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Course Creation

The 7 Best Online Course Creation Platforms (2024 Reviews & Rankings)

Looking for the best online course platforms for creating and selling your class online? Check out our look at the best tools out there.

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By Scott Winstead

best online course platforms

Did you know that the online course market is expected to generate $370 billion in annual revenue by 2026? With the best online course creation platforms, you can easily monetize your knowledge by sharing it with the world.

As an instructional designer and eLearning creator with 20 years in the industry, I can tell you that online courses are an excellent way to share your passion and knowledge with a hugely diverse audience. Online trainers can reach more clients, customize their content, digitally interact with their learners, and collect payment securely, all from their own homes or studios.

Of course, creating a successful online course (or a library of them) can feel like a daunting task. That’s why I’ve personally tested and ranked what I believe are the very best online course creation platforms based on a variety of factors, including ease of use, features, price, and more (click here to learn about our entire Editorial Process & Methodology for these reviews).

What are the Best Online Course Platforms?

1. Best Overall: TrainerCentral

TrainerCentral: An all-in-one training platform TrainerCentral: An all-in-one training platform

With TrainerCentral, you can turn your passion and knowledge into a thriving business. This comprehensive platform allows you to easily create and manage online courses in just minutes.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

When it comes to both value and convenience, TrainerCentral (from parent company Zoho) takes the cake.

One of the biggest reasons TrainerCentral earns my top spot among the best online course platforms is its superior user-friendliness.

The platform includes Course Builder is incredibly intutive, allowing you to create a class that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

TrainerCentral’s Course Builder allows you to upload videos, handouts, documents, or any mix of media you need to support your learners.

I also like how the accompanying Course Marketer then walks you through how to set up and sell your course(s) on your own customized website.

Choose a unique domain name, jazz things up with an elegant web design template, and pick from a variety of pricing structures… voila! Your course is ready for the world.

The site also offers some impressive perks, such as administrative controls and real-time data reports to help you manage your growing business.

Other goodies like a live classroom option, video sharing, and online chat rooms and forums make TrainerCentral more enticing for potential customers. Plus, each learner logs in from an individual, secure portal, which includes a helpful dashboard to track their progress.

TrainerCentral’s live virtual classroom feature is something that truly sets it apart from other online course platforms. This feature unites learners and instructors from every corner of the world within a collaborative digital sphere.

The user-friendly interface facilitates real-time engagement, cultivating vibrant discussions, joint projects, and tailored guidance. Through an array of advanced tools like video conferencing, interactive whiteboards, screen sharing, and breakout rooms, educators can deliver impactful lessons while participants take an active role, posing inquiries and contributing dynamically to the learning process.

Another big win for TrainerCentral users is that the platform charges zero transaction fees for your courses.  This means the money you receive from your customers is all yours. As I’ll detail with some of the other tools later in this guide, not every platform does this — many have transaction fees that can eat into your earnings as a course creator.

A small downside I noted with TrainerCentral is that their free option is limited to only three courses and doesn’t include many of the platform’s most desirable features, like the live classroom and admin console.

However, since most companies don’t provide a free version at all, I can’t be too outraged over these limitations. I’d think of this free plan as a test drive, offering just enough functionality to get a feel for the platform’s potential. It’s a practical way for beginners to dip their toes into the world of online course creation without immediate investment.

While the free plan’s restrictions might prompt a swift upgrade for those serious about expanding their eLearning offerings, it’s a good starting point to explore TrainerCentral’s interface and basic capabilities.

On that note, TrainerCentral’s feature-rich paid packages are hands down the most reasonably priced among the competition.

The Starter Package is only $16.67 per month when billed annually.  This offering provides a number of great features for the cost, such as the ability to host a live classroom, assign assessments, award certificates, collect payments, and more.

Meanwhile, the more comprehensive Professional Package comes in at $41.67 a month when billed annually.

This option includes all of the Starter Package perks, plus the more in-depth administrative tools and functions needed to really take your business to the next level.

TrainerCentral is affordable, sophisticated, and easy to use.  Even if you don’t have a tech or administrative background, this site makes it easy for you to share your passion and manage your business.

Because TrainerCentral won’t break the bank, you can devote more of your time and resources into what actually matters: improving your content and expertise.

