THE 13 Most useful ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM IN 2023. You’re going to launch an online course? Okay, fine. But it better be good. You know the perks: generate some passive income, teach your skills to a massive audience, etc.
13 Best Online Course Platform In 2023
In this article, you can know about ONLINE COURSE PLATFORM here are here are the details;
One of the easiest ways to launch your own online course is by using online course platforms.
I reviewed some of the best online course platforms based on their ease of use, course builder, cons, and more.
What is an Online Course Platform?
An online course platform is a sophisticated piece of software that allows anyone to create and deliver engaging digital content (like e-learning modules, interactive video lessons, tutorials, webinars, and more). Or simply put, an online course platform is software that allows users to quickly & easily develop and manage online lessons.
These platforms let you build, manage, promote, and even host your courses.
While more popularly known under the broad umbrella term of online course platforms, there are different categories they can be grouped in.
Here are the different types of online course platforms I covered in this article:
- Regular Online Course Platforms – These platforms let you upload your course content and create sales pages and a website to host your course. You can also leverage a bunch of marketing tools to promote your course and entice your audience. They usually provide free video and website hosting. Example: Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, etc.
- LMS Platforms – An LMS (Learning Management System) is often required for enterprises and SMBs. These platforms come in handy to take their employees digitally and learn new skills.
- Online Course Marketplaces – These course platforms come with an existing student base. So, the course you create becomes a part of their catalog, which then gets viewed by their already enrolled students.
- WordPress Course Plugins – These course builders are perfect for you if you already have a WordPress website. You can install the plugin directly and build the course right from your WordPress dashboard.
What Makes a Good Online Course Platform?
Consider these features before you go for one option:
- Ease of Use – Ease of Use – Choose a platform that provides a good user and learning experience at your end and your students’ end.
- Sales Page Templates – The very first thing that a buyer sees is your course sales page. The design of the sales page can make all the difference between a sale or not.
- Multiple Authors/Instructors – This feature bolsters team collaboration and makes your entire course appear more professional. Your course builder should also enable easy revenue sharing to multiple instructors.
- Quizzes & Assignments – Online quizzes and assignments allow students to learn and practice at the same time.
- Analytics & Reporting – You should be able to check students’ progress and how your lessons are performing.
You might also want to consider features like:
- Drip content
- Quick student enrollment
- Marketing automation
- Native integration with payment gateways
- The ability to set up different payment options or even offer the course for free
Editor’s note: I’m going to employ some affiliate links when achievable to try to earn some revenue from my content. These don’t change the opinions matched in the content nor the style in which they are written. If I think a development sucks, I’m not bearing to say otherwise. This is just a bonus & a way to fund the whole operation. Anyway, enjoy the article!
The 13 Best Online Course Platforms
Best For: Beginners looking for an easy-to-use course builder.
G2 Score: 4
Teachable is a powerful online study platform that helps you effectively create, manage and sell your online courses. Teachable takes care of all the processing, hosting, and delivery of your content so you can focus on getting more students and more sales.
You don’t have to be a tech expert or even have any coding know-how. Just register with Teachable and follow a step-by-step course-building process.
As soon as you log in, you’ll come across their quickstart webinar that will tell you how to build your course with Teachable. You’ll also get familiar with how things work, how to set up payments, customize course pages, and more.
And even if you don’t watch the 40-minute webinar, building a course with Teachable is a breeze.
With Teachable, you can create two types of products:
- Courses – Here, the instructor will build a curriculum for students. The course can either be self-paced or guided directly by the instructor.
- Coaching – With Coaching, you can team with your pupils, schedule video calls, and help them reach specific milestones.
Plus, it lets you upload course material in bulk – that too, from multiple sources, such as your computer, directly from the web, Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, etc.
It also lets you upload different types of content, including PDFs, videos, images, etc. You can also add upsells and create quizzes to test your student’s knowledge and engage them. However, you are allowed to use only one content type per lecture.
If you want, you can also add custom codes for higher customization.
