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Course Creation

The 7 Best Online Course Platforms for Creators (2023 Reviews & Rankings)

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By Scott Winstead

best online course platforms

With the best online course platforms, you can easily monetize your knowledge by sharing it with the world.

If you’re looking to master a new skill these days, chances are you can learn it online.

From algebra to ballet to cooking to marketing to accounting, online courses are available for pretty much any activity you could possibly imagine.

This explains why more and more experts and teachers are turning to online platforms to create effective (and lucrative!) courses and trainings.

Creating online courses is 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 we’ve reviewed seven of the top online course creation platforms to help you choose which one will best suit your needs.

If you’re curious about jumping into the world of online course creation, this is a great place to start!

Take a look at our breakdown of the best online course platforms below to compare features, convenience, pricing, and more.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost for you, we might get a commission if you click the link and purchase.

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 our top spot among the best online course platforms is its superior user-friendliness.

The platform includes an intuitive Course Builder that allows 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.

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 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.

A small downside we noted with TrainerCentral is that their free option is limited to only three courses and does not 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, we can’t be too outraged over these limitations.

To that end, TrainerCentral’s more inclusive 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

Our 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.

Thinkific also offers a free version to users, and even includes the option to add quizzes and assessments to courses at no charge.

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 positive similarity between the two sites 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.  While their Basic plan is only $49 per month, their Professional level jumps up to $99, and their Business offering is a whopping $399 (though it is intended for larger companies).

Thinkific is a well-organized platform for new and experienced trainers alike, but it is lacking a few of the features you might expect considering its higher price.


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.

One of Kajabi’s most unique features is their on-the-go mobile app, which few other platforms have developed.

Kajabi’s app means you’ll be able to access your courses and learner base form anywhere with just your phone.

This is a highly convenient perk for folks who travel often or need a high level of connection with their learners.

Kajabi is also commended for its zero transaction fees, helping you maximize your profit.

A less-than-ideal feature of the site, however, are its limited customer payment options.

Paypal and Stripe are the only “built-in” payment methods on Kajabi, meaning you’ll have to manually download and integrate any other methods you’d like to offer your learners.

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, 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 an 8% transaction fee for doing so.

Their Mover option, priced at $33/month, is the next tier up, while the Shaker offering costs $75/month for more comprehensive features.  The top level, Earthquake, costs $166/month.

These more flexible options are great for folks who aren’t quite sure of their customer base and scope yet, or those who may want to upgrade in the future.


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.

Plans range from $79-$249 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.

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 $29/a month.

The Professional level of Teachable is offered at $99/a month, while their Business package, meanwhile, costs $249 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 we’ve highlighted, it’s a good pick for those who have uncomplicated courses and want to stick to the basics.

Pricing is likewise straightforward, with a monthly subscription charge of $49 and an annual subscription cost of $470, which comes out to only $39 a month instead.


Final Thoughts on the Best Online Course Platforms

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?  We’d love to hear your questions and comments below!

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