Best Online Course Platforms for Learning and Teaching

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Best Online Course Platforms

Online course platforms are a great place to create and sell online site courses.

Sites with the best online course platforms are user-friendly so they make course-creation and brand promotion nothing but a breeze. Many successful businesses that use an online learning platform can vouch for the effectiveness.

And since the best online course platforms are easy-to-use, even course creators who don’t know anything about web design can market and sell online courses.

So if you’re on the lookout for the best online course platforms to deliver the top quality content, look no further. Here are our top picks for the Best Online Course Platforms that are perfect for you to get started with.

ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS
BEST OVERALL
all-in-one course platform with pre-loaded templates, advanced marketing tools, and site customization options
BEST FOR ONLINE TEACHING
course creation platform with pre-existing templates, a drag-and-drop editor, and advanced quiz elements
BEST FOR FIRST-TIME CREATORS
course platform with a user-friendly interface, revenue tracker, and sales funnel builder
BEST FOR WORDPRESS
WordPress plug-in with a course builder, e-learning features, and advanced quizzing options
BEST FOR BIG CLASSES
online course platform with a drag-and-drop page builder, built-in templates, and encrypted security options
BEST FOR CREATIVE COURSES

online course database with lessons exclusively created by creative industry experts and professionals

BEST FOR INTERACTIVE LEARNING
course software with interactive modules, eBooks, and video lessons, as well as its own social network
BEST FOR DIGITAL MARKETING
online platform with its own course marketplace, a flexible course player, and affiliate marketing capabilities
BEST PLUG-IN
online plug-in with drag-and-drop elements, e-commerce options, and content creation tools
BEST COURSE VARIETY
online course platform with a wide array of subjects and topics, as well as a creator-centric profit breakdown
BEST FOR SELF-PACED LEARNING
learning management system with unique courses and an option to learn courses at your own pace
BEST FOR ACADEMIC COURSES
online course platform with modules designed by top university professors and instructors
BEST LMS PLUG-IN
learning management system plug-in with course creation, online marketing, and advanced quizzing features
ONLINE COURSE PLATFORMS
BEST OVERALL
all-in-one course platform with pre-loaded templates, advanced marketing tools, and site customization options
BEST FOR ONLINE TEACHING
course creation platform with pre-existing templates, a drag-and-drop editor, and advanced quiz elements
BEST FOR FIRST-TIME CREATORS
course platform with a user-friendly interface, revenue tracker, and sales funnel builder
BEST FOR WORDPRESS
WordPress plug-in with a course builder, e-learning features, and advanced quizzing options
BEST FOR BIG CLASSES
online course platform with a drag-and-drop page builder, built-in templates, and encrypted security options
BEST FOR CREATIVE COURSES
online course database with lessons exclusively created by creative industry experts and professionals
BEST FOR INTERACTIVE LEARNING
course software with interactive modules, eBooks, and video lessons, as well as its own social network
BEST FOR DIGITAL MARKETING
online platform with its own course marketplace, a flexible course player, and affiliate marketing capabilities
BEST PLUG-IN
online plug-in with drag-and-drop elements, e-commerce options, and content creation tools
BEST COURSE VARIETY
online course platform with a wide array of subjects and topics, as well as a creator-centric profit breakdown
BEST FOR SELF-PACED LEARNING
learning management system with unique courses and an option to learn courses at your own pace
BEST FOR ACADEMIC COURSES
online course platform with modules designed by top university professors and instructors
BEST LMS PLUG-IN
learning management system plug-in with course creation, online marketing, and advanced quizzing features
Table of Contents
Table of Contents

13 Best Online Course Platforms

1. KAJABI

BEST OVERALL

FTK_KAJABI

Overview – Why Use Kajabi?

Our top pick for the best online course platform will have to be Kajabi. Apart from being an all-in-one platform with many features, it’s also easy-to-navigate and nice to look at.

Notably, the Kajabi dashboard is well-organized with multiple sections and landing pages. This makes it easier to switch between one part to another.

Kajabi allows you to create your online course platform from the ground up without needing any web design or web development knowledge. It has 24 pre-loaded templates and built-in themes that you can use to get started on building your page.

But the flexible marketing tools are what really stand out for us. Kajabi has a Sales Pipeline Builder that allows you to create an online workflow that will help you market and sell online courses better.

You can also create marketing funnels to arrange the workflow for your products. This is extremely useful when selling extensive content like eBooks and video lessons. 

And it also has email marketing that lets you reach a wider audience. You’ll not only be able to stay in touch with your students, but also introduce them to new topics faster.

