eLearning is no longer a privilege reserved for large companies, as there are now many affordable, even free, services and solutions for employee training. However, while there are free workarounds, small businesses readily invest in training management software.
What is an eLearning platform? An online learning platform is an integrated set of interactive online services that provide teachers and learners with information, tools, and resources to support and enhance educational delivery and management.
An online learning platform is a space or portal filled with educational content and live instruction on a particular subject or many different topics.
They are often called massive open online courses (MOOCs) and are slightly different from paid platforms. Instead of hosting files yourself, courses are in a marketplace where students pay for them directly or via a subscription.
The benefit for course creators is that you can leverage these websites to reach a new audience. The downside is you won’t earn as much money per sale, and there is stiffer competition in the market.
Ultimately, I recommend using one of the providers above to sell courses.
If you’re looking to sign up for a platform to learn new things, here are my picks for the best online learning platforms.
What Are the Best Online Learning Platforms?
What is MasterClass: MasterClass offers online classes created for students of any level, taught by world-renowned instructors in each field.
Although MasterClass offers more than just creative courses, its marquee offerings are the ones that put A-list actors, writers, artists, musicians, and more in the teacher’s seat.
Masterclass has more than 75 classes with 20 topics of 10 minutes per class on average. The instructor created each class and typically included prerecorded video content, a PDF of a class workbook, interactive assignments, and group activities.
Periodically, MasterClass may allow students to submit work to instructors for feedback.
How to get started: Find a class or classes that you would like to study. Students who buy them individually (78 euros each) will have unlimited access to each lesson of the chosen course.
Those with a Full Access Pass (156 euros per year or 13 per month) can enroll in any MasterClass. They can access the course lessons as long as their subscription is active.
Since MasterClass is a subscription-based platform, you can take as many sessions as you want within a monthly subscription. The price is about $15 per month for unlimited access, but students have to sign up for one year at a time.
Skillshare is one of the largest online student learning platforms, offering hundreds of courses across a wide variety of subjects and categories.
It has a limited free trial, after which you can upgrade to the premium version, which will give you access to thousands of premium online courses that you can join.
Courses are created by professionals and teachers, not Skillshare itself. Teachers are paid for these courses per view. This encourages teachers to offer better and more engaging courses.
- It is available, and you can cancel it at any time.
- Thousands of lessons on an extensive range of skills and topics
- Easy to use with built-in community element that makes learning fun
- It can be challenging to decide where to start with too many courses.
- Anyone can teach skillshare courses, and there aren’t many quality checks or course standardization.
Price: Skillshare Premium starts at $ 3.29 per month, billed annually.
This educational site, formerly named Lynda, is dedicated to the shark business. Here you can find over 1000 courses in web development, digital marketing, and business project management.
LinkedIn Learning is the ideal platform for improving their professional skills and conquering new career heights.
After completing the course, each student is issued a corresponding certificate that can be added to their portfolio.
The monthly membership price depends on which payment option you choose – once a month or a generation. In the first case, it is $ 29.99, and in the second – $ 24.
Upon registration, you will receive a trial period of one month.
Udemy is one of the most sought-after online education platforms and is famous worldwide. More than 35,000 teachers from different countries and at least 24,000,000 students are registered.
The number of courses on Udemy exceeds 80,000. To add your content to this collection, you’ll need to create an account and subscribe to a premium builder.
One of the main advantages of Udemy is its fairly straightforward promotion process. Leverage marketing features, optimize emails and join affiliate programs.
Udemy is free to use. However, the service charges a 3% commission on the sale of courses through a teacher. If a student found your course through a search service, then 50%, and if through targeted marketing – 75%.
Registration on the platform opens access to a client base of 24,000 people. All of them, of course, are your potential students. So Udemy is great not only for self-study but also for expanding the audience.
However, it is pretty challenging to reach the top of the system. To do this, you need to develop a strong marketing strategy. The incomparable advantage of the platform is the income from the sale of courses. You can get 100% of payments for new users and 50% of those already registered.
