If you’re a marketer, you’ve likely thought about launching an online course. But what are the best course creation platforms for your business?
Today, online courses are one of the most popular methods for marketers in any industry to monetize their knowledge. It’s estimated that the market for online learning will reach $350 billion by 2025.
Luckily, entire platforms are dedicated to building courses, so getting started can be relatively easy. The trick is selecting the one that has the student experience, features, and pricing that align with your particular needs.
We’ve rounded up the best course creation platforms to review and identified the key features to help you decide which is the right choice.
Table of Contents
Summary: Best course creation platforms
- Kajabi – the best all-in-one solution
- Podia – most affordable for those with multiple digital products
- Thinkific – best for advanced features and customization
- Skillshare – for new creators that don’t have an audience yet
- LearnWorlds – ideal for interactive lessons and multiple instructors
- Teachable – best budget-friendly option for beginners
- LearnDash – the top choice for WordPress users
- Ruzuku – the most beginner-friendly builder
- SamCart – the best for boosting your course and product sales
Kajabi is one of the more expensive course creation software options, but some notable creators use it. That is because it has the most high-end features for creating, managing, and growing your business.
Kajabi is designed to be an all-in-one platform. With Kajabi, you could replace commonly used paid services like Mailchimp, ClickFunnels, or ActiveCampaign. You could use it as your website, for your email marketing automation, landing pages, payments, and more.
Plus, you can create multiple revenue streams by monetizing courses, newsletters, podcasts, coaching programs, and subscriptions.
- An all-in-one tool that can replace other services
It is because of Kajabi’s advanced features that it is on the higher end of pricing. You can test it out free for 14 days. Then, you’ll need to choose from its packages, starting at $119/month to $319/month when billed annually.
Unlike some other course creation software, the number of products and students is limited, depending on your chosen plan.
If you replace other services with Kajabi, the overall features could compensate for the price.
Many digital creators prefer Podia because it’s one of the most affordable tools to monetize courses and other digital products. In our opinion, it’s also one of the best course-creation platforms on the market.
Through Podia, you can sell online courses, e-books, webinars, coaching services, and product bundles. Podia also comes with email marketing, but the number of contacts is limited based on your plan.
- A user experience that is catered to digital entrepreneurs
- Email marketing features
Podia is considered an affordable course creation software. You can try Podia at no cost for 14 days. The lowest-paid option is Mover which starts at $39/month or $390/year. There are no transaction fees, even in the lowest tier. However, there are some limits.
It costs an additional $20/month for each team member you add unless you go with the most expensive tier, which costs $179/month. Each tier also has a maximum limit on the number of email contacts and community members.
Thinkific is a powerful tool for online learning and more. It made our list of best course creation platforms because of the drag-and-drop site builder, site themes, and templates, you can quickly launch a custom course site with little to no technical knowledge.
Thinkific lacks some built-in features that other platforms have, like email marketing. However, it has many popular third-party integrations for e-commerce, payments, email marketing, and more.
You can link it up to WordPress, Shopify, PayPal, Google Analytics, or search the app store for an integration.
- Zero transaction fees for all plans
- Powerful customization and integrations
You can start using Thinkific for free for 30 days. After that, there are three paid tiers. Basic starts at $39/month, Pro at $79/month, and Premier at $399/month.
Thinkific is comparable to Teachable. The main difference is that Teachable has a free plan, albeit with high transaction fees. Thinkific has no free plan but also no transaction charges. Overall, Thinkific is an affordable option with powerful features.
Skillshare’s main advantage is that it is not just a course creation platform. It’s a marketplace.
That means there is a built-in audience for your classes. In 2020, Skillshare reported 12 million users, 8,000 instructors, and 30,000 classes. That’s why Skillshare ended up on our best course creation platform list.
Skillshare’s large audience uses the platform to search for classes, so theoretically, your course can be found by millions of users with little marketing on your part.
So, your compensation on Skillshare may be lower in comparison to others.
You aren’t compensated for each course purchased because users don’t buy individual courses. Instead, Skillshare users purchase a monthly ($32/month) or annual ($180/year) subscription from Skillshare to access all the classes on the platform.
If you haven’t built an audience yet or don’t have a large budget or desire to market your course, then Skillshare could be suitable for you.
- A marketplace with millions of potential students
It is free to upload your class to Skillshare, but it has criteria. So, you should also review the company’s compensation model.
Teachers earn money in two main ways:
- Referrals – You can earn $10 for each student you refer who signs up for a Skillshare membership.
- Royalties: Skillshare’s royalty system can be a bit confusing. The company puts aside 30% of its monthly membership revenue for teachers. Individual teachers are paid based on how many minutes are watched of their classes for that given month.
It’s essential to keep in mind that it’s paid minutes. Users who access a free class or watch your class while on a free trial do not count toward your payout.