On top of all that, you can integrate different apps into Kajabi since it’s an all-in-one platform. You can integrate Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, and Mail Chimp, all of which are commonly used marketing tools today. Plus, you can coordinate with other brands to earn extra income via affiliate marketing.

You can contact Kajabi’s support team at any time of the day too. All you have to do is shoot them an email and you’ll get your problems resolved since they’re available 24/7.  

Finally, Kajabi lets you build your own online community. You can create message threads and interact with your members throughout your time on this online course platform. 

Payment Plans

Kajabi offers three payment plans that cater to its users’ different needs. And with payment method options like Stripe and Paypal, payment processes are smooth. 

The Basic one comes with limited features so it’s perfect for those still starting out. The Growth and Pro plans have upgraded features and marketing tools

We suggest you try out the basic plan first to see if it suits you and then decide if you want to try out the bigger plans. 

That being said, Kajabi still isn’t the most affordable option for an online course platform because it isn’t free. But it certainly is worth every cent you pay for. And the best part is that it doesn’t charge any transaction fees.

Pricing: 

FTK-Pricing Plans_KAJABI

READ: Our in-depth review of Kajabi Pricing

Areas for Improvement

While Kajabi offers a blogging feature, it may not be its best. Compared to a popular blogging site like WordPress, it can still improve on customization options

One problem that course creators experience with Kajabi has to do with the pictures. There is no standard place or folder where you can save all of your uploaded pictures.

So when you have to use a photo from a previous post, you will have to upload it all over again. This becomes quite cumbersome when you need to do it all the time. 

You can check out our in-depth review of Kajabi here.

PROS

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Customizable elements
  • Advanced marketing tools
  • Three payment plans
  • Has a mobile app
  • 24/7 customer support

CONS

  • Not as affordable as other online platforms
  • No standard folder for uploaded photos

2. Thinkific

BEST FOR ONLINE TEACHING

FTK_THINKIFIC

Overview – Why Use Thinkific?

Like Kajabi, Thinkific is perfect for online teaching and online learning because of its easy-to-use interface. There are pre-existing templates so no need to create a design from scratch for your site.

You simply have to drag and drop the elements and you’ll be good to go. With Thinkific, your site will pass as professionally-done even if you have zero experience with site design.

There are also advanced quiz elements and add-ins that you can use for online courses. And you can even upload different kinds of files for the online courses.

If you’re more used to preparing your courses offline before publishing them online, then the course builder will be a huge help. It allows you to upload an already completed course to your online platform. And you’ll be able to edit and re-organize it however way you want as well.

Site course creation and selling are also easier because of Thinkific’s app integration and email marketing features. They’ll help expand your online course platform business quickly since you can link the audience straight to your online course platform’s website.

Similar to Kajabi, Thinkific also allows you to build an online community with your students and subscribers. Your site will essentially turn into an online course marketplace wherein users can review the online courses and ask each other questions as well.

Plus, Thinkific has one of the best online learning management systems because it’s completely cloud-based. This means that you won’t have to deal with how much storage you need since everything will be automatically backed up online. It also speeds up the search time since you can easily find what you’re looking for through the system.

Payment Plans

Thinkific is a worthy runner-up for course creators with a tighter budget. You start with a 30-day free plan and then you get the option to upgrade so that you can access more features.

And when your 30-day free trial ends, you can choose from Thinkific’s customized pricing options. Apart from the Pro plan, they have two other paid Thinkific plans that vary in price, depending on the features you want to access.

The Thinkific Basic one has a starter pack of all the needed materials for online course creation.It’s also the most affordable one out of the three paid plans.

The Thinkific Pro one lets you create unlimited courses and landing pages.

You’ll also have full access to the online platform’s marketing features and course software. There will be exclusive Thinkific membership perks and bundles as well.

The Thinkific Premier one is the most expensive since it allows you to access all of Thinkific’s features and an option to reach a wider audience.

And if you simply don’t have the budget for the paid plans, you can always just get the Thinkific free plan after your trial ends.

Whichever plan you choose will still give you the ability to create a fully-functioning online learning site. You can use it to create and sell online courses without much hassle.

Pricing: 

FTK-Pricing Plans_THINKIFIC

Areas for Improvement

One downside of Thinkific is that you’ll have to pay more to be able to access its complete features. More experienced course creators might want more complex platform tools that the free trial doesn’t offer.

And unlike Kajabi which doesn’t require transaction fees, Thinkific does.

With the exception of the annual payment plan, you’ll have to pay for transaction fees per installment of whichever paid plan you get.

