Looking for the best online course platforms or a free online course software to build, sell and make money? Great. Truth is,
Knowing the best online course platforms to host your program for your students can be hard.
And even harder if the platform is devoid of a good monetization method. Because, what’s the use of an online course platform if you can’t make money off your hard work?
I know it can be tough when you have just started.
But hey! No need to fret, I mean, we are all free moral agents– we have a free world of the Internet to storm and search for what we want – Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, AOL, and more.
You can find tens if not hundreds of top free online course platforms that can help you achieve your goals and track them at the same time.
But to make it easier for you, we have found the top 5 best free online course platforms by the first-hand experience and compiled them here on this list.
- 0.1 Best Online Course Builders for Beginners
- 0.2 What is an Online Course Platform?
- 1 Here are the Best Free Online Course Platforms you must use in 2020
- 1.0.1 1. KAJABI
- 126.96.36.199 Knowing Kajabi & What it offers
- 188.8.131.52 Getting Started on Kajabi
- 184.108.40.206 Build Your Course on Kajabi
- 220.127.116.11 Make Money from your Course on Kajabi
- 18.104.22.168 Marketing your course using Kajabi
- 22.214.171.124 Integrations on Kajabi
- 126.96.36.199 What I don’t Like about Kajabi
- 188.8.131.52 Prices and Plans on Kajabi
- 184.108.40.206 Customer Support on Kajabi
- 220.127.116.11 Create Course on Kajabi
- 1.0.2 2. TEACHABLE
- 18.104.22.168 Knowing Teachable & What it offers
- 22.214.171.124 Signing up on Teachable
- 126.96.36.199 Getting Started on Teachable
- 188.8.131.52 Build Your Course on Teachable
- 184.108.40.206 Make Money from your Course on Teachable
- 220.127.116.11 Integrations on Teachable
- 18.104.22.168 What I don’t Like about Teachable
- 22.214.171.124 Prices and Plans on Teachable
- 126.96.36.199 Customer Support on Teachable
- 188.8.131.52 Create Course on Teachable
- 1.0.3 3. PODIA
- 184.108.40.206 Knowing Podia
- 220.127.116.11 Signing up on Podia
- 18.104.22.168 Getting Started on Podia
- 22.214.171.124 Build Your Course on Podia
- 126.96.36.199 Make Money from your Course on Podia
- 188.8.131.52 Integrations on Podia
- 184.108.40.206 What I don’t Like about Podia
- 220.127.116.11 Prices and Plans on Podia
- 18.104.22.168 Customer Support on Podia
- 22.214.171.124 Create Course on Podia
- 1.0.4 4. LEARNDASH
- 126.96.36.199 Knowing LearnDash & What it offers
- 188.8.131.52 Signing up on LearnDash
- 184.108.40.206 (Selling Online Courses from your Own Website)
- 220.127.116.11 Getting Started on LearnDash
- 18.104.22.168 Build Your Course on LearnDash
- 22.214.171.124 Make Money from your Course on LearnDash
- 126.96.36.199 Integrations on LearnDash
- 188.8.131.52 Other advanced infrastructures on LearnDash
- 184.108.40.206 What I don’t Like about LearnDash
- 220.127.116.11 Prices and Plans on LearnDash
- 18.104.22.168 LearnDash’s Propanel:
- 22.214.171.124 Customer Support on LearnDash
- 126.96.36.199 Create Course on LearnDash
- 1.0.5 Teachable vs Podia vs Kajabi vs Thinkific vs LearnDash
- 1.0.1 1. KAJABI
- 1.1 What is the Best Online Course Software?
- 1.2 Top Content Creators Who Have Generated Income Source via Online Courses
- 1.3 How To Create An Online Course For Free
- 188.8.131.52 Step 1. Identify Your Market, Ideal Customer and Audiences
- 184.108.40.206 Step 2. Estimate the Production Cost
- 220.127.116.11 Step 3. Start Course Research & Compilation
- 18.104.22.168 Step 4. Choose your Course Topic
- 22.214.171.124 Step 5. Proof the Effectiveness of your Half-Written Course
- 126.96.36.199 Course Creation Tools to Use
- 188.8.131.52 Step 6. Create Your Course Content in Full
- 184.108.40.206 Top Considerations & Questions for a Perfect Course
- 220.127.116.11 Step 7. Choose a Platform to Host Your Online Course
- 18.104.22.168 Make Use of All Integrations
- 22.214.171.124 Step 8. Market your Course
- 1.3.1 Final Notes on the Best Online Course Software
Creating an Online Course
Do you know that as an expert in your field, this market (online school) presents you with the best opportunity to make an insane amount of money?
In the latest e-learning market analysis, trends and forecasts, strategyr.com recorded that e-learning market worldwide is projected to grow by USS312.5 billion.
Driven by a compound growth of academics, one of the segments analyzed a sized in this study displays the potential to grow at over 15.3%.
The shifting dynamics supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast of the changing pulse of the market.
Poised to reach over US $202.7 Billion by the year 2025, Academic will bring in healthy gains adding significant momentum to global growth.