If you have many instructors that teach, then you might want to use LearnWorlds. As many as 20 admins or instructors can be added to its Learning Center plan.
The platform boasts its interactivity. For example, you can host live classes as well as pre-recorded classes.
The course player is also customizable. And you can add transcripts, interactions, questions, and more inside videos, e-books, and other lesson content.
- Custom interactions for content
- Up to 20 instructors
- LearnWorlds starts at $24/month to $249/month when billed annually.
- The Pro Trainer at $79/month allows you to have up to 5 instructors.
- The Learning Center plan with 20 instructors is $299/month.
The Starter plan has a $5 flat fee for each sale, but other plans have no transaction fees.
Teachable is one of the best course creation platforms out there. Not only is it budget-friendly, with a free plan option, but it’s easy for anyone to start.
Teachable walks you through each step of building a course, from naming it to uploading PDF files, videos, text notes, and quizzes. You can even create your site through Teachable if you want, or you can connect it to another to your website if you have already set one up.
If you have affiliates that would like to share your course, you can create affiliate links and track them through Teachable.
Overall, Teachable provides you with everything you’d need to launch an online course and more at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, customer support is only available through email. But you can answer most questions through Teachable tutorials and the help center. However, it may not be ideal if live chat or phone support matters to you.
Also, remember that Teachable has higher transaction fees than competitors for its free and lowest-tier packages.
- A free plan with unlimited courses, students, and digital products
Teachable has a generous free plan. You can have unlimited students, courses, and coaching services.
There is no monthly cost, but it is important to note there is a fee per transaction ($1+10% per transaction). The Basic package starts at $29/month with a 5% transaction fee.
If you have a lot of sales, it may make fiscal sense to switch to Pro or Business. The Pro Plan is $99/month, and the Business Plan is $249/month with zero transaction fees.
LearnDash is a WordPress plugin that allows you to add courses directly to your site. Because it is a WordPress plugin, you have control and customization for your website and content.
LearnDash’s front-end experience is one of the best, which is why many universities use it for online learning. In addition, the “Focus Mode” feature is unique, allowing you to create a branded student learning experience that is free from distractions.
It doesn’t have other features like built-in coaching services, paid content, or webinars. You can likely find other WordPress plugins to fit those purposes. If you solely want to offer courses, then LearnDash will accomplish that.
- Amazing front-end student experience
- “Focus mode” for distraction-free learning
- WordPress compatible
If you only have one website, you only need to purchase the Basic package at a one-time cost of $199. However, if you are a web developer or manage multiple sites, the price ranges from $229 to $369.
LearnDash occasionally has promotional sales so you can snag it at a discounted price.
Ruzuku claims to make it ridiculously easy to teach online, and for the most part, it does.
Ruzuku is one of the best course creation platforms for beginners because it takes you through building a course step-by-step.
You can also adjust the payment plans for your students depending on if you want to accept one-time payments, subscriptions, or custom payment plans. Plus, you get instant access to your funds. Unlike some platforms, there is a waiting period before you can get the payout from your sales.
- Instant access to revenue
- A beginner-friendly interface
You can try Ruzuku for 14 days. When billed annually, Ruzuku’s lowest plan, Bootstrapper, is $74.75/month. You’ll need to upgrade to the university’s top tier to get a custom domain, starting at $125/month.
All tiers include zero transaction fees, unlimited courses, and students.
SamCart is one of the fastest-growing course builders because it also behaves like an e-commerce platform. SamCart’s Courses app helps online creators maximize revenue through landing pages, A/B testing, and other e-commerce features.
One of the main features is the one-click upsell. Immediately after customers make their first purchase, they are presented with a bonus offer (the upsell). Then, with one click, they can add it to their initial purchase. According to SamCart, this feature can increase sales by almost 70%.
It also has a drag-and-drop site builder that includes a landing page and shopping cart templates for online courses. However, it can be used for any physical or digital services you want. For instance, if you do freelance consulting and branded merch, you can use SamCart to sell both products.
Your students have flexible payment models, so you can sell with subscriptions, one-time payments, or even Pay What You Want (PWYW) donations.
- One-click upsell
- The ability to sell digital and physical products
SamCart’s course builder is baked into each paid plan. With annual pricing, the lowest tier, Launch, starts at $39/month. It comes with most features you need to launch a one-page website with courses.
You need to go with the Grow or Scale packages to add custom branding and access advanced marketing features like the one-click upsell. Grow starts at $79/month, and Scale is $159/month.
Consider a few factors when deciding which is the best course creation platform for you. Do you have an audience? Are you willing to invest in marketing your courses on your own? If you don’t, try course creation software with a marketplace like Skillshare.
Do you have digital and physical products? Then SamCart is a flexible solution.
Ultimately, the best course creation platform depends on your unique needs, budget, and products. But with this guide, you could be one step closer to launching your course.