Participating in various advertising campaigns run by Udemy will allow you to reach more people and get new students. In addition, the site offers its users an extensive library of articles and scientific materials.
Udemy occupies a leading position in the online education market, so there is quite a lot of competition here. So, if you registered recently, hardly anyone will find your courses in a search engine, even on specific topics. You will have to work hard for your reputation and popularity.
Another significant disadvantage is the soft client policy, which guarantees a refund within 30 days. Many clients use this right: having bought and listened to the required course, they request a refund, allegedly for ” low quality,” and subsequently receive them back.
This affects the level of sales of teachers, but it is very beneficial for the students.
Treehouse is the most democratic platform in existence. Its goal is very noble – to provide education for all races, genders, and social minorities living on the planet.
More than 300 technical courses can be found on the platform, with a total time of approximately 27,545 minutes.
Treehouse also partners with renowned global companies, including Microsoft, IBM Watson, Amazon Alexa, and Google.
Before buying a subscription, you can take advantage of a 7-day trial period. Then, depending on the plan you choose, a monthly subscription will cost you between $ 25 and $ 199.
An essential subscription will give you access to all courses, labs, and online communities. The Pro version will provide you with access to various bonuses and downloadable content.
The most expensive plan, called Techdegree, will be an excellent option for those who want to replenish their portfolio with unique certificates and study according to an individual plan and have the opportunity to have constant feedback.
Coursera is another good place to learn new skills.
They offer many free and paid courses and even online programs. They have partnered with tech companies like Google and IBM to promote their technology by providing free courses.
In addition, Coursera also partners with colleges offering online degree programs. The courses offered are prepared by professionals with qualifications and skills in the subject area.
- Some helpful technical courses for beginners are available for free registration.
- Easy to use platform with relatively better quality control than similar platforms
- Access to course materials from leading IT companies and colleges
- Uses a more academic approach to courses.
- Boost sales of degree programs offered by colleges
The price depends on the courses or programs you choose.
More than a platform, it is a non-profit organization created in 2006 by Salman Khan, MIT, and Harvard University graduates.
His intention was for anyone to have access to free online education, wherever they were.
It currently has more than 4 thousand helpful videos for primary and secondary students, and its topics cover mathematics, economics, history, finance, chemistry, etc.
Khan Academy Features
- The interactive videos are designed so that the student can learn and advance at their own pace.
- Teacher support is not required as Khan Academy encourages self-learning in style.
- Its courses address five significant areas of knowledge: Science, Computing, Arts and Humanities, Economics and Finance, and Mathematics.
- Its purpose is “to be free, for everyone, forever.”
- This site is designed so that students, teachers, and parents can prepare successfully online.
- Being a non-profit organization, it supports donations or volunteer work, which is altruistic and great.
This MOOC site was founded in 2012 by the Open University of Milton Keynes in England.
It is regarded as the first massive, open online learning platform the UK runs.
Although it stands out that it also has non-university partners such as the British Council or the British Museum.
Through its page, you can access hundreds of virtual programs taught by the best universities in the world or by specialized organizations.
- It has several categories of learning: Law, Literature, Teaching, Art, Media, Management, Business, Nature, History, Politics, etc.
- Most of their online courses are free, and although there are some payments, their prices are affordable.
- More than 20 UK universities are allied with FutureLearn, and its non-British university partners include Tel Aviv University, or Columbia University, to name a few.
This platform, which has been in operation for more than three years, has the mission of ‘bringing accessible, affordable, attractive, and effective higher education to everyone. It is specialized in MOOCs ( online, massive, and open courses ). Once the course is finished, it is possible to receive an accrediting certificate.
Udacity is “MOOC” based platform. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Courses. Udacity offers an online learning experience for anyone who wants to register on the website and start learning. Founded in 2011, Udacity is a spin-off of free computer courses that were then offered at Stanford University.
Udacity Nanodegre. The Nanodegree offered by Udacity is a form of learning where you pay a payment each month and study a particular subject for about 6 to 12 months. You receive a certificate of completion.
