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Best Online Course Platforms 2021 (This Year’s Top 10 Picks)

Written by Melanie

April 26, 2021

10 Best Online Course Platforms 2021

The e-learning industry is expected to be worth $325 billion by 2025. And in the past year alone, online course platforms have made more than $46 billion. 

All this goes to say that online courses are now preferred to conventional learning methods. The time for e-learning is upon us and you should embrace this change. 

Course creators now have it easier more than ever. Online platforms have come up in recent years allowing common folk like me and you to teach online.

What are online course platforms? 

 Online course platforms are learning management systems(LMS) created to help you to: 

  • Create your very own online course website
  • Price your courses and collect payments
  • Create communities and webinars
  • Upload course material like videos, assignments and quizzes, and interactive content
  • Promote your course and build an online presence

Which are the Best Online Course Platforms 2021? 

Here are some of the best online course platforms this year: 

1. Thinkific – Best Online Course Platform (Free or $49/mo)

Their mission is to power your education empire. This platform has a robust set of user-friendly features, membership site integration for your lessons, email marketing, and the best 24/7 customer support. 

You can sign up and get a one month free trial for the most popular Pro Plan. If you would like to sell more courses right from the start, this plan will allow you to create unlimited free courses.

It also has membership and bundles, landing pages, advanced pricing options, marketing tools, and certificates. 

Also, you can easily create and customize your course with their drag and drop editor. 

Their well-designed, high-quality templates help you to build your course site after adding in your course content.

Thinkific also has advanced business tools that make marketing and selling your course a hassle-free process. 

Key Features: 

  • Drag-and-drop feature: Allows you to quickly organize web content.
  • Course expiry: You can set an expiry for each course
  • Whitelabel Capabilities: This tool allows you to white-label course materials on your site for a more professional look.
  • Facebook and Google Ads: Thinkific supports advertising on Google, Facebook and more.
  • Reporting and Tracking: Advanced tools for effective tracking and reporting. 

Thinkific can be easily integrated with more than 1500 apps via Zapier without having to use a WordPress plugin. Hooking up your email provider allows you to send highly targeted campaigns to the relevant segments of your audience at the right time. 

Pros of Thinkific

  • Allows full access to HTML and CSS.
  • Supports more than 30 languages.
  • Easy management and quick support for learners.
  • Automated marketing features.
  • Best free plan.
  • Affiliate marketing support.

Course creators and entrepreneurs who are serious about building, marketing, and selling high-quality online courses should use Thinkific

Related: Thinkific Review: Is It The Best Online Course Platform 2021?

2. Learnworlds: One of the Best online course platforms for Premium and Interactive Learning ($24/month)

Learnworlds is an excellent online course platform best for creators looking to make interactive courses and keep students engaged. However, Learnworlds isn’t for you if you’re looking for a free option.

Learnworlds will help you create interactive learning experiences for your learners complete with tests, questionnaires and other engaging elements. 

Main Features of this e-learning platform

Learnworlds has a library of custom landing and sales pages, templates and styles that allow you to conveniently build your site. You can even add information pages – Contact, about, pricing, etc. – easily with Learnworlds.

They also have a theme editor that allows you to customize your course’s colour scheme and branding with close to no coding knowledge.

They have premade course catalogues which allow you to simply add in your content. These catalogues have advanced features like interactive e-books, interactive video players, online tests and downloadable attachments.

When you’re ready to market your course, this online course platform has a full custom domain and white labels you can use. Also, they will create a custom mobile app for your course and provide discounts and coupons to market to your students. 

This online course platform has a new analytics platform to optimize your course sales, the capability of creating membership sites, a solid knowledge base, and 24/7 support.

They have multilingual support.

This platform has Javascript and CSS you can use to edit your course pages.

3. Teachable – Most basic online course platform for beginners($29 – $299/month)

This LMS is cloud-hosted and offers a beginner-friendly course builder interface. 

It is one of (if not) the largest online course platforms on the market. They have more than 100,000 instructors and, over the years, earned more than $500 million.

They have ready-made templates that allow you to quickly insert your content and customize your course the way you want it. 

