Which is the Best Online Course Platforms for creating a course website and taking payments, to uploading videos and interacting with students? Let’s find out.
As per a report on Research and Markets, the e-learning market is expected to surpass $398 billion by 2026. Higher education is steadily shifting to online classrooms, making it an excellent time for entrepreneurs to start creating, marketing, selling, and delivering online courses. And a good online course platforms are what you need to get started.
But where do you begin? Every time there is a rising demand for something, tools to help people fulfill the demand automatically flood the market. With regard to digital courses, you now have online course platforms or software solutions that could help you create your very own online course from scratch.
In this post, I will share 8 such top eLearning platforms to help you begin your journey. Keep reading to learn about the best online course platforms of 2022, their pricing, and top features to find out which one best suit your needs.
What Are the Best Online Course Platforms in 2022?
Before getting into the detailed discussion of every platform, let’s explore my top picks for the best online course platforms to use this year.
- BuddyBoss for LearnDash
- Thrive Apprentice
Selling online courses is one of the best ways to make money online. You can generate a lot of income if you put in a good amount of work and create courses for your readers that are of high value. The only thing that you need is a platform for publishing and selling your online courses.
Some of the best online course platforms to create and sell online courses are BuddyBoss For LearnDash, Thinkific, Teachable, Learnworlds, Kajabi, Podia, LifterLMS, and Thrive Apprentice.
Let’s get started to review each one of them in detail.
1. BuddyBoss for LearnDash
This is the most advanced LearnDash theme for your online courses, schools, communities and membership sites. With brands like WP Elevation, Infusionsoft, Digital Marketer, Yoast, and even the University of Florida relying on LearnDash for creating video content, it sure can be an excellent choice for you too. This is the best Thinkific alternatives.
- Demo Import
- Theme Layouts
- Page Builders
- Custom Branding
- Custom Headers & Footers
- RTL Support
- Custom Icons
BuddyBoss uses LearnDash, one of the most popular WordPress LMS (Learning Management System) solutions on the market. We did not want to re-invent the wheel, but rather integrate the powerful LMS as a key component of the BuddyBoss solution.
- Multi-Tier Courses
- Advanced Quizzing
- Certificates & Badges
- User Reports
- Assignment Management
- Intelligent Course Builder
- Tin Can API Support
- Lesson Timer
- Drip Feed Content
- Course Points
- Flexible Prerequisites
- Email Notifications
- Expire Access
- SCORM Support
BuddyBoss provides a powerful, yet simple and elegant user interface for your learners, that is centred around your content and learners. Create a customizable Learner Dashboard that gives students an at-a-glance access to all the relevant information they need and an easy way for them to pick up where they left off.
Allow your students to easily jump back into the last course or lesson they were working on or the last conversation they were a part of. Create multiple member types, gather and display different information about the user depending on their member type.
BuddyBoss provides you with group functionality that allows you to mimic a classroom setting with integrated courses, discussion forums and advanced Zoom integration. Create one-time and/or recurring online class sessions and Zoom meetings for a specific audience based on the group they belong to. Students receive real-time site notifications of upcoming classes and meetings and allow them to view details with just one click.
Top Features of BuddyBoss For LearnDash
- Enable Social Learning for your Learners
- Forum Discussions for your Learners
- Create Zoom Meetings as Gutenberg Blocks
- Engage Learners, with a Gamified Experience
- Drag & Drop Page Builder
- Sell courses, subscriptions, course bundles or memberships
Based on number of websites, The BuddyBoss Theme has 3 pricing plans. Each plan includes BuddyBoss theme & BuddyBoss Platforms so that you can utilize all the features in your website to create the best online course platform.
- The Basic Plan: $228 per year for 1 website
- The Plus Plan: $288 per year for 5 websites
- The Enterprise Plan: $388 per year for 10 websites
If an easy-to-use platform with top-notch customization features to help you create beautiful online courses is what you are looking for, Thinkific is indeed the top choice. It is a popular online course platform solely dedicated to helping educators create online courses.
Right from uploading your content, structuring the courses, protecting your content, to accepting online payments, Thinkific allows you to do all of it and much more. And the best thing is you don’t need to write a single line of code for doing all of this. It has a simple drag-and-drop builder which you can use for creating your very own online course portal.
