Despite its superiority when it comes to learning, society is quickly moving away from face-to-face study. The lack of time and the convenience of not leaving the house makes more and more people choose some of the best online course platforms.
Whether learning a skill that will make them more competitive in the job market or a hobby they’re passionate about, taking an online course gives people the best chance of eventually learning it – and they know it.
With so much demand, people with those skills can sell them on the market, and the easiest way to do it is through platforms built specifically for that cause. You can record the lessons, make PDFs of your material, and create quizzes to test your students’ knowledge.
Giving online courses is a great side hustle, and it can become your primary source of income once you get the hang of it completely.
So, I’ve searched the Internet for the best online course platforms for this article; get comfortable and start reading because there’s plenty to unfold!
What Are the Best Online Course Platforms in 2023?
Choosing a suitable platform for your online course is vital to your experience as a course creator. It is where you will spend a lot of time creating educational content for your students, and the features should be according to your preferences.
Another thing that is important to consider is the types of courses you are going to be creating. Some platforms are better suited for companies, offering cloud services and customizations of the templates, while some are better suited for individuals with simpler functionality.
The criteria for choosing the best online course platforms were high. They had to support a rich array of formats like PDF, video, audio, quizzes, and images, have a good price, and be easy to use.
Starting an online course on a platform shouldn’t be complicated, so features like learning tools, customer support, accessibility, and user-friendliness were highly valued when grading these platforms.
With this criteria, I have narrowed it down to the following platforms, although admittedly, many decent ones have missed out because the competition is enormous.
Here are the best online course platforms for 2023:
Thinkific is a great platform choice. It is a setting where you can teach others your knowledge in an effective way. With a variety of workshops and courses for creators, the site is made to support you along every step of your journey to garner an audience.
I have found Thinkific to be an excellent choice of platform. It is a place where you can effectively transfer your knowledge to others. The platform is designed to help you every step of your way to obtain an audience with many workshops and courses for creators.
I enrolled in a course called 3 Keys to Get Started on YouTube. The course aims to teach you how to grow your YouTube audience by converting people from being YT audiences to students. It was about how to name the videos strategically, make attractive thumbnails for the videos, and tell a better story to keep the viewers engaged.
The instructor was coherent and fun; I felt she knew what she was talking about. I glanced at her YouTube channel and could immediately tell she was a pro with 370k subscribers and many videos with many views.
The course was only 18 minutes long, but I learned much about YouTube content creation. I immediately signed up for many other courses to improve my knowledge of how to run a course.
There are many free courses on Thinkific Academy with a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be unraveled. Seriously, these courses feel illegal to take part in for free!
Apart from the resources in the Thinkific Academy, there is around-the-clock customer support, which will help you with everything from getting started to more specific things like stumbling blocks when setting up your page.
There is a community feature where people with similar interests can interact and share ideas about the courses. As a creator, you get to design how the space would look.
Thinkific can be integrated with email marketing tools to create campaigns, analytic tools like Google Analytics to help track engagement, and various CRMs to manage customers effectively.
Becoming a creator is super easy and fast. Accessing the resource library is one click away. Making your creator platform will take only a few minutes, and once you do it, you will unlock many new instruction videos to help you make the most of the tools.
The platform allows you to design your own site either for a course or a community by choosing from the many templates, banners, colors, etc.
There is a free option to use Thinkific, allowing you to publish one course and create one community. The paid plans include all the features from the previous plan, with an extra six to seven new ones added.
The paid plans are as follows:
- Basic: $36 per month.
- Start: $74 per month.
- Grow: $149 per month.
- Expand: $374 per month.
- Around-the-clock customer support
- Large resource library
- Integration tools are sometimes lagging
AOM primarily focuses on offering businesses training for their partners, clients, or associates. The idea is that the platform will expand as the learners’ businesses expand and offer answers for any new challenges that appear.
AOM mostly focuses on providing businesses with training for their customers, employees, or partners. The concept is for the platform to scale as the learners’ business grows and provide solutions for the new obstacles that arise.
It’s equipped with the capacity to host live classes, webinars, and 1v1 training by integrating with apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Vimeo. AOM allows you to schedule in-person classes as part of your course.
The transparent system allows you to track your student’s attendance and progress through various quizzes. You can easily access a student’s history of courses, certifications, and test results.
Through the comprehensive learner insight, you can review your student’s assignments and how long it took them to finish the task, as well as you can give group or individual reports. Academy of Mine also allows for training and tracking of customers.
