Online courses are a fast-growing industry and it’s now become easier than ever to host an online course given the multitude of options available online.
To create and deliver a successful online course, you need a learning management system (LMS) that offers video hosting, multiple payment options, and control over your online course website and content. It should also help your students follow along with the course, take notes, and submit assignments.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the two main types of online course platforms and run the rule over some of the best course building platforms for online course creators.
Types of Platforms to Create and Sell Online Courses
Online course hosting options can broadly be classified into two main categories:
Online Course Marketplace: These are all-in-one solutions that let you create a course and sell to an existing marketplace. They give you access to an established community of students and handle marketing for you. However, you get less control over branding, customization, and pricing.
Online Course Creation Software: It gives you the tools you need to create your own course and promote it to potential customers. You’ll be able to use custom branding on your courses and charge your own prices. Keep in mind that you’ll have to promote your courses and handle the maintenance yourself.
Now that we have a better understanding of different types of online course hosting, let’s look at some of the best course creation tools available to you.
15 Best Platforms to Create and Sell Online
15 Best Platforms to Create and Sell Online Courses
Here are some of the most popular course building platforms for online course creators:
SkillShare is a powerful online course marketplace that helps you share your knowledge and skills with people around the world and generate a steady revenue stream.
As an online course creator, you can sign up as a Teacher and use the platform to produce your own courses. You can sign up for free and earn money through monthly royalties. How much you earn per month depends on the number of minutes of watched content in your classes. In addition to this, you can earn a referral bonus for every new student you refer to the Skillshare Premium Membership.
Skillshare is great for all types of online classes including illustration, animation, business, video, freelancing, design, and photography.
- Easy-to-use and user-friendly.
- It helps you create high-quality course material including videos.
- An ideal platform for sharing lessons and quick tips.
- You can create 10-25 minute long classes made up of small videos that are self-paced and pre-recorded.
Udemy is the most popular course building platform out there. It lets you create and sell your courses to millions of students. The platform also features a marketplace to help you sell your online courses.
With Udemy, you earn money every time a student purchases one of your online courses. At the time of this writing, you can get paid each month either through PayPal or Payoneer.
One of the neat features on offer with Udemy is that it lets you create quizzes, exercises, and assignments using built-in tools. This is a great way to generate user engagement and create learning opportunities. Udemy gives you the tools you need for course announcements, Q&As, and messaging.
Udemy is great for selling courses related to development, business, finance and accounting, productivity, marketing, and lifestyle topics.
- It provides a simple and quick way to assemble your course content using PDF files, PowerPoint slides, and YouTube videos.
- Offers a wide variety of categories including design, personal development, health & fitness, business, and music.
- It gives you access to powerful marketing tools to help you promote your courses.
- It has a highly engaged user community that provides course reviews.
OpenSesame helps you share your expertise and skills with others, including students and working professionals.
OpenSesame is great for users that represent organizations for training firms. You can upload course videos to the platform and all of the courses you publish on it can be accessed from any learning management system. This is particularly useful for course creators that are producing online courses or training material for businesses that might want to view it in their own learning management system.
This is a great option for online course creators that are looking to cover business skills, compliance, certifications, IT and technology skills, or other industry-specific topics in their courses.
- You’ll be able to offer courses to different businesses using any LMS.
- You can upload videos to your online course site.
- Offers a huge library of more than 20,000 courses in a variety of languages and formats.
Price: Request a quote
Kajabi is a complete online course platform that lets you create, promote, and sell your knowledge and skills online.
One of the standout features on offer with Kajabi is that it also lets you sell downloadable files, memberships, training portals, and just about any other digital product you can think of. This makes Kajabi an excellent platform for course creators that might also want to sell other digital products later on.
The Kajabi platform also comes with a built-in web page builder and email capabilities. This means you can essentially create, publish, sell, and market your online course through a single platform. In other words, you don’t need to sell courses through your business website.
- Offers integration with PayPal and Stripe to help you quickly collect payments.
- Lets you accept one-time payments, recurring payments, and trial payments plans.
- It allows you to implement your own custom branding in course content like colors, images, and fonts.
- It gives you access to a powerful member dashboard that lets you stay on top of each student’s purchase as well as their payment and login history.
- You can create and send customizable emails using engaging content like countdown timers, videos, and automation.
Check out our in-depth Kajabi review for more information.
Price: Starting at $149 per month
Podia is a widely-used online course creation platform that helps you sell online courses and collect payments from customers. In addition to this, you can also use it to sell webinars, downloads, and memberships.
