The demand over the last few years for online learning has surged, leading to the proliferation of platforms that allow educators and businesses to host online courses. Whether you’re a seasoned instructor or just starting, choosing the right platform can make a significant difference in your eLearning journey.
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We’ve compiled a list of some of the best platforms to host your online courses, highlighting their pros, cons, and distinctive features to help you make an informed decision.
Udemy is a marketplace for online courses. It offers a wide range of courses on various subjects, from business and technology to lifestyle and hobbies. Instructors can create and sell their courses on the platform.
Target Audience: Udemy caters to a diverse audience, making it suitable for instructors and organizations looking to reach a broad spectrum of learners.
Massive User Base: Udemy boasts over 40 million students, giving you access to a vast audience.
Easy to Get Started: You can start uploading courses almost immediately, and Udemy provides helpful resources for course creation.
Marketing Support: Udemy offers marketing tools and promotions to help increase your course’s visibility.
High Revenue Share: Udemy takes a substantial percentage of your course sales, often around 50% unless you bring your own students.
Limited Pricing Control: You have limited control over the pricing of your courses, and Udemy frequently discounts courses without instructor consent.
Competitive Market: Due to its popularity, the platform is highly competitive, making it harder to stand out.
Teachable is a platform that empowers instructors to create and sell their online courses. It provides tools for customization, branding, and marketing, allowing instructors to create their unique course websites.
Target Audience: Teachable is ideal for individual course creators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses looking for a customizable and branded course hosting solution.
Customization: Teachable allows you to create a branded and fully customizable course website.
Pricing Control: You can set your course prices and offer various pricing options.
Integrated Marketing Tools: Teachable provides built-in marketing features like email marketing and affiliate marketing.
Transaction Fees: Depending on your plan, Teachable may charge transaction fees in addition to its subscription fees.
Learning Curve: While user-friendly, the platform can have a steeper learning curve for beginners.
Less Built-In Traffic: Unlike marketplaces like Udemy, Teachable doesn’t have its own user base, so you need to bring your audience.
Thinkific is an easy-to-use online course platform that focuses on providing a user-friendly course creation and management experience. It allows instructors to create, market, and sell their courses independently.
Target Audience: Thinkific is suitable for course creators who want a straightforward and intuitive platform for hosting and managing their courses.
User-Friendly: Thinkific offers an intuitive course creation and management interface.
Complete Control: You have full control over your pricing, content, and branding.
Marketing Integrations: Thinkific integrates with various marketing tools, making it easier to reach and engage your audience.
Limited Free Plan: The free plan comes with limitations, and you’ll need to upgrade for advanced features.
Transaction Fees: Like Teachable, Thinkific charges transaction fees on certain plans.
Lacks Marketplace Exposure: You’ll need to market your courses independently as Thinkific doesn’t have a built-in marketplace.
Kajabi is an all-in-one platform that offers course hosting, website building, email marketing, and sales funnel tools. It aims to provide a comprehensive solution for digital product creators.
Target Audience: Kajabi is best suited for online entrepreneurs and businesses looking for an integrated platform to host courses, market products, and build a brand.
All-in-One Solution: Kajabi combines course hosting, website creation, email marketing, and sales funnel tools in one platform.
High-Quality Templates: Kajabi provides stunning templates for course websites.
No Transaction Fees: Unlike some competitors, Kajabi doesn’t charge transaction fees which is an attractive feature for creators.
Pricier: Kajabi is on the more expensive side compared to some other platforms.
Learning Curve: Due to its comprehensive nature, Kajabi can take time to learn and set up.
Less Customization: While it offers beautiful templates, the level of customization is not as extensive as Teachable or Thinkific.
LearnWorlds was founded in 2014 and emphasizes interactive and engaging learning experiences. It offers features such as social learning, interactive content, and community building to enhance the educational learning process.
Target Audience: LearnWorlds is a good fit for educators and organizations aiming to create immersive and interactive online courses.
Interactive Features: LearnWorlds offers interactive content, quizzes, and social learning features.
Customizable: You can create a unique and branded online school.
Built-in Community: It includes community-building tools to foster student engagement.
Pricing Tiers: LearnWorlds can be expensive, especially if you need advanced features.
Limited Free Plan: The free plan comes with limitations, and you’ll likely need to upgrade for a professional setup.
Limited Marketing Tools: It offers fewer marketing tools compared to some competitors.
Podia was founded in 2014 and is a simple and affordable platform for creators to sell digital products, including online courses and digital downloads. It provides a user-friendly interface and email marketing tools that make your online life easier.
Target Audience: Podia is well-suited for solo entrepreneurs, artists, writers, and small businesses looking for an easy-to-use platform for selling digital products.
Affordable: Podia is one of the most cost-effective platforms, offering a straightforward pricing structure.
No Transaction Fees: It doesn’t charge transaction fees on sales.
Integrated Email Marketing: Podia includes email marketing tools for engaging with your audience.
Limited Features: While it’s user-friendly, Podia may lack some advanced features found on other platforms.
Smaller User Base: Podia has a smaller audience compared to larger platforms like Udemy.
Less Comprehensive: It’s not an all-in-one solution like Kajabi.
7. LearnDash (WordPress Plugin)
LearnDash is a WordPress plugin, and its release date depends on when it was integrated into individual WordPress websites.
LearnDash is a learning management system (LMS) plugin for WordPress. It allows WordPress users to add eLearning functionality to their websites, making it ideal for bloggers, businesses, and educational institutions using WordPress.
Target Audience: LearnDash is designed for WordPress users who want to incorporate online courses and training modules into their existing websites.
WordPress Integration: If you’re familiar with WordPress, LearnDash seamlessly integrates with your existing website.
Flexible Course Structure: LearnDash offers advanced course structuring options for in-depth eLearning experiences.
Ownership and Control: You have full ownership and control of your content.
Technical Skills Required: Setting up LearnDash may require some technical expertise, especially if you’re new to WordPress.
No Built-in Marketplace: You’ll need to drive your own traffic and market your courses independently.
Additional Plugins Needed: For certain features, you may need to purchase additional WordPress plugins.
8. Coursera (For Universities and Institutions)
Coursera was founded in 2012 and partners with prestigious universities and institutions to offer online courses, specializations, and degrees. It primarily focuses on academic and professional courses.
Coursera is best suited for universities, institutions, and educators looking to offer high-quality, accredited online courses and degrees.
Prestigious: Coursera is known for partnering with top universities and institutions, adding credibility to your courses.
Global Reach: It has a vast global user base, expanding your potential audience.
Marketing Support: Coursera provides marketing and promotional support for courses.
Strict Selection Process: Courses on Coursera undergo a rigorous approval process, making it challenging to get your course listed.
Revenue Sharing: Coursera takes a significant share of course revenues, although the exact percentage varies.
Limited Course Types: Coursera primarily focuses on academic and professional courses.
Choosing the right platform to host your online courses is a crucial decision that impacts your success as an online educator or business. Each of these platforms offers unique features and caters to different needs, so it’s essential to evaluate them based on your goals and resources.
If you’re looking for a massive audience and easy entry, Udemy may be the way to go. For full control and customization, Teachable and Thinkific are excellent choices. Kajabi offers an all-in-one solution, while LearnWorlds emphasizes interactivity and community-building. Podia is cost-effective, and LearnDash integrates seamlessly with WordPress for those who already have a website. Lastly, Coursera is prestigious for academic and professional courses but comes with stricter requirements.
Ultimately, the best platform for hosting your online courses depends on your specific needs, budget, and marketing strategy. Consider your goals, target audience, and content, and choose the platform that aligns with your vision for online education success.