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11 Best Online Learning Platforms to Build a Profitable Online Course

Jul 15, 2020

11 Best Online Learning Platforms to Build a Profitable Online Course
Learning platforms are slowly becoming the norm with 77% of all U.S companies using online learning as of 2017.

It is not only a more affordable way of learning, but it is also less time-consuming. According to TechJury, eLearning takes 40% to 60% less time than traditional learning. It is self-paced learning with video or text-based information that eliminates unnecessary fluff. What’s not to like?
Image via MENAFN

This is what makes it one of the most profitable industries to get into for a couple of reasons:
  1. You can make a consistent stream of passive income for years from the courses that you create.
  2. You have the ability to work from home and reach students from anywhere in the world.
  3. Designing an online course helps creators reassess their teaching approach and discover better ways to approach a topic
  4. You can benefit from design elements and software that you may not have while teaching on-campus.

What Are the Best Online Course Platforms in 2020?

These are some of the most popular online course platforms available, ranked according to features, and how they perform overall.

#1 Skillshare

#1 Skillshare
Skillshare has to be our top pick for an online learning platform since it offers teachers the best features and has a wide audience that creators can take advantage of.

You have access to a dashboard that showcases your month to date earnings, various design elements that allow you to brand your channel, and great software features to use when you are creating content.

SkillShare is a good option to consider if you want to grow your reach by taking advantage of their already very huge platform full of students and the reputable name.

#2 Udemy

#2 Udemy
Udemy is a good option for beginners who are looking to grow their reach with an already established platform. You can use the Udemy insights tool to keep track of your stats, income, and students.
The unfortunate aspect of using platforms like Udemy or Skillshare (that allow you to take advantage of their audience) is that they take a pretty big cut of the profit.

Udemy, for instance, takes a percentage cut depending on how the student found the page. 

If the student found the course page organically through a search engine, they take a 50% cut. 

If the student came to the page via your website or via your email list, you could get a 97% profit cut with only a 3% cut going to Udemy. This is obviously the best option but you only get the 97% cut if they use a coupon code you give them in advance. This is how Udemy tracks students that come through your referral. 

Compared to course platforms like Teachable or Kajabi that take 5% cuts or none at all, it is a pretty high cost to pay to get Udemy’s audience looking at your content.

#3 LearnWorlds

#3 LearnWorlds
LearnWorlds is a great platform to build a course on if you are positive you can bring in students all by yourself.

Unlike Skillshare or Udemy that host the course on their own website, LearnWorlds is a monthly subscription software that allows you to create a website of your own to host your course.

They include features such as a custom domain, a page builder, payment gateways, drip-feed courses, and more depending on what plan you take. Pricing starts at $29 a month and goes up to $299.

#4 Thinkific

#4 Thinkific
Much like LearnWorlds, Thinkific is also a subscription-based service that helps you create and market your own courses. It is currently used by over 51,000 course creators and is one of the most easy-to-use and comprehensive software available. 

They have features like coupon usage, a custom domain, email integrations, and more. You can test-drive a few of their core features for free while their paid subscription starts at $49 a month.

#5 Podia

#5 Podia
Podia goes a step further and not only allows its creators to host courses but is also a platform that allows the hosting of webinars, downloads, and memberships. 
There are no hidden charges with Podia and it is simply a monthly fee that gives you access to everything. 

Podia also keeps their pricing simple with only two plans- the ‘mover’ plan for newbie creators at $39 a month and the ‘shaker’ plan for people who want a few cool extras which is for $79 per month.

#6 LearnDash

#6 LearnDash
LearnDash is slightly different compared to the options we have covered so far. This option works as a plugin which means you will already need to have a WordPress run website to avail of their services.
This is a pretty cool learning platform plugin since it is not a subscription-based cost like the other options. It is a one-time fee of $199 for a one site license. You can also choose higher plans with more licenses.