Also, this online course platform has a dashboard which allows you to quickly and easily set up things like sales pages, payments and your affiliate centre. They also have an in-house payment processor

‘Discover’ has also been recently added. This is an online course storefront that is supposed to revolutionize the  way courses are marketed on this e-learning platform.

Other Key Features of this Online Course Platform

  • Import content: You can quickly import content from OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox into your LMS. 
  • Course certificates to students who complete your course.
  • Create engaging courses with multi-media content like videos, audio, text and PDF files. 
  • Google Forms Integration to get feedback from your students.
  • The payment processor allows you to accept payment in over 130 different currencies.

Pricing:

Their plans differ in price due to the different features, meaning you only pay for what you need. The plans start at $29, each having unlimited students and courses. Fortunately, they have a free trial you should try if you want to get started quickly.

4. Kajabi – High-end e-learning platform for professionals ($119/month)

Kajabi is a high-end online course platform for in-depth courses and learners. It features robust e-mail marketing automation, upsells and digital products, powerful course site themes, blogging functionality and a customizable checkout.

Their plans are a bit pricey, starting at $119/month, which includes their 20% annual discount. However, the Kajabi team really knows what they are doing since they are trusted by more than 16000 businesses and over the years, have processed more than $675 million through their platform.

For $119, you get their Basic Plan, which includes one website, unlimited landing pages, three pipelines, unlimited marketing emails,and up to 1000 members and 10,000 contacts. Their higher-tier plans( Growth – $159/mo, Pro – $319/mo),allow you more websites, pipelines, products and contacts. 

There is also a 14 day free trial before you commit.

Kajabi stands out for its marketing automation tools. These allow you to segment users on your list , send professionally branded messages, and send emails at certain times based on advanced triggers.

Other Key Features of this Online Course Platform

  • Their drag-and-drop editor allows you to create good-looking pages with little to no coding skills.
  • You can create multiple pages for your static site using their page builder.
  • This site allows you to add live events.
  • Users receive 24/7 Technical support.

Kajabi is a solid choice for an online course platform if you have an established business and you’re looking to try one of the more advanced platforms on the market.

5. Teachery – Best Online Course Platform for Unlimited Courses (Free Trial or $49/ month)

Teachery is a great choice to include in this list because their platform is just so intuitive and easy to use. They limit the confusion function and design aspects created by keeping everything simple. And, they don’t have transaction fees, which is great.

This online course platform is extremely beginner-friendly and assists newbie course creators to get their online courses up and running. They offer a guided tutorial to help novice instructors quickly create great content for their customers. Therefore, Teachery is the best platform if you are completely new to this e-learning stuff.

Key Features of this online course platform

  • Simple, easy-to-use templates give you a quick solution to create the best online courses.
  • User-friendly course editor allows you to quickly adjust all the important aspects of your course hassle-free.
  • You can easily input payment plans or membership options for your students.
  • Easily create new sales and landing pages that will drive up your traffic.

Pricing

Starting at $49/month, Teachery plans include unlimited courses and uploads. They also have a two-week free trial option.

6. Podia – Great For Webinars and Digital Downloads (Free trial or $39/month)

This platform allows you to sell webinars, online courses, downloads and memberships without having to worry about the tech.

Podia is an easy-to-use LMS having everything instructors need to build and sell online courses.

With Podia, you can create downloadable content, host webinars, establish membership communities, and even offer live chat for easy communication with the learners to increase engagement.

Key Features of this online course platform

  • This platform allows you to combine similar courses.
  • Make easy digital downloads of PDFs, ebooks, checklists and more.
  • This site allows you to create locked content.
  • Podia also has powerful email marketing automation.
  • Incorporate multimedia content into your online courses – PDFs, video, audio, images, text, etc.
  • The site allows you to run your own affiliate program.

Pricing

Their plans start at $39/month for the ‘Mover’ package. The ‘Shaker’ plan will set you back $79/ month. There is also a 14-day free trial.

7. System.io

This is an all-in-one marketing software that has everything entrepreneurs need to start running their online businesses or sell their online courses.