You can have custom-designed templates for your courses to represent the company attending the course or the brand you’re trying to build. Companies find this attractive because their brand’s visibility helps make the course look like it comes from their organization.
Academy of Mine enables you to sell your online courses directly from your website through its e-commerce integration. It includes multiple payment methods like PayPal and Stripe. On top of this, you can offer subscription-based payment for your courses and create various discounts or bundles.
Some learners prefer to attend the classes on their own time. You can create courses the students would take whenever they choose and implement interactive tasks with video, PowerPoints, or PDFs to keep them engaged.
Furthermore, built-in discussion forums allow for connections and discussions to take place among the learners. This helps maintain the focus and interest in the subject on a high level and keeps the learners engaged.
Customer support is also available 24/7, offering help for the smallest obstacles, whether setting up your course, profile, or payment.
The platform is easy to get around, and the main dashboard provides access to all relevant points like courses or resource materials. It is optimized for use with a mobile phone, making the courses even more accessible to learners.
The resource library provides great support with tutorials and how-tos for creators, enabling even beginner course makers to use the features effectively.
Overall, using this platform is comprehensive and easy, allowing creators to focus on their primary goal, teaching.
Academy of Mine offers a free trial of their product for a 30-day period without credit card details or commitments. There are plans for startup companies, schools, and growing businesses.
The following are the paid plans:
- Startup: $299 per month.
- Essentials: $599 per month.
- Professional: $999 per month.
- Enterprise: $24.000 per year.
- Great for tracking progress
- They build your LMS
- Smooth integration with streaming or payment services
- A relatively expensive
LearnWorlds provides course development for a variety of industries, such as coaching, content creation, customer training, finance, fitness, health, NGO, etc.
LearnWorlds offers course building for many sectors, including coaching, e-content creation, customer training, finance, fitness, health, NGO, etc. Upon opening their website, you can see the many rewards they’ve won for various segments of their platform and the high ratings they’ve received on various apps.
The platform enables you to promote your courses with its marketing features, like creating your website and generating leads. There’s a tutorial on literally everything regarding your website, like how to create an app, how to create pop-ups, how to do analytics, etc.
You can perform all these actions without any coding experience, and it would only take you minutes to perform some of these otherwise complex actions. There are numerous eye-catching templates for your courses, websites, and apps that you can implement and stand out from the crowd.
Fitness instructors can effortlessly transfer their activities to this online learning platform and interact with participants from wherever they want while providing them with many other valuable advantages.
Educators from health, finance, and NGO sectors would find a great use for LearnWorlds, as would their students, who would benefit from the many features that make learning easy.
As with most of the learning courses from our list, LearWorlds has standard features like flexible courses, interactive videos, and live sessions. At the same time, they have some exquisite features for building helpful marketing tools such as websites, apps, and pop-ups.
Standard marketing tools such as creating offers for bundles, gifting coupons, creating special memberships and subscriptions, and selling more tickets at once to a single organization to save yourself the hassle.
Email marketing tools such as MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, and ConvertKit are seamlessly integrated with the platform, with many forms and templates available. You can also design various forms and surveys for your mailing campaign or for your visitors on your page.
You can prevent the LearnWorlds brand from appearing on your website. Using your custom domain will help you build a brand from your course.
Moreover, transferring your courses from other platforms is easy, as LearnWorlds will play any SCORM or HTML5 package you upload. Many creators find this feature very convenient because they can effortlessly transfer their material on the platform and don’t have to make it from scratch.
LearnWorlds enables you to customize course templates to create appealing designs without necessarily having prior experience.
Launching websites and apps without any previous experience speaks volumes about how user-friendly the platform is and why it is the choice for some of the biggest brands for employee training.
Creating courses comes easy on LearnWorlds as it supports multiple formats and allows live classes. The course creating page has an intuitive design and many choices for layouts, templates, and other details.
Overall, it is a very comprehensive platform providing you with many advantages as a course creator, and it is all within a click away.
You can start with a free trial and upgrade to a plan that suits your needs best afterward. These are the payment plans for LearnWorlds:
- Starter: $24 per month.
- Pro Trainer: $79 per month.
- Learning Center: $249 per month.
- Corporate: N/A, contact sales.
- Synchronized transcripts on videos
- Building websites and apps
- Compatible with SCORM
- Aggressive marketing on the home page
It’s easy to run a course on Udemy. You only need a smartphone and a good pair of earphones with a microphone to get started. Your video will be evaluated by an instructor support team for quality control before you can begin your Udemy teaching career.