Here is another projected value of the global e-learning markets presented by Thinkific – According to Stratistics MRC, the Global E-Learning Markets was accounted for $165.21billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $275.10 billion in 2022 growing at a CAGR of 7.5% during the forecast period.
To round it up, according to statista.com, here is the size of e-learning market in 2014 and 2022 (in million U.S. dollars).
The statistic shows the market size of the e-learning market worldwide in 2014 with a forecast regarding 2022. In 2016, the global e-learning market was worth 165.36 billion U.S. dollars and is projected to surpass 243 billion U.S. dollars at a 5.08 percent CAGR in 2022.
As we can see, this is a huge market and more instructors, content owners, and entrepreneurs will be making millions of dollars on autopilot as soon as they set their courses or online school up.
Top Online School Creators & Instructors Who Were Searching For Course Platforms
To make sense of this huge market, it is worthy to note that there are a lot of content creators, instructors, and entrepreneurs who have had a huge success with hundreds of thousands of dollars as rewards.
We have some popular names such as Lewis Howes, Vanessa Van Edwards, Pat Flynn, Haley Davis, John Lee and more as we will find out later.
And pin-pointing John Lee,
After deciding and starting to create a daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs in 2012, in October 2013, John launched Podcasters’ Paradise online course. In the month of January 2018 alone, it generated over $43,000 from it.
What does this show? That anyone can become a success as far as you have what others need.
When you have great content, all you need is a platform, and that is what’s we’re about to enlist.
Best Online Course Builders for Beginners
We won’t just list the online course software to use and build a reputable online school, we will also share what other users have to say about them.
You don’t have to try all of these online course tools, you just need to figure out the ones that will work best for the goals you have in 2020.
Most importantly, the list is based on personal usage of these platforms. That way, you do not have to do the research again.
Before going all the way in, let’s first understand what an online course platform is.
What is an Online Course Platform?
An online course platform is a software, plugin or website where instructors, content owners, and entrepreneurs use to create educational materials or info products in form of free or paid courses for students and related audiences.
If you are an instructor, later on, you will see how to create an online course for free – as you can start totally free (0$) on these recommended online course platforms.
Here are the Best Free Online Course Platforms you must use in 2020
Disclosure: there are no affiliate links yet in this blog post. If you care to purchase any of the course platforms, please comment for links, Thank you. Else, feel free to go ahead. Have a nice read.
(The Super Professional Online Course Platform)
Meet a fantastic online course platform for things like self-guides programs with super-advanced infrastructures.
Kajabi exists to help people achieve more freedom and flexibility in their lives. Having spent over 9 years helping over 25,000 business owners create and sustain a successful business online, the question is, who needs Kajabi most? Shortly we will find out.
Knowing Kajabi & What it offers
Kajabi is a hosted platform for marketing, selling and delivering information products online.
Kajabi provides a platform for hosting content, like videos, audios and text documents, delivered using some proven templates, such as the video squeeze page and sales page for marketing the content, and a membership community area for delivering the actual product.
The thing is, Kajabi compressed many extensions you would have used in its platform. No third-party plugins or integrations required to create your course.
And just to add, if money was not a concern, then Kajabi stands as my #1 recommended platform for course creation – everything is in one place plus a sample and intuitive design (excluding LearnDash – integrated with WordPress).
Getting Started on Kajabi
When once you sign up, login to your account. You will be asked to tell them about you. Go ahead and select the “lines” that best defines you.
Click on “Next” to continue to the next page.
Build Your Course on Kajabi
When once you click the “next button” you will be launched into your dashboard.
The Kajabi’s dashboard is simple with fewer integration extensions. Of course, unlike others above, Kajabi compacts everything – integrations into one place.
To your top left, the first section shows: your website, products, marketing and the people in your course.
Going down a bit, you will see “Kajabi University” – where you can enroll and access FREE tools and training you need to build your business online.
To create your first course, click on “Products”.
From here, go ahead and choose the type of course, and then start building your program.
Again, you have the option to start a product from scratch with a blank template.
Make Money from your Course on Kajabi
Upon creating your course, you have the option to “create your first Offer”.
An offer is a collection of one or more products that you can sell or “offer” to your customers. You also have the option to create single payments, payment plans, monthly subscriptions, enrollment fees, and much more.
Click the button below to create your first Offer.
With this, go ahead and chose how you want to monetize your program.
Marketing your course using Kajabi
(I must confess, I like this infrastructure by Kajabi), to start off your marketing, all you need to do is “Create your first Pipeline”.
Pipelines are an excellent tool for creating different marketing sequences with a few simple clicks. Click the button below to create your first Pipeline.
Within it, you have other Pipelines such as:
- Email Campaigns
Going further, you have the “People” tab where as people join your list, complete assessments, and purchase your products, they will appear within this area. With this, it’s very helpful to Tag your users to organize your list strategically”.
Also within it, you will see your Assessments & Affiliates.
Integrations on Kajabi
Kajabi commands inbuilt integrations; nothing like third-party tools. For instance, instead of using or paying for MailChimp, Aweber and more, you are free to make use of Kajabi’s Email inbuilt tool to “grow, manage, and reach” your subscribers with customizable emails.
