Virtual classrooms are the future of learning as lecture-hall based learning is getting phased out by technology and pandemics (Covid-19). In 2018, Forbes published an article detailing the booming growth of online e-learning platforms, claiming that it will climb to $325 by 2025.
While online learning is an effective technique and option for many students, it is also healthier for the environment. According to NorthEastern’s research, online courses cut energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by an average of 90% and 85% simultaneously, for each student. The statistics are compared to traditional in-person training or learning.
While some online course training platforms comprise of fast track to certification, others provide degree options. As such, many learners have adopted online course training as an alternative, especially due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and tight job schedules.
In the section below, I review the 10 best online course platforms and give guidance on how you can sell your courses online. The guide will also provide how you can create the content if you are just getting started.
What are Online Course Platforms?
Online course platforms power digital classes the way WordPress powers blogs and websites. Online course platforms are Learning Management Systems that provide users to manage their content and share them with learners who have digital access. The content could be in various formats such as videos, PDFs, text, audio, and images.
Each course platform provides a set of unique features that empower content creators to be creative. Some even go to the extent of managing file upload and doc management system.
What are the Best Online Course Platforms in 2020
The best online course platforms available for learners and content creators are Teachable, Thinkific, Learnworlds, Kajabi, Podia, Rozuku, among others. If you are looking to host a podcast, you can use this link.
Below are the 10 best online course platforms in 2020:
Teachable is an e-learning platform that enables teachers to create their courses and sell them to scholars all over the world. It came top in our list and I can’t say enough how much this platform is making the lives of teachers fulfilling.
With developing a beautiful course, you are sure to earn enviable earnings. The Teachable website reports that they are over 83, 000 instructors have an accumulated paycheck of over $555m.
How it works:
Teachable allows you to creat a course and when you sign up, you get a custom domain such as this belonging to Jessica Sprague: https://jessicasprague.teachable.com/?src=teachable-examples
Jessica’s website has over 20 courses that range from $0/free to $100.
It is easy to set up an online course with teachable, as you only go through five simple steps, which are creating a course for free, uploading your content, making your school beautiful, engaging with your students, and finally, sharing knowledge and earning good money.
Tip: it is highly advisable to use the ‘Professional” plan to run your online school because it has no transaction charges, provides graded quizzes, offers course completion certificate, and underscores course compliance, all at an affordable price of $79 per month billed yearly.
The following video describes the differences between Thinkific and Teachable
- Full control of students
- Single-click up-sells
- Free trial and free plan
- Unlimited courses and students
- Basic integrations (only through Zapier)
- No live streaming unless you use third-party services
Thinkific is another online course platform that is making huge impacts on the online tutoring business. It came second in our list behind Teachable but unlike Teachable, Thinkific offers a free plan that allows you to create 3 courses and can host your content such as PDF, Audio files, among others.
The video below is a short demo of Thinkific’s course platform:
Thinkific is a favorite of many online tutors owing to its amazing features, which are:
- You can easily create and modify courses to match your brand.
- It facilitates your engagement with students because it supports rich multimedia course content
- Thinkific allows you to host all your video teaching materials totally free
- It allows you to create and design your website according to your brand, which promotes your course-selling business.
- Market and Sell your Courses
Thinkific provides its tutors with a full suite of business tools to promote your online classes.
Some of the advanced marketing tools that Thinkific provides their clients that enable them to reach a high number of students are:
- Reward affiliates for sharing your courses
- Provides tutors with Google Adwords, Facebook link, and retargeting campaigns that facilitate ad tracking
- Enables you to connect to your preferred email provider to create highly targeted campaigns that send emails to the target audience and at the right time.
- Thinkific integrates with your chosen business tools to enhance your marketing success.
- Facilitates your engagement with students
Thinkific provides tutors with many ways of keeping their students satisfied, which promotes the growth of your online course.
Thinkific helps you make your students happy by providing tools that enhance their flexible learning (clear progress indicators, unlimited replays of course material, and language controls. Also. Thinkific helps you celebrate your student’s wins by providing features such as giving a “high five” after completion of a task.
