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10 Best Online Course Platforms For eLearning Tutors

by Lewis Ogden | Last Updated: July 30, 2021 | Blogging
elearning-tutors

As you’ve probably noticed, finding the best online course platforms is not that difficult for online students. Sadly, however, the situation is much different for online tutors.

Although Google might point you towards the most popular platforms for building and selling online courses, it takes a heck of a lot of time and effort to test each one out based on your particular needs.

And that’s not all. You still need to analyze and compare the pricing packages on various online course platforms. In the end, it could take you weeks or possibly months to even come close to identifying the best online course platforms that cater to not just your tutoring needs, but also your budget as well.

Ok, but then again, why on earth would anyone even subject themselves to all that trouble? What’s the big deal about building and selling online courses in the first place?

What’s In It For You

The fast-growing global e-learning market is set to hit $325 billion in value by 2025. In the US alone, over 6 million individuals are currently pursuing online courses, and the numbers are still expanding at an exponential rate. This places online tutoring in the league of the most promising ventures, alongside the likes of dropshipping.

That said, it doesn’t take much to join the bandwagon. With basic editing skills, you can easily create and sell online courses in pretty much any subject- photography, videography, law, IT, psychology, health, entrepreneurship, politics, history, language, you name it.

The only thing is, you can’t afford to compromise the whole thing with a randomly-selected online course platform. Everything- from your website to the corresponding courses and student portal- should be based on nothing but the best online course platform.

And how exactly do you choose the best online course platform?

The Tricks To Choosing The Best Online Course Platform

As you begin reviewing various platform options, it’s worth noting that not all online course platforms give you the chance to build and sell courses. Most of them, in fact, are built for managing and distributing corporate training programs.

But, it doesn’t end there. Turns out online course platforms also come with varying configurations and architectures. You’re bound to come upon categories like:

In each of these categories, you can expect to discover a wide range of options with different pricing variations. It’s at this point that you might want to take the following points into consideration.

Top Factors To Consider When Choosing The Best Online Course Platforms

Lucky for you though, we’ll give you a headstart by narrowing down the options to the 10 best online course platforms.

Please note, though, that this is not just any random list of the leading online course platforms. We’ve carefully prepared it after years of extensive data collection and thorough testing across real-life use cases. Our team of researchers and bonafide online tutors were meticulous enough not to leave any stone unturned.

So, without further ado, allow me to present the current top 10 best online course platforms- along with their feature highlights, pricing packages, and potential weaknesses.

Top 10 Best Online Course Platforms For Building, Managing and Selling Your Online Courses

1. Best Online Course Platforms #1: Thinkific

thinkific

Pros and Cons of Thinkific Online Course Platform

Thinkific Pros Thinkific Cons
Offers all-in-one online course tools. Does not support live teaching.
Comes with a free plan. Lacks native comment features.
Grants unrestricted access to HTML and CSS customization.  
Provides powerful marketing automation capabilities.  

Best Overall Online Course Platform

Thanks to its well-optimized all-in-one feature set, Thinkific outpaces the rest to take the top spot as the best overall online course platform.

So far, it has facilitated over 50,000 online course tutors, who’ve gone ahead to sell online courses worth more than $340 million. The secret to their success lies in Thinkific’s holistic approach- it provides not only course creation capabilities, but also all the essential tools for marketing courses, organizing courses, managing students, tracking KPIs, and processing payments.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Thinkific’s drag-and-drop site builder. I like the fact that it’s simple and intuitive enough to help you put up a complete website in minutes. And no, in case you’re wondering, you won’t need any coding or technical skills. Everything’s pretty straightforward.

In fact, that’s more or less the scenario when it comes to the rest of the processes. Thinkific manages to maintain a pleasantly seamless system of managing course materials, payments, clients, integrations, campaigns, and much more.

The dashboard itself is built to grant you quick and direct access to all the course tools. You can, for instance, make your way to the course creator, from where you can proceed to create your programs by dragging and dropping content.

And speaking of which, Thinkific has a very flexible course framework. It can host private and hidden courses, as well as membership sites, evergreen and expiring content, cohorts, drip schedule content, prerequisite lessons, plus multiple instructors.

What’s more, you get to engage your students through videos, texts, downloads, Google Docs, Typeform surveys, course discussions, and quizzes.