Another key selling point is that Teachable comes with three pre-designed course pages: a sales page, checkout page, thank you page.
The best part? You can further add as many pages as you want or customize the pre-built ones.
You’ll find the editor intuitive and easy to use, with the ability to alter the text, padding, font, text, among other basic design properties. You can even add more blocks to the page.
That said, don’t expect a high level of customization options from Teachable. It does allow you to add custom codes for higher customization, but you might need to hire a web designer for that.
However, if you don’t want to hire a web designer, you can still expect simple, albeit effective results.
Here’s a Content Strategy course by Omniscient Digital, built entirely on Teachable. This should give you an idea of what your final product may look like.
Pretty neat, if I may say so myself!
The platform is primarily suitable for beginners who want to quickly build their course and use a handful of features like coupons, upsells, etc. Nothing fancy!
That said, some of its features are as good as any expert-level course builder.
Take Teachable’s pricing structure, for instance.
You can offer four different payment plans, including free courses, one-time purchases, a fixed number of monthly payment plans, or recurring payments. What’s more, the payment is set up entirely into Teachable, so you don’t have to use any third-app app for that. You can simply accept payments through debit or credit cards.
Although, there are options to allow payment via third-party payments gateways like PayPal and Stripe as well.
Teachable also lets you:
- Create drip content
- Create a membership site
- Assign different courses to different authors
- Run an affiliate program
- Bundle your courses and coaching sessions
- Send reminder emails to students
- Host video content for free
- Create upsells, order bumps, and coupons
- Create and provide course completion certifications to your students
- Enable and moderate comments
- Include automatically generated VAT inclusive pricing
- Active different site templates (out of three options available to you)
- Course website themes could be better. You don’t get enough customization options either.
- The student interface needs to be more intuitive.
Pricing plans start from $29 per month (billed annually) for up to 2 admin-level users. You’ll also get a 14-day free trial upon signing up.
Best For: Adding examinations, surveys, and assignments with your course.
G2 Score: 4.7
Just like Teachable, Thinkific is an excellent option if you’re just getting started with course building. That said, Thinkific provides more marketing options and features to engage your students.
For example, they allow you to create surveys for students, set up course assignments, or even seek direct reviews.
The admin area is also more intuitive and overall smoother to work around.
Their course builder also supports more content types than usual. For starters, you can add PDFs, video, multimedia, text, presentations, and audio files.
Aside from this, Thinkific lets you create quizzes, assignments, and surveys, and even brillium exams. There’s even an option to conduct live classes via Zoom or Zoom webinars right from the dashboard. No coding or extra steps are required. However, the Zoom app is only available on Pro plans ($79/mo) and above.
Next, from the Settings Tab, you can add or change your:
- Course image and description
- Course player appearance
- Course completion and progress setting
- SEO title, description, keywords
There’s a separate tab for managing Course Admin, Revenue Partner, and Affiliate settings for a specific course. You can also assign a role to an instructor.
Payment options are also diverse (akin to Teachable). You can offer free content, one-time payment, charge students recurring monthly fees, or split the full course price over several monthly payments. Or offer your customers additional pricing options (as many as you like) to purchase your course.
Once you’re done uploading and customizing your course, it’s time to configure and customize your course site and pages.
First, you get to choose from pre-designed site themes, or you can import your own theme from your system.
The builder is easy to use, and the themes are also attractive. I found the color scheme pleasing to the eyes as well.
After exploring the builder for over an hour, here are some of the things I liked the best about it:
You can choose to redirect your page to any other source (directly from the left navbar).
An extensive set of pre-designed blocks that you can add to your page (categories, banners, checklist, FAQs, Countdown timer, lead capture form, instructors, and a lot more).
Add upsells directly on the homepage itself.
Add different types of social proof (with company logos, star reviews, and text-based testimonials) – by simply selecting a block.
You can modify the theme and customize it the way you want by altering codes in the backend.
Other than this, you get a bunch of pages that come automatically loaded with your themes, including checkout page, thank you page, student dashboard, coming soon, etc.
