Finding the best course creation platform for you to create and sell online courses can be a challenge. There are several popular platforms offered at different price points with their own strengths and weaknesses. There’s also learning management systems used by corporations that you should avoid.
We’ve created this guide to make your purchase decision significantly easier. Below, you’ll find a quiz that you can take to get our recommendation of the best online course software for you. We’ve also included an overview of the course creation software market, and links to in-depth reviews of the top seven course creation platforms.
Table of Contents
- What is an Online Course Platform?
- How Much Does an Online Course Platform Cost?
- What Features Should I Look for in an Online Course Platform?
- How to Choose the Best Platform For You?
- Popular Course Creation Software
- Why You Should Trust Our Recommendations
- How We Selected the Best Course Creation Software
- How We Evaluated Course Creation Software
What is an Online Course Platform?
An online course platform allows entrepreneurs and small businesses to create, market, and sell courses online. Common features include a course builder, a website builder, email marketing, affiliate management, payment processing, and sales reporting.
How Much Does an Online Course Platform Cost?
Most course creators pay around $99 per month for their online course platform. The cheapest plans range from $29 to $49 per month. The most expensive plans can cost up to $500 per month. The quiz above allows you to find the best course creation software for all price ranges.
What Features Should I Look for in an Online Course Platform?
There are many features to consider when looking into an online course platform. To really differentiate each solution, we recommend looking into the four features listed below:
|Feature||Description||What to Look For|
|Course builder||Courses are typically made of individual lessons that are grouped into chapters. Within each lesson, you can upload different forms of multimedia – video, images, audio, text, and PDF.||Certain platforms also offer designated features that enhance the course taking experience – keep an eye out for assignments, quizzes, drip scheduling, live classes, and student discussions.|
|Website builder||Online course platforms let you build your website and pages from scratch.||The best website builders make it easy to design professional-looking websites. Look for templates for landing pages, site themes, a drag and drop editor, and desktop and mobile layouts.|
|Marketing tools||Course creation solutions offer tools that help sell and promote your courses to new and current customers.||Advanced marketing features found in the best platforms include coupons, course bundles, affiliate management, and email marketing.|
|Sales Reporting||Solutions offer sales reporting that let you keep track of the revenue and sales generated by your courses. This information helps you monitor how your courses are performing.||Look for platforms that offer more detailed reporting and better data visualization. Ideally, you can see metrics for individual courses, students, and campaigns.|
How to Choose the Best Platform For You?
The most important factors when deciding which course creation platform is best for you are price and the features you need. These are the primary criteria used in the quiz above.
More advanced course creation platforms tend to be more expensive. Luckily, the best platforms for beginners are also the most affordable.
Here’s a visual overview that will help you understand where each of the seven best platforms fit in the market based upon their price and level of functionality. For example, Kajabi is the most advanced platform, but also the most expensive. Teachable and Thinkific are intermediate platforms with mid-tier prices.
In addition, each platform offers three to five plans. These plans range from beginner to advanced level of functionality. As a result, it’s best for you to determine the best individual plan for you, not just the best platform.
In the table below, we show the plans that are available in each price range, along with the features they typically include. This table should give you an idea of the best plans for you.
|Price Range||Plans Available||What to Expect|
|Less than $50 month|
|$50 to $100 per month|
|$100 to $150 per month|
|$150 to $300 per month|
|Over $300 per month|
To determine the best individual plan for you, we recommend taking the quiz above. You can take it a couple times to really hone in on the course creation plans you should consider most.
Popular Course Creation Software
There are many course creation solutions available that range widely in terms of price and features offered. The seven most popular course creation platforms are listed below, along with an overview and links to our in-depth reviews of each.
Kajabi is a robust and highly customizable platform. It has a steep learning curve, so it’s not as approachable as other platforms like Teachable and Thinkific. We recommend Kajabi for experienced course creators who need high quality marketing tools and design capabilities.
Kajabi is an advanced all-in-one course creation software solution with tens of thousands of instructors. Kajabi helps customers seamlessly build, market & sell online courses and coaching programs. Overall, its platform is robust and highly customizable. It has a steep learning curve, so it’s best for more experienced course creators.
While it is not the most advanced platform in the market, Thinkific is a powerful and user-friendly solution. The platform is approachable for beginners, and also has the tools to support established course creators.
Thinkific is an online course creation solution with approximately 50,000 instructors. It helps course creators build and market their online courses and websites. It’s not the most advanced solution, but it’s powerful and easy-to-use. Overall, it’s ideal for ambitious beginners and established course creators.
LearnWorlds’ platform is feature-rich and offers a high level of customization. As a result, it has a steeper learning curve compared to more basic solutions like Thinkific and Teachable. We recommend LearnWorlds if you value a professionally designed website, and the ability to fully customize your courses.
LearnWorlds is a new, fast-growing course creation software solution with around a thousand instructors. LearnWorlds is an advanced solution that gives course creators complete control over the design of their websites. We recommend LearnWorlds if you value a professionally designed website, and the ability to fully customize your courses.
Teachable is one of the most popular course creation tools in the market. We found that Teachable is best for course creators who need a higher quality, mid-tier solution. At times, we found the application a little confusing to navigate, but overall, it is intuitive and better for beginners than solutions like Kajabi and LearnWorlds.