Our TrainerCentral review offers a complete look at all that this online course platform has to offer.

Click here to get started with TrainerCentral for free.

2. Runner Up: Thinkific

My runner-up is Thinkific, another well-designed online course platform that offers many great features.

Thinkific allows trainers to create highly customized courses and upload a variety of learning materials and course structures. The platform has attracted hundreds of millions of enrollments in courses.

Thinkific also offers a free version to users, and even includes the option to add quizzes and assessments to courses at no charge. This inclusion of quizzes and assessments in Thinkific’s free version not only enhances the interactivity of courses but also significantly boosts the value proposition for educators on a budget.

From my experience, these features are crucial for engaging students and reinforcing learning, making Thinkific an attractive option for those looking to create impactful courses without initial financial commitment.

Customers and clients can sign up for Thinkific using their Google or Facebook accounts, which makes the subscription process easier.

Thinkific provides your clients with a secure login portal and customized dashboard to share their progress.

Another great thing is Thinkific’s zero transaction fees, meaning they won’t dock the payments you receive from your subscribers.

However, Thinkific does not include a built-in live classroom feature, which can be a bit inconvenient for sessions that you’d like to host in-person (you’ll need to subscribe to a separate webinar tool).

Thinkific is also more expensive than my top pick, TrainerCentral.  While their Basic plan is only $49 per month, their Professional level jumps up to $99, and their Expand offering is a whopping $499 (though it is intended for larger companies).

Thinkific is a well-organized platform for new and experienced trainers alike, but it is missing a few of the features you might be looking for, so make sure to really consider your needs before signing up.

3. Best for Mobile: Kajabi

Kajabi is another highly-rated course creation site that allows users to design elegant trainings with a number of different media options.

Kajabi offers a user-friendly course builder option to help you tailor your courses to exactly what you need.

The platform also offers a customizable marketing tool to help you create your brand and deliver your courses to customers.

The customizable marketing tool provided by the platform is a game-changer for course creators aiming to stand out. It allows you to tailor your branding and course delivery in a way that resonates with your target audience.

In my experience, this level of customization not only elevates the learner’s experience but also significantly enhances course visibility and appeal, making it easier to attract and retain students.

Kajabi’s mobile app is a great feature that sets it apart from many other platforms.

Having used it myself, I can vouch for the convenience it offers.

Being able to tap into my courses and connect with my learners from anywhere, just using my phone, has been invaluable, especially when I’m on the move or need to maintain a close connection with my students. It’s a game-changer for anyone who values flexibility and accessibility in their teaching toolkit.

Kajabi also has zero transaction fees, helping you maximize your profit. Did I mention that Kajabi creators have generated more than 6 billion in revenue?

One aspect of Kajabi that I’ve found a bit restrictive is its limited built-in payment options. Currently, it only supports PayPal and Stripe directly.

For someone like me, who prefers offering a variety of payment methods to accommodate learners from different regions, this means having to manually set up and integrate other payment systems. It’s an extra step that can be a bit of a hassle, especially when you’re aiming for a seamless course launch.

You’ll also have to rely on outside platforms for any live classes you’d like to host, as Kajabi does not include its own virtual classroom capability.

Annual plans for Kajabi are on the steep side, as well: the Basic plan will run you $119 a month, with the Growth plan hitting $159 and the Business plan topping out at $319.

4. Best Flexible Payment Options: Podia

Podia is another solid course creation site, offering users the ability to create unique trainings with a variety of media.

Podia allows users to add quizzes to their courses and to host live workshops directly from their platform.

Users can even sell live workshops as a separate product, though this requires a Zoom license (which can add to overall costs).

Podia’s site builder is simple to use, and they don’t charge any transaction fees for paid users.

Trainers can choose one-time payments or subscriptions (though they don’t offer a free trial option).

One of the nice things about Podia is the wide range of price options they offer, including Free, Starter, Mover, Shaker, and Earthquake.

They’re one of the only platforms that allows trainers to actually sell their courses from the Free option, though there is a 10% transaction fee for doing so.

If you don’t want any transaction fees, you’ll have to get their most expensive plan, the Shaker plan at $89 month or a little over $700 if you opt for the annual package. There are other paid plans available at a more affordable cost, but those do have transaction fees.