Thinkific doesn’t have a mobile application either so you only get to view the online courses on your laptop. This might pose to be a hassle for some learners who don’t have laptop or computer access.

And though Thinkific has decent customer service, it doesn’t have a live chat feature. This can be worrisome if you have urgent problems that you need to solve.

For more in-depth reviews, check out our Thinkific Review and Thinkific Pricing articles.

PROS

  • Supports many file types
  • Customized pricing and plans
  • Built-in online course templates
  • Cloud-based system
  • Online course community interaction

CONS

  • You have to pay more to access full features
  • Has transaction fees
  • No mobile app
  • Customer support doesn’t have live chat

3. Teachable

BEST FOR FIRST-TIME CREATORS

FTK_TEACHABLE

Overview – Why Use Teachable?

Teachable is the best online course platform for first-time users because of its user-friendly interface that helps you get started. It also facilitates different modes of interactions and learning management systems.

This premium online course platform lets you create online courses of any niche and sell them to your target audience. It also comes with templates for sales pages that can convert more customers.

Speaking of the sales aspect, you can also keep track of your revenue through the dashboard. Plus, there’s a sales funnel builder that lets you show your audience a step-by-step guide of your entire sales process.

In the end, it’ll highlight the one product they should buy so you can earn more potential income.

Going back to being an online course platform, Teachable is great because it’s compatible with different types of content. You can upload a video tutorial for your students to make the lecture more interactive. You can also send them podcasts via MP3 audios.

For content creators, having these options for online teaching adds more value to the courses and makes them stand out for the students. 

Lastly, if security is your concern, then you can stop worrying as much. With Teachable, you can place additional security such as authentication codes where users would have to confirm their identity before they log in to the online course platform.

Payment Plans

Like most online platforms, it offers three different payment plans. Common to all plans include features like product support, instant payouts, and a members-only community. You can also avail of coaching, course products, and can accommodate an unlimited number of students.

The Basic one is the most affordable and is best for novice course creators. If you aren’t well-versed with learning management systems or web design, then it’s the best plan to get started with.

The Professional plan is the most popular one since it gives more advanced features and options.

And the best part is that it doesn’t have transaction fees, unlike the Basic one which requires a 5% fee on top of the payment.

The Business one is the most expensive plan since it gives a wider range of course options. Its edge against the Professional plan is that it’s better equipped to deal with a larger amount of students per course.

Teachable also offers advanced payment options such as one-time fees and an installment plan that you can pay per month. You can also send payment via credit card, PayPal, or Stripe. 

Teachable has an efficient ticket system wherein you can hear back within 24 hours. For immediate assistance, you can also access their live chat on the official site. 

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_TEACHABLE (1)

For a detailed breakdown and discussion of Teachable Pricing, click here.

Areas for Improvement

Like Kajabi, Teachable lets you interact with your pupils through emails. However, it doesn’t let you do so directly.

You’ll need to integrate third-party tools like ConvertKit or Zapier to send a series of emails to your students. This makes the process longer.

Also, the blog settings are pretty basic. You can’t expect the course software to serve you SEO-based marketing or white-labeling. You can install a third-party tool but at your own risk and expense.

We also reviewed Teachable in-depth. Check out our article here. Plus, we wrote a comparison article of Teachable and Kajabi that you can check out here.

PROS

  • User-friendly interface
  • Customizable course elements
  • Advanced security and protection
  • Has a mobile app
  • Built-in templates

CONS

  • You can’t send continuous emails to subscribers
  • Blog settings are limited

4. LearnDash

BEST WORDPRESS-BASED PLATFORM

FTK_LEARNDASH

Overview – Why Use LearnDash?

LearnDash is one of the best online course sites to use with a learning management system (LMS) plugin. An LMS plugin is ideal for a wide range of e-learning needs since it has plenty of key features. It’s also perfect for those who’ll mainly be using WordPress for teaching their online courses.

First, LearnDash has an intelligent course builder that helps you create dynamic courses. This way, you can easily divide your courses into different topics, lessons, and quizzes.

It also has a game-like structure that you can apply to the student requirements. When students complete a topic, they are then expected to answer a quiz and can earn points for every correct answer.

Other advanced quizzing options with features like multiple-choice questions, fill in the blanks, and matching types can also be accessed. There’s also an integrated assignment option that lets you manage the submissions. You can take assignments on a particular lesson and have them checked either automatically or manually. 

Additionally, LearnDash also has its own badges and certificates that you can award your students with. You can customize the certificates to include their names and course titles. 

We love that LearnDash has an interactive forum for all its users as well. Members can talk about their course, share ideas, and ask questions with one another. It creates an online community for your subscribers.