Secondly, Thinkific promotes client satisfaction by having automated check-ins that keep students encourages and provides you with robust data that keep you informed about the progress of each student.
- Finally, Thinkific provides maximum security for your content and course data by:
- Providing secure cloud hosting and everyday backups
- Offering 99.9% and 24/7 monitoring
- Giving you instant access to updates and
- Providing built-in security and SSL.
Thinkific vs Podia:
The table below shows the difference between Podia and Thinkific:
If you want to try out Thinkific, you can get started here.
Learnworlds is a premium online learning platform that came third in our list, behind Thinkific and Teachable.
Learnworlds is a good online learning platform because:
- It enables a tutor to create beautiful sales pages because it provides dozens of eye-catching templates
- It provides an intelligent sales engine, which improves your sales. Learnworlds provides marketing tools such as coupons, subscriptions, and Drip Feed that give tutors unmatched marketing flexibility.
- It provides rich and engaging courses through its interactive video features, like titles, interactive buttons, and quizzes.
- It is a full social learning experience. learnWorlds has a fully built-in social network that enables you to connect with yous scholars. Also, it is the only online course platform that enables your students to connect with their peers.
- It provides customizable front-end, meaning that the teachers can sell from their domains, supports the multi-lingual concept, is accessible both from mobiles and tablets, it is secure and is SEO-friendly.
LearnWorlds is also a reliable online course platform because it offers its hosting services through four plans, where a tutor chooses the most appropriate for his or her course.
Note, the Learning Center is their most popular plan owing to its unique yet affordable features.
In the video below Learnworlds, the company behind this online platform shares 6 unique features LearnWorlds is the leading platform for anyone looking to launch an online school.
- Supports multiple learning tools
- Expert course design
- Allows video editing on the fly and adding interactive elements
- Robust online community builder and marketing tools
- Handy copyright protection features
- Beginner-friendly pricing
- Native blog creation
- No native mobile app and site themes
- Basic course reporting tools
- Limited payment options (pick one)
- Does not handle EU VAT natively
- Till process isn’t conversion-optimized
Kajabi is a high-end online course platform that is suitable for in-depth courses.
The online course platform offers powerful course site themes, large email market automation, upsells and digital products, a checkout that one can customize, and provides vlogging features.
Examples of marketing tools that Kajabi provides are landing pages that are code-free and fully integrated, funnels that are one click to fully automates marketing campaigns, events that are easy to host, built-in-live and automated webinars, and email automation that enhances continuous engagement between the tutor and the students.
Kajabi also provides authoritative sales tools that promote the generation of more customers, boost revenues, and drive repeat sales. For example, Kajabi allows it is used to collect payments easily through a built-in shopping cart, demands no transaction fees, one-click upsells that enhance revenues and customizable checkouts that give the users the freedom to set their selling rules.
In the video below, Jessica explains why she switched to Kajabi in the online review below:
Kajabi vs Podia
Podia is a more user-friendly tool compared to Kajabi. Kajabi and Podia give you a 14-day trial period that you can try out their course development and management tools. Kajabi is, however, more expensive, almost three times more expensive than Podia.
The table below gives more details of Podia vs Kajabi:
Learndash is an outstanding online course platform that integrates with WordPress.
Learndash is the number 1 favorite of Fortune 500 corporations, renowned universities, training organizations and business persons for developing and selling their online courses. Bigs websites that use Learndash are Yoast, Infusionsoft, the University of Michigan, and WP Elevation.
Key features of Learndash are their courses, monetization concepts, administration strategies, and technology advancement.
Learndash offers dynamic, engaging, avail the latest e-learning industry trends. Learndash provides:
- Your own branded learning portal
- Easy yet powerful course builder
- Advanced quizzing as it provides question types, custom messages, and question banks.
- Drip-feed content that enables you to schedule your content as you see fit
- Flexible prerequisites such as the set course, lesson, and quiz-based fundamentals
- Dynamic forums (private and public course-specific settings
- Provides gradebooks
- Awards students with points when completing courses and moving on to new ones.
