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13 Best Online Course Platforms of 2024

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Online learning has become a vital way for students and professionals to enhance their skills.

If you’re knowledgeable or experienced in teaching, you can profit from creating and selling online courses. However, choosing the right platform is crucial.

Various platforms offer unique features like course building tools, revenue sharing, transaction fees, learning modes, customer support, and user-friendliness.

We’ve selected and detailed the best online course platforms to assist you in getting started.

What Are Online Course Platforms?

Online course platforms are forums promoting the creation and consumption of educational courses via the Internet. The main user base is educators, trainers, and organizations offering an unbelievably broad range of courses.

Some popular genres include academic courses, professional development programs, and skill-building guides. To go further into depth, some of the key functionalities and features of these courses are as follows:

  • Course management and administration: Instructors can monitor their courses and make changes to any content, as well as things such as schedules and curriculum
  • User registration: Platform users can register for their preferred courses, commonly for a fee, for access to resources
  • Content delivery: this can be through a range of different mediums, such as video lectures, slides, audio recordings, and interactive exercises
  • Discussion forums: Students can interact with other students and instructors through forums, chats, and messaging
  • Progress tracking: Analytic tools can track student performance, and once a course is completed, they may be eligible for a certificate or badge signifying their achievement.

A List Of The 13 Best Online Course Platforms

1. Teachable – Best Overall

Teachable allows creators to monetize their knowledge and skill set on their own terms.

They can engage their online audience with a wide variety of different courses and methods of teaching.

Price:

  • Basic: $39/m
  • Pro: $119/m
  • Pro+: $199/m
  • Business: $499/m.

Pros:

  • Good customer service
  • Clean aesthetics
  • Ease of navigation.

Cons:

  • Take a cut of earnings, even with paid plans
  • Online chat support can be buggy.

Best For:

Those who are looking to create quality content to share and monetize their knowledge in an easily accessible way.

Want to know more about Teachable? See how it stacks up to other competitors:

2. LearnWorlds

On LearnWorlds, instructors are able to customize their courses and are given a template to edit in accordance with their branding.

Students are invited to interact with coursework, working towards a certification of achievement. Courses can be monetized.

Price:

  • Starter plan: $24/m
  • Pro trainer: $79/m
  • Learning Center: $249/m

Pros:

  • Highly customizable
  • Interactive
  • Potential for community building
  • Strong e-commerce capabilities

Cons:

  • Email marketing isn’t baked in
  • Limited features on cheaper plans
  • Significant price jump beyond starter package

Best For:

Creating learning courses, as opposed to marketing. Content creators and entrepreneurs may find more applicable platforms elsewhere.

3. Thinkific

Thinkific is a course creation software that allows for effective marketing and sales of educational products/content. Thinkific cultivates a learning community, encouraging all of its users to get the most out of the courses they are signed up for.

Price:

  • Free plan – completely free, forever
  • Start plan – $99/m
  • Grow plan – $199/m
  • Expand plan – $399/m.

Pros:

  • Reliable performance
  • User-friendly interface
  • Diligent customer support.

Cons:

  • Limited third-party compatibility
  • Lack of customizability in page layout
  • No chat support.

Best For:

Student/client usability and availability. Many reviews have commented on how great the user experience is due to the elegance of the software.

4. Kajabi

Kajabi offers multiple services, the primary being course creation and distribution. However, its services also consists of website building, marketing, a payment portal, and a mobile app.

Kajabi is known as one of the best all-in-one Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Price:

  • Basic: $119/m
  • Growth: $199/m
  • Pro: $319/m.

Pros:

  • Native marketing tools – no need to integrate 3rd party providers
  • Built-in sales funnel software
  • Highly customizable
  • Multiple different payment options.

Cons:

  • No free option, priced higher than lots of other LMSs
  • No course search function for students.

Best For:=

An all-in-one approach to LMSs, allowing for course creation, marketing, and growth. With Kajabi, no 3rd party tools are necessary!

5. Podia

Podia is a platform that allows creators and businesses alike to build a relationship with their customer base via website creation, community fostering, and marketplace.

