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Reviewing The Top Online Course Builders: Which Platform Should I Choose? (Updated for 2020)

 May 16, 2020

By  Course Minds Team

There may be something that you know inside and out that you could be a great teacher for.

With the internet, you can make cyberspace your classroom. The big first step, however, is choosing which platform to host your course on.

Without a professional and organized platform, you’re going to have a hard time attracting students. Your knowledge and friendliness won’t be enough if it’s not on a trustworthy site.

The terrible platforms are easy to see, but what separates the good ones from the great ones?

With more people learning from home and access to things like webcams increasing, online courses are having their moment in the sun, and it looks like that beam will keep shining.

It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, and its value is only going up.Entrepreneurs, businesses, and educational institutions alike are seeing the huge shift towards online learning. 

As it turns out, these virtual lessons aren’t taking away from the learning experience. As long as a teacher is engaging the students, an online course room can be as effective as a traditional one.

This can realistically become a business for you as well, since many people will happily pay a fee to access your course full of lessons. 

To stick out among the many other programs, you need to know how to promote it and show potential students why they should choose yours over competitors.

Your platform needs to cover a lot of ground, making it easy for you to interact with your students and present your lessons.

It won’t do all the work for you, but it can reduce some of the burdens that would come with a weaker course software.

I’m going to tell you about the seven best online course platforms. I’ll be going into things like how reliable a platform is, user assistance, costs, how to make money with it, and much more.

Here's the rundown.

Online class sites let you teach others via the internet in settings that aren’t too different from in-person classes.

Teachers present the material in various forms, such as audio and visual ones. At home, the students keep up through note-taking and implementation, and repetition.

The courses will also typically include tests to help determine their comprehension of a subject.

Through the software, instructors that more easily share files and other essential documents, such as handouts and certifications of completion.

Classes can also be adjusted to an instructor’s needs, but it’s still best to choose a platform the features, functionality, and organization that you are comfortable with from the beginning.

Online Course Software Reviews

The best course builders provide instructors the benefit of putting their time and focus into perfecting the lessons and improving their process of selling the program to prospective students.

You are looking to select an ideal platform that features a developed learning management system and membership area.

To be successful, you need to be able to efficiently create, organize, and deliver your course content.

Selling online courses requires you to understand what features you need the most.

  • Do you need a members area for students?
  • A virtual course room to provide live lessons and training for a professional organization?
  • Do you need to accept credit cards on this platform?

These questions will help to guide you when making a selection.

There are dozens of options out there, but we've handpicked these online course platforms after hundreds of testing hours to narrow down the top choices.

1.) Thinkific 

Top Overall Choice

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

Thinkific has been doing some amazing things in terms of providing educational access.


It’s incredible just how much easier it makes it to promote your courses and run successful classes.


There’s also a lot of help if you have any questions about figuring out the different parts of the platform.

The
first month of their Pro Plan can be yours for free. There’s no limit on how many courses you can make through the pro plan. 


You can use things like bundles and certificates to give your classes even more appeal and credibility among people looking for online classes.

Thinkific also translates very comfortably with apps. There are more than 1,500 that can be used with this platform.


You may also be able to reach out to your desired demographics through email blasts.

Using Thinkific means more than having a good idea of what course to teach. It also means knowing how to convince people they should learn from you. 

Pros

  • Add unlimited courses and students
  • Equipped with email integration for your favorite autoresponder
  • Design special coupons to hep incentivize prospective students
  • Ability to drip out content on a specific schedule
  • No transaction fees

Cons

  • The basic plan does not come with priority customer support
  • Can't have private courses on basic plan

THINKIFIC OVERALL RATING: 4.9 / 5.0

2.) Teachable

Best for Beginners

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

Teachable has tens of thousands of course creators and hundreds of 5 star reviews online. ​This is an excellent 2nd option to Thinkific.

There’s a good deal of price ranges with
Teachable. There’s an online option that’s free and paid ones that cost between $29 and $399 per month.

My favorite is the Professional Plan. This costs $99 per month and doesn’t cost anything for transactions.


Even the free version charges $1 and 10 cents for transactions.


Additionally, Professional offers quizzes, certificates of completion, and better design opportunities.

Uploading and posting necessary course documents is straightforward on Teachable.


You should be able to get the hang of this platform after a few hours.

Pros

  • Add unlimited courses and students
  • Ability to setup instant payouts (as opposed to waiting 30 days)
  • There is a comprehensive course creator training
  • Ability to drip course content with a specific schedule
  • Integrated email marketing and coupon codes

Cons

  • Basic plan has 5% transaction fees
  • Need to upgrade to professional to remove Teachable branding

TEACHABLE OVERALL RATING: 4.5 / 5.0

3.) Kajabi

Best for Professionals

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

You should use Kajabi if you’re making a course that requires a strong design and many features.


You can choose from many themes, get a lot out of their email promotion systems, and enjoy things like their online tools and blogs.

These courses can be expensive to host. The lowest-priced plan is still $119 month.


They’ve really built a good reputation, however. There are thousands of classes and more than $600 million earned on Kajabi.

With the lowest-priced plan, you can have a single site, up to three items and pipelines, and as many landing pages as you’d like.


There’s also no cap on how many marketing emails you can send.

With more expensive plans, you’ll get more members and contacts. The basic plan only allows for 1,000 and 10,000 members and contacts, respectively.

Marketing is probably the best part of Kajabi. You can really zero in on what sort of clients you want to reach out and create an email schedule to help increase chances of engagement.

This platform can be great for business owners who want to instruct other professionals.


Kajabi is a beautiful platform to host your online class.