The platform also lets you build a professional-looking business website complete with sales pages, contact pages, product pages, and a storefront. In addition to this, you can also use Podia to build your email list using its powerful, built-in email marketing platform.
Podia lets online course creators connect their Stripe or PayPal accounts giving them full control over payouts. What’s more, is that course creators can use Podia’s affiliate program to incentivize students who share their courses and products with others. It gives them the option to set their own commission terms.
- You can quickly create your course site by adding pre-made pages such as a contact page and an about page.
- Offers live customer support to help you quickly troubleshoot issues.
- It handles hosting as well as other technical issues and offers free site migration.
- It offers seamless integration with useful tools such as Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics.
Price: Starting at $39 per month
Thinkific offers an all-inclusive platform to help you create, promote, and sell online courses to your students. Start by building your online course using the platform’s drag and drop builder. You can set pricing, schedule lessons, and set up automation to curate a learning experience for prospective students.
Once that’s done, set up your course website or connect to your existing business website. Thinkific gives online course creators all of the marketing tools, payment options, and integrations they need to promote and sell their courses.
One of the standout features on offer with Thinkific is that it packs robust student features that let you track course completion, send progress emails, and facilitate course discussions.
- You can quickly upload and create your online course by dragging-and-dropping content.
- You can use rich multimedia content such as video, text, quizzes, and surveys to create engaging courses.
- It lets you choose how you want to run your courses and easily implement features such as drip schedule content and prerequisite lessons.
Price: Starting at $49 per month (free version available)
#7: Academy of Mine
Academy of Mine is a complete course building solution that helps you create courses for both individual and business professionals. As an online course creator, you can use it to set up your own white-labeled platform to create and sell online courses.
Using the Academy of Mind platform, online course creators can build courses consisting of text, audio, video, PDFs, SCORM, and live streaming. It also supports course drip and locking functionality which makes it easy to control the pace at which students progress through the course content.
The platform helps users create a website that’s fully integrated with its learning management system of choice. Alternatively, users have the option to maintain their current website and simply connect it to their Academy of Mine account.
Academy of Mine is designed for businesses that offer professional training and certifications to organizations.
- You can add customized branding to your courses such as choosing your own logo and color schemes.
- It offers powerful reporting and analytics features to help you grade, track progress, and generate performance reports.
- You can create self-paced courses using rich content including PDFs, video, text, and PowerPoint slides.
Price: Starting at $499 per month
Teachable is a feature-rich course creation and selling platform that helps you share your knowledge and skills through your own course site. It’s incredibly customizable out of the box. You can use the platform to create multimedia lectures, course videos, and coaching sessions.
In addition to this, Teachable lets online course creators track sales and view student insights through dashboards. Users can also create sales pages with the platform’s built-in page editor. One of the standout features on offer with Teachable is that it lets you onboard team members – such as authors and contributors – allowing you to get more done, faster.
Using Teachable, online course creators can set up one-on-one or group coaching sessions complete with call hosting features. The platform integrates seamlessly with Calendly and Zoom.
- Your online course website will run smoothly across any device.
- Its powerful page editor lets you easily create, customize, and launch new course pages.
- You can take quizzes, give course completion certificates, and enable course compliance to boost lecture completion.
- Its intuitive, drag-and-drop site builder helps you quickly set up your own course website.
Price: Starting at $29 per month
LearnWorlds is a popular online course builder that enables you to create, market, and sell your digital courses. It’s an easy-to-use platform that enables online course creators to create interactive course videos without any post-production. For example, you can add links, titles, and questions to your video courses in a few clicks.
In addition to this, you can offer students different ways to take notes and highlight content as they’re learning. This helps you deliver a more immersive online learning experience.
LearnWorlds also lets you set the pathways you want students to follow with its built-in drip-feed functionality. For example, you can choose to give students the option to navigate through your course content freely, sequentially, or set custom restrictions.
- Its customizable course player helps you add useful features for offering great learning experiences. These include drip feeding content and adding notes and highlights.
- You can conduct a variety of tests to measure student performance such as graded or ungraded quizzes and open or close questionnaires.
- You can build an online community of learners and share tips and ideas with your students.
Price: Starting at $24 per month
LifterLMS is a powerful online course building plugin for WordPress that lets you create, promote, and sell your courses from within the same platform. Online course creators can use the platform to build a complete training program with course content, quizzes, or training based membership sites.
LifterLMS also lets online course creators enhance their offering by adding gamification, assignments, and quizzes to course content. In addition to this, it generates reports for you that help you learn more about your students and fine-tune your courses.
Using LifterLMS, you can better manage your course assets by setting up content protection, assigning individual user accounts, creating student dashboards, and configuring prerequisites.