- Awards custom certificates and badges for course completion.
Learndash makes it easy for you to earn money by allowing you to set your price, choose the payment schedule, and start taking orders.
LearnDash gives tutors more control over their students and courses than all other online course platforms in the market. For example, it facilitates group courses, altering progression, clearing data, re-printing achievements, revoking access and many more.
LearnDash enhances the online course experience for your students by supplying the latest tech tools in e-learning and WordPress industries.
Below is a video presentation of LearnDash
Podia is our 6th best online course management platform on this 2020 list that is known for its exceptional ease-of-use. Podia is a hosting platform that is a feature-rich content management and learning management platform that supports any course development including online classes. It has courses, downloads, memberships, email marketing, live chats and more. Podia online course platforms host unlimited files that have different and suitable payment plans, quizzes, drip content, upsells among others.
Let’s start with Podia’s Online Courses:
Podia takes care of all your course development needs including, hosting the courses, managing payments, managing access. To start a course, click on the ‘Products’ tab and you’ll see an option to create your online course:
Once you enter the name of your course, you will be directed to more add-on online course creations tools that allow you to add sections to your course, add files, add links, add texts and even include a quiz to your course. You’ll see a dashboard like this:
You can adjust the settings, set your course pricing, set enrollment requirements, integrate with email software, resources to promote the course and access your customer list on the Podia dashboard.
Below is an intro video of how Podia works:
Podia has two payment plans, Mover and Shaker. Mover is suitable for creators launching their first digital products while Shaker is appropriate for creators who wish to grow their online business.
Finally, Podia offers new users a 14-day trial that you can start without using a credit card. The podia trial allows you to familiarize yourself with all its features to facilitate your decision regarding what plan suits your needs.
You’ll be required to confirm your account creation and once you log in, here is how the Podia dashboard looks:
Podia vs Teachable
Below is a comparison of Podia vs Teachable:
The table below explores the differences of Podia vs Teachable further:
Podia vs Accessally
Podia has similar features to AccessAlly, another LMS platform on this list but unlike AccessAlly, Podia has a 14-day free trial that allows you to check out their course development and management platform. Accessally has a free-demo you can watch on the site and is relatively more expensive than Podia. Accessally’s cheapest plan costs $82 per month while Podia’s cheapest plan is $39 per month.
Once you set up your podia account, you get a subdomain similar this for 10WebTools: https://10webtools.podia.com/
Ruzuku is an online course platform that provides you with all the tools that you need to develop your content and to connect with your audience.
Ruzuku is a favorite online course platform because it has no transaction costs, avails unlimited students, offers tutors limitless opportunities, permits unlimited courses.
Also, Ruzuku is easy to set up and manage, which their 24/7 support enhance.
Ruzuku provides three pricing plans, which are the University, the Up-and-Comers, and Bootstrapper. Up-and-Comer offers the best value for your money.
All plans include:
● Unlimited students, Unlimited Courses
- Unlimited audio and video uploads
- Unlimited data storage
- Comprehensive and friendly support for you and your students
- Dedicated and fast servers
- Global Content Delivery Network
- Daily backups for your course data
- Bank-level security for you and your learners
- Integrated eCommerce with PayPal and Stripe
You can listen to the video review of Ruzuku online platform below:
Academy of Mine
Academy of Mine provides “Your own customized E-Learning Platform”, which eliminates clutter.
Also, Academy of mine is a favorite of many online tutors because:
- It provides 24/7 Expert Custom Support to all their users
- Enhances the success of your eLearning platform by supplying you with marketing tools such as integrated course sales pages and multiple course and product listings.
- Provides self-paced courses that include videos, audio, PDF, PowerPoint, HTML, SCORM, TinCan, quizzes, assignments, discussions, and many more.
- Reporting and analytics that inform the live performance of your site, which allows you to modify your marketing strategies.
- Its pricing plans, which are Essentials, Professional, and Enterprise, allowing you to choose the package that suits your needs.
The below image shows you the services that all plans of the Academy of Mine offer.