Overall, Thinfkific is a perfect balance between user-friendliness, accessibility, inclusiveness, and flexibility. You can even integrate more than 1,000 third-party business tools. And if you happen to have a limited budget, you’ll be pleased that Thinkific is one of the few all-in-one online course platforms that come with a free package.

Thinkific Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Thinkific Online Course Platform Pricing

2. Best Online Course Platforms #2: Teachable

teachable

Pros and Cons of Teachable Online Course Platform

Teachable Pros Teachable Cons
Comes with a comprehensive learning management system. Limited marketing capabilities.
Facilitates extensive tracking and reporting. Takes time to set up everything
Supports different types of learning structures.  
Offers student list segmentation.  

Best All-In-One Online Course Platform

Closely behind Thinkific is another popular all-in-one online course platform. Yes, that’s right- Teachable is also a cloud-hosted online course platform that combines pretty much everything under one roof.

In essence, you can comfortably use Teachable to set up a complete e-learning website, customize web pages, upload and organize your online course content, market online courses, enroll students, accept payments, manage students, interact with learners, deliver lessons, as well as track the corresponding variables.

All things considered, therefore, Teachable offers essentially the same framework as Thinkific. But, don’t get me wrong. They are not completely identical. There are some differences here and here.

In terms of popularity, for instance, it turns out Teachable is a much bigger brand than Thinkific. While Thinkific has attracted a decent crowd of online tutors, it comes nowhere close to Teachable, which has so far hosted over 100,000 instructors across a wide range of subjects. What’s more, Teachable’s tutors have cumulatively earned more than $500 million on the online course platform.

If you choose to join them, you’ll enjoy building, managing, and selling your online courses with Teachable’s straightforward tools. The interface itself is admirably clean and you should be able to create and customize your web pages and courses without any technical skills.

Your online students, on the other hand, are bound to have an easy time accessing courses and navigating through the content. And speaking of which, Teachable is particularly outstanding when it comes to video-based programs. You can use it for tutorials, webinars, presentations, and other types of interactive lessons.

Teachable Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Teachable Online Course Platform Pricing

 3. Best Online Course Platforms #3: Kajabi

kajabi

Pros and Cons of Kajabi Online Course Platform

Kajabi Pros Kajabi Cons
All-in-one online course platform. Limited digital products and sales pipelines.
Powerful automated marketing and customer relationship management system. Comparatively costly.
Well-designed conversion-optimized templates and themes.  
Powerful blogging and video-streaming capabilities.  

Best Online Course Platform For Automated Marketing

Third on our list of the best online course platforms is yet another elite all-inclusive solution, which seeks to attract online tutors with its comprehensive toolset for creating, promoting, and selling online courses.

More specifically, Kajabi deals with website creation and customization, online course building and administration, content uploading and organization, student enrollment and tracking, plus payment handling and processing. Then to sweeten the deal further, Kajabi has developed its features to support both beginners and advanced tutors.

But, that’s not all. The one area where Kajabi truly shines is marketing. Once you register and log into its system, you’ll find an impressive array of tools for advanced omnichannel campaigns and customer relationship management.

Kajabi is basically the best online course platform for you if you’re looking to leverage automated email marketing, webinar pages, upsells, and sales pages. You can count on it when it comes to generating leads, as well as nurturing and converting them into regular students. You even get to take advantage of contact segmentation capabilities, plus trigger-based sales pipelines.

Kajabi Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Kajabi Online Course Platform Pricing

 4. Best Online Course Platforms #4: Podia

podia

Pros and Cons of Podia Online Course Platform

Podia Pros Podia Cons
All-inclusive online course platform. Only 2 pricing plans.
Robust marketing and automation features. Limited site customization capabilities.
Flexible online course memberships. Lacks phone support
Supports unlimited digital products, unlimited customers, and unlimited bandwidth.  

Best Online Course Platform For Selling Memberships

Trailing Kajabi is Podia, which rightfully earns its place as the 4th best online course platforms thanks to its creator-centric system. It’s an all-in-one online course platform alright, but, it’s best known for its well-optimized tools for selling not just online courses, but also memberships and digital products.

That said, one particularly outstanding thing about Podia is this- it’s not all about online tutors alone. Rather, it prioritizes other types of creators too. That’s why, among its userbase of more than 11,000 creators, you’ll find general creatives, entrepreneurs, and small businesses.

