Skillshare’s Partner Program. You can earn money through the royalty pool managed by the company – usually $1-2 per enrollment, according to the company.

Unlike Udemy, Skillshare sells subscriptions to all of its content rather than individual courses.

Once you are a partner, you’ll also get compensated for new Premium Members ($10 per) you bring to Skillshare through your Teacher Referral link. The Skillshare site reports that “Top teachers make up to $40,000 a year.”

Skillshare gets millions of website visitors every month who search the platform for different courses. So if you create courses on popular topics and optimize them using the right keywords, you have a pretty strong chance of attracting students regularly.

Skillshare also recommends relevant courses via Facebook ads and emails to its users based on their interests. But you all need to promote your courses individually to drive traffic and generate sales.

In short, if you’re a creative professional looking to sell courses without building your own course platform, Skillshare is an ideal option for you.

Skillshare Highlights

Course Creation: On-demand video courses.

Course Material:  Video, text, PDF, and attachments.

Website/Landing Page Builder: No, it follows a standard course page design.

Online Community: Yes.

Student Engagement Features: Course modules and lesson outline, and student comments.

Teacher Features: Surveys, certificates, quizzes, and reports.

Marketing Features: Promoted to relevant customers through email and ads.

Learning Curve: Beginner-friendly.

Best For: Professionals looking to reach a sizable audience without worrying about building a course website or investing in marketing.

Try Skillshare

Best Small Business and B2B Course Platforms

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, we’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, we decided to create a separate “learning management system for small business” page. You can check that out for a range of options, but we note here that our top pick in this category is:

1. TalentLMS

Course Creation Screen for TalentLMS - one of the best online course platforms for small businesses.

TalentLMS emerged rapidly as one of the more visible brands in the “new breed” LMS market. The company offers a very full-featured system, including a very high level of brandability and a 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 $89 per month ($69/mo with annual payment up front).

Read our in-depth TalentLMS Review.

Try TalentLMS for Free Button

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

How To Choose The Best Software For Course Creation

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.

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 entrepreneurs 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.

We believe 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 frequently asked about online course platforms.

What is the best online course platform?

There is no single best online course platform for everyone. The best platform for you depends on your specific business needs and goals.

To find the best platform for your business, you should first:

  1. Identify the type of online course business you are. Are you selling courses on a specific topic? Are you targeting a specific audience?
  2. Get clear about your critical business objectives. What do you want to achieve with your online courses? Do you want to generate leads, increase sales, or build a community?
  3. Define the types of learning outcomes you aim to help your students achieve. What should your students be able to do after completing your courses?

Once you have a good understanding of your business needs and goals, you can start to identify the platform features that are most important to you. This will help you narrow down your choices and find the best platform for your business.

The spreadsheet included with the free platform selection guide can help you go through a clear process to make your choice.

How do I create an online course?

Check out Learning Revolution’s comprehensive guide, “How To Create An Online Course” for a step-by-step process on how to successfully create an online course.

Head shot of Learning Revolution Founder Jeff Cobb

Jeff Cobb, Founder of Learning Revolution

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.

244 thoughts on “15 Best Online Course Platforms Right Now (2024)”

  1. Great list! I’m kind of surprised that you didn’t add CourseFunnels! It’s one of the most budget-friendly software I’ve come across. And also provides lots of free sales-boosting plugins. It is so easy to use. One of a kind, you should have it in here!

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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