Is Udacity free? Udacity offers around 200 completely free courses. However, Udacity’s Nanodegrees (Udacity-exclusive micro-credentials) are fully paid. These Nanodegrees currently cost $ 399 per month, or you can pay several months in advance for a reduced amount.
Accreditation and Certificate: Udacity is a private, non-accredited, non-degree-granting online education provider. However, he does offer certificates to those who complete one of his Nanodegrees.
Shaw College is a platform that provides students with the opportunity to obtain accredited professional online courses. Students register at Shaw College and have access to all their long-term courses.
Shaw Academy offers three different types of courses: amateurs, professionals, and entrepreneurs. For example, they offer internationally recognized digital marketing courses in the professional category. This course consists of 32 videos and takes an average of 16 weeks.
All courses are recognized globally, and certifications are provided to support your career. Digital marketing, project management, web development, Photoshop, and Microsoft Excel courses are very in-depth if you are an active professional.
Entrepreneurs can also access helpful courses in social media marketing, viral marketing, weddings, photography, and more.
Their courses are very flexible, you can learn as you want, and they also provide useful help and the ability to download course recordings for offline viewing. The plan is also a huge benefit.
It is hands down the best online learning platform for courses related to computer science, especially coding. I remember very well that I learned my first programming language on Codecademy, and it was a fantastic experience.
At Codecademy, the focus is on web development, programming, computing, and data science courses. It’s a very easy-to-use platform, the navigation is seamless, and they offer some great deals, including the free one. There is also a paid premium subscription.
Is Codecademy free? All courses on Codecademy are free. However, Codecademy offers a “pro” option that allows personalized lessons and tutorials for the user and live tutorials, and it costs $ 15 per month.
Accreditation and Certificate: Codecademy is not accredited; however, as part of completing Codecademy Pro Intensive, you will get a Codecademy Credential, a digital letter of completion that recognizes your progress earned throughout the program.
Pluralsight focuses on technology and provides courses on topics such as software development, IT, and data security for individuals, business groups, or other educators and students. If you’re already studying to pass a certification exam in your field, it also offers practice exams.
Pluralsight also produced all expert videos for free in April, but the starting price for individual subscriptions usually starts at $29 per month.
It was founded in 2004 and is headquartered in Farmington, Utah. It offers more than 7,500 self-study courses, a 10-day free trial, and access to the entire library. Their goal is to allow everyone to improve their skills. In terms of technology, they can develop tomorrow’s skills.
Students can take one-on-one courses, but Pluralsight strongly recommends choosing one of these courses. These programs are like mini-degrees-a series of related courses for specific majors, such as individual programming languages, security certifications, creative skills in specific software, etc.
These pre-built paths eliminate the guesswork in learning, and you can quickly learn to pre-test by adding additional customizations to determine your skill level.
The course library offers more than 7,500 one-on-one courses in hundreds of ways-even. If you are not ready to deal with all-around problems, you can immerse yourself in one-on-one courses that only take a few hours.
This e-learning community in San Francisco has helped more than 1 million students obtain certification. More than 2000 teachers work 24 hours a day to create and maintain your courses.
At the time of writing, there are approximately 400 courses to choose from. More limited than other online learning platforms, but the quality is (usually) higher. Interestingly, it was initially a project management blog.
Each Simplilearn course lasts about one month, some courses are shorter, and some are longer. Everyone needs special dedication, and you will be assigned tasks such as watching video content, participating in discussions, taking quizzes and final exams, and working on hands-on projects and other exam assignments.
Who is this for?
Similar to edX or Coursera, those looking for quality courses and official certification options should consider Simplilearn.
Datacamp is an online learning platform that provides analysis and data science courses. These courses are beautiful, and the content is easy to digest. It was founded in 2013 and is headquartered in New York, with offices in Belgium and London.
A free plan is provided to give you access to the first chapter of courses and exams. In addition to the free plans, there are also paid subscriptions that include skills and career trajectories.