There’s even a LearnDash app that you can use on your different devices. You can pool all the students taking up a common course in one single group. You can also assign a leader for each that can keep an eye on the progress of each member. 

With the help of email platforms, such as MailChimp, you can send emails to your students and notify them of important reminders too. It’s also great for email marketing so that you reach more potential subscribers.

Payment Plans

Its Plus and Pro packages are the solutions to every content creator’s needs because they contain advanced features.

But if your budget is a little tight, then the Basic plan can help you get the job done too. 

The Basic plan has many cool features like unlimited courses, unlimited users, and course content protection. You can also access drip-feed lessons, course forms, and free integrations. Plus, you’ll also get a bonus demo courses site template.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_LEARNDASH

Areas for Improvement

While LearnDash is great for WordPress, it can still be quite intimidating for first-time users. Since there are many features and settings to choose from, it’s not uncommon for users to get overwhelmed.

Another disadvantage is overhead costs. While you will get to keep all the profit you make, you will still have to pay for domain name costs, web hosting costs, and security costs, among others.

PROS

  • Unique course elements
  • Advanced quizzing options
  • Monetization options
  • Mass emailing
  • Course management tools

CONS

  • Interface can be intimidating at first
  • Overhead costs

5. Academy of Mine

BEST FOR TEACHING BIG CLASSES

FTK_ACADEMY OF MINE

Overview – Why Use Academy of Mine?

Academy of Mine offers a host of amazing features that can help you earn a steady income by selling online courses. It’s also the perfect online course platform for teaching bigger groups and companies.

It is also a fairly priced and competitive online course platform. We love that it offers free 15-hour on-board help which includes training, Basic Course creation, walkthroughs, content migration help, requirements discussion, Marketing page creation, and customizations.

This platform also allows you to incorporate exam questions and quizzes at the end of every lesson, topic, or course to assess the progress of your students.

You can choose to reward your students with a certificate for each accomplishment they make as well. That way, you can increase motivation to learn.

Academy of Mine also has a built-in grade book. You can use it to mark each student’s progress and evaluate areas to improve on. It’s a good basis for how well your students are understanding the online course content too.

As an online course creator, you build as many pages for your site as you want. You can choose from the built-in layouts and improve them by including other media like photos, videos, and texts.

The platform has a drag-and-drop builder with no limitations, so it’s easier to create your landing pages and see how they appear to your pupils. Plus, the site also supports various languages so you can build courses using foreign languages.

The online courses you create on Academy of Mine are also xAPI and SCORM-compliant. This means you get to choose how you want to construct your Learning Management System and comply with other systems without any modifications. 

You don’t have to use different tools to analyze your overall marketing data either. With this online learning platform, you can find it all in one dashboard. You can review your SEO content, social stats, and marketing campaigns with just a click.

Finally, this online course site offers adequate security protection. It has encrypted security options for its users. The company uses SSL and TLS 2.0 encryption to protect user data and content.

Payment Plans

Like most online learning platforms, this one offers a free 30-day trial. Once it ends, you can opt to get a paid plan that is charged yearly.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_ACADEMY OF MINE

Areas for Improvement

Academy of Mine’s interface has a steep learning curve. For casual, inexperienced users, this can be quite overwhelming. But you can always reach out to customer support.

But the catch that some users have noticed is that there’s a lot of back and forth with the support team due to their particular guidelines and requirements. The to and fro can get on your nerves if you need urgent help. 

PROS

  • Advanced account security
  • You can create courses in other languages
  • Marketing analytics
  • Course exam customization
  • Adjustable page design

CONS

  • Complicated interface
  • Customer support has many requirements

6. SkillShare

BEST FOR CREATIVE ONLINE COURSES

FTK_SKILLSHARE

Overview – Why Use SkillShare?

SkillShare is a diverse online learning platform for digital marketers, businessmen, and entrepreneurs. It has online courses related to the fields of business, creativity, lifestyle, and many others.

You’re probably thinking: Aren’t all online course platforms like that anyway?

What sets SkillShare apart is that it’s very particular about its courses. It only accepts and publishes those designed by professional and experienced teachers.

For example, notable experts such as Paula Scher – a graphic designer, Marc Ecko – an entrepreneur, and Yoko Shimizu – a drawing master, are only some of the teachers who facilitate the online courses.

And because of that, almost all of the offered online courses are related to creative industries and topics. The best part is all the courses are pre-recorded and hence, self-paced. You can learn them without rushing. 

SkillShare has a prominent group platform where users can connect with one another. Member discussions can ultimately help the students learn quicker and get more out of the online courses.