- You can create engaging courses from one screen using its drag-and-drop functionality.
- You can use popular e-learning file types such as video, audio, and images.
- LifterLMS offers integration with a number of useful tools such as PayPal, Stripe, WordPress, YouTube, Authorize.Net, and Mailchimp.
Interested in LifterLMS? Check out our hand-picked selection of the best LifterLMS third-party plugins and themes for 2020.
Price: Starting at $99 per year
AccessAlly is a complete WordPress LMS system that lets you create and deliver engaging online courses to your students. The plugin offers a full suite of learning management system features that makes it easy for students to track their progress, take quizzes, and create video bookmarks.
As an online course creator, you can use AccessAlly to sell digital products, one-time courses, and recurring memberships. It lets you accept payments via Stripe and PayPal.
AccessAlly lets course creators offer group licenses and bulk course enrollment. This way, administrators can invite team members and manage their own learning experiences. This makes the AccessAlly WordPress plugin perfect for selling courses or training material to organizations.
- You can integrate the learning platform with your CRM to deliver personalized content and emails to your audience.
- It offers flexible membership management features such as drip-feed content, membership tiers, and changing subscriptions.
- You can offer bulk course enrollment and group packages.
- Students can submit homework assignments and get feedback from course instructors.
Price: Starting at $82 per month
LearnDash is a widely-used online course software that offers powerful features to help you monetize your skills and experiences. The platform gives course creators full control over their students and courses through powerful built-in features like the ability to create front-end user profiles and set up group management.
In terms of monetization, course creators can accept both one-time payments and recurring payments. In addition to this, LearnDash lets users set up a shopping cart for selling online courses which helps deliver a familiar and seamless experience.
Users also have the option to sell membership access to courses, create course bundles, or create a course marketplace using LearnDash. The platform offers a plethora of integrations and add-ons making it extendable.
- Its Focus Mode feature offers a dedicated learning experience that boosts knowledge retention and completion rates.
- LearnDash offers dynamic forums to help you set up private and public forums for your students.
- Its robust course builder enables you to quickly set up multi-layered courses, made up of sections, lessons, topics, and quizzes.
- Lets you set up prerequisites based on courses, lessons, and quizzes.
Interested in LearnDash? Head over to our roundup of the best LearnDash third-party plugins and themes for 2020.
Price: Starting at $159
#13: Zippy Courses
Zippy Courses offers an all-in-one solution to help you build and sell online courses. The platform comes with a built-in drag-and-drop course builder that’s incredibly easy to use.
One of the neat features on offer with Zippy Courses is that it lets online course creators sell different versions of their courses. In addition to this, users can choose to either release their entire course at once or drip-feed content during the course scheduling process.
In addition to this, Zippy Courses offers features for automatically following up with students via email. This allows online course creators to keep students engaged with the course content.
- You can sell different versions of your online courses with multiple access tiers.
- Its drag-and-drop functionality helps you quickly create your courses.
- It offers integration with GetResponse, Stripe, PayPal, AWeber, Mailchimp, and more.
Price: Starting at $99 per month
Ruzuku is online course creation software that enables instructors to create and sell digital courses. Online course creators can use the platform to sell their courses at multiple price points or as a subscription. In addition to this, it lets course creators host and stream both audio and video content as well as offer downloadable resources.
Course creators can choose to create on-demand (evergreen) courses with drip content functionality or open access (self-directed) courses. In addition, its built-in student dashboard makes it easy to keep track of students’ activity completion and comment rates.
- You can upload and stream audio and video content
- It lets you collect payments via Stripe and PayPal.
- It enables learners to track their progress by marking each activity as “complete”.
- Integrates with Mailchimp for email marketing features allowing you to announce courses.
- Lets you copy a course and run it again.
Price: Starting at $74.75 per month
Treehouse is an online course marketplace that helps you share your knowledge and skills with other people. At the time of this writing, over 50,000 students take 300+ courses on the Treehouse course marketplace.
The platform is great for online course creators that want to teach courses about topics related to development, design, coding, programming languages, and business.
- It offers learning products on a variety of topics including data analysis, security, business, coding, and 21st-century skills.
- You can create engaging video courses using screencasts, motion graphics, and live-action scenes.
- You can assess student performance by taking quizzes with fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions.
Price: Starting at $49 per month
We shared our handpicked selection of the best platforms to create and sell online courses. The online course builder you use to create your digital learning products will depend on your particular needs and budget.
Between an online course marketplace and online course creation software, which type of platform are you leaning towards, and why? We’d love to hear from you so let us know by commenting below?