WizIQ is an online course platform that provides affordable live virtual classrooms.
Wiziq is credible because:
- It has over 400, 000 instructors who teach over 2, 000, 000 students from over 200 nations.
- Has three plans, Profesional, Enterprise, and Pay-per-Use that caters to different needs of instructors at an affordable cost as highlighted by the image below.
- Provides self-paced eLearning courses within minutes
- Offers tests and assessments
- Supplies LMS eCommerce
- Avails Mobile learning
- Provides analytics
The Best Online Learning Platforms
If you are a student or a teacher, you may be wondering which platform has the best tools and resources to learn or to teach. Online course platforms that allow content developers to host their work on a marketplace where students get to buy.
The marketplace/platform takes a commission of what the learners pay to access the online courses. The best online learning platforms are great compared to the list of the best online course platforms for the following specific reasons:
- It’s great for anyone starting out as you don’t really need to start paying a $49/m plan with paid online course platforms above if you don’t have an audience yet.
- There is no upfront payment
- You can easily build an audience.
However, I recommend that you go for the online course platforms as you’ll make more money per sale and you’ll face less competition.
Below are all my best online learning platforms:
- Digital Chalk
- Linkedin Learning
Udemy: Overall Best Learning Marketplace
Udemy is the overall best online learning platform in 2019:
Udemy is an online learning platform that allows professional adults and students to pursue education virtually. The platform has over 50 million students and more than 57, 000 tutors that teach the course over 65 languages. Today, Udemy has recorded over 295 million course enrollments. ALSO, Udemy is credible because 80% of Fortune 100 companies entrust the ELearning platform for their employee upskilling.
Udemy is useful to instructors because:
- Instructors can sell their courses without upfront courses
- Teachers can rely on Udemy’s 24/7 Instructor Support Team that helps you through course creation queries.
- Udemy is an effective eLearning platform because it allows tutors to plan their courses according to their preferences.
Similarly, Udemy is convenient for students because:
- it offers peer-to-peer support through Udemy’s engaged instructor community through Studio U.
- Udemy offers worthy courses to students because they are affordable as they are always running offers. For example, almost all courses at Udemy are less than $ 20, which makes it a low-cost place to learn.
- Udemy allows students to learn with their preferred speed because they offer scholars lifetime access.
The only downside of choosing to learn from Udemy is that it is not an accredited institution, which means that employers do not recognize their certificates.
In the video below, John answers the question: Are Udemy courses worth it?
Click4Course is our second best online learning platform. Click4Course is a friendly online course platform because:
- It is easy to create an online class from the platform,
Click4Course permits instructors to develop unlimited courses, divide their courses as they see fit, allow unlimited course content, provide pre-requisite courses, support video, and PowerPoint Courses, and enable tutors to have course deadlines.
- It provides price offers constantly
Click4Course provides a 30-day free trial period for all its payment plans to enable teachers to understand all the features of the platform before subscribing to a particular package
Also, Click4Course offers 20% discounts to all instructors who make payments annually instead of on a monthly basis.
- It helps tutors to track the progress of their students, which enhance marketing
Click4Course allows you to develop tests and surveys for your students such as passing scores, deadlines, multiple question types, and certificates that improve your engagement with students.
- It provides tutors with tools that help instructors to sell more courses
Click4Course provides teachers with registration feeds, custom branding, unlimited administrators, discount codes that facilitate more course sales.
DigitalChalk is a fully LMS solution for developing, marketing and selling courses online. It made this list coming third behind Click4Course and Udemy.
DigitalChalk is appropriate for beginners because it provides tools to make creating and managing an online class fast, safely, and excellently. The tools include:
- Flexible Design Apparatuses that enables to creates engaging online courses the platform’s online course creator
- Customizable Delivery Options, which enables tutors to deliver to their students however they like. For instance, a teacher can choose between using traditional content or go live with instructor-led coaching.
- Personalized online Courses
DigitalChalk allows you to include personal logos, images, and colors to your online platform to distinguish your brand from others to attract the rights clients.