Kajabi Email’s new visual builder lets you quickly create and send gorgeous messages that integrate video, countdown timers, automation, and more thereby helping you to build a strong audience relationships.
To make use of the Email tool, click on “MARKETING” to start composing your emails. Within it, you will find MARKETING CONTACT ADDRESS, COMPANY LOGO, EMAIL SETTINGS, AND EMAIL SEQUENCE DEFAULTS,
And how can I forget the inbuilt massive “setting extension tab”.
Kajabi’s setting tab has both Account & Site Settings. Below are some of the options under “Site Settings”.
- Site Details
- Marketing Settings
- Checkout Settings
- Blog Settings
- Drip Settings
- Subscription Cancellation
- Payment Integrations
- Third Party Integrations
- Email Templates
- Custom Domain
- Static Pages.
And going over to “Account Settings” you will see
- Account Details
- Account Password
- Account Users
- Notifications & Privacy
- Contact Info
- Lightning Loader
To round it up, your progress report is shown on your dashboard.
(Let me be the first to say it. If you need a simple platform with no complexities or third-party integrations, then KAJABI IS WHAT YOU NEED!).
What I don’t Like about Kajabi
If you are concerned or do not like the fact that all the hosting + infrastructures are on the Kajabi dashboard, then it is not what you want to use.
However, you need to know that this, of course, is a good thing too as it saves you many hours to work on individualistic platforms because it means you don’t have to worry about all those, and the promise of cloud servers is great, nevertheless, the “all your eggs in one basket” may still sound a bit scary to others.
Another thing (not a serious stuff though) is, I don’t like the fact that you must provide your credit card details to use the platform.
Again, if this is a turn off for you then you might look forward. However, Kajabi said they need your details so as not to worry you again when you need an upgrade.
Prices and Plans on Kajabi
Kajabi’s pricing are a bit expensive. This factor can be traced to the fact that, they do everything for you on one platform. That is, Kajabi replaces the combo of an LMS (LearnUpon) + Shopify + Recharge + Mailchimp + Adobe Connect.
Kajabi’s pricing starts at $119/month. This plan include a 20% discount if you pay annually.
With the $119 BASIC PLAN, you get one website, 3 products, 3 pipelines, unlimited landing pages, unlimited marketing emails, and up to 1,000 members and 10,000 contacts.
Kajabi’s next plan.
Kajabi’s Best Value Plan starts at $159/month
Kajabi’s Best Value Plan at $159/month pricing includes a 20% discount if you pay annually.
With the $159 Growth PLAN, you get one website, 15 products, 15 pipelines, unlimited landing pages, unlimited marketing emails, and up to 10,000 members and 25,000 contacts.
Remember, I talked about “Kabaji’s University”, right? The Growth PLAN gives you that option.
More on the Growth PLAN includes
Kajabi University, 0% Transaction Fee, Webinars & Events Ready to Use Templates, Assessments (Quizzes & Surveys), 24/7 Chat Support, Advanced and Automations, Ability to Remove Kajabi Branding, and Affiliate Program.
With everything in one place for you, if you want to build on Kajabi and join over 25,000+ serious experts and influencers around the world then I recommend the Growth PLAN so as to make sense of the premium tools + 0% Transaction Fee.
Customer Support on Kajabi
With the Basic Plan you are entitled to support via tickets and other related routes, however, if you go with the “Growth PLAN”, you get instant chat support in case you need anything.
Haven’t used their ticket support platform, but the instant chat support is hosted on Drift.
The ‘Growth Plan’ is totally worth it if you can afford for your business.
Create Course on Kajabi
For sure there are no doubts that Kajabi looks very tempting and ultimately would replace your current tool (if you have one) combo of an LMS (LearnUpon) + Shopify + Recharge + Mailchimp + Adobe Connect and etc.
I personally love the non-complexed dashboard to easily create your course + all integrations – inbuilt, and not forgetting the walkthrough videos in the Kabaji’s University – available on GROWTH PLAN and PRO though.
If all the above sound like what you want – everything in one place + instant support, then Kajabi is what you need. And yes, I mean it.
You can start creating your course/program today with confident 30-day money-back guarantee.
That is to say, if for one reason or the other you cancel your subscription within 30 days of your first payment, then Kajabi will refund you – but I doubt you will want out.
Ready to join other customers who have already have made 1 billion dollars on the platform to date? If yes, then check out Kajabi.
Teachable is undeniably a popular e-learning platform for students and course creators. In fact, some of us might have asked why I left it out till. Hmm. Luckily, this question shall be answered much later. So hang on.
Knowing Teachable & What it offers
Teachable is an online course platform where course creators create and sell beautiful online courses. Teachable is believed to be the platform used by the best online entrepreneurs to sell $300m+ to over 18 million students worldwide.
Signing up on Teachable
You can choose to use the Teachable online course platform for free (with $1 + $0.10 for all transactions) or select one of their three plans ranging from $29/month to $399/month. Choose a plan to get started.
Getting Started on Teachable
If you go with the Teachable’s free plan you will be limited in so many aspects to your course creation. To make proper sense of your course, I recommend you go with their popular Professional Plan at $79/month.