And to add to the user experience, there’s also a mobile app that lets you access your classes from anywhere. You can easily sync all your classes and progress in all of your devices, whether on your phone, tablet, or PC. 

Payment Plans

SkillShare comes with a 2-month trial so before you sign up for an online course, you can get a little sneak peek into it to better decide whether or not it’s worth pursuing.  

Once your free trial ends, you can choose to upgrade to the Premium version for a fee. You can also choose to be billed per month or per year.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_SKILLSHARE

Areas for Improvement

The number one downside is that it doesn’t offer any certifications or badges for the students. This is a disadvantage for the students because then they wouldn’t have physical proof that they actually took the course.

Also, if you’re a free member, you won’t get to enjoy a few features of SkillShare such as participation in group chats and workshops. The only way you can be part of these activities is by getting paid membership. 

Lastly, instructors only get paid when they get at least 25 students enrolled in their online classes. Otherwise, they don’t earn anything.

PROS

  • Creative online courses
  • Community of experts
  • Has a mobile app
  • User-friendly interface
  • You can join various group discussions

CONS

  • Doesn’t give student course certificates
  • Free plan has limited features
  • Instructors don’t get paid if less than 25 students sign up for a course

7. Learnworlds

BEST FOR INTERACTIVE LEARNING

FTK_LEARN WORLDS

Overview – Why Use Learnworlds?

If you’re looking for a good online platform for an interactive experience, then Learnworlds is a perfect choice. It has become quite popular for its engaging quiz options and course elements.

This online course site is known for its interactive eBooks. Students can read through them while also taking down notes at the same time. Even the video lessons are interactive as well. You can insert links, in-video questions, and pop-up messages so that the students remain engaged.

And this learning platform also encourages a sense of community through its built-in social network. The users can talk and discuss with each other right on the site. That way, you won’t need a third-party chat app.

Another great feature is that you can award the students with certificates and badges for each online course or task that they complete. It makes online learning feel much more legitimate both for the course creators and the students.

If you’re a course builder, you’ll find it quite easy to create and sell online courses too. It has a sales page builder that’s fairly fast to learn how to use. That way, you can have landing and sales pages even though you’re a novice.

There are also plenty of free templates that you can use to create the different tabs on your site. You can also customize the color, fonts, and photo sizes using the theme editor that’s easy to use. You’ll surely perfect your branding in no time!

Some additional features like social media integration, email marketing, and e-commerce options are also available. You can even offer subscriptions, coupons, and other payment bundles to your subscribers.

Finally, you can also incorporate affiliate marketing into this all-in-one platform. It’s great if you want a little more extra revenue.

Payment Plans

Learnworlds has 3 standard paid plans that you can choose from.

The Starter plan is pretty much self-explanatory. It’s perfect if you need to create an online course but don’t quite know how to get started. It allows for easy course creation.

The Pro Trainer plan is for more experienced trainers. If you already have experience with being a course builder, then it’s a great choice since it offers more features.

The Learning Center plan is the most popular one since it gives you complete and premium features. You can access more content and online course creation tools. You’ll also be able to accommodate more students and create more courses.

There is also an option to create a customized plan if you’re planning to cater to a huge bulk of students. It’s highly suggested you avail of this if you’re a corporate or high volume business.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_LEARNWORLDS

Areas for Improvement

Though this is one of the best online learning platforms that we can vouch for, it still has some downsides. One is that the prices of the plans are quite expensive compared to other platforms.

It also doesn’t have a mobile app so you’ll only be able to access it via your laptop or computer. This makes it harder for the students to access if they only have a smartphone.

And though you can upload a variety of content and file types, you can’t arrange them into separate folders. This might make it confusing for you in the long run. You also can’t upload in bulk and will have to do it one at a time so it can be time-consuming.

PROS

  • Interactive courses and content
  • Built-in social network
  • Easy-to-use sales and landing pages builder
  • Customizable themes and pre-loaded templates
  • E-commerce and email marketing integration

CONS

  • Pricier payment plans
  • No mobile application
  • You can’t organize your uploaded content
  • Doesn’t support bulk uploading

8. Podia

BEST FOR DIGITAL MARKETING

FTK_PODIA

Overview – Why Use Podia?

The thing about this online course platform is that it’s geared more towards marketing courses than online learning. It’s essentially a course marketplace wherein students can choose from a wide array of online courses to purchase.

First of all, it’s simple enough to use even if you don’t have experience with being a course builder. You’ll have the ability to create sales pages right after you create a course.

This online platform excels in marketing the courses you create because it allows you to bundle it with other products as well. You can include coupons, memberships, and other supplemental courses.