Price:

  • Free version: Absolutely free
  • Mover: $39/m
  • Shaker: $89/m
  • Earthquaker: $199/m.

Pros:

  • Highly integrated – the likes of Google Analytics, PayPal, ActiveCampaign, Facebook and so on
  • Great value for money
  • Very simple user interface.

Cons:

  • Lack of customization options
  • True sales funnel tripwire unachievable
  • Relative lack of features for the community section.

Best For:

An all-in-one LMS option that works well without breaking the bank.

6. Udemy

Udemy is an LMS that specializes in professional and personal development. For individuals, Udemy charges by the course instead of offering a lump sum subscription possibility. Businesses of more than 5 people can register for a business account.

Price:

  • Individual user: With their repeat payment strategy, if you want to use Udemy consistently as an individual the prices can vary widely
  • Business:
    • Team: $360 per person per year for teams of 5 – 20 people
    • Enterprise: Flexible pricing based on the needs of the organization

Pros:

  • 600+ free courses on offer
  • 30-day refund policy
  • Lifetime access to all purchased courses.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent pricing
  • Market saturation – it may prove difficult to find the best course on a specific subject.

Best For:

Udemy is best for learning professional skills such as business, accounting, and IT, as well as lifestyle skills such as fitness, music, and photography. Courses for the most part are of high quality based on student reviews.

7. Coursera

Coursera is an LMS partnered with hundreds of universities as well as companies across the globe, meaning they offer the opportunity to gain recognized credentials.

They offer thousands of quality courses for users to watch on a weekly schedule or when it suits them.

Price:

Coursera’s pricing reflects the type of learning you are looking to pursue.

From 2,900 free courses on offer (if you’re after a one-off fix) to qualification packages all the way from guided projects to master’s degrees at varying price points, there will be something to suit your needs!

Coursera also offers a subscription plan for $59/m.

Pros:

  • Gain a recognized qualification from anywhere
  • Huge collection of courses
  • Cheaper than formal education institutions.

Cons:

  • Entry-level courses may still require some prior knowledge
  • Difficult to get full financial aid.

Best For:

Gaining a formal certification on your own time. Coursera is recognized as a legitimate academic resource by hundreds of universities and companies around the world.

8. edX

Similar to Coursera, edX offers students the opportunity to gain verified qualifications and certificates through access to countless interactive lectures, labs, and communities.

Price:

Also similar to Coursera, subscription fees aren’t the primary way payment is handled on the edX platform. Instead, edX offers two tracks users can enroll in: the free audit track and the Verified track.

  • Courses in the free audit track courses are, as the name suggests – free.
  • On verified tracks, courses are paid for individually, ranging from $50 – $300 (this price difference will depend on the type of course you are enrolled in).

Pros:

  • Opportunity to earn verified certificates
  • Partnerships with distinguished institutions, such as Harvard and Google
  • 14-day refund window for all verified courses
  • Free courses are readily available.

Cons:

  • Limited non-academic topics
  • No consistent course structure
  • Limits to interaction with course providers.

Best For:

People looking to gain skills and/or earn a verified qualification at their own pace!

9. FutureLearn

screenshot of the futurelearn homepage

Privately owned by Global University Systems, FutureLearn is a recognized LMS that offers courses from hundreds of universities and cultural institutions around the world.

Price:

  • FutureLearn free: various subjects are offered free of charge, with the option to upgrade to earn accreditation
  • FutureLearn Unlimited Monthly Plan: $19 for the first month, $39/m from then on
  • FutureLearn Upgrade: paying a flat rate to receive a course and receive accreditation upon completion, ranging from $74 – $124+

Pros:

  • Opportunity to earn verified certificates
  • In partnership with institutions such as the University of Edinburgh, John Hopkins University, Shanghai International Studies University, and Accenture
  • Great range of pricing options.

Cons:

  • No mobile option.

Best For:

People looking to gain skills and/or earn a verified qualification at their own pace, for a reasonable price.

10. Skillshare

Entrepreneurs and professionals can create their own content and distribute and market it through Skillshare.

Students have access to a huge variety of courses, grounded in more creative and artistic domains for the most part.