Thinkific also allows you to:
- Control when students have access to your course content (using drip schedule)
- Customize the after purchase experience (including upsells, thank you page, etc.)
- Add closed captions and thumbnail images
- Bundle multiple courses to sell them in a group
- View student and course performance statistics
- Offer your course on a pre-order basis
- Host videos for free (with Wistia video hosting)
- Collect reviews from your students
- Create a community to engage your students (think Facebook group)
And if all of it isn’t enough, you’d be glad to know that Thinkific comes with a forever-free plan. Think of it; you get to create an entire course without paying anything!
The free plan does have its limitations, but still, there aren’t many course builders that let you create a course for free. And you do get all the core Thinkific features even with the free plan.
So, if you’re looking to build a course without straining your pocket, you can’t do better than Thinkific.
Thinkific only lets you provide a 2-step checkout process to students (a bit outdated, in my opinion). You should be able to provide a 1-step checkout process for a better conversion rate.
Paid programs start from $39 per month and go up to $399 per month (when paid annually).
Best For: Course creators looking for a high-end, all-in-one course platform.
G2 Score: 4.4
Kajabi is an online course forum that allows you to build complete courses, membership sites, and sales funnels to sell your digital education products. It’s the ultimate online course publishing platform for high-end marketers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
You can use it to sell every type of digital product. It could be a membership site, an e-book, a video course, or even digital goods such as images or fonts.
The course builder is also top-notch and has more advanced features than both Teachable and Thinkific.
For starters, it comes with a library of 11 attractive, pre-designed themes and an easy-to-use theme editor. Again, the variety that Kajabi offers is unparalleled.
What’s more, the course page editor lets you nest sub-categories under a specific category.
Kajabi’s strength lies in its ability to market and promote your course on autopilot using sales pipelines.
You’ll be able to choose from multiple templates or starting points based on your marketing goals and different scenarios.
Once you find a pipeline that resonates with your marketing goals, you can simply click on it. A video will pop up that will tell how everything will get executed in the pipeline.
Take this sales page pipeline, for instance:
This pipeline will first create an opt-in page for you. Then it has 8 emails that will automatically get triggered after potential students enter their details on the opt-in page. Then they will be taken to the sales page and then finally to the checkout page.
Aside from online courses, you can also build coaching programs, webinars, podcasts, send newsletters, and more. It’s convenient for professionals and organizations who need all these functions to promote their courses and engage their viewers more personally. It also negates the need to purchase multiple products. This is another Online Course Platform.
Other key features include:
- A custom domain and free video hosting (powered by Wistia).
- Advanced analytics and video heat map analysis.
- Flexible payment structure so that you can get paid on your terms (From recurring to one-time to trial payment plans).
- One-click upsells.
- Seamless integration with Stripe and PayPal.
- Countdown timers to encourage more course registrations.
- Run full-fledged email campaigns (send one-time blasts or automated sequences).
I came across several reviews online complaining about poor email deliverability. So, turns out you might need to look for additional email marketing platforms after all.
Too advanced and high-priced for teachers with a low volume of sales.
Looking at the expansive list of its features, it’s not surprising that Kajabi is more expensive than most other course builders out there. Even the basic plan is going to cost you $119 per month (when paid annually). There’s also a 14-day free trial.
Best For: Professional course creators looking for an all-in-one online course platform to simultaneously create membership sites, courses, and webinars.
G2 Score: 4.7 (based on 8 reviews only)
Podia is one of the best course creation platforms for selling memberships, digital downloads, and online courses. In addition, if you want to run webinars as well, the tool is just perfect for you. There would be no need to look for additional, high-end webinar platforms.
You can upload content for your course in different formats, including videos, links, PDFs, etc. Plus, you can create quizzes, drip courses section-by-section, pre-sell courses, and even cohort-based courses.
You’ll also get access to a modern site builder and sales page builder to customize existing pages (like homepage, sales page, etc.) and build unlimited custom pages.