It allows you to add video content, audio, quizzes, PDF files, text, and other multimedia formats to help you create engaging courses for your audience. Not only this, but you also get a full suite of business tools to help you market your offerings. For instance, you can incentivize your affiliates with custom commissions, create custom email marketing campaigns, and integrate with 1,000+ 3rd party marketing apps and external businesses.
Moreover, you can also offer membership or subscription options and even provide coupons and promotional deals to attract more audience. Thinkific platform also has powerful analytics and data tracking features to help you further improve your marketing campaigns.
Top Features of Thinkific
- Drag-and-drop content creator
- Can be used to create courses for an existing website or for creating an online learning platform with a custom domain
- Add videos, audios, quizzes, surveys, PDFs, text, etc.
- Business tools for marketing your courses
- Multiple plans to choose from
Thinkific currently offers four different plans- Free, Basic, Pro, and Premier. The Free plan is to help you try the core features of the platform. You can then upgrade to the Basic plan that costs $49/month.
- Free ($0/month): Great to test out the features and get a feel for the interface.
- Basic ($39/month): Unlimited courses and students, drip (scheduled) content, custom domain, email integrations, and coupons.
- Pro ($79/month): Basic features, plus memberships and bundles, private courses, certificates, advanced HTML and CSS editing, assignments, live lessons via Zoom, and priority support.
- Premier ($399/month): Pro features, plus 50 course admins, onboarding package, and unlimited growth package (best for big teams).
Used by more than 20000 course creators, Teachable is the next best online course platform on my list. Just like Thinkific, Teachable has a drag and drop builder that allows you to add video, audio, text, images, and even PDF files to create stunning courses. Moreover, you also get the option to import content directly from Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
You can either create courses for an existing website or build courses as well as a custom website for your online offerings. The courses created with Teachable are fully responsive so that your students can view them across devices. You can also create quizzes and offer course completion certificates to your students.
If you are aiming to reach international students, you also get a host of foreign language options to choose from. You can also accept international payments through PayPal, Skrill, Stripe, and other popular debit and credit cards. It comes with powerful marketing integrations, advanced pricing options, customizable sales pages, and more to help you create an engaging online platform.
You can also create your own affiliate marketing program and even offer coupons and promotions to your students. It also has powerful built-in reporting tools to help you easily monitor the growth of your online learning platform.
Top Features of Teachable
- Drag-and drop course and website creator
- Power Editor to customize the HTML and CSS
- Supports several foreign languages and international payments
- Course compliance features
- Customized affiliate programs
Unlike Thinkific, you don’t have a free plan with Teachable. What you do have here are three different plans- Basic, Professional, and Business. The Basic plan costs $29/month and comes with all the basic features to help you create online courses. Also, there is a transaction fee of 5% on the Basic plan.
- 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.
If you are planning to create and sell online courses, LearnWorlds can help you make this a possibility in the most hassle-free manner. It comes with excellent analytics features, extensive sales engine, 3rd party integration options, and powerful customization options to add more engagement and interactivity to your courses.
Rather than being simply an online software or platform to create online courses, LearnWorlds is more of an e-commerce solution to help you reach more audience and generate more revenue. It has impressive marketing tools and allows you to offer subscriptions, coupons, promotions, bundles, memberships, and more.
You can also create your own affiliate program, build native apps for iOS and Android, and even add conversion pixels on your course pages. It comes with built-in SEO features to ensure that you rank well on search engines. You can create unlimited courses and accept payments in multiple foreign currencies.
Analytics features include events log, tracking student progress, conversions, export data, and more so that you can have detailed insights at your fingertips. Moreover, LearnWorlds also regularly organizes webinars to help course creators take their offerings to the next level.
Top Features of LearnWorlds
LearnWorlds is considered as the Best Course Creation Software for Interactive Learning. Let’s find out the key features of this product.
- Build custom courses, sales pages, and websites
- Powerful marketing tools
- Extensive integration options
- Built-in SEO for improved rankings
- Actionable analytics
LearnWorlds currently offers three different plans- Starter, Pro Trainer, and Learning Center. The Starter plan costs $24/month and comes with only the basic features. Also, there is a flat $5 fee on every sale you make with the Basic plan. The Pro Trainer plan costs $79/month and comes with features like unlimited courses, no transaction fee, website builder, customizable course player, and more.