Price:

  • Around $168 for an annual subscription (this fee varies depending on where you are) which has to be paid upfront, averaging to $14/m
  • One month free trials are available.

Pros:

  • Good user experience
  • Creative focused courses
  • Celebrity instructors
  • Courses are short and simple to understand.

Cons:

  • No accredited courses
  • No monthly payment option
  • Courses can be created by anyone.

Best For:

Individuals looking to gain more actionable creative skills who aren’t worried about official accreditation.

11. MasterClass

Masterclass is a platform for world-renowned and respected figures to share their knowledge with anyone.

Price:

  • Individual – $120 per year ($10/m)
  • Duo – $180 per year ($15/m)
  • Family – $240 per year ($20/m).

Pros:

  • The production value of every video is unrivaled
  • Large range of subjects, from music to wellbeing
  • Celebrity instructors
  • Good mobile app.

Cons:

  • Courses aren’t accredited
  • No free trial
  • No opportunity to access just a single class.

Best For:

Those looking to learn from the best, and value the quality of the courses they are paying for.

12. CreativeLive

screenshot of the creativelive hompage

CreativeLive allows entrepreneurs and creative professionals to monetize their knowledge and skill set on their own terms. They can engage their online audience with a wide variety of creative courses and methods of teaching.

Price:

  • Annual plan: $129
  • Monthly plan: $29/m

Pros:

  • Extremely high-quality content
  • High profile instructors
  • All live classes are free
  • Lifetime access.

Cons:

  • No accreditation
  • Limited depth
  • Individual courses can be expensive.

Best For:

People looking for high-quality creative course content from well-regarded instructors who may not necessarily care about accreditation.

Other Great Course Creation Tools (For Specific Needs)

Below are some of our favorite other course builders for those who have specific needs. For example, hosting a course on your website, or creating a course you don’t intend on selling (like an internal training course).

AccessAlly: Best Course Creation WordPress Plugin

AccessAlly is an awesome course and membership site creation tool that is a plugin for your WordPress website. That means you can host the site on your pre-existing website.

Now, there are pros and cons to hosting your own course. However, if you’ve decided on using your own site, AccessAlly has it all. There’s even a great creation wizard (shown below) that’ll guide you through the process.

If you want to learn more, read our AccessAlly review.

MemberSpace: Best Course Creator for Squarespace Users

If you want to host a membership site or course on your Squarespace site, MemberSpace is the best option for you. It also works well for other website builder tools like Wix and Weebly.

It’s a classy all-in-one platform if you want an easy self-hosted option. You can read our MemberSpace review for more information.

TalentLMS: Best For Small Business Training

If you want to create a training program for employees or clients, then TalentLMS is easily the best option. There’s a heap of features (too many to list here) that’ll get you on track.

Honestly, if it had better marketing tools, it would be the best course creation tool period. 

The best part that though, is that it’s clearly made as a training solution. That means that you get the features that you need, without all the other BS.

If you want to know more, check out our TalentLMS review.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a learning management system?

A learning management system is a system that helps move learning and instruction into virtual classrooms. They offer online testing, digital download, course uploading, discussion forums for students, etc. to create a virtual environment for instructors to teach. Online course platforms are learning management systems, and usually include other systems such as marketing as well.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is a single webpage that students on online course platforms are directed to through affiliate marketing, search engines, ads, etc. that highlights the key features of your course. It’s kind of like a sales pitch that should persuade them to buy your product. Most online course platforms have tools to help you design the best landing page possible.

How do I create an online course?

The first step is to find an online course platform. The best ones are highlighted in this article. Once you get started on a plan with an online course platform, they have tools and builders to help you build your course. Learning platforms will usually let you upload supplements for your courses such as digital downloads, PowerPoints, PDFs, videos, and more.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve offered a detailed rundown of 13 of the most prominent LMSs on the market today!

Seeing as technology and knowledge bases are constantly evolving, it makes sense that there is such a wide variety of LMSs on offer.

Whatever you value as a student or a content creator, there will be a platform optimized for your needs and we hope this list has informed you on which platform that may be!

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