From my experience with Podia, it’s a platform that offers a great user experience and accessibility. Its intuitive interface means you’re not spending hours trying to figure things out, making it an attractive option for those just stepping into the world of online course creation.

I like that Podia covers a broad spectrum of needs, from membership sites and digital downloads to coaching packages and traditional courses, all at a relatively affordable entry point. Plus, their customer support is top-notch if you’re on a paid plan.

But I have to point out that Podia isn’t without its drawbacks.

The free plan, for instance, is really just a teaser that doesn’t have a ton of practical use.

Additionally, while Podia offers some analytics, it’s primarily focused on email metrics, leaving a gap in comprehensive data analysis that could inform strategic decisions.

5. Best for Customization: LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is another great platform for creating online courses, distinguished by its comprehensive features and user-centric approach.

With its intuitive interface and robust suite of tools, LearnWorlds empowers educators, entrepreneurs, and institutions to craft engaging and impactful online learning experiences.

One of LearnWorlds’ standout attributes is its unparalleled course customization options. There are countless ways you can create and package interactive courses. It’s arguably the most customizable course platform out there for creating flexible learning experiences.

Another cool facet of LearnWorlds lies in its emphasis on interactive and immersive learning experiences. Through seamless integration of interactive videos, quizzes, assignments, and discussions, the platform encourages active participation and enhances knowledge retention.

LearnWorlds pricing ranges from $24-$299 a month, so it can get a little costly.

All in all, LearnWorlds is a solid choice for creating online courses with a number of great features that are worth a look.

6. Best for Bloggers: Teachable

Teachable is a great course creation platform for the bloggers out there, as it is one of the only platforms that lets you add blogs to your courses.

With more than 100,000 creators, the course builder on Teachable is intuitive and easy to use, even for those who don’t have any experience with coding or programming.

Teachable allows users to set their own course compliance in addition to managing their subscriptions and payment plans.  The site also offers robust marketing tools to help you ensure your courses are reaching your desired audience.

While Teachable is well-organized and a pleasure to use, one of the major drawbacks here is the 5% transaction fee charged to all users, even those who have invested in paid plans.

While the site does offer an excellent user experience, this nonnegotiable charge can take a big bite out of your earnings, especially if you’re a newer trainer with a smaller client base.

Paid plans from Teachable are on the more affordable side, however, with a free option included and a Basic plan costing $39/a month.

The Professional level of Teachable is offered at $119/a month, while their Business package, meanwhile, costs $499 a month when billed annually.

7. Best for Keeping it Simple: Teachery

Teachery is a great course creation platform for users who might want to keep things on the simpler side.

Teachery provides a website builder that, while lacking in frills and bells and whistles, is straightforward and easy to use.

Trainers can upload content and materials directly to the site.  Live hosting and embedded videos, however, will need to be run from third-party sites like Zoom or Youtube.

Teachery only offers payment through Stripe, though users can manually integrate other payment gateways if they wish.

While the site is not quite as advanced as some of the others I’ve highlighted, it’s a good pick for those who have uncomplicated courses and want to stick to the basics.

One thing I really like is how straightforward Teachery pricing is, with a monthly subscription charge of $49 and an annual subscription cost of $470, which comes out to only $39 a month instead. Having just one plan (with two different payment options) really keeps things simple and eliminates the guesswork often associated with tiered pricing models.

This simplicity allows you to focus more on creating and delivering content rather than worrying about which plan fits your needs best. Plus, the annual option offers a decent saving for those committed to long-term course creation, making Teachery an economical choice for educators at all levels.

It’s refreshing to see a platform that prioritizes ease of use and straightforward costs, ensuring that educators can invest more in their content and less in navigating complex pricing structures.

Final Thoughts

Each of the platforms listed here offers you a path to creating engaging and helpful online courses.

While TrainerCentral offers the highest number of helpful features and the best bang for your buck, all of these options have unique features to help you share your expertise with the world.

Think about your skills and your desired audience, choose the right platform for your needs, and start creating today!

Are you an online course creator or curious about becoming one?  Do you have any insights or experiences with these platforms?  I’d love to hear your questions and comments below!

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