I think we can all agree to some degree when I say: last year, 2020, had been transformative. 

The pandemic has changed almost everything, but one of the most significant societal aspects it has changed is education.

Students can no longer physically go to schools, colleges, and universities. Adding to that, staying at home has given us lots of time to learn many new skills.

As a consequence, platforms like Udemy have suddenly become popular. 

A lot of course creators and teachers are flocking online to start offering their own courses. 

If you are one of them and looking for the best online course platform, here are some of the best platforms available for you, but before cracking the platforms, get into types on online course platforms.

Part1: 4 Keys Considerations for Picking the Best Online Course Platform

It’s a fact that making the right decision on a platform to sell online courses is quite daunting. Even if you opt for some great platforms, it’s a bit tough to deal with the entrepreneur’s nagging question like, “Is it the best platform?”

To save yourself from any hassle, you need to be wise before opting for the best online course platform, and here’s what you need to consider for that!

  1. Start with Making a Strategy First

Whenever you decide on creating online courses, do a little homework first. Don’t get yourself to suffer the “choice overload” as there are hundreds of platforms.

Get to know about the top options and weigh them in the light of your business and learning strategies.

  1. Don’t Compare Apples with Oranges

Every platform is fundamentally different and caters to different choices. That’s why I say do not compare apples with oranges.

For example, Thinkific can offer comparatively better control over content, data, or pricing. In a nutshell, it’s crucial to compare the platforms lying in the same category.

  1. Document Your Detailed Requirements

Once you have come down to the decision, pen down all the details for your plan and strategy. For example, write down what features you might need for your online course platform.

It will help you to figure out the top-needed features to set different priorities.

  1. Be Realistic and Don’t Overthink

Though a wise decision can arm you with compatible tools to create sales pages, generating e-mails, and managing affiliates, etc., no one is going to market for you. Neither the company nor the platform is by any means responsible for marketing for you.

That’s why you need to be quite realistic with the facts and figures and find something that best fits your basic set of needs.

Here’s the secret: Try to pick such an amazing platform that gives your students a professional and custom learning experience. Make them comfortable and completely unaware they’re using an online platform.

Alright, let’s dig out our enlisted online course platforms.

Part 2: Top 8 Best Online Course Platforms in 2021

Some of the tools we listed here are standalone online platforms, while others are supplemental WordPress plug-ins. But what’s common between them is that all of them can help you build an efficient best online course platform.

#1. Thinkific

Thinkific is a professional tool that comes loaded with all the necessary features of the best online learning platform. 

Users can create engaging courses providing different study materials like PDFs, texts, videos, quizzes, etc. It is also fine-tuned to help you execute more advanced teacher activities such as creating assignments, taking live classes, issuing certificates, etc.

Features:

  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Audio/Video Recording
  • Blended Learning
  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Certification & Licensing
  • Corporate/Business
  • Course Publishing
  • Data Import/Export
  • eCommerce Management
  • eLearning Companies
  • Gamification
  • Instructor-Led Courses
  • Interactive Content
  • Interactive Learning
  • Learner Portal
  • Mobile Learning
  • Quizzes
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Self-Paced Courses
  • Self-Service Content Curation
  • Social Learning
  • Synchronous Learning
  • Template Management
  • Tests/Assessments
  • Video Conferencing
  • Video Management

Pros

  • There are various payment options available for end-users to purchase any course. 
  • It has an easy-to-use interface, and creating courses and managing them is a simple task. But if anyone wants to deep dive into customizing it by tweaking HTML and CSS, Thinkific allows room for that as well.
  • There is a built-in tool to add voice-overs to PowerPoint presentations.
  • Thinkific doesn’t charge any transaction fees for the paid users’ transactions.
  • The premium package is pretty powerful. You can create an unlimited number of courses and have unlimited students.

Cons

  • There is no live chat support.
  • There is no default email marketing tool.
  • It can get expensive for new users trying to make new courses.

Pricing

There are four plans to choose from: Basic, Pro, and Premier. Their cheapest plan starts at $39 per month for the Basic plan. 
The annual plans have a 20% discount compared to the monthly plans

#2. Teachable

Teachable strives to be an all-in-one platform. That is why it offers superb native email marketing and affiliate marketing options. 

They also provide users with the option to integrate it with third-party software and tools.

Another standout feature is its ability to create a one-on-one coaching program; this is not found anywhere else.