You can also host paid webinars and video courses to increase your revenue. And you can advertise all your offered products via email marketing methods wherein you can send newsletters to your subscribers.

Other kinds of file types you can upload to enrich your courses are PDFs, powerpoints, and audio files. Podia has a flexible course player that supports almost every file type so it’s convenient for your students.

Plus, Podia also supports affiliate marketing so you can integrate third-party brands onto your site. It’s great to increase revenue for your business.

Payment Plans

There are two paid plans that you can opt for to access Podia.

First is the Mover plan which lets you create and sell online courses with the platform’s basic features. Upon registration, you get this plan for free for two months. After that, you can choose to renew it or upgrade to the Shaker plan.

As for the Shaker plan, it offers more advanced features. It allows you to create an online course and then also offer memberships to your users. It also lets you integrate affiliate marketing, third-party codes, and an embedded checkout for the products.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_PODIA

Areas for Improvement

While Podia is excellent at helping you market your online courses and business products, it pales in comparison to other online learning platforms. This is since it has limited options for online course creation.

Since it focuses more on providing ways to sell your courses, it doesn’t have plenty of customization options for building your site. You won’t be able to expand your site other than your main sales pages.

Also, basic features like certificates, graded assessments, and landing pages that are on most online course sites aren’t available on Podia. This may limit the content that you can include in your courses.

PROS

  • Has plenty of options to market your courses
  • User-friendly interface
  • Course player supports multiple file types
  • Supports email marketing
  • Simple interface for building your course site

CONS

  • Limited site customization options
  • Doesn’t have basic course assessment features

9. AccessAlly

BEST PLUG-IN

Best Online Course Platforms for Learning and Teaching

Overview – Why Use AccessAlly?

Though this is mainly a WordPress plug-in, it has all the same features as an online course platform.

It’s perfect if you want something simple and easy to use to help you get started.

The course builder lets you drag and drop the elements that you’ll need to create your content. You can also easily see your student’s progress, quizzes, and assessments to guide them with their lessons.

Course badges and certificates can also be awarded to your students to encourage them to study harder. Plus, you can upload different types of media to the platform to entice your students. Video lessons are the most popular files that many instructors use with this online course platform.

And if you’re interested in the e-commerce side of things, AccessAlly has you covered.

There are different payment options that you can create and choose from. You can opt for one-time payments or a recurring installment plan.

For those who plan on increasing income, you can also run an affiliate marketing program with third-party brands.

Payment Plans

Though this is a WordPress plug-in, the features allow it to be priced similarly to a typical learning platform. There are two paid plans that you can choose from.

There’s an Essentials plan which is great for managing a small business. Novice course creators who aren’t familiar with web development but want to make sure that their courses are sorted out can avail of this.

The most popular plan is the Pro one which is marketed towards online teachers and educators. It’s good for those with a growing number of students since it has a built-in learning management system.

Finally, the In-House Training plan is geared towards bigger teams and new hires of a high-scale business.

Whichever one you avail of will grant you a free 2-month trial as well.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_ACCESSALLY

Areas for Improvement

The most obvious catch is that if you aren’t familiar with the ins and outs of WordPress, then it could take a while for you to learn how to use this course software. You’ll have to get used to both WordPress and this at the same time.

Also, since it’s just a plug-in, more complex customization features aren’t available. If you want to create more specific content, then this course platform might make it harder for you.

PROS

  • Easy to install into WordPress
  • Simple drag and drop interface
  • Free 2-month trial
  • Allows e-commerce integration
  • Lets you run affiliate marketing

CONS

  • Functions with WordPress sites only
  • Limited customization features

10. Udemy

BEST COURSE VARIETY

FTK_UDEMY

Overview – Why Use Udemy?

Chances are you’ve already heard about Udemy in one way or another. It’s one of the most popular and best online learning platforms available today after all.

What’s made it so well-known is how well it helps you get started on creating and selling your courses. If you’re a course builder, you’ll not only find the interface easy-to-use, but you’ll also receive guidance from the Udemy support team.

And once you’ve finished building the online course, you can market it instantly to a wide audience. The best part is that you receive 97% of the profits once you sell a course directly.

There’s also an option to use Udemy’s built-in marketplace. But for that, you’ll receive 50% of profit instead.

As for the students, they’ll get to enjoy a wide variety of different course topics to choose from. These include courses on art, music, and other general knowledge subjects.

Also, once you’ve subscribed to one course, you’ll get lifetime access to it already. And you also don’t need to pass any qualifications to join a course. Simply take your pick and enjoy the learning process right from the get-go.

