Best Online Learning Platforms 2020
Choosing the right online course platform is crucial if you want to maximize sales. From creating a course website and taking payments, to uploading videos and interacting with students, the best online course platforms can help you meet your goals. In this guide, we ranked and reviewed the 17+ best online course platforms, along with our top 5 choices, so that you can pick the best one for you.
With the acceleration of online learning due to social distancing, online course platforms are experiencing huge growth.
In fact, the e-learning and online course market will be worth $325 billion by 2025.
Are you ready to tap into this market and sell online courses?
You need the best online course platform.
Here’s the secret: you need to pick a platform that gives your students a custom, professional learning experience so amazing that they’re completely unaware they’re using a platform. ?
If you’re unfamiliar with course platforms, these are browser-based platforms that help you:
Create an online course website (or integrate your course with an existing site).
Build sales landing pages.
Price your course and collect payments (either one-time or in installments).
Upload your videos, add assignments and quizzes, creating interactive content, and engage with your students.
Create membership communities.
Host live webinars.
While there are advantages and disadvantages to online education, the best online course platforms can ensure that both teachers and students get the most out of the online experience.
Listen while you read: After our real and honest testing, here’s a video with our top 3 online course platforms and a preview of their dashboards:
Video created by AdamEnfroy.com and Codeless.
Let’s get started.
What Are the Best Online Course Platforms?
Here are my top picks for the best online course platforms to use this year.
Best Overall Online Course Platform (Free or $49/mo)
I personally love Thinkific and use them for my own online course business, selling my course Blog Growth Engine. They provide an awesome student experience, easy integrations with Stripe and checkout providers to make collecting payments easy, and they have an expert support team that’s been super helpful. Overall, I recommend Thinkific wholeheartedly as my #1 recommendation for selling online courses.
Free – $79/month
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Thinkific is the best overall platform to sell online courses.
It’s my #1 choice because the pricing is exactly in line with other affordable options on this list and it can deliver a high-end course experience.
Course websites can be customized and you’d never guess they were Thinkific.
Sales pages are highly optimized and look great.
Student dashboards look nice and are customizable (you can add videos, text, and any downloadable file type to the same page).
You can either send your entire course at once or drip it out over time.
Free Wistia video hosting (a huge value).
That’s honestly all that you need for an optimized course website.
In fact, even though Thinkific plans start at just $49/month, huge brands like Fiverr use Thinkific to sell online courses.
Best Course Creation Software for Interactive Learning ($24/month)
I think Learnworlds is one of the best course platforms for interactivity. If you’re looking to give your students an engaging course, with quizzes, interactive videos, surveys, and certificates, Learnworlds is a good choice. While it doesn’t have the ease of use of Thinkific, it does have strong student community features.
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Learnworlds is a platform that’s best for course creators looking to interact in unique ways with their students.
Think quizzes, gamification, interactive videos, etc.
While the student experience isn’t as nice looking as a Thinkific course, it’s unique in that it offers students more interactive eLearning content.
Get tons of help when you need it from the Learnworlds team. You can access walkthrough videos, how-to articles, and even live chat with our support staff.
You can easily create a mobile app for your courses with our Mobile App Builder. Students can take your classes with them wherever they go!
The Learning Community feature lets your students connect and learn together. They can share ideas, ask questions, and more.
With the Synchronized Transcript feature, you can easily track who is doing what and where they are in your course. This is great for keeping track of student progress!
Branded Digital Certificates give your students a way to demonstrate their understanding and progress. They’ll be proud to show them off!
Assessments for every need means that you can create quizzes, tests, and more to measure your students’ understanding. You’ll know exactly where they stand!
learnworlds user interface (1)
Customization is a great component of Learnworlds.
As soon as you start creating your course, you realize that the templates that are in place are easy to follow and you can quickly edit them to match your branding or the look of your website.
There’s also a focus on SEO, allowing you to optimize your courses for search engines so people can easily find them.
While it took some time to find a way to add media to specific lessons, once that was figured out it was a smooth process.
Best Online Course Platform for Beginners ($0-$249/mo)
I think that if you’re just starting out and want a solid foundation to build your business, Teachable is the way to go. This online course platform allows you to focus on sharing your knowledge without getting bogged down with the technical aspect. This is why I recommend it for those that are at the startup stage in their business.
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Get Started with a Free Plan
Teachable is an option if you want a fast and easy course builder.
I consider it the best for beginners getting their feet wet in the course world as it’s one of the cheapest options and easy to use.
You can choose to use their free plan (with $1 + $0.10 for all transactions) or select one of their three plans ranging from just $29/month to $299/month.
I recommend their most popular Pro Plan at $99/month as it’s the first plan with zero transaction fees.
Teachable also gave me a unique and limited-time promo code (200 left):
Use PROSOCIATE1MFREE at checkout to get one month of their Pro Plan for free.
Bring on the authors that will help you create content for your courses. With Teachable, anyone can become an instructor and share their knowledge with the world.
Create gorgeous, money-making sales pages that will help you sell your courses. Teachable makes it easy to design a page to convert browsers into buyers.
Use payment providers that are PCI level-1 compliant, so you can rest assured that your data is always safe and secure. Teachable takes care of all the behind-the-scenes work so you can focus on what’s important: teaching your students.