- Automated Emails
DigitalChalk provides teachers with automated emails to improve engagement with their students through custom email notifications and marketing ads that inspire learners to buy more coursed from you.
- Real-Time Business Analytics
Digital Chalk supplies instructors with business insights through their dashboard and many reporting options which informs you what marketing strategies you need to implement to improve your success
- Finally, DigitalChalk offers unlimited support to their tutors where they can talk to a live solutions specialist, ask for help through email, or use chat support 24/7.
DigitalChalk is also reliable because every payment plan offers unlimited storage, unlimited courses, unlimited course size, unlimited bandwidth, HTTPS security, and its available on the go.
Pathwright is our fourth-best online learning platform. Pathwright is a virtual app for making courses, lessons, classes, and more.
Pathwright is user-friendly because it easy to set up and manage with its features, which include:
- Interactive Online Courses
Pathwright offers engaging virtual classes because they:
- simple and interactive contents
- Support videos, audio, and written tutorials
- Allow projects to make learning actionable
- Provide assessments such as game-like quizzes or graded tests to facilitate understanding of courses
- Set points to inspire motivation in students or track their official grades and
- Award printable certificates upon course completion
- Customizable Online Classes
Pathwright permit tutors to brand their virtual courses to enhance marketability by:
- Allowing teachers to launch their courses using their names, URL, and catalog
- Enabling you to design, teach, learn, and managed all your content from your mobile
- Gives each student a homepage for all their lifetime learning and
- Setting up daily or weekly summary emails for all content to re-engage learners
- Helps you track all your students by:
- Informing you how each learner is performing in their lessons
- Supports discussion prompts to foster intentional and guided discussion
- Allows moderators to guide interested students on your courses and
- Sends you notifications when something needs your attention.
- Provides tutors with marketing tools that increase their sales, including:
- Dashboards that enables you to manage everything and everyone
- One-page Check-out that allow you to sell courses and complete subscriptions instantly
- Provides subscriptions that facilitate sales
- Provides storefronts that you use to display your courses to anyone to discover or self-enroll, and
- Supplies pitch pages that help you convince persons to join your classes.
- Finally, Pathwright has three payment plans that allow the tutor to chooses the most appropriate platform for his or her virtual classes. The plans are:
It is suitable for new instructors or those teachers that have a few classes. It is affordable because it costs $99/month or $89/month when billed annually.
It is suitable for launching full online school. It costs $199 per month or $179/monthly when billed yearly
It’s the plan that has all the tools that you require in one platform. It costs $499 per Month or $449/monthly when billed annually.
Coursecats allow you to sell your online courses through your email list.
Coursecats works by following the following steps:
- Initial Setup
Install WordPress and your theme in any web host. If you are a not a tech person, Coursecats supplies you with their Concierge Service to set up your account
- Add your content
- Use the platform’s step by step guide to add your content to pages (sales page, homepage, and gorgeous opt-in-landing pages)
- Add your courses, which include content, videos, and downloads
- Brand your class to attract clients
- Protect your content and set up your payment gateway
- Sell your courses
- Finally, Coursecats is fitting for beginners because it offers its new clients a free trial and enables you to cancel your subscription at any time.
AccessAlly is a leading online course and membership site that is fitting for WordPress Course Creators that need a deep marketing automation integration. AccessAlly is credible because successful business leaders such as Chris Lema, Holy Chantal, and Marc Wayshak use it to run and grow their markets.
AccessAlly is effective for virtual teaching because it provides:
- Unlimited Instant and Dripped Courses
- Course Licensing with Team Accounts
- Homework submission with private feedback features
- Use progress tracking and display
- Advanced quizzes for enhanced learning and segmentation and
- Snappy Login Links for Mobile and GDPR
Also, AccessAlly enables you to sell your online course by:
- Accepting payments directly with varied currencies
- Including WordPress Affiliate Plugin
- Reducing Shopping Cart Neglect
- Providing Trial Offers, Subscription, and 1-Click Upsells
- Cross-Selling Dashboards
- And Applying Taxes and Shipping Fees Automatically