Running a course on Udemy is simple. All you need is your smartphone with a good set of earphones for the microphone, and you are good to go. An instructor support team will review your video for quality assurance; after that, you can start your teaching experience at Udemy.
Udemy has a vast array of courses, and a third of those courses are free. This makes it an attractive market for instructors because there are millions of visitors worldwide, and finding an audience for your course is easier. Udemy is also a great platform if you want to discover how to build your blog’s improvement from the beginning.
Udemy requires you to be specific with the course description because it will later expose it to the right audience on their website. Therefore, you will have to answer questions like “Who is the course for?” and “What are the requirements for taking the course?”
The features on Udemy are standard for an online training platform, with video and text being the most common formats used by instructors.
There are tutorials available on video editing and how to plan your course, as well as how to attract more people through marketing. The academy at Udemy will give you tasks as a newbie course creator and reward you when you finish them on time.
Furthermore, the resource library includes spaces for interaction with other instructors and a teaching center that gives you pointers on how to be a better instructor. There are also marketplace insights to provide you with analytics of supply and demand in your field, as well as help and support teams for whatever problem you encounter.
Udemy Business is a subscription-based feature for companies that selects the best courses for them. If your course becomes successful and relevant, it may be added to this feature.
Additionally, Udemy has a mobile app for easier access which both instructors and students can utilize for creating and learning.
Udemy is designed to be easy to use and straightforward. For the creation of courses, you will be guided with quick and easy steps to having your own course published. Adding pricing and using the promo options is easy.
The transparent course dashboard lets you track student progress or respond to their questions. You can update the content of the course at any time. Also, using the phone version of the platform gives a similar sense of simplicity.
The best part about Udemy is that you can start creating courses for free as there are no fees for creating courses. Instead, you share the revenue you generate with the platform.
The revenue is shared in two ways. As an instructor, you earn 97% of the revenue if the student came from your referral link, and if they came through Udemy, you would get 37%.
- No investment needed
- Wide audience
- Has all the basic features of expensive platforms
- High competition
Teachable enables you to design independent or cohort-based courses and deliver live lectures on the subject matter you are most knowledgeable about. By using this platform, you can design and market a beautiful course and give your students value by expressing your ideas concisely.
Teachable allows you to create self-paced or cohort-based courses, as well as perform live lectures on your area of expertise. Through this platform, you can create and sell a great-looking course and provide value for your students by sending a more concise message.
You can find all the standard features for creating courses on teachable, like uploading text, video, and audio. Courses can be customized to fit different industries and accommodate different brands.
Altogether, it is a solid platform for course creators, which involves many features and comes at an affordable price.
Through this platform, you can perform all the basic tasks for course creators, like uploading materials for your students or performing live lectures. You can test their knowledge with various quizzes and track their progress as well as attendance.
Through its various marketing helping tools, Teachable allows you to grow your business by expanding your audience and finding new ways to monetize your work. Student referrals will help your learners get even better prices on your courses, allowing you to reach new students.
Teachable will manage the taxes on the income you generate and guide you in developing your business by performing various analytics on your work and the market. The platform offers support and learning resources that will improve your level.
Moreover, it has 24/7 customer support and a forum for instructors where you can learn a lot by interacting with others from the Teachable community.
Teachable allows seamless migration of files and data from other platforms as long as you own the material. How the platform is designed and managed lets you focus completely on your content.
Upon signing up, you will get a questionnaire to help personalize your experience. The course-creating dashboard is simple and easily operable. There is the option to customize your site with your logo, thumbnail, and favicon. You can choose from many fonts and customize the colors.
You have all the features in one place on the dashboard, so you don’t have to wander around all the time. You can create offers, send emails, and create courses from the same place.
You can preview the features for free with a 14-day trial. If the plans don’t fit your needs, you can get a custom package by contacting support.
The paid plans are the following:
- Basic: $39 per month.
- Pro: $119 per month.
- Business: $375 per month.
- Same features as more expensive platforms
- Free version
- Good resources
- No mobile app
Certainly one of the more popular online training platforms, Kajabi offers great features for people who want to run courses, coaching programs, podcasts, and more. A vast range of marketing tools enables creators to fully utilize their skills by attracting students to learn their materials.
The platform has a built-in CRM and integrations with PayPal and Stripe to collect payments. The analytic tools help you make better choices regarding the directions you are taking with your course.
