Creating an online course that is helpful, engaging, and informative can turn into a rather profitable venture to. If that is something you are not really convinced about, just know that the e-learning industry just managed to earn roughly $160 billion by the end of 2016 and that amount is going to reach the quarter trillion mark by the early 2020s.
Assuming that you know the basics of creating and designing an online course, you would need to have it published at an online learning platform. So what platforms are considered the best for online course creators right now?
Here’s a brief look at the best sites that can help you create, market, and sell your learning programs in the online world.
Perhaps one of the most popular online course platforms to date, Udemy has over 12 million students and over 20,000 instructors right now while also offering a robust set of tools, options, themes, and other features that can help you create a unique course that reflects what you want your potential students to learn.
For instructors, Udemy is 100% free but keep in mind that it earns by keeping roughly 50% of what you earn for each course; if it sells, that is. Instructors are also required to price their programs in increments of $5.00 which means that courses here can go as low as $20.00 and as much as $200.00, the latter most especially on the more complex and advanced subjects. Even so, there have been success stories recorded in Udemy where instructors made more than what they could hope to earn for each course.
Another popular online course platform, Teachable can host more than 20,000 active courses, close to 3 million students, and 75,000 instructors online at any given time. It also was built to directly compete with Udemy and was designed to be a platform that is easy to use but features none of the latter’s rather overbearing information and access control for students.
Pricing for Teachable is rather moderately high but manageable. The basic plan starts at $39.00 per month while the Professional and High Volume plans are priced at $99.00 and $299.00 monthly. The best part about this is that choosing the monthly option will remove the $1.00 fee for each transaction while also increasing the percentage of earnings you keep for each program that you sell.
If you go for the free route, which is an option, you must pay the site a $1.00 fee for every transaction and give away at least 10% of what you earn for each program you sold. The choice, as they say, is truly up to you.
Skillshare’s major selling point is the level of customizability it offers to course creators. With a number of options, you can create small yet concise video courses that can be made available at any time upon publishing.
Video is the most recommended format to be used here as Skillshare’s various tools were designed to help course creators build up online video courses that are easy to understand and digest. Each module can go in between 10 minutes to 25 minutes long but it is still you who controls the pacing of your program.
Once you have more than 25 students enrolled in your program, you become eligible for Skillshare’s Partner Program. This means that you can earn directly from the site’s royalty pool which is in between $1.00 to $2.00 for each enrollment. Mind you, the fees here are for the subscription to the site itself and not for each individual course which is a big plus for students.
Aside from that, as a partner, you will also be compensated for each new premium member that you can bring through the platform’s Teacher Referral program at $10.00 for each referral. As such, the site reports that the top instructors and content creators it currently has in its roster are known to earn as much as $40,000.00 per year.
This platform touts itself as a user-friendly site where course creators can create, sell, and market their courses to various people. It sports a rather easy to use control panel which displays a rather sizeable collection of options for creators to make highly unique courses for students.
However, LearnWorlds does market itself as one of the “premium” learning platforms out there with a strong emphasis on helping course creators build a sales page for each of their courses. The platforms allow students to test these courses at first –for free and no signup required, of course- through a simulation phase.
For course creators, you can try the site for free through a 30-day trial period. After this, you will be required to pay at least $24.00 per month while LearnWorlds also charges $5.00 for each sale that you made. A simple calculation will let you realize that this program is one of the pricier ones out there right now but its features do offer something considerable; for those that made the effort to actually fork out money.
This platform is often considered to be the best option for course creators who have no prior experience with coding or even course management. Being able to host more than 35,000 courses in a single setting, Thinkific allows course creators to create unique courses and then sell them to a target audience. The customization options are also plentiful, giving you just enough to make your course stand out from others without asking you to learn the intricacies of coding and programming languages.
Like Teachable, Thinkific allows you to use the program for free through the Forever Free plan but will charge you 10% of your earnings for each course that you sell. Or, like Teachable also, you can pay for a monthly plan that removes the 10% charge altogether in favor of a monthly payment scheme.
The Essentials plan will charge you $49.00 per month with access to the basic options with some advanced ones, the Business Plan starts at $99.00/month with access to all of the program’s advanced options, while the Advanced Plan costs at $279.00 per month but gives you options to create courses meant for larger groups and organizations.