The editor also has ready-to-use blocks like FAQs, testimonials, tables of content, “what’s included” section, etc. These sections come automatically loaded into the sales page.
It’s also one of the few software that lets you include live chat (with the live chat widget) within the course to engage students in real-time. This is another Online Course Platform.
Other key features include:
- Lock your specific lectures for particular students
- Email marketing automation
- Run an affiliate marketing program from the admin area
- Pre-launch and pre-sell courses
- Free video hosting
- Create upsells and coupons
- High-converting checkout
- If you think of it, Podia replaces at least 4-5 tools you might require to create and promote your online course.
- Limited email options.
- Not the best option for teachers with a low volume of sales.
Starts at $39 per month for features like email marketing, unlimited courses, digital downloads, webinars, core course creation features, etc. Note that you can’t build a membership site with the starter plan; for that, you need to spend at least $78 per month. There’s also a 14-day free trial.
Best For: Building interactive online schools (with students community, quizzes, and video interaction).
G2 Score: 4.5
LearnWorlds is an online course venue that provides everything you need to create highly interactive courses and knowledge portals. This is another Online Course Platform.
You can also create your own sales pages with the plug-and-play editor and tons of eye-catching templates and sections. Plus, it allows you to convert any text on the page into a clickable link.
One of LearnWorlds’ key selling points is its student interaction features.
For example, it lets you add questions, vivid pointers, titles, overlay images, links, pop-up elements, and many more interactive elements to your videos.
Your students will also get a public profile that will have their course details and achievements.
Additionally, LearnWorlds is one of the few online builders that allow you to create ebooks. You can mix & match templates & add different sections and elements from their rich library.
You can also increase your sales by creating discount coupon codes, course bundles, and different subscription plans for courses.
For an added payment, you can even request a branded mobile app for your online school.
Other key features include:
- Automatically synchronized video transcription.
- Allows your students to highlight content and make personal notes.
- Build a community to interact with your students and even let students interact with each other.
- Integration with PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, PagSeguro, and Authorize.net.
- 1-click funnels and customizable checkout experiences.
- Upsell and cross-sell with offers.
- Conduct quizzes, formal tests, and file assignments.
- Both the creator dashboard and the student dashboard are cluttered. They could be more intuitive and modern-looking.
- Could provide more gamification features and customization options with this price).
- Plans start from $29 per month & go up to $254.15/month. There’s no free trial.
- LMS Platforms for Enterprises
6. Academy of Mine
Best For: B2B Training and creating an e-learning platform for an enterprise.
G2 Score: Not Available. Capterra Score is 4.9
Academy of Mine is an LMS platform for corporates and online education providers for B2B training, brand awareness, and creating e-learning material. It’s suitable for all types of businesses, from small bootstrapped startups to large-scale institutions like MNCs and even entire government systems. This is another Online Course Platform.
The LMS platform comes with an easy-to-use course builder that lets you add text, quizzes, video, audio files, SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), PDFs, etc. You can even live stream sessions to a live audience.
You can also sell courses in bulk, build a membership site individually, or create bundles. You’re also allowed to lock specific sections so that students are unable to move on without completing previous sections.
Other key features include:
- Drip content based on fixed-time intervals.
- You can white-label your course completely.
- Set course expiration date.
- Award certificates based on passing percentage.
- Set a “minimum-time to be spent” condition on videos.
- Add quizzes, surveys, and assignments to your courses.
- Integration with Stripe, Authorize.net, or Braintree by PayPal.
- Build courses in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, German, etc.
- In-depth course analytics to view student progress and course performance.
- Doesn’t allow you to upload files in bulk (unless you compress the folder).
- The software is a bit difficult to use at first.
- Paid plans start from $599 per month for 250 Monthly Active Users, 500 GB Storage (SCORM files upto 75 GB), and 25 B2B/Groups Portal.
Best For: Conducting live virtual classrooms.
G2 Score: 4.1
WizIQ is an all-in-one LMS platform for businesses and teachers who want to conduct live classes or training sessions. Although, you can also build self-paced courses and sessions.