For learning and interaction, there are the Kajabi Blog, Kajabi Edge Podcast, and the Kajabi University, along with other corners in the resource library.
Kajabi differs from the others because it offers a wider variety of ways to monetize your knowledge. You can offer courses, coaching sessions, podcasts, memberships, and communities.
The platform helps you grow your business by enabling you to build websites, pages, email marketing campaigns, funnels, etc.
Another area where Kajabi stands out is the education it provides for instructors. The creator’s education is exceptional, with many ways you can work on improving your skills as an online teacher. For inspiration, you can see success stories and good examples of work from your sector or others.
Additionally, you can choose from several themes to personalize the courses and create a uniqueness about your brand, making it easier to attract and retain students.
As mentioned earlier, there’s a big focus on education on Kajabi, but the tools for creating courses are not to be undermined. The process is straightforward, with the platform sporting an intuitive interface.
There is a step-by-step guide to ensure you don’t miss out on any useful features, but I found it unnecessary because everything was clear. You can easily adjust the pricing and payment methods.
Generally, Kajabi offers a good user experience and helps you streamline your work without having coding or other technical knowledge.
You can try out Kajabi Growth in a 14-day trial for free, and here are the paid plans:
- Basic: $149 per month.
- Growth: $199 per month.
- Pro: $399 per month.
- Exceptional education materials
- Wide variety of content types
- Community and customer support
- Limited integrations
- Relatively expensive
Podia is made with the intent to create a high-end yet more affordable online training platform. Producing courses for Podia is easy, and there are various formats of content you can upload.
The way to start is to choose between starting a new course or adding a digital downloadable, after which you will be guided step by step by the program.
There are many quality features you can find elsewhere on other good platforms, like creating a website, but there are also features that are specific to this platform.
It’s important for instructors to be able to focus on the quality of their courses and not technical stuff, and Podia allows you to do just that.
This platform has standard features for creating courses, and you can add other materials like digital downloadables. You can also organize webinars and workshops, hold coaching sessions, consultations, etc.
Podia enables you to build your website on the platform with many themes to choose from, which will help you become a recognizable brand in the eyes of people in your sector.
You can use the Create a Community feature to have people from your course interact with each other. You will have control over the topics and the whole conversation, enabling you to keep discussions organized and focused. Community is great for giving learners access to some of your products.
To get started, the Podia Blog has an active community of creators. Also, there are many resources for inspiration and how-tos, including email campaigns, creator stories, sales, entrepreneurship, etc.
Once you sign up, Podia will ask you about your goals and plans on the platform, and once you’re done selecting, it will give you a set of tasks related to your goals. When you complete a task, it will be moved to the completed section, which is rewarding.
When you’re essentially your own boss with no one to give you orders, it’s important to have goals and be self-motivated. The task system guidance at Podia will provide you with clarity on what you should do next and successfully streamline your work.
I found the dashboard layout to be easier to use than the standard designs that just resembled WordPress. The program guides you every step of the way and creates everything for you; you’re just selecting preferences and answering questions.
I thought that having a website and an audience of students on Podia would make it easy to include other ways of monetization, like offering e-books or 1v1 consultations, both of which are available and with similar simplicity to use.
There is a free version of Podia with 8% paid in fees to the platform.
Here are the paid plans for Podia membership:
- Mover: $33 per month.
- Shaker: $75 per month.
- Free version
- No fees per transaction
- Great user experience
- No mobile app
Skillshare is a popular platform for sharing courses focusing on illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and other creative fields. The concept differs in a way that people don’t subscribe to creators but to Skillshare; hence, they get unlimited access to the platform.
Skillshare teachers are usually creative people who want to share their passion with others and the experience they’ve gained in a certain field. There are over 12 million learners on Skillshare, which is certainly a big market to enter.
Creating courses for Skillshare is simple, and it is free. Considering how the audience is from the creative sector, the platform is adapted to that type of audience.
Since, as a user, one subscription gets you access to all videos on the platform, creators are getting paid by how much time learners spend on their videos.
Additionally, there is a mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
Navigating and uploading materials on Skillshare is easy. There are guidelines and resources to use to help along the way.
There is the option for creating courses on Skillshare for free, and there’s the Premium option. The payment model is based on revenue sharing, and if you take up the free option, you will be earning revenue from students who enroll in your courses via the referral program.
Skillshare Premium enables you to earn independently from students who enroll in your courses. The Premium option costs $168 per year.