For over 6 years now, Podia has been empowering them with tools for marketing and selling all sorts of digital content. This allows their customers to conveniently access and download the materials without infringing copyright.

As an online tutor though, you’ll appreciate the fact that Podia is exceptionally ideal for managing online course memberships. It gives you the chance to set up membership sites separately from other digital products, after which you can proceed to enroll students at various levels.

And while you’re at it, Podia additionally grants you solid tools for promoting your online courses and converting the subsequent leads. I’m talking about email marketing, pre-launch courses, affiliate marketing, coupons, plus conversion-optimized checkout pages.

In a nutshell, Podia is a cheaper alternative to the likes of Kajabi and Teachable, especially when it comes to creating, marketing, and selling tiered online course memberships.

Podia Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Podia Online Course Platform Pricing

 5. Best Online Course Platforms #5: Ruzuku

ruzuku

Pros and Cons of Ruzuku Online Course Platform

Ruzuku Pros Ruzuku Cons
Generously provides unlimited data hosting, unlimited courses, unlimited students, and unlimited webinars. Provides limited marketing capabilities.
Zero transaction fees. There are only two processing options- PayPal and Stripe.
Supports multiple online course instructors and site managers. Limited customization options.
Incredibly easy-to-use.  

Best Easy-To-Use Online Course Platform

Coming in as the 5th best online course platform is Ruzuku, which also happens to be an all-in-one solution. This learning management system can support websites, customize webpages, create online courses, host students, deliver digital content, manage lessons, facilitate payments, and integrate third-party apps.

Notably, though, Ruzuku rightfully touts itself as an incredibly easy online course creator. It’s indeed one of the best online course platforms for tutors who want to quickly get their e-learning sites up and running. You’ll find its online course builder not only easy-to-use but also pleasantly responsive and intuitive. Ruzuku even manages to guide you through the whole process of creating, naming, and organizing your lessons.

All in all, it should only take you a couple of minutes to set up online courses on the platform. And while you’re at it, you’ll notice that Ruzuku is flexible enough to accommodate pretty much all the standard content types. You can add text, audio, video, images, as well as reference documents.

Ruzuku also allows you to specify how you’d like to deliver the content. You can, for instance, proceed with tiered programs, or choose to publish an evergreen course that grants learners direct access to all the lessons at once. Another possibility here is configuring the system to unlock new modules as students progress through the course levels.

That said, the students themselves are bound to have a good time here, as Ruzuku provides a well-personalized learning environment. You can, for example, set the system to promote discussions through social learning. Consequently, students get to join your course communities through their social media profiles.

Meanwhile, as they proceed with the lessons, you could further interact with them via teleconferencing, as well as dynamic quizzes. What’s more, Ruzuku allows you to embed external tools like MailChimp if you ever need to engage your leads through automated campaigns.

Ruzuku Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Ruzuku Online Course Platform Pricing

6. Best Online Course Platforms #6: Udemy

udemy

Pros and Cons of Udemy Online Course Platform

Udemy Pros Udemy Cons
It’s a free online course platform for tutors. Takes up a huge commission.
Accommodates an unlimited number of online courses and students. Cannot support a website.
Markets online courses to an already extensive market of students. Online tutors are pretty competitive on the platform.
Provides email marketing and social media marketing.  

Best Online Course Marketplace

If you’re just starting your online tutoring career and don’t have the time or funds to put up an online course website, you might want to check out Udemy.

With over 50 million students and more than 130,000 online courses, Udemy is undeniably the most popular player in our list of the best online course platforms. But, make no mistake about it. Udemy doesn’t offer an all-in-one learning management system like Thinkific, Teachable, Kajabi, Ruzuku, and Podia.

Instead, Udemy is an online course marketplace that functions more or less like Amazon and Alibaba. It simply publishes online courses from different tutors on a centralized market, from where students manage to pick their preferred programs.

The best thing about such a framework is, you won’t be required to set up your own website. Udemy allows pretty much anyone to create and publish online courses on its marketplace. This process, as a matter of fact, is as simple as signing up, setting up your instructor profile, and then uploading your course lessons.

You can offer online courses in fields such as teaching and academics, music, health and fitness, photography, lifestyle, marketing, design, personal development, office productivity, IT and software, finance and accounting, business, and development. Each new course is typically organized into modules and lessons.

