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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot of Thinkific Web Site for Thinkific Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screenshot of Camtasia dashboard for Camtasia Review

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

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

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

5 Keys to Picking the Best Online Course Platform for Your Business

Hiker at fork in road

Let’s face it – deciding on a platform for hosting and delivering your online courses can seem daunting. Even with great platforms like Thinkific  available, it’s hard to get rid of that nagging question that dedicated course entrepreneurs always have in the back of their minds: “Is this really the best online course platform for me?”

I’ve spent the past 20 years building platforms, selling platforms, implementing platforms, and most recently, helping hundreds of individuals and organizations back the right platform for their course business. Here are five key lessons I’ve learned when it comes to making the right choice: [Read more…]

10+ True Alternatives to Udemy for Selling Online Courses

photo of an orange in between two apples

Don’t mix apples and oranges when looking for an alternative to Udemy

[Updated July 2018] I run across a lot of blog posts that aim to highlight an alternative to Udemy, the major online marketplace for publishing and selling online courses and a very popular option for subject matter entrepreneurs.

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

Why does it matter?!

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

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

While that may sound like just a bunch of academic hair-splitting, it’s actually a critical difference. One of the main functions of Udemy, after all, is to offer a marketplace, a ready-made destination for people who are shopping for online courses. This is one of the main reasons that edupreneurs flock to Udemy in the first place.

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

While both Teachable and Thinkific – both often touted as Udemy alternatives – offer significant advantages over Udemy in many ways, they do not offer a marketplace – and, as far as I know, have no plans to. (For other options like Teachable and Thinkific, see 15 Platforms to Publish and Sell Online Courses.)

So, what other platforms do offer a marketplace for your courses? That is, which sites like Udemy may truly be a substitute for Udemy rather than (or in addition to) an alternative to Udemy? Take a look at the following: [Read more…]