Online learning platforms for adults

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:

What Are the Best Online Course Platforms?

Here are my top picks for the best online course platforms to use this year.

Thinkific.
Learnworlds.
Mighty Networks.
Kajabi.
Teachable.
Podia.
LearnDash.
Ruzuku.
Academy of Mine.
WizIQ.

1. Thinkific.

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.

Best For

Everyone

Price

Free – $79/month

Annual Discount

Yes – Save 20%

Promotion

One Month Free Trial

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.

Here’s what people are saying about Thinkific:

  • “You need to get on Thinkific. The team is creative, reliable, and offers unbeatable support. They always make sure all my bases are covered and, as a business owner, that’s invaluable.” – Lewis Howes
  • “By teaching our audience how to scale and grow their business through online training, we’ve grown ours. We couldn’t have done it without Thinkific.” – John Lee Dumas, Entrepreneurs on Fire
  • “I seriously can’t be more impressed with your customer support team. They are the perfect blend of efficient and personable. It’s like having my very own IT department.” – Kim Garnett

Key Features:

  • Live Lessons & Cohorts allow you to deliver your course content live, in real-time, to students worldwide.
  • Advanced customizations mean that you can make your courses look and feel precisely the way you want them to.
  • Website themes help you quickly and easily create a professional-looking website without any design or coding experience.
  • Communities & Memberships allow your students to connect and learn in collaboration.
  • Progress Tracking lets you see how your students are doing and identify any areas they may need help with.
  • Assessments & Certificates give your students a way to demonstrate their understanding and progress.

2. Mighty Networks.

Mighty Networks allows you to build and own your online course, membership site, or professional network—all in one place.

You can also use it to power your podcast, blog, or even your physical event space.

No matter what type of online course you want to create, Mighty Networks makes it easy to build and grow a thriving community around your course content.

You can also use your social media followers to build your Mighty Network—and reach a whole new audience of potential students.

Key Features:

  • The Mighty Effect™ personalization technology ensures that every member of your Mighty Network sees content tailored just for them.
  • The Welcome and Discovery sections make it easy for new members to find the content they’re looking for—and get started on your course.
  • Unlimited members mean you can grow your network as big as you want without worrying about hitting a limit.
  • Custom landing pages and domains let you brand your Mighty Network however you want, so it feels like home to your students.

User Experience:

With an easy-to-use desktop and mobile interface, Mighty Networks is one of the most user-friendly online course platforms.

It’s simple to navigate and find the content you’re looking for—whether you’re a community member or an administrator.

Pricing:

There are three pricing plans for those that want to create their online course on this platform:

  • The Community Plan: $33
  • The Business Plan: $99
  • Mighty Pro: Request a demo to learn more about this.

3. Learnworlds.

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.

Key Features:

  • 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!

User Experience:

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.

Pricing:

  • Starter ($24/month paid annually): one admin, $5 fee per course sale, custom domain, unlimited courses, page builder tool, 4 payment gateways, coupons, and drip feed courses.
  • Pro Trainer ($79/month): Starter features, plus no transaction fees, 5 admin accounts, subscriptions and memberships, custom checkout pages, live classes via Zoom and Webex, assignments, and affiliate management.
  • Learning Center ($249/month): Pro Trainer features, plus a branded corporate academy, premium cloud servers, flexible invoicing, premium support, and premium account manager.

4. Kajabi.

Kajabi is the best high-end course builder tailored toward information business, not tiny course creators.

It’s best when it comes to email marketing automation. Automation is a crucial component of pre-sale, pre-webinar, drip course, and upsell emails – and Kajabi does it best.

Their “Pipelines” feature lets you create fully-automated marketing campaigns and funnels. These are pre-built frameworks for lead generation, with pre-written copy optimized for conversions.

It also features powerful course site themes, the ability to sell digital products, a customizable checkout, and blogging functionality.

Overall, it’s the best high-end course platform with more built-in tools and features, but it costs a little more than others on the list.

Key Features:

  • Course insights that give you a clear picture of how your students are doing
  • Unlimited video hosting so you can create as many courses as you want
  • Publish quickly to your website with just a few clicks – no need to learn to code!
  • SEO-optimized so your courses show up high in search engine results
  • Unlimited hosting for your classes and marketing materials
  • Safe and secure, so your data is always protected
  • One-click marketing sequences make it easy to promote your courses
  • Website builder lets you create a professional website in minutes without any design or coding experience required

User Experience:

When it comes to the user experience of using the platform for the first time, Kajabi is quite intuitive with where you have to click.

You can follow the instructions to create mini-courses, evergreen training, build your community, set up your membership site and much more.

This makes it easy for new users to get started with the platform.

However, one downside is that the interface can be a bit overwhelming with all of the options and features available.

This might take some time to get used to if you are new to using Kajabi.

I also like that the settings are grouped together in various groups, allowing easy access to just the right set of options when you need to change something.

Kajabi Pricing:

Kajabi pricing is mainly based on the number of courses and active members you have:

  • Basic ($119/month): 1 website, 1 admin, 3 products, 3 pipelines, 10,000 contacts, and 1,000 active members.
  • Growth ($159/month): 1 website, 10 admins, 15 products, 15 pipelines, 25,000 contacts, 10,000 active members.
  • Pro ($319/month): 3 websites, 25 admins, 100 products, 100 pipelines, 100,000 contacts, and 20,000 active members.

5. Teachable.

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.

Key Features:

  • 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.

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 Pricing:

  • 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.

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