You’ve made the decision to teach online courses but now, you have to decide which online course platform to pick. How do you know who the best online course providers are? As an educator, it can feel overwhelming to try to sift through all the options. There are so many companies out there.
This article is going to share the 7 best online course providers to deliver your course content.
We’re going to go over:
- What are online course providers?
- What to consider in an online course provider?
- 7 best online course providers to consider
- Our recommendation: the best online course provider to pick
What are online course providers?
These companies are online platforms that can deliver digital classes to your students. You, the instructor will create lectures which you can record through video, audio or text. Students will be able to engage through the medium you deliver your curriculum in.
What to consider in an online course provider?
You’ll need a solid system to deliver your message and you’ll find that in an online course provider.
Some things to consider:
- Dynamics and scalability
It’s important to make a good choice right from the beginning because while it’s possible to move platforms later, it can be a huge headache to do so. Once course instructors pick a platform, they usually stick with it for the long term.
This is an important decision so consider all the factors important to you and do your due diligence.
What features are important in an online course platform?
Regardless of what niche you’re in or what topic you’re teaching, you will need:
- An online platform that can deliver your message in different mediums (audio, text, video, etc.)
- The ability to efficiently organize your content
- The ability to set your own pricing, discount and/or offer coupons or promos to prospective students
- Ease of use, navigation-friendly setup
- Robust built-in tools like email marketing, lesson integration, etc.
These core features should be included in the course platform you ultimately decide on.
What do dynamics and scalability mean?
Basically, your course platform should be able to grow with you. If you’re currently teaching 100 students and grow to 100,000 students, the course platform should be able to accommodate that. And, if you’re teaching 1 course but want to teach 20 courses over time, you should be able to easily do this too.
It’s all about growth and the online course provider you choose should be able to grow with you on your teaching journey.
7 Best Online Course Providers
Teachable is an online course platform that is multifaceted and perfect for all levels. Whether you’re a new teacher or a seasoned instructor, Teachable can be a great fit for you.
- Ability to link your existing website
- Customize your school
- Track sales
- Create beautiful sales pages
- Multiple pricing options available for students
- And, more!
You’ll love Teachable because it’s so easy to start and get going on the platform.
Whether you want to start creating your course or coaching program, Teachable can accommodate both! Their neatly packaged navigation bar lets you seamlessly move throughout your dashboard accessing your students information, settings, your courses, and much more.
You can view your revenue reports on the main page of your dashboard which can show you your numbers by signups, earnings, lecture completions, and more, for the period you select. This makes it easy to dive into your numbers without having to tirelessly search for the right report.
Their live feed feature is one of my favorite parts of Teachable, showing you activity in real time, like when students sign up to your school, pay for a course, etc.
Their lowest plan is $29/month (annually billed) and comes with perks like instant payouts, custom domain support, drip course content, course and coaching products, and much more.
Thinkific has hosted over 50,000 course creators and 75+ million courses that students have taken. They provide everything you need to power your education business:
- Easily build your course (upload videos, add quizzes, seamlessly design your content, etc.)
- Design your course to showcase your content
- Get access to marketing tools, integrations, and payment options
- Support your students through completion tracking, progress emails, and more
Thinkific’s features include:
- Drag-and-drop content builder
- 100% hosting of your video content
- Accommodating membership sites
- Drip schedule content
- Marketing and business tools
- Plus, more!
The cheapest price is free! That’s right, it’s $0 and includes 3 courses, unlimited students, quizzes and surveys and more options.
Learnworlds can help you create an interactive online school to deliver your course curriculum to students online. They offer a generous 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee. With their platform you can:
- Build courses to capture the attention of students
- Create a school website with a professional, attractive appearance
- Market and sell your courses with their full suite of marketing tools
- And, get help along with way from their support team
They host a ton of different courses from calisthenics, nail art, piano and more.
Learnworlds promises a versatile course experience, engaging and efficient training and much more.
Their starter plan begins at just $24/month after the 30-day free trial and goes up from there depending on your needs.
In minutes you can launch your course with Kajabi. They have an all-in-one platform where you can create courses, launch marketing campaigns, build landing pages and more.
Kajabi’s features include:
- Website builder
- Unlimited hosting
- List-building landing pages
- 1-click upsells
- Automated marketing options
- And, more!
This would be considered more of a high-end online course solution, with plans starting at $119/month (billed annually).
Kajabi is a great option for courses that are deep with tons of material. The basic plan includes:
- 3 products
- 3 pipelines
- Unlimited landing pages and marketing emails
- 10,000 contacts
- 1,000 active members
- 1 website
- 1 admin user
If you visit their pricing page, you can review all the details of each plan and you’ll be greeted by a dozen positive reviews from real users. Their 30-day money-back guarantee can help you rest assured that you can pull out of your plan in the future, penalty-free if it’s not a fit.