Features:

  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Blended Learning
  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Corporate/Business
  • Course Publishing
  • Data Import/Export
  • eCommerce Management
  • eLearning Companies
  • Instructor-Led Courses
  • Learner Portal
  • Mobile Learning
  • Progress Tracking
  • Quizzes
  • Self-Paced Courses
  • Synchronous Learning
  • Tests/Assessments
  • Video Conferencing

Pros

  • Many advanced features are included which are not found on other platforms. Features such as heatmaps, a built-in affiliate program, and a customizable sales page can help users a lot.
  • Marketing and sales features are included, such as a one-click upsell and a fine-tuned checkout process.
  • It’s easy to set up and use. There are guides and videos available that help with setting up.
  • You can create one-on-one teaching sessions.
  • There are solid analytics and reporting tools included.

Cons

  • Teachable does not provide a community feature.
  • There are only a few third0-arty marketing tools available for integration with Teachable.
  • The Basic plan charges a 5% transaction fee for every transaction.

Pricing

There are three plans: Basic, Pro, and Business, which can be paid either annually or monthly. The cheapest plan is the Basic plan paid annually, which costs $29 per month.

#3. Udemy

Over the last year, websites like Udemy and Coursera have gotten really popular worldwide. 

Creating courses on Udemy is easy, as they provide all the guides and videos to create a terrific course. Also, it is entirely free to use. They only take a part of your sales.

Udemy also boasts a whopping 40 million students enrolled in different courses on the platform, which you can totally optimize on.

Features:

  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Corporate/Business
  • Learner Portal

Pros

  • Course creators have complete freedom in setting the prices of their courses. But as a rule of thumb, Udemy advises to keep the price tag at $10 to $30 per hour.
  • Multiple revenue options. Udemy pays 100% of the tuition fees if the instructor gets a new user. For existing users, instructors get 50% of the tuition fees.
  • Ability to participate in Udemy’s email marketing campaigns.
  • The extensive user base of Udemy can help get students easily.
  • There are detailed guides and videos available for free to set up your courses.

Cons

  • The 30-day return policy can be a source of headache for instructors. 
  • Instructors are at the mercy of Udemy’s algorithm. The algorithm decides where the course shows up in search results.

Pricing

It is completely free to create premium courses. For all the generated sales via the instructors’ coupons, Udemy takes a 3% cut. 
For sales that take place through the search function on Udemy, Udemy takes a 50% share. And through their promotions, they take 75% share.

#4. Podia

Podia is an all-in-one solution for teachers and online course creators. It has almost everything that any user would need.

There are lots of templates provided to create the interface conducive for any user. 

One of the standout features of Podia is its ability to create private membership sites. These membership sites can be further tiered into multiple units with different perks and benefits.

Users can also integrate Podia with Zapier to increase its functionality.

Features:

  • Academic/Education
  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Corporate/Business
  • eCommerce Management
  • Learner Portal
  • Mobile Learning

Pros

  • There’s excellent customer support via email and chat.
  • You can integrate checkout tools on other websites.
  • There are instant payouts from the company.
  • You can offer monthly payment options to students.
  • Podia has a powerful built-in marketing system that helps you message students from time to time.

Cons

  • Free plan is not available.
  • There are limited options for customization.
  • There are limited analytics and automation options also.

Notice Title

They offer two plans: Mover and Shaker. The Mover plan starts at $39 per month, but users can save $78 if they buy the annual plan.

#5. LearnWorlds

With LearnWorlds, one can easily create an online school, create multiple courses, and assign then each instructor to courses to get started. They also provide an exclusive branded app for your online school for an extra fee.

Other essential features, such as creating community and integrating third-party software, can help you get the best out of the platform.

Features:

  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Audio/Video Recording
  • Blended Learning
  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Built-in LMS
  • Certification & Licensing
  • Content Sharing
  • Corporate/Business
  • Course Publishing
  • Data Import/Export
  • eCommerce Management
  • eLearning Companies
  • Employee Portal
  • Gamification
  • Instructor-Led Courses
  • Interactive Content
  • Interactive Learning
  • Learner Portal
  • Microlearning
  • Mobile Learning
  • Quizzes
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • SCORM Compliance
  • Self-Paced Courses
  • Self-Service Content Curation
  • Social Learning
  • Storyboarding
  • Synchronous Learning
  • Template Management
  • Tests/Assessments
  • Training Companies
  • Video Conferencing
  • Video Management

Pros

  • There are ready-made templates available which are even mobile-responsive.
  • Its functionality can be increased by integrating third-party platforms, such as Zapier.
  • A unique interactive video feature is included, which helps make contents more engaging.
  • The page builder is packed with lots of features.
  • You can create an effective affiliate program.

Cons

  • The analytics tab can get tough to figure out.
  • New users may need more time to get adjusted to using the platform.
  • It has limited payment options for the users.

Pricing

LearnWorlds offers five plans to choose from: Starter, Pro Trainer, Learning Center, High Volume, and Corporate. 
The cheapest plan, Starter, costs $24 per month when billed annually. When billed monthly, it costs $29.