Pros

  • Extensive tools for webinars and events
  • Unlimited landing pages and marketing emails for all plans
  • Access to the comprehensive Kajabi university
  • Ability to drip course content with a specific schedule
  • No transaction fees for every plan

Cons

  • One of the more expensive platforms. Most likely not ideal for beginners
  • Can only have 3 courses on the basic plan

KAJABI OVERALL RATING: 4.3 / 5.0

4.) Learnworlds

Best for Selling With Engagement

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

Another strong online learning platform, Learnworlds gives users a great place to develop and promote their classes.

To begin, you’ll need to design your class, including pages for visitors.


These can help interested people by answering relevant questions, such as what the course will consist, how much it costs, and how to get in touch with you.

You can also make your class more enticing through editing the visual design. There’s no need to be any sort of web design expert to do this.

To get your course going, you’ll have their library of classes to go from as you bring in your material.


There’s a lot of material already provided for you to use, like video features, tests, and accessible documents.

You can promote your class with your own site, which can be targeted towards desired audiences. Special deals may draw more people to your class.

Classes can also be incorporated with social media, and you can use sales data to track your progress. Their customer support team is also quite incredible.

Pros

  • Unlimited courses on all plans
  • 4 payment gateways to accept payments
  • Create promotional coupons to entice prospective students
  • Drip feed courses on a schedule
  • One of the more affordable platforms

Cons

  • $5 course transaction fee for each sale on the Starter Plan
  • Need to upgrade to Pro Trainer Plan for almost 12 additional features

KAJABI OVERALL RATING: 4.2 / 5.0

5.) LearnDash

Best for WordPress Lovers

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

Many website platforms are based in WordPress, a popular blogging platform. LearnDash works with WordPress and has helped lead to some awe-inspiring sites.

A very useful tool on
LearnDash is “Focus Mode.” This helps a student concentrate by preventing distracting sites from being used while in class.

Strong courses and strong marketing should be the two main goals of any online teacher.


You can make a great course and create an excellent campaign with LearnDash. Students can get quick updates via email about your course.

Grades aren’t the only part of learning, but it’s an important part of evaluating a student’s progress.


With LearnDash’s Gradebook feature, an overall grade can be tracked for students through performance on homework and tests.

You can also give out points for certain achievements and reward successful completion with things like badges.

LearnDash is user-friendly and lets you keep track of student progress very well. You could have a flourishing online teaching business through LearnDash.


Pros

  • Extensive tools for webinars and events
  • Unlimited landing pages and marketing emails for all plans
  • Access to the comprehensive Kajabi university
  • Ability to drip course content with a specific schedule
  • No transaction fees for every plan

Cons

  • One of the more expensive platforms. Most likely not ideal for beginners
  • Can only have 3 courses on the basic plan

LEARNDASH OVERALL RATING: 4.0 / 5.0

6.) Podia

Best for Hosting Podcasts

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

You can make and share your classes with no trouble through Podia. Your site can be ready in hardly any time.

Plus, you can include discounts and offer membership and sales pages, among other features.


One of the best things is teachers can give courses piece-by-piece, ensuring students learn at the right rate.

To grow your course membership, there are lots of networking options.


Communicate with other users and design programs that would appeal greatly to certain groups. You can also reach out via Facebook or Slack.

If you’re interested in affiliate marketing to help promote your class, Podia helps.


This can be done inside the site, and you can let someone else take care of marketing while you focus on your course.


Pros

  • Unlimited products, customers, and emails sent.
  • Built in live chat tool to engage with customers
  • Host webinars for training or to sell new prospects
  • Zero transaction fees for all plans
  • An affordable course platform

Cons

  • Not the best option for video courses on this list
  • Can't offer a monthly or yearly membership on the Mover starter plan.

PODIA OVERALL RATING: 3.8 / 5.0

7.) Ruzuku

Best for Non-Tech People

Value

The overall value provided in this platform relative to competing platforms.

Features

The number of essential features included relative to other platforms.

Cost

Rating is based on the price to invest in this platform relative to other platforms. 

It’s awesome to make a class with Ruzuku, and it doesn’t take long at all. You can design a syllabus, get a class going, and start earning very soon.

Using other platforms such as MailChimp and PayPal,
Ruzuku covers a lot of territory. There aren’t any transaction fees either.

Lots of other passionate teachers can be found on Ruzuku. You can realize how much passion you have, both for your chosen subject and for teaching others about it.

As an amazing bonus, paying students of all plans get to sign up for as many classes as they want.


While this platform has it's advantages, it very limited with functionality and features for the higher price tag.


Pros

  • Unlimited courses and students for all plans.
  • Unlimited video, audio, and data hosting for all plans
  • Zero transaction fees for all plans

Cons

  • Expensive for a platform with such little features
  • No subscription payment plan option for students on the Bootstrapper starter plan.

RUZUKU OVERALL RATING: 3.6 / 5.0

Final Thoughts

Hopefully you found this guide helpful in narrowing down the hundreds of potential course builders on the market.

Creating an online course can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You can make money and make a lasting impact on your student's lives, all in one fell swoop.

These platforms all have benefits and drawbacks so your selection depends on your experience level and the features you're looking for.

If we had to choose just one platform that performs the best, it would be Thinkific. You can sign up for a Thinkific free trial here and decide if it works for you.

Good luck on your journey to creating courses! We'd love to hear your success story in the future.

Course Minds is a team of highly experienced educators, trainers, entrepreneurs, and business experts who help you discover the best e-learning courses, training, and certification programs online. Our team has spent thousands of hours researching the top classes to recommend and have helped more than 800,000+ learners find their ideal courses. 


Course Minds Team

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