There’s a standard course builder and sales page builder that will help you customize the logo, flag, favicon, URL, & colors to match your brand.
Learning with WizIQ is portable since your students can also access your courses from mobile apps (for both Android and iOS).
You can also interact with your students through real-time audio-video, textual communication, interactive whiteboard, polls, and quizzes.
Other key features include:
- Website, CMS, or LMS by using developer API & plugins.
- Email and social media sharing from the admin area.
- Automated, in-depth reports for insights into instructor, content, and learner performances.
- Conduct live class with HD videos.
It’s a bit high-priced. While WizIQ’s pricing structure is quote-based, one G2 Review claims that you have to pay as much as $83 per month for every 25 students.
Quote-based. Although plans start from $25 per month.
Best Online Learning Platforms & Course Marketplaces
Best For: Launching a simple course without any publishing or hosting hassles.
G2 Score: 4.5
Udemy is one of the biggest online course marketplaces on the internet, with some of the best courses on subjects like content marketing, email marketing, tech, science, etc. This is another Online Course Platform.
Today, it boasts more than 40M students, over 480 enrolments, and as many as 35,000 instructors creating and selling courses on its platform.
It matches already-enrolled students with experts who teach everything from web design to video production to marketing. Anyone with an idea and the willingness to teach can publish courses – and make money doing it.
Once you sign up with the platform as an instructor, you can build your course with video lectures, quizzes, custom codes, assignments, etc. You can even set up practice tests to prepare students for certification exams.
However, before you publish your course, you need to follow the entire step-by-step process and answer a couple of important questions.
And after that, you’ll submit your course for review.
As you can see from the image above, there’s only one standard course landing page. You won’t be able to create additional course pages – and you don’t even need to since Udemy takes the course and hosts it for you in its marketplace.
You can also leverage their built-in marketing features like a custom coupon tool, tiered payment structure, or even get a chance to get featured on their email blasts. With proper SEO titles and descriptions, you also stand a chance to rank on their platform.
Also, you are launching your course to an already engaged, huge audience base. However, this also means more competition.
Since it’s a marketplace, you’ll have to compete with other courses on the platform.
Limited customization and marketing features.
Udemy does not charge anything to create, publish or host your course. However, there are revenue shares on the total amount.
There are two types of revenue sharing structures:
- Instructors receive 97% of the total revenue when the purchase is made through the instructor’s coupon or referral link.
- Instructors receive only 37% revenue share for sales made through Udemy (where no instructor coupon or referral link got used).
Best For: Publishing creative-learning-based courses, including art, cooking, painting, photography, etc.
G2 Score: 3.5
Skillshare is an online knowledge community where anyone can teach or take a class on any subject. Anyone can teach on Skillshare as long as you adhere to their Class Guidelines.
Publishing your course with Skillshare is a three-step process. First, upload your course with a combination of class projects and video lectures. The class projects include assignments that will test the skills students acquired from your lessons.
Skillshare also adds an open discussion forum with your courses, enabling the unrestricted exchange of feedback and knowledge.
They pay you based on the minutes students watch your classes. This doesn’t leave much room for earning for new teachers. And in many cases, students might watch the course at 2x speed. This also eats up your revenue.
There are no fees for publishing or hosting your course with Skillshare. As a teacher, you earn a royalty based on the numeral of minutes watched in your courses every month. They also pay you $10 for every student that signs up to Skillshare’s Premium Membership through your referral.
Best For: Well-known universities and industries.
G2 Score: 4.5
Whether you’re a teacher trying to promote your class or a student who wants your friends to take a certain course, Coursera is one of the fastest-growing platforms for online learning. It is also a great way to attract new students to your online course.
Their courses usually include video lectures, peer-reviewed assignments, open discussions, and quizzes.
What makes it stand out is the quality of courses you’ll find on Coursera. With courses from some of the most prominent universities like Stanford and Harvard, it’s a premier platform for Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). So, be prepared to ward off massive competition.