#6. Kajabi

Kajabi offers all the essential features to help you build a kickass best online course platform. 

They also offer some standout features that help you get the best return on your investment. 

With the help of their “pipelines” feature, you can build an effective marketing funnel to attract customers. Then there is an automation feature that lets you increase the functionalities of the course.

Features:

  • Customizable Templates
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Access
  • Promotions Management
  • Video Management
  • Video Support
  • Website Management

Pros

  • It packs 10+ responsive and gorgeous themes, with lots of customization options offered to tweak them.
  • There’s a fantastic support team available 24×7.
  • There are marketing automation tools and built-in sales pipeline builders offered.
  • To increase engagement, features such as assessments and community are provided also.
  • You can create a website and run a blog as well.

Cons

  • You cannot generate certificates from the platform.
  • It does not have advanced features such as randomization and question banks.

Pricing

Kajabi offers three plans: Basic, Growth, and Pro. All plans can be paid either annually or monthly. 
The cheapest plan, Basic, starts at $119 per month if billed annually.

#7. LearnDash

Unlike the standalone platforms on this list, LearnDash is a plug-in for WordPress.

Many people might doubt its efficiency as being a plug-in, it doesn’t sound as powerful as a platform. But it packs all the necessary features required to build an online course.All the basic features—such as a drag-and-drop builder, certificates, badges, community forums, to name a few—are included.

Features:

  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Blended Learning
  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Certification & Licensing
  • Corporate/Business
  • eCommerce Management
  • eLearning Companies
  • Gamification
  • Learner Portal
  • Mobile Learning
  • SCORM Compliance
  • Synchronous Learning
  • Tests/Assessments

Pros

  • LearnDash does not take a percentage cut of the course sales like other platforms on the list.
  • This WordPress plug-in offers functionalities like creating quizzes, assignments, certificates, lessons, etc.
  • Many third-party tools can be easily integrated with the tool.
  • There’s a powerful visual builder using a drag-and-drop function.
  • It is available in different languages.

Cons

  • It is only available for WordPress websites.
  • Tutorials are not provided to get started.
  • Monetizing the courses may require integrating with third-party services like WooCommerce.

Pricing

LearnDash is a WordPress plug-in that can be bought for a onetime fee. There are three versions of the plug-in offered: Basic, Plus, and Pro. The Basic version of the plug-in costs $199.

#8. MemberPress

best online course platform

MemberPress is another excellent WordPress plug-in that works amazingly well to create an online course website. 

There’s a built-in classroom mode that helps create the perfect theme and layout for teaching online. 

Users can further get more control and functionality by adding other WordPress plug-ins, like BBPress. 

Features:

  • Asynchronous Learning
  • Blended Learning
  • Built-in Course Authoring
  • Corporate/Business
  • Data Security
  • Dues Management
  • eCommerce Management
  • eLearning Companies
  • Email Marketing
  • Interactive Learning
  • Member Database
  • Member Portal
  • Member Types
  • Membership Renewals
  • Mobile Learning
  • Payment Processing
  • Template Management
  • Templates
  • Website Management

Pros

  • There’s multiple payment gateway support, such as Authorize and Stripe.
  • You can integrate 2000+ external apps, such as Zapier and Mail Chimp. This helps a lot in increasing the overall functionality.
  • There are many options when it comes to pricing: users can decide what price to set, whether to offer subscription or upfront payment, and so on.
  • Easy to use—plus, with the visual builder, you won’t ever have to code just to get started.
  • MemberPress does not take a percentage cut from the courses’ payment fees.

Cons

  • MemberPress works only on WordPress websites.
  • If you are not savvy in using WordPress, it could take more time to get set up.

Pricing

It is available in three versions: Basic, Plus, and Pro. The Basic version is the cheapest, which costs $249 annually. 


Software


User Interface


Trial


Support


Pricing


Thinkific


Easy to use


30-day trial


Bad


Starts at $39 per month


Teachable


Easy to use


14-day trial


Moderate


Starts at $29 per month


Udemy


Easy to use


None


Moderate


Free


Podia


Moderate


Live webinar weekly


Good


Starts at $39 per month


LearnWorlds


Hard


30-day trial 

Moderate


Starts at $24 per month


Kajabi


Moderate


14-day trial


Good


Starts at $119 per month


LearnDash


Moderate


30-day trial


Bad


Basic plug-in starts at $199

MemberPress


Easy to use


None

Moderate


Starts at $249 annually

Conclusion

Choosing a tool, software, or platform that fits your purpose can get tough quickly. However, it’s a good idea to choose among the proven tools rather than randomly search all across the internet for the right one. 
We hope you find your favorite online course platform on this list!.

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