Purchase your plan, enter your information, create your account, verify and login to create your first course.
Build Your Course on Teachable
To build your first course, you need to login to your account. Upon login in, you will be taken to a course dashboard created for you – “MyTeachable”.
At your left-hand side you will see: My School, Create a New School, Settings, Billing, Help and logout”. That is all.
To create your online course, click on “Create a New School”. Name your school, else click on skip.
On the next page, answer a few questions to help them get to know you better. When done, click on “Enter my School” and Start your course.
More features to use include”: Users, Site, Sales, Emails, Help, and TeachableU.
To customize your course with billing and more integrations, click on Settings.
With the settings tab you get: General, Payments, Taxes, Notifications, Plan, Billing, Integrations, Webhooks, Roles and Beta Program
Make Money from your Course on Teachable
When your course is ready, you can add your PayPal address wherefore you will get paid by Teachable.
But remember, to enjoy more functions you need an upgrade.
Integrations on Teachable
Teachable also has wide course integration extensions. But you can only make use of them when you upgrade.
When you log in you will find: Segment, Google Analytics, and Sumo.
Others as shown below.
Still. on extensions, you have “TeachableU”.
TeachableU: This is Teachable’s online training school for course creators.
With it, you can learn a proven step-by-step method to create and sell your own profitable online course.
Unfortunately or fortunately, you get free access to TeachableU when you upgrade to any paid Teachable plan.
What I don’t Like about Teachable
People will have to register an account and add a credit card on Teachable.
While this is not a big deal, however, some users can find a friction with it.
Additionally, Unlike Thinkific, Teachable offers Basic infrastructures & a bit higher extensions, something to look out for if you do not prefer Thinkific.
Also, they charge transaction fees when starting out.
Lastly, the customer support experience might be horrible at times.
Prices and Plans on Teachable
Teachable has 3 plans – BASIC, PROFESSIONAL & BUSINESS.
If you’re going with Teachable, I recommend the PROFESSIONAL Plan at $79/month (if billed annually) or $99 per month.
The advantage here is that you get zero transaction fees. It also has graded quizzes, custom completion certificates, advanced website theme customizations, and support for up to 5 admin users.
And the most interesting infrastructure – “Advanced Reports”. Advanced Reports” helps you get all reports on ‘Students, Videos and Upsells”.
Customer Support on Teachable
Inside your account, you can open a ticket or search the answered articles should it be your question must have been answered. Nevertheless, if you need help, the Teachable team will respond to you.
Create Course on Teachable
Teachable presents a simple platform to easily upload your content, edit the look of your online school, and engage with your students – all this with your dedicated sub-website.
If you want more, you can make sense of their interesting extension – “Advanced Reports.
With it, you get all reports on ‘Students, Videos and Upsells”.
Get started today with your preferred Teachable plan and join other experts and make money.
For all the feminine bloggers and those who love super clean interface, you’ve got it with Podia. Since 2014, Podia had been empowering creative entrepreneurs to make a living doing what they love.
Podia is an online platform where content creators can sell online courses, digital downloads, membership subscriptions and more to your audience.
One of the attractive features of Podia is the no transaction fees, and a simple three-step process for content creators.
Apart from creating and selling your courses, Podia Majors in providing a great MEMBERSHIP OPTION & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD PLATFORM for users.
With over 25,000+ creators making use of Podia’s clean platform, you too can get started for free or see in full what they’ve got to offer.
Signing up on Podia
Signing up on Podia is simple. With a 14 day trial for all users, you can as well join the podia platform to start building your course, membership site and digital download.
Click here to get a 14 day free trial on Podia.
Getting Started on Podia
When once you’ve signed up, enter your data and create your account. When done, go ahead and verify your account, and login to your account to get started.
Build Your Course on Podia
Upon signing in you will be presented with the modern type of interface a feminine blogger would love. Excuse me please, because I like it as well.
For the first section you have; Products, Memberships, Messaging. Coupons. Email, Customers. Affiliates and Sales.
The second section shows you a beginner’s video tutorials should you need any help to create your course. Also, you can join a demo and QnA.
On the right-hand side you have the function to: fill your bio, set up membership and create a product.
Looking down, the third section shows you your: customers, subscribers, sales, and margin.
The question is, what do you want to create first?
Whatever you want to create, Podia has everything you need to sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships. You can set up and start selling in just 5 steps.
Choose the best option that fits what you want to do and move on.
With each option you select above, you have many extensions to customize it to what you want; Content, Settings, Pricing, Promote, Customers, Comments, Draft and Preview.
Make Money from your Course on Podia
You can easily make money on your course as Podia gives you the option to set up your Enrollment date. With this, you can choose to have your course start on a future date.
Students who purchase your course will be charged immediately, but won’t have access until the start date. Anyone who previously purchased the course will continue to have access.
Additionally, you can make sense of “UPSELLS’ and increase revenue by offering another product at a discounted price after the customer purchases.
You get paid instantly by accepting credit cards or PayPal payments.
Integrations on Podia
Podia has interesting integrations but not as many as Teachable and Thinkific.
Prefer to use your own email service provider? No problem, just set up an integration with MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Drip or Convert Kit, or use Podia’s Zapier integration to connect with your favorite email tool.