Teachable is one of the most popular course creation solutions with over 120,000 instructors. Teachable is an intuitive, powerful platform that beginners can master. Teachable is best for course creators who prefer a high-quality, mid-tier solution.
Podia comes with the same tools & integrations found in other course creation solutions. However, its tools are not as advanced as those found in alternative solutions. We recommend Podia to beginners who need a basic platform to begin their course creation journeys.
Podia is a course creation solution with over a thousand instructors. Podia provides what you need to sell online courses, webinars, file downloads, and memberships without worrying about the technology involved. We recommend Podia to those who are beginners and need a basic platform to begin their course creation journeys.
Heights Platform is a new, up-and-coming course creation platform with a focus on driving successful student outcomes. Overall, Heights Platform is best for those who need a simpler, more basic course creation solution. It’s a newer platform, which means there are many features still in development.
Heights Platform is a new, up-and-coming course creation platform with a focus on driving successful student outcomes. It includes the standard features that help creators build online courses and sell digital products. Overall, Heights Platform is best for those who need a simpler, more basic course creation solution.
Mighty Networks is a course creation platform that helps creators build a community around their course content. If you believe that a community-focused online platform is the best fit for your school and courses, then Mighty Networks is an option worth considering. However, it offers less features than its similarly-priced competitors.
Mighty Networks is a course creation platform that helps creators build a community around their course content. If you believe that a community-focused online platform is the best fit for your school and courses, then Mighty Networks is an option worth considering. Overall, Mighty Networks is best for those who need a more basic course creation solution.
Why You Should Trust Our Recommendations
The team at SoftwarePundit has been testing software since 2017. We’ve hand-tested over 250 software products in that time, including seven in the course creation category. We applied the same rigorous process to each piece of course creation software that we analyzed. The specifics of our course creation category research process are outlined below.
Amy led our analysis of course creation software. She has spent more than 300 hours evaluating leading course creation software systems.
In addition, all research and content was overseen by Bruce Hogan, SoftwarePundit’s Co-founder & CEO. Bruce has more than a decade of experience researching, building, and reviewing the world’s best software products. His technology advice has been featured on a wide range of media sites such as AngelList, CMSWire, Dental Economics, iPhone Life, Reader’s Digest, Thrive Global, U.S. News, and the Zapier Blog.
How We Selected the Best Course Creation Software
We selected the best course creation software based upon a number of criteria. The most important criteria were each software tool’s features, usability, price, and customer support. The details of our analyses are captured in the in-depth reviews we publish about each software tool.
There are a handful of critical features that you should look for in course creation software. We prioritized the following features in our analysis:
- Course builder: This is the most important feature in course creation software. You need to be able to build enticing courses that engage your students and give them the best ability to learn your material.
- Website builder: This feature is where you can host your content for your students to access. The visual design and functionality of your school is critical to your business’ success.
- Marketing tools: You can use these tools to promote your courses to new and existing students. It is imperative to have high quality marketing tools if you want to build your course business.
- Sales Reporting: This feature lets you keep track of the sales and revenue your courses have made. The information you should have access to include student payments, refunds, and the money earned from marketing tools like coupons, course bundles, and affiliate marketing.
How We Evaluated Course Creation Software
We used the same rigorous process to evaluate course creation software as all other software categories. For the course creation category, Amy invested several weeks researching the market, building courses and websites, and publishing her insights about the tools.
We interviewed the teams at the seven software companies listed above. Our conversations with the companies included questions about each company's product, the course creators that their platforms work best for, pricing, customer support, and business strength. After a general interview, Amy spent additional time participating in a product demo led by each company. This provided Amy with the opportunity to ask detailed questions about the features and functionality of the course creation software.
To gain a deep understanding of each course creation tool, Amy signed up for free trials of each solution listed above. This allowed her to validate the features offered by each product and understand the software’s usability. She spent several hours creating actual courses in each platform. She uploaded different types of multimedia, added courses to her store, and tested specific marketing strategies. In addition, she downloaded the creator and student mobile apps to better understand the mobile app experience for each course creation platform. In addition to conducting conversations with the software companies and hand-testing every piece of software, Amy also spent dozens of hours interviewing real customers of the software tools listed above. Course creators that provided insights that were included in our analysis and reviews were:
- Miriam Schulman: Miriam Schulman is the founder of The Inspiration Place. She uses Kajabi to create her mixed media classes.
- Larissa Malcolm: Larissa Malcolm is a social worker at the The Flourishing Place. She uses Thinkific to create courses based on mental health in relation to Covid-19.
- Megan Marrs: Megan Marrs is the founder of K9 of Mine. She uses Thinkific to produce content on dog training, grooming, and dog choosing.
- Samantha Fabbro: Samantha Fabbro works at Event Temple on the marketing and growth team. She uses Teachable to onboard customers who purchased their hotel and venue management software.
- Adrienne Johnston: Adrienne Johnston is a free presentation designer. She uses Kajabi to teach courses that help other designers who are looking to get into the industry.
- Milena Regos: Milene Regos is the founder of Unhustle. She uses Kajabi to create courses that help entrepreneurs get more done with less stress.
- Yuri van der Sluis: Yuri Vander is the founder of Crisis Selling. He uses LearnWorlds to help salespeople succeed during these times of crises and remote working.