They offer flexible options that let you upgrade and change your plan after you start, you can use a custom domain and one of the best perks is Kajabi’s built-in payments has no transaction fees other than the standard merchant processing fee from Stripe.
Udemy is an online course marketplace. It’s different from the other online course providers we’ve discussed so far.
The others are all about self-hosting your course.
Udemy is an online market where your course will be displayed online, alongside other online courses. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of marketplaces compared to self hosting your course and which route we recommend.
Pros and Cons of Online Course Marketplaces
The benefits include:
- Increased exposure
- Free to join
The drawbacks include:
- Less flexibility with content and design
- You are not in control of the course price
To elaborate, some of the biggest perks of working with a marketplace is the increased exposure you get.
It’s like selling on Ebay compared to selling in your own private store.
Ebay is huge! They get millions of visitors every month and if your product is on Ebay, it will likely be easier seen than if you tried to DIY marketing on your own for a private store.
So, right away you know you will have to work less hard for marketing your course since it will be in a huge marketplace where millions of website visitors land monthly.
Next, Udemy is free to join.
There is no one-time or monthly fee for hosting your course on the platform. It’s totally free.
While Udemy is free for instructors, they are a paid platform and students typically pay up to $10 to $300+ for each course, depending on the course price. As an instructor, it’s an awesome option to get your course material out to the public without having to worry about a costly monthly plan.
Udemy makes money on a revenue share plan based on how the student purchases your course:
- Instructor promotion: If you are marketing your Udemy courses and students join your course using your coupon or referral code then you earn 97% of the course price. For example, if the course is $100 then you earn $97 and Udemy earns $3.
- Udemy organic: In scenarios where no instructor referral code or coupon is used then your revenue share is 50%. That means on a course sale of $100, you earn $50 and Udemy earns $50.
- Udemy in-app purchases: For students who buy your course from a Udemy app, you earn 70% revenue share. You would make $70 and Udemy would make $30 on a $100 course sale price.
- Paid user acquisition: This is a 25% revenue share for you and Udemy keeps 75% so, on your $100 course you get $25 and Udemy gets $75.
How to get started with Udemy?
Scroll to the footer of the website and click “Teach with Udemy” to get started. You will sign up to become an instructor, go through the process and then you can start uploading your course.
Now, onto the drawbacks of Udemy.
First, there is way less flexibility than if you went with a self-hosted course provider. You don’t have control over the design and layout of your space on Udemy, the courses must be video lectures and your material goes through an approval process before it can be published.
If your sound quality is poor or your video is pixelated or not up to their standard, you have to start over again which can mean spending your time rerecording all your content.
You are also subject to Udemy’s pricing when they hold a sale. While you can set the initial price of your course, if there is a promotion or sale happening, like their $10 course sales that they’re known for, your course price gets slashed automatically.
With all this in mind, you can make the decision to look into Udemy as your online course provider.
Skillshare is another online course marketplace, similar to Udemy.
They boast that top-earning teachers are making over $100,000 per year on the site and the testimonials share that teachers enjoy the flexibility the extra income provides, the community building and the ability to deliver their message to students on the platform.
How Teaching Works?
First, you join as a teacher. You’ll create your first class using their upload tool. With their help, they can teach you how to grow your following so you can reach the most students and make the most money on Skillshare. Then lastly, make money.
Like Udemy, you won’t have control over the price of your course. Skillshare is a membership-based site so once a member joins, they instantly have access to most or all of the courses on the marketplace.
You make money based on a royalty system based on the number of minutes watched of your course.
It’s free to join as a teacher and their built-in audience means you may not have to work as hard on marketing.
Lastly in our roundup is the course platform, Podia.
This is the place to sell your digital downloads, memberships, and online courses. You’ll get an all-in-one storefront and your Podia account comes with the following:
- Free migration
- Choice of 11 languages and 22 currencies
- Unlimited hosting
- Ability to build your page including custom url and integrations
- Live customer support
You will have the freedom and flexibility to add images, videos, etc. There are live previews you can take advantage of and customizable branding, among other features.
If you have existing content, their team can migrate it to Podia for free. You will like Podia the most for their built-in features including quizzes, drip content, pre-sell options for your courses,the ability to pre-launch and more.
Pricing starts at $39 per month and they offer a free 14-day trial to test drive their platform.
What’s Our Favorite Online Course Provider?
For the functionality, affordable pricing, dynamic features and level of customization available, we recommend Teachable.
Teachable makes it easy to build the course you are envisioning in your mind. There are plenty of options to help you build out your curriculum to serve your audience.
While each online course provider offers some incredible options, we think that Teachable is the one to pick, hands down. Here’s our full Teachable review if you’d like to learn more.
Online courses are a great way to teach your audience, connect with a new community and make some money as a side hustle or full-time income. When it’s time for you to make the decision for your online course provider, remember to do your research and pick the best platform to suit your needs.
What online course platform will you choose?