Kindly note: Connecting an email service is not required, as Podia’s email marketing platform is included in your plan.
What I don’t Like about Podia
There may be a need for more integration for some users.
More integrations would make it a super-flexible tool for those that love customizing their projects.
Be it as it may, if you want to focus solely on your course and monetization then you might not need all the add-ons extensions like Sumo, Google Analytics and more.
It is worthy to say that, with the exception of some few add-ons, Podia is a recommended alternative to Thinkific or Kajabi + its own head-on advantages.
Prices and Plans on Podia
With Zero transaction fees and 7-days-a-week support, Podia, has just 2 payment plans; MOVER – at $39/mo for creators launching their first digital products. And SHAKER – for creators who are ready to grow their business.
Whatever category you are, you can get started for free with Podia. Also, you get access to all features so you can decide which plan is right for you.
Customer Support on Podia
My #3 recommended platform to sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships is PODIA. It offers almost everything Thinkific & Kajabi do, has a cleaner interface than Teachable, and ultimately LIVE CHAT for content creators.
I like to rate the best customer supporting platform best.
You know, customer support tickets were supposed to make customer service better, faster, and more efficient. But they didn’t.
That’s why Podia does not use such. They prefer you open up that chat window at the bottom of your screen, you connect with a real person – someone that’s there to share your triumphs, support your success, and lend a helping hand at every step of your journey.
Create Course on Podia
If you are looking for a simple, beginners, feminine–like platform to create and sell your online courses, memberships and digital downloads, then Podia is the perfect place.
Unlike other platforms, Podia never punishes you for your success by charging you more as you grow.
You pay a flat monthly fee no matter how much you sell. There are no additional transaction fees on Podia – ever.
All in all, if you’re looking for strong membership & digital downloads functionality, and the ability to increase your sales with the help of affiliates, Podia is a unique and best course builder to check out today.
Try Podia free for 14 days, no credit card required.
Take nothing away from it. As a long time user and fan of self-hosted WordPress CMS, if I were to create and take total control of my course, I would go with LearnDash. Why is this?
Apart from the fact that most bloggers use self-hosted WordPress, making use of LearnDash is just a sweet spot as the integration with WordPress makes it super cool.
Before we go on, it’s worthy to note that LearnDash is my #1 recommended online course software with WordPress integration due to 1. The advanced tools for course creators, and 2. WordPress integration, and the most important, 3. Customer support, and advanced reporting.
So, if you are looking for a WordPress-integrated online course platform then LearnDash is where to go.
Knowing LearnDash & What it offers
LearnDash is an online course software that provides practical and experience-driven guidance for individuals and organizations interested in setting up online courses, with the best use of cutting edge eLearning methodology and infusing it into WordPress LMS – Learning management system.
LearnDash works best for Educational Institutions, Developers, CEU Training Organizations and more.
Some top websites using LearnDash include Yoast, the University of Michigan, Infusionsoft, University of Florida, WP Elevation and more.
Justin Ferriman & Kloé Ferriman are the figureheads at LearnDash (CEO & COO respectively)
Signing up on LearnDash
LearnDash robust system has already helped course creators & entrepreneurs to make people millions of dollars, save businesses tens of thousands of dollars, decrease new customer refund rates, and more!
Now is your turn to join in. Signing up is free. All you need to do is click on this link to “Get a Full 30-Days to Try LearnDash!”
Starting out, the “BASIC PLAN” offers just 1 Site License. To grab up to 10 Site Licenses + ProPanel, then the “PLUS PACKAGE” package will be a good fit.
ProPanel: gives you a clearer dashboard and a reporting infrastructure. (More on this later).
(Selling Online Courses from your Own Website)
If at any point in time you want to sell online courses from your own website, then please, LearnDash is what you want.
With it you can easily create & sell courses, deliver quizzes, award certificates, manage users, download reports, take total control, and so much more.
The key concept of LearnDash is #1. Create Courses #2. Monetize it (them) #3. Administer total control #4. Tech – Build a faster course using provided tools.
Getting Started on LearnDash
To get started on LearnDash you will have to choose a plan. Going with the “PRO PACKAGE”, enter your details, verify your account and login to start creating your course.
Build Your Course on LearnDash
When once you’ve signed up, sign in and see your WordPress Integrated dashboard. To add your course, go to COURSE, and click “Add New”.
Go ahead and complete your course creation. When you need to preview what you’ve done so far, click the “Preview button” on the top right-hand side.
Alternatively, you can make use of LearnDash’s Powerful Course Builder.
LearnDash’s drag & drop Course Builder allows you to easily create multi-layer courses.
It is also the only course builder on the market that lets you re-use your content, making it easy for you to spin-up courses!
You can even rename the labels to anything you wish. For example, you can rename “Lessons” to “Modules”.
There are more than enough gadgets on your LearnDash Dashboard for your success, however, here are the infrastructures I like the most.
LearnDash Focus Mode
You can make sense of LearnDash’s dedicated virtual learning environment, a feature your learners/students will like.
What LearnDash’s Focus Mode does is to eliminate distractions and let your content shine – helping to increase learner retention and completion rates!