These training plans can prepare you for a career transition or promotion. Datacamp offers about 350 courses, perfect for beginners or anyone who wants to develop data science and analysis skills. It applies to subscription models where you can pay monthly or yearly.
Datacamp also works with more than 1,600 companies, and 80% of Fortune 1000 companies use Datacamp to upgrade their equipment. Datacamp for Business focuses on developing the skills of all team members so that they can make better data-driven decisions.
Provide flexible online training for all your team members. The online courses are taught by one of more than 270 experienced lecturers, so you can be confident that you are learning from the best.
Skillsoft is another eLearning provider that has been around since the late 1990s. The company offers 1,102 business and leadership courses on 41 topics, 7,151 technical and developer courses on 67 topics, and 2,747 compliance courses on 38 topics.
If you are dealing with compliance issues, this is an excellent resource for you. I have never experienced such intense training anywhere. The company even offers a series of distance learning courses. See also team-oriented plans for companies.
It allows you to develop your skills and continue to learn the various courses you can take. You must also take a test to ensure that you have learned the materials in the course.
If you pass, you will get an excellent certificate of completion. The best part is that you can see all the courses you have attended in your profile and save the courses for later use. This allows me to build my courses. You also have some topics that you have never thought of before.
These topics are great for learning and improving, whether you have taken up a leadership position or are entering a new position.
It focuses on IT topics.
What I like about ITProTV is its name: it is aimed at IT professionals in its purest form. You don’t have to work hard to take art or music courses or introductory “back-up” courses.
To understand Six Sigma, this is your place. If you want to learn more about AWS, you have come to the right place. If you are worried about big data or governance, you have come to the right place.
If you are a new IT professional (or want to enter IT), there is much basic IT knowledge to help you get the job done. Courses are sold by all-you-can-eat and are charged monthly or annually.
You can access all courses for $29 per month or add $20 for testing and virtual labs. To get this from someone with a master’s degree in education, he has to write an entire article on the topic of knowledge retention-you need field tests and laboratories.
Practice tests introduce the concept of observable behavior, which helps you assess your skills and encourage learning.”A lab is a form of constructivism or learning by doing. According to my experience, practical experience is essential for cultivating professional skills.
There are also business plans, but I suggest you visit the website, create an account, and get IT: The starter pack is a free library that provides approximately 65 hours of training.
This will enable you to understand the latest terminology and new technologies. You also need an IT training platform that can serve IT, professionals:
- first, it can be a reliable knowledge base that can help solve specific problems or incidents
- second, it is a site to view the entire course to learn technology or obtain certification.
These online learning sites would not be complete without a spotlight on TED. Although TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences have been held for technology, entertainment, and design elites since 1990, TED Talks have been available online since 2006.
They are everywhere, but they are always exciting and thought-provoking. Competent experts almost exclusively teach them, and in many cases, sum up years of research and analysis in a tight dialogue of 15 or 20 minutes. You can happily watch and lose yourself for hours in front of the screen.
For people with intense curiosity, this is like cocaine, which means that it gives a deep feeling that you are great, can accomplish anything, and is very addictive.
Since the organization started its activities as the conference initiator, it has become a global phenomenon and a widespread phenomenon—excellent intellectual resources.
You can find any subject or area of human activity that interests you. TED invites some of the world’s leading thinkers and professionals to share their lives and sometimes give lectures and provide them for free.
It is an international educational platform offering courses in areas such as the future professions, digital marketing, sales, soft skills, leadership, etc.
All courses are developed by a team of experts and taught by professional speakers.
They are based on the principle of “Fast Education,” i.e., “Fast learning.” So Lectera allows you to master new knowledge in the shortest possible time: all courses consist of short video lectures lasting 7-10 minutes, real cases, and additional materials.
You can watch them at any convenient time, even if it’s a five-minute coffee break or the way home. Lessons are also rich in various interactive elements and eliminate the need to google additional information: courses are packaged to contain everything you need to learn.
The undeniable advantage of Lectera over other platforms is that all of its courses are focused exclusively on developing practical skills that can be used in work and for building a career. Each lesson aims to develop new knowledge, consolidate it, and turn it into a fundamental skill that can be applied here and now.