- 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.
While the platforms listed above can be used by anyone, including people creating courses for the first time, Kajabi is more focused on experienced edupreneurs offering in-depth courses. Needless to say, the features too are advanced and extensive to meet the challenging needs of such online course providers.
You get a host of stunning course themes to choose from, powerful email marketing options, digital products and upsells, blogging features, customizable checkout, and more. One of the top reasons why Kajabi is a preferred option of more than 16,000 businesses is their marketing automation features. You have options to segment your audience, send them marketing emails at a specific time based on custom triggers, and even send branded messages.
As can be seen, Kajabi is a platform better suited to edupreneurs or businesses that already have an online presence and are looking to take their offerings forward with the help of advanced tools and features. There is also an extensive Kajabi university that you can get access to by purchasing any of the paid plans.
Also, Kajabi does not charge any transaction fee in any of its plans. But as it is a premium platform, it is more expensive than most other course platforms listed on this post.
Top Features of Kajabi
- Premium online course platform for existing businesses and edupreneurs
- Powerful marketing automation features
- Unlimited marketing emails and landing pages in every plan
- Affiliate program feature in Growth and Pro plans
- Code editor in Pro plan for enhanced customization
Kajabi offers three plans to choose from- Basic, Growth, and Pro. The Basic plan costs $119/month and comes with 3 products, unlimited landing pages, and unlimited marketing emails. The Growth plan costs $159/month and can be used to create up to 15 products. It comes with additional features like 24×7 chat support, advanced automation, affiliate program, and option to remove Kajabi branding.
- 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.
If you are not very good with the technical stuff and want to sell your courses online, let Podia take care of the things you don’t know. It is a one-stop-solution for creating and selling online courses, downloads, memberships, and more. The best thing about Podia is it has a simple 5-step process to help you start selling your offerings online.
Each plan comes with free hosting and free migration. So, even if you have your offerings hosted somewhere, you can migrate the same to Podia for free. You can also create your custom website if you don’t have one. Live chat support is available 24×7 to help you throughout the way. You can use any custom URL for your website and also offer courses to international students.
Your courses can include videos, audios, images, texts, and more. You can also customize the branding aspect of the content to grow your brand further. All the content created with Podia is fully responsive, and you can also check the live preview to check how everything looks in real-time. Just like LearnDash, you can also add drip-feed lessons, quizzes, and more.
You can also offer memberships, subscriptions, build funnels, send newsletters, marketing emails, and even analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns right from the Podia dashboard. You can also create affiliate programs, offer multiple payment plans to your students, and even use coupons and promotions to improve your reach.
The pricing of Podia is straightforward too. There are two plans- Mover and Shaker. The mover Plan costs $39/month and comes with features like custom storefront, digital downloads, online courses, email marketing, messaging, and zero transaction charges.
- Free Plan ($0/month) – Sell digital downloads or a coaching/consultation product, and start building your email list.
- 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.
Note that while Podia does not charge any transaction fee, their payment processors do. So, do check the fee of the payment processor at the time of setting up payments. Also, there is a 14-days free trial for both the plans.
Just like LearnDash, LifterLMS is a WordPress LMS (Learning Management Software). If you already have a WordPress website or planning to create one for your online course offerings, LifterLMS can make everything easy and hassle-free. It can be used for creating online courses from scratch with its powerful drag-and-drop builder.
Apart from creating courses for an already existing website, you can also create membership-based training websites with LifterLMS. It also offers complete freedom with regards to how you sell your courses or memberships. You can set your own prices, create affiliate programs, set commission for affiliate marketers, and do a lot more.
One of the biggest USPs of LifterLMS is the feature that allows you to gamify your course offerings. The courses that you can create can have a gaming aspect to it for improved student engagement. You can add quizzes, build online student community, add assignments, and more to provide a rewarding learning experience to the students.
LifterLMS also offers powerful integration options to help you extend the functionality of your online platform. From Zapier, add-ons, to the extensive ecosystem of WordPress plugins, you have a broad range of options to choose from.