Additionally, you can add your own logo and brand colors for a truly immersive, branded experience!
Please note: Focus Mode is an optional feature. (That is if you do not want it).
With LearnDash, you can choose from eight different question types with the options you need to customize the quizzing experience.
You can use this format: Single Answer, Multiple Choice, Sorting, Matching, Fill-In-The-Blank, Free Text, Survey, and Essay questions all supported.
- Display custom messages based on quiz performance.
- Enforce Quiz timers and use Question Banks, and more.
LearnDash has given course creators the freehand to award points to learners as they complete courses, and allow learners to unlock new courses based on the points they have earned – great for letting them choose their own dynamic learning path!
The truth is, the above is just a tip of the iceberg if I want to consider the infrastructures LearnDash has provided. Find out more.
Make Money from your Course on LearnDash
Having used the provided infrastructures to create your course, to make money.
Go ahead and set your price, choose the payment schedule, and start taking orders!
(If you go with the “PRO PLUS PLAN” you will be able to track and see your reports).
At this time you have to decide how you want to make money. Do you want?
- One-Time Purchase?
- Shopping Cart?
- Course Bundles, and more options.
The bottom line is, whatever option you choose, they are all made available on LearnDash.
For instance, if you go with “Course Bundles” that is, sell your courses one at a time, or create bundles.
Using LearnDash for “Course Bundles” just takes a few “clicks”! When someone purchases a bundle they are then enrolled into all of the courses in that bundle. This is a great way to provide discounts for bulk purchases!
Again, LearnDash’s drag & drop course builder will help you to easily create multi-layer your course bundles. You can rename the labels to anything you wish. For example, you can rename “Lessons” to “Modules” to “Bundles” and as you wish.
Integrations on LearnDash
When you’re done – selecting your monetization method, go ahead and add “Any Payment Gateway you want”.
Seriously, I like the fact that course creators can add up to 300 payment gateways for students; PayPal, Stripe, 2Checkout, and 300+ others with WooCommerce. (A feature Thinkific is yet to have).
Apart from these 300+ payments integrations, you are allowed to use “Renewal Reminders” for students who are yet to pay or make full payment and etc.
And on top of this, you can use the “Refund Protection” infrastructure. With it, you can schedule content to lower your refund rates and increase revenue.
There are many more integrations to name them here.
To be frank, LearnDash is so cool. So, when you discover that other course creators are making six-figures in revenue on the platform, an example is Troy Dean, you shouldn’t be surprised at all.
#All thanks to unapologetic facilities offered by LearnDash.
Other advanced infrastructures on LearnDash
I have decided to keep some infrastructures out to save your time. Here are some of them;
LearnDash Focus Mode, Drip-Feed Content, Advanced Quizzing, Lesson Timers, Sample Lessons, Flexible Prerequisites, Course Forums, Gradebook, Course Points, Certificates and Badges.
Multiple Instructors, Simple Course Sales, Subscriptions, Memberships, Course Licenses, User Profiles, Email Notifications, Group Management, Detailed Reporting, Assignment Management, Expire Access, and more.
Kindly Note: Before we go further, in case you do not want to learn all I have said on your own, you are free to use the Video Tutorials provided by LearnDash. They’re clear and concise videos of the key LearnDash functionalities.
What I don’t Like about LearnDash
I don’t see any other factor to tag a Con on LearnDash apart from the prices – which is paid annually, anyway.
This is by no way a perfect platform, however, since I can’t say much about its cons, it remains the best online course platform with WordPress integration or if you want to sell courses from your own WordPress website.
Prices and Plans on LearnDash
LearnDash offers only ANNUAL payments. The reason for this is to help course creators concentrate on their course, students, and monetization.
The first plan is the “BASIC” goes for $159.
With the BASIC PLAN you can create unlimited courses, and other premiums options, but you’re assigned just 1 Site License.
The second plan is the “PLUS PACKAGE” goes for $189.
With the PLUS PACKAGE you can create unlimited courses, and other premiums options, plus, you get Up to 10 Site Licenses & ProPanel.
The Third plan is the “PRO PACKAGE” goes for $329.
With the PRO PACKAGE you can create unlimited courses, and other premiums options, plus, you get Up to 25 Site Licenses & ProPanel
Question; should you go for a plan with “ProPannel”?
ProPanel is an advanced reporting add-on for your LearnDash powered courses.
ProPanel allows for quick assignment & essay management, displays learner data in charts & graphs, enables emailing features, and provides additional learner information (such as total time spent on course).
With it you:
- See real-time activity as users take your courses.
- Approve, delete, and manage all assignments & essays.
- View and download user course progress & quiz results.
- All your learning management system data are on your dashboard!
Selecting a plan. I recommend you start with the PRO PACKAGE – to produce a ground-breaking course – since it is a yearly payment. However, if you can’t afford it, then the PLUS PACKAGE should work great for you.
You can get started today with a $40 discount and full a 30-day money-back guarantee on their annual plans.
Customer Support on LearnDash
Like Thinkific, LearnDash offers great customer support for course creators. If you need help you can easily click on “Questions” or open the “Help Centre” at the bottom right of your screen.