- Free for creators
- Large audience
- Simple and easy to use
- Too much competition
- Difficult payment plan for creators
Fitness and medical professionals use Yondo to host their classes as it provides them with a simple and easy-to-use platform for them and their students.
Yondo allows creators to host live videos or upload pre-recorded content. Unlike most other platforms, Yondo will be handling the streaming and delivery of the content.
So, a video conferencing feature allows you to host webinars, group coaching sessions, or 1-on-1 consultations via screen-sharing.
Furthermore, a detailed analytics reporting feature on all the content produced allows you to track various metrics like views, engagement, and sales.
There are also customization options for your videos with frames and watermarks.
Compared to other platforms’ design and functionality, Yondo is unique but still very user-friendly. Features like video conferencing are easy to use both for creators and learners.
Once you get the hang of it, Yondo may become your favorite way of conducting courses. The way it works is that you create videos and then group those videos to create a course. There is an option to sell or rent the content.
- Starter: $69 per year
- Professional: $139 per year
- Premium: $349 per year
- Easy to use
- Many templates and other customization features
Payhip is primarily a platform for selling digital downloadables like e-books, software, design assets, templates, music, etc. However, there’s also the option to create and sell online courses, perform coaching, and even sell physical products like shirts.
Payhip has good integrations with payment services, and the transactions occur immediately after you get paid for any service you provide. It manages your taxes from the revenue you generate and has solid marketing tools.
The platform provides training for selling your courses, or anything you may offer, so being a newbie would be less of an issue. All of this is at relatively affordable prices and low transaction fees.
This platform has a variety of ways you can sell your knowledge. You can create courses through its user-friendly dashboard in a standard way by uploading materials of your chosen formats.
You can also sell e-books, designs, templates, or other things you’re good at, and Payhip will make it easier for you by allowing you to build a store. The store builder feature is the same as the website features with most other platforms, and it is fully customizable.
You can change colors and templates, add video sections, text sections, image galleries, etc. The page will also adapt to the mobile version.
Additionally, there are designated education tools for every feature you want to sell, with step-by-step guides on writing and publishing e-books, creating courses, and using the store to sell them.
I have tried the free version and was very happy with my experiments. I tried creating a course, and it looked super simple. I even tried selling a physical product feature, and it seemed similar to how you would sell on a basic selling page by adding pictures of the product and creating a description.
There is transparent analytics both for sales and for visits. If you already have a website, you can simply integrate Payhip with it, and it will also be a seamless experience.
In general, a very positive experience and one I would recommend for beginners and experts alike.
What features are the most important for a platform?
The platform you choose should generally be easy to use and have many tools for creation, customization, management, marketing, tracking, etc. It should also be integrated with recognized payment methods or streaming services.
Are online courses better for earning than in-person courses?
In-person courses have limitations on how many students can attend your classes, and there are various expenses related to running a successful business.
Getting on a good platform for online courses will not only cut expenses for rent, bills, and marketing, but it will also expose your content to a larger audience without limiting how many people can attend your classes.
Do you need certifications to hold online courses?
Nothing is stopping you from holding online courses. It’s only smart to hold courses on something you are knowledgeable about. Otherwise, you’d be unsuccessful. Certifications may help attract more people but are not crucial for a successful course.
How much do online courses cost?
The creators generally determine the fees. It is difficult to tell a general number, as some courses are sold for thousands of dollars, and some courses are free. What’s important to remember is that the fee doesn’t determine the quality of the course.
Will you have to provide certifications for successfully finishing your course?
Some platforms will do that for you, and you should consider this when searching for the ideal platform. You can choose not to give certification, but many people like to have certifications for many reasons, like adding it to their portfolio.
How would you promote your course if you don’t have a following on social media?
Good platforms provide you with all the necessary tools for successfully promoting your course, regardless of your social media popularity. Of course, it would be helpful if you are already producing content, but it’s not crucial.
Are there free platforms where you can start your course?
Sure, some free platforms allow you to create courses for free. They will simply charge a fee after you get paid by your students. Other platforms offer their services for free but either for a limited time or with limited features.
Course instructors don’t have to be or hire programmers to have a smooth platform with features that make their teaching easy. Also, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to attract people to your program because many superb platforms allow you to monetize your knowledge.
After analyzing and testing the best online course platforms, I have found that they all pay close attention to their competition and dread getting left behind by their competition. This is why they all support similar features.
Still, no matter how subtle, there are differences and advantages to consider before you get on board. In the end, the combination of features and price should be key to you making a decision, as well as your personal needs as a course creator.