Features of LifterLMS
- Drag-and-drop builder for creating online courses or custom website
- Supports any pricing, membership, and business model
- Gamification of course content for improved engagement
- Extensive integration options
- Content protection features
The pricing of LifterLMS is not as simple as Podia or most other platforms listed here. You have three plans-
- Individual Add-ons (starting at $8.25/month)
- Universe Bundle ($24.92/month)
- Infinity Bundle ($83.25/month) to choose from.
With the Individual Add-on plan, you get the LifterLMS plugin for one active website. You can purchase all the different add-ons offered by Lifter, and the LMS plugin will be included.
With the Universe Bundle, you get access to all the plugins offered by Lifter, including LMS plugin. It can be used for up to 5 websites and comes with added features like priority support, custom add-ons, e-commerce add-ons, marketing and CRM add-ons, and more. With the Infinity Bundle plan, you get access to all the plugins for an unlimited number of websites.
Advanced features in this plan include private coaching, advanced video features, social learning, advanced quizzes and assignments, and more.
8. Thrive Apprentice
Thrive is already a very popular theme store for WordPress websites. Now, if you want to offer courses on your WordPress website, their Thrive Apprentice plugin can help. It allows you to create professional online courses from scratch and offer them directly on your WordPress website without changing the theme of your website.
The plugin is compatible with every WordPress theme to ensure complete convenience. The dashboard has a simple step-by-step process to help you create your very own online courses from scratch even if you are doing it for the first time. If you want to add membership feature to your course portal, Thrive Apprentice has built-in integration with SendOwl for the same.
You can also control the access of your online content and even add registration feature to the courses. This way, you can only provide access to your premium offerings to the people who register on your platform. However, it is worth noting that Thrive Apprentice only comes with the basic features that one might need for creating basic courses.
But as the advanced features are missing, Thrive Apprentice is really easy to use. If you are new to creating online courses and want to create something very basic, you should definitely try this plugin.
Features of Thrive Apprentice
- Conditional Display. Serve up personalized content to your website visitors based on their status (i.e. whether they’re a visitor, lead, or customer).
- Dynamic Labels. Show different labels on your courses based on the visitor’s course status.
- Customizable login & registration pages. Aside from your course and landing pages, you can also customize your student’s login and registration pages in Thrive apprentice.
- Translation. Translate your courses into different languages and expand into the global market.
- Progress Bars. Improve the student experience by adding progress bars that dynamically update as they complete content to help them keep track of their progress.
- Quiz Builder. Engage your students with advanced quizzes and assessments. Ask all types of questions and limit progress based on results.
Thrive Apprentice Pricing
Thrive Apprentice is sold as a WordPress plugin. You get three different options to choose from- 1 License Pack ($67), 5 Licenses Pack ($97), and 15 Licenses Pack ($127). No matter what plan you select, you will get access to all the features, updates, and 1-year support. The only difference is in the number of websites that the plugin could be used on.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
How much can you make selling online courses?
The online course industry is booming and it’s possible to make a lot of money if you find the right product-market fit. According to one study, 39.4% of online tutors make between $25,000-$50,000 per year—a full-time income in most people’s books. And a further 27.9% make more than $75,000 per year selling online courses.
How do I price my online course?
The best way is by doing the competitor analysis. Just list out all your competitors and find out how exactly they are charging. Accordingly, also check how good is your course and whether you can add something extra. This way you can justify your pricing and also let people know why they should join your course.
Which online learning platform is best for students?
Online learning platforms are different than this topic. Here we have discussed the websites or platforms with which one can create an online course. But as a student if you want to find out the best online learning platforms then you can check out Coursera, Udemy, Skillshare, MasterClass etc.
Which is the Best Online Course Platform to Buy in 2022?
If online courses are on your mind, these are some of the best online course platforms you could use to create your very own digital content and even website to offer your courses. Most of the platforms generally offer a free trial or have a free plan that you could use to experience the features of the solution.
Here are our final top picks for the 2022 Best Online Course Platforms:
- BuddyBoss for LearnDash: Best For Creating Communities.
- Thinkific: Best Overall Online Course Platform
- Learnworlds: Best for Interactive Learning
- Teachable: Best for Beginners
In case if there is no trial or free plan available with the solution you select, go for the cheapest paid plan to get a first-hand experience of the features. Only make an expensive purchase once you have thoroughly tested the platform, software, or plugin. This will ensure that you select a product that perfectly meets your requirements and helps you create great online courses.