Create Course on LearnDash
Some Users from Reddit said,
“I just met someone who is using LearnDash and he loves it. I don’t have his contact info with me right now but it is working well for his 1000+ employees. I don’t know what your budget is but $180 seems like a low barrier to implement a LMS” – R.B
“I’ve been using LearnDash with a nonprofit client for about a year, and I’m currently procrastinating writing a proposal for another client where I’m recommending LearnDash. I really like LearnDash, especially for very small organizations or consultants who are selling a handful of courses.
LearnDash gives you quite a bit of control. You can add plugins and customize your experience. Need forums? There’s a plugin for that. If you do get into Storyline or interactive media sometime down the road, you can add that in LearnDash and even track everything via xAPI. It’s on your domain, with your URL” – C.D
“I’ve used LearnDash for more than 5 years now, and of all the LMSs I have used, personally and professionally, I find it is the most versatile.
Essentially an LMS is just a place to put stuff you’ve developed using different tools (Storyline, Lectora, etc), but compared to a lot of other low to no cost LMS options out there, LearnDash looks much nicer” – I. D
If you’re a tutor looking for grading systems that compete with the features of college curriculums, advanced reporting, advanced monetization, then LearnDash is a great choice.
(Even without any major issues found), the bottom line is, LearnDash might not be perfect but it is the best LMS for WordPress so far that you’ll use. With constant updates, they surely will remain the best!
“We have been loyal fans of LearnDash since we integrated into our company in January. What we particularly love is that you are constantly refining and adding new features. It’s great to know that there are always new additions or new partnerships (like the one with Memberium) in the work making this product stronger, more robust and so seamless to use.” – Andrea, said.
Get started today on LearnDash with a $40 discount and full a 30-day money-back guarantee on their annual plans.
Before we go on, let’s see a comparison of the Top best 5 Best Online Course Platforms.
Teachable vs Podia vs Kajabi vs Thinkific vs LearnDash
#1. Amongst the other platforms, when starting, Teachable is the only platform that takes Transaction fees of 5%.
#2. Amongst the other 4 course platforms, only Podia provides a Hassle-free migration – if you sign up for a paid plan.
#3. Amongst the course platforms, only Podia, Kajabi & Teachable provide Video Hosting, and between the 2, only Podia allows unlimited video.
#4. Amongst the other 4 course platforms, only Kajabi allows you to build your course without making use of third-party facilities. They’ve got everything inbuilt.
What is the Best Online Course Software?
Truth is, I don’t have “a most preferred planform, so, no biased review, else, I will be deceiving or defaming your trust – which is not our ethics here”.
After testing the platforms except for LearnDash (as I already use WordPress), here is my honest run down of them – excluding popularity BUT prioritizing benefits and modern infrastructures.
The bottom line is, the best online course software or platforms is solely based on your most preferred marketing options.
So far, Teachable and Thinkific toe the same paths.
Teachable is popular and many known internet marketers make use of it. Also, their BASIC pricing plan is about $10 lower than Thinkific.
Most notably, Teachable has a horrible history of customer support while Thinkific has B + or an A customer support grade.
In conclusion, Teachable is worth the price if you can afford it plus the successes recorded so far.
Going further, if money was not a thing to consider then Kajabi is what I would have recommended first, which, nonetheless, is still my #1 platform if money was not the issue. Why?
I love the fact that Kajabi is simple, intuitive, down-to-earth, decluttered and all infrastructures you need to succeed + instant client support from the company is embedded in one place.
Podia has ALMOST ALL the infrastructures as available on Thinkific and Teachable + their inbuilt add-ons missing on the two.
Unlike Kajabi, and like Thinkific and Teachable, Podia makes use of third party integrations to help you build your program.
Podia offers ‘Unlimited Products, Memberships, and Unlimited Emails, not forgetting Live chat support “.
If all you wanted was a platform to sell online courses, digital downloads, and memberships, then PODIA was originally built for that.
LearnDash is a complete course platform that offers the infrastructures and more like Thinkific and Teachable. The only separable factor with it is, if you want to create an online course using your website and having total control, then, LearnDash is ideal for you.
With the LearnDash plugin installed on your WordPress website, course creation wouldn’t have been easier.
Also, it is worthy to note than LearnDash is the cheapest course creation software among the top 5.
LearnDash is already used by top websites such as Infusionsoft (now Keap), University of Michigan, OptinMonster University, Yoast Academy and more, and as ultimately helped to make people millions of dollars, save businesses tens of thousands of dollars, decrease new customer refund rates, and more!
Get started with LearnDash – the WordPress course machine
(Thinkific review is not up now. We are still figuring how to work with it, update on it later)
Top Content Creators Who Have Generated Income Source via Online Courses
Danny Iny is a known blogger. He started the popular Firepole Marketing blog to share his knowledge of marketing. After rebranding to Mirasee, he started creating and selling online courses to monetize his audience.
Mari Smith is a well-known leading expert on Facebook marketing and consulting for countless companies. After some time of sharing valuable information, she monetized her hard work via her online courses.
There are just a lot of them; talk about John Lee Dumas, Pat Flynn and more.