The courses also come with their own badges and certificates that the students can claim once they’re done. And there’s no pressure to finish them too quickly either since the lessons can be paused, stopped, and rewinded.

Payment Plans

Udemy doesn’t require payment for you to create and host a course. This might sound too good to be true, but we can guarantee you that it’s 100% true. There are no hidden charges or fees.

This is since Udemy earns revenue only through their share from the courses that you’re able to sell.

It’s a great and cost-efficient course software for course instructors with tight budgets.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_UDEMY

Areas for Improvement

One main downside of Udemy is felt more by the course instructors and creators than the students. Since there are plenty of online courses to choose from, it’s harder for the course authors to make their courses stand out. The competition becomes really stiff since plenty of courses are added to the platform regularly.

Also, Udemy has a 30-day refund policy. This is good for the students since they can get their money back if they choose to. But for the creators, it decreases their earnings.

Finally, some users found that video captions and language preferences are limited. This hinders students who need closed captioning to understand the course.

PROS

  • No fee to create and host a course
  • Wide course variety
  • 97% of profits go to the course creator
  • Lifetime access to subscribed courses
  • 30-day refund guarantee

CONS

  • High competition between course authors
  • Decreased earnings for creators when students get refunded
  • Limited caption and language settings

11. Shaw Academy

BEST FOR SELF-PACED LEARNING

FTK_SHAW ACADEMY

Overview – Why Use Shaw Academy?

If you’re a student looking for courses that allow you to learn at your own pace, then Shaw Academy may be the right fit.

There are three course categories that you can choose from, depending on your preference and level of knowledge. You can choose from the For Hobbyists, For Professionals, and For Entrepreneurs categories.

A For Hobbyists course is perfect if you’re not planning to take classes full-time. You get to go through the module and course at your own pace. You can even download the materials to save for offline viewing.

The latter two categories, For Professionals and For Entrepreneurs, are for those who are more serious about taking online classes. They’re perfect if you have a growing business since there’s an online course in the category which is all about digital marketing.

Payment Plans

Upon signing up, you get a free trial for 30 days.

Once that’s over, the payment scheme is based on each individual course that you take. For example, a class on Digital Marketing will cost different around $10/ month. If you want to take an additional class on Photography, then that’s a separate transaction for $10/month.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_SHAW ACADEMY

Areas for Improvement

Though this learning platform has plenty of course subjects that you can choose from, they’re not as much as you would find on a bigger platform like Udemy or Skillshare.

PROS

  • You can go through a course on your own pace
  • Downloadable content for offline viewing
  • Free trial for 30 days
  • Suitable for those interested in digital marketing
  • Payment is made per class you take

CONS

  • Limited course choices

12. Coursera

BEST FOR ACADEMIC COURSES

FTK_COURSERA

Overview – Why Use Coursera?

If you’re looking for the perfect platform to learn an academic course, then you should check out Coursera. It’s a known course software that partners with top universities and instructors to create classes. In fact, it was created by two Stanford professors back in 2012.

What we love about it is that it’s the platform that gives you a learning experience that’s closest to a real school or university. This is since most of the instructors are lecturers at universities as well. You get to learn from experts and leaders of specific fields.

Payment Plans

There are actually three types of classes offered at Coursera: Main, Specializations, and Online Degrees.

The Main courses take about 4 to 6 weeks to be completed and the students receive an electronic certificate.

The Specialization courses can take anywhere between 6 weeks to a year to be completed. This is since they provide you with more complex assessments and quizzes.

The Online Degree programs are great for those who want to pursue more advanced courses. They usually take around 1 to 3 years to complete and in the end, you receive a university-recognized degree.

And for whichever course you choose, you’ll get to enjoy community discussions, peer-reviewed assessments, and interactive video lectures.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_COURSERA

Areas for Improvement

Perhaps the only downside that you’ll experience with this platform is that the longer the course is, the more you’ll have to adjust to the online setup.

A lengthy and rigorous course will be more challenging to learn when you aren’t face-to-face with a professor. You’ll only have a limited number of calls that you can make to your online instructor, depending on which kind of course you take.

PROS

  • Has plenty of academic courses
  • Course badges and certificates
  • University-recognized
  • Three course types
  • Interactive community discussions

CONS

  • More complex course requirements
  • Limited number of calls to your instructor/s

13. Lifter LMS

BEST LMS PLUG-IN

FTK_LIFTER LMS

Overview – Why Use LifterLMS?

Much like AccessAlly and Learndash, this platform is an excellent learning management system plug-in built specifically for WordPress.

he interface is easy to use so you can build your courses from scratch even without previous web design knowledge. You can use it to give quizzes, create community forums, and award certificates to your students.