Other than that, getting your course accepted by Coursera is no easy feat either. For one, they only partner with acclaimed universities and industries. You can apply to be an industry partner by filling this form.
If you’re an individual, you can apply to become a project instructor on their platform.
- Coursera is not like your regular course marketplace. They don’t accept courses unless you are an acclaimed university or industry.
- WordPress Plugins to Sell Courses From Your Own Website.
Best For: Hosting your course on your existing WordPress site.
G2 Score: 4.1
LearnDash is a course management system (CMS) plugin for WordPress that allows you to create exclusive, interactive courses for your website.
This could include e-learning platforms with quizzes, tests, downloadable PDF guides or handouts, progress tracking, social sharing, and more. This is another Online Course Platform.
LearnDash offers some of the most diverse quizzing capabilities. Here are some of the quizzing and assessment options you can include:
- Essay/open answer
- Free choice
- Single choice
- Multiple choice
- Fill in the blank
It enables you to add any payment structure you want: one-time sales, subscriptions, memberships, bundles, and more.
The course interface also looks crisp and intuitive from the students’ end.
Other key features include:
- Drip-feed content.
- Awarding students with certificates, points, and badges.
- Automatic renewal reminders and engagement triggers to students.
- One-click install.
- You can schedule your content to mitigate the chances of a refund.
- Integrate with payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, and more.
- You need to be familiar with WordPress to be able to use it.
- A bit on the expensive side.
Plans start from $199 per month for up to 10 site licenses.
12. MemberPress Courses
Best For: Creating a WordPress membership site.
G2 Score: 4.7 (The score is for MemberPress, not MemberPress Courses)
MemberPress Courses is a WordPress LMS add-on introduced by MemberPress – a WordPress membership plugin. The good news is that the Courses add-on is free and comes loaded into the MemberPress dashboard.
So, you can now upload and host courses, build a membership site, and track learners’ progress from a single WordPress plugin.
There’s no complex coding required. For starters, you have a visual builder to take care of the look and feel of your site.
It also comes with automatically generated course pages and sub-pages. You can alter them as you want and even create custom pages from your WordPress dashboard.
- Limited course customization options.
- You have to purchase MemberPress to access the MemberPress Courses add-on (even if you don’t need all the extra features).
Plans start from $179 per year and go up to $399 per year.
13. WP Courseware
Best For: Existing WordPress users looking to create a simple course.
G2 Score: 2.5 (Based on 4 reviews only)
WP Courseware is a WordPress plugin that can turn your website into a learning platform. It allows you to create courses, lesson plans and add quizzes or exams. This is another Online Course Platform.
The courses consist of lessons with video, audio, text, images, etc. Each one of our training courses also includes a downloadable suite of files.
You can also bundle courses, take one-time payments, receive payments in installments, or even offer your course for free. Direct integration with PayPal and Stripe also makes the payment process quick and smooth.
WP Courseware also lets you:
- Send automated email notifications to your students and email list.
- Gradually drip content.
- Assign the instructor role to any WordPress user.
- Add quizzes, surveys, timers, certification, etc., to your course.
- Online reviews indicate that customer support is terrible.
- They don’t have their own themes, so you still need to base WordPress themes.
Starts from $129 per year.
What’s Your Favorite Online Course Platform?
There are plenty of online course platform tools you can choose to build your online courses. But, there are several favorites when it comes to which one is the best. Although, what’s best for me might not be considered the best for you.
It all boils down to your requirements, budget, and goals.
If you’re a beginner looking for an easy-to-use and affordable course builder, Teachable is the tool for you. However, don’t let its cost fool you. It does have all the features you might need, for now.
For more advanced student interaction features and more customization options, you might prefer Thinkific.
And if you’re looking for an all-in-one platform that can let you host webinars, create funnels, and more to go with your course, then go for options like Kajabi and Podia.
On the other hand, if you already have a website and want to plug a course into your site itself, choose from any WordPress LMS plugins like LearnDash and MemberPress Courses.