Now, publishing your online courses here means two things. The good news is, you get to take advantage of a ready market. As one of the most popular online course marketplaces on the web, Udemy regularly attracts millions of students.

The unfortunate bit is, you’ll be competing for attention with thousands of other online tutors. So, although Udemy saves you the trouble of building and promoting a website, you still need your marketing A-game if you intend to outshine the rest of the tutors.

However, once you start enrolling students, the money won’t flow directly to your account. Rather, all the payments here are processed by Udemy, with online tutors getting a portion of the revenue on a monthly basis.

Udemy Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Udemy Online Course Platform Pricing

Udemy is generous enough not to charge its tutors anything. Online course creation is completely free of charge, without any hidden charges or prequalification conditions.

 7. Best Online Course Platforms #7: Skillshare

skillshare

Pros and Cons of Skillshare Online Course Platform

Skillshare Pros Skillshare Cons
It’s a free online course platform for tutors. No direct means of earning from your online courses. You only earn through monthly commissions.
Offers a $10 commission for each referred subscriber. Cannot support an online course website.
Connects online tutors with a wide audience base. Limited marketing capabilities.
You can get started without building a website. Only optimized for videos.

Best Online Course Platform For Commission Earnings

At the 7th position in the overall best online course platforms list is Skillshare, which trails Udemy as the 2nd best online course marketplace. That means it also offers a shared marketplace for selling online courses to a wide audience base.

It’s worth noting, however, that Skillshare is not entirely identical to Udemy. While Udemy gives tutors the privilege of setting their course prices, Skillshare chooses to compensate you based on the viewership your courses attract.

How does that work?

You see, unlike the rest of the best online course platforms we’ve reviewed, Skillshare offers students access to all its courses for a standard fee. They become members once they subscribe to one of its three premium plans, which are then renewed periodically.

The revenue you subsequently make from that depends on how popular your online courses are on the platform. Skillshare works out its tutors’ monthly payouts based on their course’s overall viewership in minutes.

That, of course, makes video the main content option when you’re working with Skillshare. The platform even allows you to organize them into modules and lessons.

And while you market the resultant online courses, you might also want to promote Skillshare itself. Each subscription referral you send to the platform translates to a $10 commission.

Skillshare Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

Skillshare Online Course Platform Pricing

Just like Udemy, Skillshare is a free online course platform for tutors.

8. Best Online Course Platforms #8: LearnDash

learndash

Pros and Cons of LearnDash Online Course Platform

LearnDash Pros LearnDash Cons
Converts a regular WordPress site into a fully-fledged learning management system. Only supports WordPress sites.
Supports a wide range of third-party integrations. Limited marketing features.
Facilitates advanced student quizzes.  
Supports an unlimited number of students and courses.  

Best Online Course Platform Plugin

As a plugin-based solution, LearnDash introduces a new twist to our best online course platforms series.

It’s not a universally-compatible plugin though. Rather, LearnDash is only built to integrate with WordPress websites.

And in so doing, it manages to convert a standard site into a fully-fledged learning management system. That means you get all the essential capabilities- from online course creation and management to student enrollment and payment processing.

Now, the unfortunate bit is, you need to have a functional WordPress site to leverage LearnDash. It’s not the type of online course platform that can support you from the ground up.

But, if have a valid site already, it should be smooth sailing with LearnDash. Once you install and integrate the plugin from your WordPress dashboard, you can go ahead and set up dynamic online courses, as the whole layout here is quite clear and straightforward.

The LearnDash drag and drop builder, for example, is great for organizing courses into lessons and topics. Additionally, you can introduce drip-fed content, as well as prerequisites, lesson timers, assignments, and quizzes.

But, it doesn’t stop there. LearnDash further gives you the privilege of creating student certificates, which you can then go ahead and issue learners based on custom criteria. In the meantime, you can also count on LearnDash’s smart reporting tools to give you accurate insights into the students’ progress.

Another benefit that you get to enjoy courtesy of LearnDash is access to a wide array of native integrations. Although the plugin itself is considerably robust, you can only get the best out of it after embedding third-party tools.

When it comes to payment processing, for example, you might want to bring in specialized payment gateways like PayPal. Otherwise, you could also integrate tools that power membership tiers, discounts, automated campaigns, etc.