6. Academy of Mine
This platform’s claim to fame is giving creators the ability to easily create their courses, publish it, and monitor their students’ performance, all in one panel. The platform uses simple drag-and-drop templates with several key customization options which allow you to enhance the look of each of your courses. It’s all in one control panel should also save you a lot of time in managing your courses as well as your students.
However, some course creators have reported that the site’s learning curve for course creation and management is, for the lack of a better word, steep. It’s all-in-one approach to course creation might be confusing for those who have not tried it out in other similar platforms
Often considered to be the best online learning platform for students on the go, WizIQ offers a healthy selection of options for course creators to make their courses optimized for mobile devices. This means you can actually scale your courses to meet the specific needs of students while not taking anything important in them. If that was not enough, the platform supports plug-ins for apps like Moodle, Blackboard Learn, and Sakai as well as some other nifty additions to your site. It’s easy to use interface makes it great for teachers and university professors who want to venture into the world of e-learning without having to be intimidated by complex coding.
As for payment, WizIq offers the usual 30-day trial period for first-time users and there will be a $33.00 monthly fee for every month that will follow after that. There is also the option for an annual billing scheme for those that want to pay their dues in bulk and in one go. Just keep in mind that there is always a $5.00 fee for every transaction you will make with the site.
The main design of this platform is to help course creators to transition from seeing their work as a mere hobby to a full-on online business. The platform has tons of customization options which will allow to make courses that can stand out in the market. CourseCraft also allows you to view examples of published online courses to give you an idea as to how you should create your site if you want to make it to be as engaging for students as possible.
Pricing starts at Free for first-time users with a 9% transaction fee, 1GB upload limit per course, and access to the platform’s basic features. If you move to the Club Plan, you will be required to pay $23.00 per month with a 5% transaction fee and access to a number of perks like Unlimited Participants and Uploads. For the Society Plan, Coursecraft’s Premium monthly plan, you will be required to pay as much as $47.00 per month but this will give you access to more perks including unlimited seating for your class and the ability to work with other course creators for collaboration projects. Either way, CourseCraft has one of the budget-friendlier payment schemes out there right now.
Touting itself as “the most advanced virtual interactive training system on Earth”, LightSpeed is a training solutions platform that aims to provide course creators and students with a platform where they can easily interact each other through a virtual medium. The site offers a rather robust set of tools and options that will allow you to produce and design courses, market them to the right people, and then monetize your content.
Course production and design is done through toolbars the site calls “studios”, each with their own perks, advantages, and options while the site’s online community will be where each course will be marketed to would-be students. LightSpeed also offers support for course creators to help them produce and manage their content according to their specifications. Basically, the platform helps you do two things specifically: monetize your content and train your students in a more efficient manner.
As of now, LightSpeed has over 2 million users, 10 million chapters and courses produced every month, and over 50,000 businesses that solely use the platform for their various training programs. The first thing you have to do, however, is to pass the Demo phase (which has to be scheduled) before becoming a part of the platform.
Founded in 2012 by a team of professionals who claim to have more than 25 years of combined experience in eLearning, this online learning platform was designed to provide course creators with a quick and easy setup for their online courses to be designed, produced, marketed, and managed. It features a 24/7 customer support and is known to regularly release new features that allow course creators to produce more unique and interactive courses.
However, do keep in mind that LearnUpon is one of the more expensive options to date. Their base plan, the Bronze plan, starts at $399.00 which allows for 100 active users in 1 sub-portal and access to basic features. As for the Silver and Gold plans, they allow for 500 and 1000 active users per session through 5 and 10 sub-portals with access to even more unique and robust options to design and manage courses with prices in between $799.00 and $1,399.00 per month. There is also an Enterprise plan for those that want to tailor-made their experience to meet their personal preferences.
The best part of this is that pricing scales with your demands which basically means that you only have to actually pay for each active user currently enrolled in your website. If you do exceed the monthly user allowance, your course will not experience some restrictions especially if you only exceed by one or two persons. If the site does notice that your monthly user limit is always exceeded by more than 5 persons, then they will notify you to discuss a change in your monthly plans.