Key Features of this Online Course Platform

  • The site’s funnel builder allows users to create sales funnels and landing pages quickly with their powerful page builder.
  • You can sell your products through the site. All you have to do is connect your Stripe or PayPal account. The system also allows you to add upsells, downsells and order bumps to your sales funnel.
  • Powerful email marketing. The site has an intuitive autoresponder built into it. You can use it to send email newsletters, unlimited emails and set up email campaigns. 
  • Add multimedia content to your online courses.

Pricing 

This online course platform has three pricing options: 

  • Startup Plan going for $27/ month. This one is perfect for anyone just starting and has everything you need to start and run your online business. 
  • Webinar Plan – $47/ month. Go for this plan if you’re looking for the best value. It comes with 2 custom domains, allows you to run 3 evergreen webinars, plus you can have 5 membership sites on it. 
  • Enterprise Plan – $97/ month. If you have a more established business, this plan comes with 5 custom domains, unlimited membership sites and allow you to run unlimited evergreen webinars.

8. Kartra – Premium all-in-one platform ($99/month)

This is not just another online course platform. It has features that allow you to add lots of functionality to your site. With Kartra, you have the ability to add checkouts, membership sites, and host your own affiliate program on your site.

This platform is best for anyone looking to create more than just online courses. Kartra gets you the best advanced tools and functionality to market your courses. If you’re looking to create a community around your online course and have advanced functionality to grow your business, this is the online course platform for you.

Main Features of this Online Course Platform

  • Internal checkout platform. This platform allows users to checkout using custom-built software, eliminating the need for third-party integrations. 
  • Kartra Pages gives users the ability to quickly and easily create high-converting landing pages. This will increase your ability to collect emails and get your visitors to take action.
  • Ability to run different funnels and campaigns. 
  • You can create membership sites using this site.
  • Helpdesk feature allows you to set up a help section to assist your students.
  • Hundreds of integrations and API’s allowing users to work with countless other platforms.

Pricing

Their most basic plan, “Starter” costs $99/ month. Other plans include Silver ($199/ month), Gold ($299/ month) and Platinum ($499/ month). 

They also have a 14-day ‘free’ trial available for just one dollar.

9. LearnDash – Best WordPress LMS plugin for digital publishers and online businesses ($159/ month)

LearnDash is currently the hottest LMS WordPress plugin on the market. It’s a great online course platform for anyone who wants to run their site from their WordPress dashboard. This tool is self-hosted, so you’ll have full control over creation and customization processes. 

This tool doesn’t have the limitations of other hosted alternatives. You can integrate countless plugins with this platform with no technical skills required. And since it is a WordPress plugin, it has functionality on a whole other level.

If you already use WordPress, then you’ll find it easy to navigate this platform. 

LearnDash WordPress plugin is great for course creators who already use WordPress and want complete control over all the aspects of their online course business, including branding, customization, and customer information.

Other Key Features of this online course platform

  • Course awards to learners who pass quizzes.
  • The software allows you to create advanced, more complex quizzes.
  • You can also set course progression that prevents students from progressing until they complete certain sections of the content.
  • White-label all materials.

Pricing

LearnDash’s Basic plan will set you back $159. Other plans include: Plus package ($189) and Pro package ($329) 

10. Membervault

If you haven’t heard about it before, Membervault is a membership site that allows you to have your courses, offers, downloadables and even membership or coaching programs in one convenient place. 

Membervault is the right solution for anyone who is looking to simplify the business or wants to cut down the number of business tools they use. This platform also gets you tons of automation capabilities and the creative freedom to do almost anything you want. 

With MemberVault, you can host courses, interactive challenges, freebies and much more. You can even embed Facebook lives or create a following around the platform, which gets you much higher engagement rates compared to most other tools.

It’s just something different.

Pricing

Unlike others, this platform has a forever free plan that is fully featured. The only catch…they limit you to 50 users only. Other plans include Base ($39/ mo) and Pro ($69/ mo)

Final Thoughts

Building and selling online courses is a great way to make money from your knowledge and skills. I hope this list will help you find the best online course platform that satisfies your needs.

While there are so many online course platforms out there, the 10 I’ve given you should at least be somewhere to start. 

This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, read my affiliate disclaimer for more details.

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