Such courses vary from $ 18 to $ 1420 (the latter is the cost of a mega course, which is a complex of several courses). Also, discounts and promotions are constantly held on the platform, due to which the cost of courses is reduced to $ 9. Sometimes they even become free!
Therefore, anyone can try Lectera. Unfortunately, you cannot create and promote your authoring courses on Lectera. But here, you can earn with the help of a referral program.
So, by recommending your favorite courses to friends, you can earn up to 75% of their cost. You can also connect the Lectera Affiliate module, which automatically generates new partners for the team and, in fact, turns your recommendations into a full-fledged business.
This is another of the most popular MOOC platforms globally, so much so that in 2016, just four years after its launch, it already had more than 10 million users.
It was developed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to offer online university courses.
However, its purpose was not commercial since the main interest was to promote free virtual education to promote research and learning.
In other words, edX is a non-profit project that receives contributions from Harvard and MIT of about $ 30 million to boost online teaching.
- In 2016 there were more than 1,300 online courses available on the platform.
- Their programs are unique since they are based on learning sequences, and each one of them contains different resources (videos, podcasts, forums, readings).
- Students must pass specific assessments to obtain the necessary score to successfully pass the course (or to receive their certificate)
- In edX, there are two types of courses: those that you can do at the “teacher’s pace” (they last between 4 and 8 weeks), and those that you can do at “your own pace.”
- This platform offers you two types of certifications: those that are verified by edX and its associated institutions, as well as XSeries certificates.
- It has MicroMasters programs offered by MIT, Columbia University, and others of excellent world renown.
Unlike the virtual learning platforms we have already presented, where you can take courses on various areas at Domestika, these are limited to the most creative fields.
Indeed, Domestika is considered the largest community in Spanish for creatives: Illustrators, Graphic Designers, Painters, Photographers, Illustrators, etc.
It is in high demand today, mainly because it has exciting features, and then we will present a few.
- It is a platform entirely in Spanish dedicated to virtual teaching on topics related to creativity, creation, or design.
- Through the virtual community, you can actively interact with other creatives.
- Plus, you can share your projects or take a look at other colleagues, so they can easily interact and stay in touch.
- Through your user profile, you can publish the work done in your online courses, and this allows you to expand your professional portfolio.
- You have access to forums on Marketing, Design, Illustration, and more.
- If you access the Domestika jobs section in the creative sector, you may end up being hired based on your talents.
Best of all, it has competitive and affordable prices, so you have everything going for you to take advantage of its benefits.
10 TIPS FOR CREATING ONLINE COURSES
- Determination of a specific cost. The final price of a media product depends on many factors. As a rule, experts define it in the range of $ 5850 to $ 15,600. This cost includes market research and analytics, content development, payment of hired teachers, promotion costs, etc.
Of course, if you create an online course yourself without any help, you will need a lot less money.
Having a good video camera, microphone, and the necessary programs for editing and editing, you will have to spend no more than $ 200 for the entire project.
However, money is not the only payment. Consider energy costs as well. Your success is directly related to the time spent on achieving it. The more effort you put in, the better the product will be.
- Only the best equipment. To create precious content, you need software and quality hardware. It doesn’t have to be expensive. However, remember that your course is a face-to-face replacement course, so it should be as close to offline learning as possible (at least your students should have that feeling).
So, several devices will significantly facilitate your work:
- Microphone. The quality of the sound your students will listen to depends on the quality of the microphone you used to record. Choose carefully: it can be a miniature lavalier microphone or professional studio equipment. Certain microphone accessories will also help improve the sound. These can be shock absorbers, acoustic panels, or even pop filters.
- Headphones are the main tool for comfortable work when editing and editing video. Pay attention to the noise-canceling headphones.
- Programs for screen recording. Sometimes software that will broadcast from your computer monitor may come in handy. For example, if you teach students programming or Photoshop.