That’s not to say that LearnDash in incapable of running and managing its own campaigns. You can, in fact, set up email triggers based on various user activities.

In a nutshell, therefore, we can agree that while LearnDash is admirably flexible, it’s still a solid online course platform on its own.

LearnDash Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

LearnDash Online Course Platform Pricing

 9. Best Online Course Platforms #9: WizIQ

wiziq

Pros and Cons of WizIQ Online Course Platform

WizIQ Pros WizIQ Cons
Provides a robust system for setting up and managing virtual online classes. It doesn’t host fully-fledged online course websites.
Support a wide range of course payment options. Comes with limited marketing capabilities.
Delivers a highly interactive learning environment.  
Gives you the option of setting up live classes as well as online courses.  

Best Online Course Platform For Engaging Learning Environments

Founded in 2007, WizIQ is a comprehensive cloud-based learning management system for creating, managing, and tracking online lessons. But, get this- it’s not built like Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi, Ruzuku, and Podia. Rather, WizIQ is more of a system for hosting virtual classrooms.

In essence, WizIQ is uniquely built to drive engaging and interactive learning environments without overburdening instructors. It automates many of the standard back-end tasks, allowing you to focus more on running the business.

You can, for instance, come up with a branded user-friendly student portal for delivering self-paced or time-bound courses. This is where you even throw in interactive multimedia content such as videos, high definition webinars, or virtual tutorials.

It’s also possible to conduct live classes, plus multimedia tests and assessments, while interacting via live chat and digital whiteboard facilities.

Then to help you keep tabs on everything, WizIQ provides course analytics and reporting.

WizIQ Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

WizIQ Online Course Platform Pricing

WizIQ starts at $25 per month and it offers different pricing tiers for live classes and online courses (powered by its learning management system).

 10. Best Online Course Platforms #10: LinkedIn Learning

linkedin-learning

Pros and Cons of LinkedIn Learning Online Course Platform

LinkedIn Learning Pros LinkedIn Learning Cons
Saves you the trouble of setting up an online course website. You can’t directly monetize your online courses.
It’s well-optimized for tutors who specialize in professional courses. Is only best for professional courses.
Tutors can access the platform for free. Not just anyone can build their courses on the platform. You can only become a tutor after applying and getting accepted.
Has a robust analysis and assessment engine.  

Best Online Course Platform For Professionals

Finally, at number 10 is LinkedIn Learning, which also happens to be the youngest brand in our best online course platforms list. And, as you’ve probably figured out already, LinkedIn Learning is a subsidiary of the LinkedIn social site.

Previously, however, the platform was known as Lynda.com. It was only until 2016 that Microsoft acquired it and rebranded the whole thing, making it a video-based course platform specifically for professionals. It’s the type of place you go to learn career skills like public speaking, leadership, and personal branding.

That said, LinkedIn Learning is a bit like Skillshare. It offers a premium subscription option, with which learners manage to access all the available online lessons. So, you don’t have to worry about building a website.

Instead, you’ll be expected to develop high-quality instructional content using video demonstrations, as well as slideshows, and audio presentations. You can also integrate digital files such as PDF, plus assessment quizzes.

Ultimately, the learners who successfully graduate from your courses will get credits that’ll subsequently reflect on their LinkedIn profiles.

LinkedIn Learning Online Course Platform Feature Highlights

LinkedIn Learning Online Course Platform Pricing

While LinkedIn Learning charges learners, it’s a free online course platform for tutors.

Conclusion: Which Is The Best Overall Online Course Builder?

Now that’s one heck of a list. Although it took us quite some time to compile, we’re glad we’ve covered all the primary categories of online course platforms- from the best all-in-one online course platform to the best learning management system for professionals.

All in all, though, I’d say it’s a tight battle at the top between Thinkific, Teachable, and Kajabi. While Thinkific is today’s overall best online course builder, there’s a very thin margin between the three principal contenders.

Each of them provides a robust, fully-featured all-in-one online course platform, with all the essential tools you might need for building, managing, marketing, and selling your online courses.

So, in all fairness, I guess it all comes down to your specific preferences and budget. If you’re on a budget, you’d probably go for Thinkific, while marketers and enterprises would settle for Kajabi. Teachable, on the other hand, feels like a perfect balance between the two.

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