Use their domain to connect to your own, or use Teachable’s built-in domain to get started right away.
Talk to your students live, and schedule and host webinars right from your Teachable account. Engage with your learners in a whole new way.
Schedule and host online courses that work with your busy lifestyle. Teachable makes it easy to find the time to teach.
teachable user experience
The user experience is great on this platform.
You can easily choose your objective, including creating your own course, choosing a topic or building an audience.
This structured approach makes it simple to follow along as you create your course.
You can also customize the look and feel of your courses with a few clicks.
There are also a number of tutorials that show you how to use the different theme features on the site.
teachable user experience
Basic ($29/month): 5% transaction fees, 2 admin users, drip content, course builder, members-only community.
Pro ($99/month): Basic features, plus no transaction fees, 5 admin users, advanced reports, and course certificates.
Business ($249/month): Pro features, plus advanced coding customizations, 20 admins, bulk student enrollments, and group coaching calls.
What I Like/Dislike About Teachable:
Unlimited everything – bandwidth, students, courses, and coaching services.
Optimized storefront and sales pages.
Live Zoom courses on their pro plan.
International payment plans in 130+ currencies.
Custom course completion certificates.
Website theme customization.
Can have 5 user accounts on their pro plan.
Support for individual cases is not dealt with in the same way as general platform issues.
Website navigation is difficult to get used to at the start.
Course templates called ‘Simple’ and ‘Colossal’ were added to help you quickly create beautiful courses without any design or coding required.
You can add lead capture forms directly to product pages, allowing you to grow your email list and increase conversions.
Bundle functionality was added, so you can create a course package and offer it as a one-time purchase or subscription.
Best All-In-One Online Course Platform for Webinars, Downloads, and Memberships ($39/month)
Want to sell any of your digital work online? I think Podia is definitely a platform to consider. With the ability to sell online courses, digital downloads, host webinars, and even build a community, Podia is a platform that can adapt based on your needs.
An All-In-One Solution
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Get Started With A Free Plan
Podia is an all-in-one online course platform with over 50,000 members that is great for digital downloads, webinars, and memberships.
Its main types of courses include:
Standalone courses that include images, video and audio files, MP3x, PDFs, quizzes, and more.
Pre-sell your course by taking payments before launch.
Cohort-based courses with a future start date.
Drip courses deliver your course in a section-by-section format.
The ability to add coupons and memberships.
They truly excel with their membership options. You can grow your own online community by interacting with members, bundling products for specific groups, offering tiered plans, and connecting with Facebook Groups and Slack.
Podia also acts as a webinar platform to host either live or on-demand webinars.
Another awesome feature is the ability to run your own affiliate program inside of Podia. You can view all of your affiliates in one place, view helpful reporting, and make payouts based on your own customized commission structure.
There is 24/7 support, no transaction fees, and a simple three-step process to get your course website up quickly.
Read my full Podia review for more information.
Drip courses allow you to release your course content over time so that you can keep your students engaged and coming back for more.
Instant payouts mean you can get started with selling your courses right away.
An all-in-one platform means you don’t have to juggle multiple tools to get your business off the ground.
Connect your audience and content with tools like email marketing, landing pages, and social media integrations.
Schedule and sell in advance with the ability to create courses that are open for enrollment only for a certain period.
No transaction fees mean you keep more of your hard-earned profits.
podia user interface (1)
Podia provides a very simple interface when it comes to creating your own courses.
You initially choose between the type of course that includes online courses, digital downloads, webinars, bundles, or coaching sessions.
After, you use their easy-to-understand menu to set up your course content.
The menu system gives you access to the needed features of each stage of course creation including the ability to add text, audio, and video content.
You can also look at your audience, add coupons, look at affiliate and sales stats, and more.
podia user interface (2)
Mover ($33/month) – Unlimited everything, zero transaction fees, sell courses, digital downloads, and 5k emails sent per month.
Shaker ($75/month) – Everything in Mover, plus the ability to create membership communities, add affiliates, and 15k emails sent per month.
Earthquaker ($166/month) – Everything in Shaker, plus dedicated account manager, personalized onboarding, and 50k emails sent per month.
What I Like/Dislike About Podia:
The overall platform design allows for easy use by both those starting out and those with more experience.
The user interface is simplistic and easy to navigate, making it straightforward for your students to find the courses they are looking for.
Podia offers excellent value for money when compared to other platforms.
The platform has been designed with the course developer in mind, making it easy to create and sell your courses.
Since being launched, they have been continually updating the platform with new features.
Digital downloads are a great way to sell supplementary content to your students.
The inability to categorize products means students can’t filter products on the storefront page.
No way to add custom embed codes, which would allow instructors to embed their courses on their websites/pages.
Comunity search and reporting features improved, making it easier to search through your content and members. This means that finding and understanding your data is now a breeze.
The newsletter section now allows lead capture to start building your email list right away.
The Podia course viewer has been updated with a cleaner design, so your courses look their best.
Overall, if you’re looking for strong membership functionality and the ability to increase your sales with the help of affiliates, Podia is a unique and worthwhile course builder to try out.
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