- Webcam. To create the effect of being in class and interacting in person with students, you need a webcam. We recommend choosing the ones that work from USB – they are the most reliable.
- Audio and video editing software. As you know, the real magic begins at the editing stage, when the final product is created literally out of nothing. Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro are the best quality editing software. If you want to focus on animation, use Adobe After Effects.
- Lighting equipment. Good lighting plays a crucial role in video recording. Depending on the format of the lessons, you can purchase either a complete set of studio equipment or just a few accessories for your smartphone.
- Only high-quality content. Before you start shooting, define your target audience. You can create a top-rated educational course only when you understand your potential students’ needs.
Don’t waste time and effort on audience research or content creation. Try different interaction formats, use the latest technologies and add fancy media elements to remember information, such as memes, better.
- Individualization of courses. The audience should understand how you, as a teacher, are different from others. To do this, focus on your uniqueness. Ask yourself: how are you different from everyone else? Avoid abstract and general language, such as “Graphic Design for Beginners.” Narrow down the area and flesh out the knowledge that you plan to pass on to your students. It is best to focus on one topic and devote all courses to it to position yourself as an expert in your field.
- Time to advertise. After creating a course, you need to throw all your energy into promoting it. To do this, create your website – without it, you will not be able to provide yourself with a professional Internet presence. The site will make it much easier for people to find you. Take the time to create social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. To create a tight and cohesive community of students around your brand, add new content regularly.
- Everything’s under control. It is essential to regulate the work of your educational brand. Set prices, control the promotion process, track trends, demand curves, and competitors. Remember, you need to show yourself as the brand’s sole identity when launching your product.
- The uniqueness of training. Provide your students with the opportunity to enjoy unique content that will make their learning process more comfortable and exciting. For example, give them access to your private library. You can also send personalized certificates to students after completing courses.
- Interaction with various internet platforms. Choose sites that can make your user experience more accessible. Link your courses to other resources and media tools like MailChimp, Google Analytics, or WordPress.
- Budget. Try to organize your work so that the budget is distributed most efficiently. Do not go beyond it in any way! But remember, to make money from a sale, you first need to spend it.
- Customer support. Maintain regular feedback with your students. Many services have built-in support windows that anyone who has questions for you can contact. Respond promptly and try to help in any way you can.
Most Popular Online Courses
If you want to launch your online courses on sale, you should first analyze the situation on the platform you have chosen based on our ratings.
It does not hurt to evaluate the already existing courses on your topic. After all, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with unique content today. Here are some courses that have become leaders on their platforms:
- EDX: The Science of Everyday Thinking is the most famous course.
- UDEMY: The Complete Web Developer Course 2.0 – Top Rated Course.
- UDEMY: SEO Beginner: How to Get 1000 Visitors a Day is the most popular course in entrepreneurship.
- COURSERA: An Introduction to Interactive Python Programming is the most viewed course among web developers.
As you may have noticed, all of the courses on this list are in-depth, highly informative, and most often designed for professionals in a specific field.
Online courses are also a tremendous, supportive way to promote a side project. For example, if you are the owner of a camera store and want to attract new customers, creating a course on a related topic, such as “ Becoming a Professional Photographer in 60 Days ”, will help you.
When choosing between several popular platforms, be sure to analyze your potential audience. The site you choose should meet your needs and have all the functions necessary for your development.
The success of any online course always depends on the quality of the content offered. The more exciting and interactive the format you present your knowledge, the greater the demand for it.
Which is the best online course platform (expert’s choice)
After evaluating all the popular online course platforms, we recommend MemberPress as the best online course platform for creating and selling online courses.
If you are a student looking for the best online learning platform to expand your skills, LinkedIn Learning and Skillshare are the best online student learning platforms.
We hope this article helped you choose the best platforms for your online courses. If you’re selling your online courses, you might want to check out our guide on how to grow your online business without spending a fortune.
Disclaimer: To avoid choice paralysis, we have only compared the best e-learning platforms or marketplaces. This list does not include other online course platforms such as Thinkific, LearnWorlds, Teachable, etc.