You can also do 1 on 1 coaching with your students and create advanced quizzes. Course badges and certificates can also be awarded to your students through this platform.

Plus, if you’re planning to earn extra revenue, it has e-commerce features as well. You can offer additional coupons and extra bundles with your courses.

Payment Plans

This platform plug-in is actually free for everyone. It has all the essential features needed for hosting and creating an online course.

But if you need more advanced features, then you can avail of the paid plans as well.

The Universe Bundle is great if you need help with processing your payments. It’s also good for sending out bulk emails for course updates, as well as email marketing.

The Infinity Bundle is geared for instructors who need more advanced quizzing options. It also has the option to make the classes more interactive. It’s the most expensive choice though since it’ll be billed yearly.

Pricing:

FTK-Pricing Plans_LIFTER LMS

Areas for Improvement

Similar to Learndash and AccessAlly, this is a WordPress plug-in. That’s why if you’re planning to host your courses on a site other than WordPress, then this won’t work out for you.

And if you aren’t familiar with how to use WordPress, then you’ll have to go through a learning curve at first.

PROS

  • User-friendly interface
  • Advanced assessment features
  • Course badges and certificates
  • Has e-commerce integration
  • Free plan with option to upgrade

CONS

  • Only works with WordPress

Online Course Platforms FAQs

Online Course Platforms_FAQS

How to Select an Online Course Platform?

You can find a plethora of course platforms online. However, it can be overwhelming trying to find the right one. Here are a few guidelines to select the right online course platform for yourself:

Specify Your Interests 

You first need to determine why you need an online course platform. Do you just want to try out a class? Or do you eventually want to create a course and teach one as well?

Once you’ve figured this out, you can choose a platform that will satisfy your needs. This is since there are two types of platforms available today.

There are ones that only cater to learners and so they don’t have the option to build courses.

Then there are those that let you create your own course platform from scratch.

Compare Prices

While this may be a no-brainer, it’s important that you only do this with online course platforms that are under the same category.

Don’t try comparing the costs of two completely different online course platforms because that will leave you scratching your head. Remember, you can’t compare apples to oranges. 

Focus on the Features

Different course platforms have different features. For example, a virtual course may offer features related to content creation only while another may have both content creation and marketing.

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can shortlist the features you want from your online course platforms and choose accordingly. 

Student Interaction and Tracking Tools

Effective online course platforms allow you to interact with your learners easily and help you track their progress. With these, you can find ways to better help them and innovate how you teach as well.

Platforms that offer 1 on 1 coaching, phone calls, and chat features are great for keeping in touch with your students. Community discussion boards and threads will also ultimately help them learn better since they can ask each other questions.

All-in-One vs Standalone Platforms

Generally, online course platforms offer basic content creation and e-commerce features.

All-in-one course platforms have garnered attention these days because they also offer course creation, website building, and other marketing tools. If you want to have all these features and more, then go for an all-in-one course platform.

But if you already have a website and want to execute your own marketing strategies, then you might be better off with a standalone platform

WordPress LMS Plug-In vs Hosted Platform

If you already have a WordPress-based website, then you can use a WordPress LMS plugin. Simply install it to your site and then you can begin using its features to build your courses.

But if you’re planning to build your course business from the ground up or want to use a site other than WordPress, then you should use a hosted platform instead. While this may be more tedious, the upside too is that a hosted platform usually has more advanced features compared to plug-ins.

Conclusion

Online Course Platforms_Conclusion

We hope that this article has helped you learn more about the best online course platforms.

While we highly recommend you choose Kajabi, all the other online course platforms on our list have proven their worth as well. 

And before you choose an online course platform, make sure it has all the features you need to achieve your goal. Whether you just want to attend a course or end up teaching as well, the right platform will help you get sorted out.

And anyway, most of these options have free trials when you initially sign up. This is great since you won’t really be able to comprehend a platform unless you try it for yourself. So take advantage of the free trials to see if a particular platform suits you.

If not, go for another one. Other online course platforms offer free demos, training sessions, live webinars, and 24/7 support services.

Now, just go take your pick and get the hang of the platform you want to use! You’re sure to become a pro in no time!

About the author

jack_morris

Jack Morris

Jack has worked on the video production, audio mastery, and physical coursework for over one-hundred popular online courses to date. He’s here to share his experiences with you, as well as show you what tools are worth your time, how to spot those that aren’t worth a penny, and above all else, how to keep yourself informed about how to navigate online course creation efficiently and effectively.