The features include-
  • Unlimited course and users
  • Drip-feed lessons
  • Email notifications
  • Advanced quizzing  
  • Free integrations
  • Demo site template

#7 Kajabi

#7 Kajabi
Kajabi is known as the all-in-one platform and with good reason- it has everything anyone could possibly want, need, or even think of.

The pricing is a little higher than usual starting at $149 per month and going up to a whopping $399.
Some of their crazy awesome features include-
  • Unlimited landing pages
  • Unlimited marketing emails
  • 0% Transaction Fees
  • Ready to use templates
  • Affiliate program

#8 LinkedIn Learning

#8 LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn Learning is like Udemy or Skillshare in the sense that they host your course on their platform. This means you will be one of many instructors to use their platform and will benefit from their already established stream of website visitors and students.

You can apply to be an instructor by filling out their form and you will be placed under review.

Some of the features available include creating learning challenges, bookmarking chapters that are your favorites, creating outlines for your students by using the notes feature, reporting on student progress, or simply the ability to create courses for any learning style whether it be audio-based, text-based or video-based

#9 Teachable

#9 Teachable
Teachable is Thinkific’s biggest competitor with very similar pricing and features. Their plans start at $39 a month and include features like unlimited students, a 5% transaction fee, course creator training, drip course content, and integrated email marketing. 

They also offer a Pro plan for $119 (paid monthly) and a business plan for $299.

#10 Coursera

#10 Coursera
Coursera is an online course platform that hosts courses from IBM, Stanford, Duke University, and more. Suffice to say you would be in good company.

Unfortunately Coursera, unlike the options we have gone through so far, does not partner with individuals- it partners with universities.

So, you could only teach on Coursera if you are already an established teacher at one of the universities it partners with. They set a high bar for teachers who want to join their elite group of educators but once you are in, it pays off.

#11 FutureLearn

#11 FutureLearn
Much like Coursera, Future Learn also partners with institutes and organizations. So, if you are part of an organization with the knowledge to share and a group of people with strong educational credentials, Future Learn is a good place to share your content and earn money on the side.

They normally ask for potential partners to have demonstrable expertise in the industry they are creating content in. The content also needs to be research-based and easy to understand.

Some of the institutes partnered with Future Learn include the British Council and the John Hopkins University.

3 Pro Tips for Creating a Profitable Course

Now that you have narrowed down on that platform you want to use to showcase your course, you need to get down to business and start creating a smashing course. 

To do this, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind-

Tip #1

Make sure the course topic you narrow down on has a high market demand and low competition. You do not want to create a course that talks about a topic barely any people even google. 
It is important to make sure the topic you are talking about has an audience ready for it.

Tip #2

Before you begin, make sure you create an outline of all of your modules and chapters and focus on the final takeaway for the students who will be taking your course. What do you want them to learn from this course?

To create the best course possible and help your students reach their goals, you should always focus on their ‘current situation’ (hell) and their ‘desired situation’ (heaven).

This is far more effective than just jumping right in since you will be giving yourself a clear path to follow as well as making sure you are covering everything you need to get through.

Tip #3

Lastly, focus on your delivery method. Make sure you are delivering your content in the most engaging way possible whether that is through multimedia, text, video, or design elements. In most cases though, video is by far the best option to depend on since it is highly engaging, easily digestible, and can convey more emotion than other mediums.

Conclusion

Using eLearning platforms means giving students the ability to learn new skills from anywhere at an affordable price in a way they are comfortable with.

This also gives teachers the ability to grow their student reach and improve the way they teach with software and platforms that are far more powerful than a simple blackboard.

The current pandemic has highlighted the importance of the ever-expanding eLearning industry while the earning potential is only increasing. Tons of people have taken this time to learn a skill or educate themselves further which means once things settle down, there is going to be a marked difference in the way people educate themselves.

Offices and schools have already started to add eLearning platforms to their list of tools and it is time you do too.

So, what is your favorite platform going to be?

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