How To Create An Online Course For Free
How do I create and sell online courses? This question can be tricky for beginners, most especially when they consider stuff such as “topics, revenue, and marketing”.
Because a lot of digital marketers above all started as beginners and succeeded, you have no reason you shouldn’t succeed as well. Now let’s answer the question of “How Do I Create and Sell Online Courses”
Step 1. Identify Your Market, Ideal Customer and Audiences
You can do this before or after you’ve set up your course. How do I mean?
Creating an online course means you’ve found a vacuum that needs to be filled – this is how I found one in another niche on Quora. In fact, I had to bookmark the question because a lot of people had no credible answers to it.
The good news is, this was something I did for over a year using a smaller platform and seen success.
If this is where you are, you can pinpoint a pain point and move on to create your course using any preferable platforms already reviewed. At this point, your target audience is already established.
If after you’ve identified your market,
Once you have set up your online school and equipped it with great courses, the next move is to get your first customers and that begins by identifying them.
This means that you will need to get as much information for your chosen ‘target audience’ as possible. This will help you associate their biggest needs with your services and products, hence increasing the chances of selling your course massively + upselling for recurring income.
Step 2. Estimate the Production Cost
Compiled by raccoongang.com, a research by Chapman Alliance conducted back in 2010 states that an hour of eLearning costs ~$10,000 to produce. (This goes for basic course interactivity and media richness level; more features — more time and money).
Below is an infographic that shows an overall estimate.
While the above can be staggering, truth is, figure out what you need and the ones you don’t as you can create a good course under $186.
Also, the good news is that any of the above course platforms have done the majority of the enlisted work for you.
Step 3. Start Course Research & Compilation
If you want to write around your course topic you can do this after it, else, go ahead and start researching your subtopics, statistics, and industry data that will help you to produce the best in the world course.
For me, I like to add a 120% value to my audience. If you want to go for 150%, it’s even better as you can easily upsell your students and make recurring income (upselling is as good as the REAL course).
To start with, use platforms such as Reddit, Quora, Topic + Forums. Do the same on Bing, Qwant, Search Encrypt, AOL, Swisscows, StartPage, DuckDuckgo or more if you want.
Step 4. Choose your Course Topic
It’s time to choose a comfortable topic for your course. Truth is, no matter what you name your course it will be profitable as far as you’ve produced 95%+ super content.
Wait! Because you can name it anything doesn’t mean the name should be ridiculous, right? So, just choose a relative name you find interesting, and you are good to go.
See an example of Guitar Lessons.
- Guiter Junction
- Guiter Diamond
- Guiter Limitless
- Guiter Coco
- Guiter Prism
- Guiter Flow
If you are puzzled about a name to use, jump to this site and generate a name for your course.
Step 5. Proof the Effectiveness of your Half-Written Course
I learned this from Seth Godin. If you want to test how effective your product or program is, give it out to your trusted friends, if it is as good as you think, they will be your first customers and referrals. That is exactly what you want to do.
That said, go ahead and share a sample or the page link of your MODULE 1-3 course to your F& F for them to have a piece of it.
Wait, what if you do not want your F & F – Family & Friends to know you want to make money online? My Gosh here is it.
Go to any online forum, let’s use Reddit.
Go to a related niche sub-reddit and create content around your topic and leave a link to your course by saying” hey, I created a full FREE course on your TOPIC in case anyone wants to check it out, kindly leave your comments to help me”, thanks.
You’re far from being done.
Don’t get excited yet until 5-10 hours later. Only get excited if your content is still there because some Reddit Moderators are always paranoid.
If they delete your content, go ahead and open a conversation with them. With this, there is a high chance it will be reapproved.
BUT, if after 3 times they are still showing their bad-asses, move to another forum. Check out Indiehackers.com
When you do this, DO NOT FAIL to ask the readers or testers to subscribe to your email list so as to get the full Modules.
You can use an effective tool like GetReponse for it, or EmailOctopus if a free tool is what you want.
Course Creation Tools to Use
You might not need this part if your laptop or computer has a built-in camera and a microphone. But if not, here are some tools to help you out.
Screenflow – screen-sharing software out there. It will capture your screen and voice as you navigate your computer and explain your actions.
Others: Camtasia, Screentomatic, ScreenRec (Free), OBS studio (Free).
Audio Technica ATR 2100 – The ATR 2100 is an affordable microphone for most online course creators.
Blue Yeti USB Mic– for Recording & Streaming on PC and Mac, 3 Condenser Capsules, 4 Pickup Patterns, Headphone Output and Volume Control, Mic Gain Control, Adjustable Stand, Plug & Play.
Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 – a high-quality video camera where you can clip it on to your computer and start recording HD videos.
Or Panasonic HC-V380K, has Wi-Fi mobile device Twin Camera feature adds multi-camera scene picture-in-picture recording.
(The last 2 tools are on Amazon.com)
Step 6. Create Your Course Content in Full
Now the teaser is out, and you’ve got a bite of your stand – good words about it or bad reviews. If good, you are free to write full content, and if bad, you might need to revisit your root and plan.
Just as Seth Godin will say,
“Marketers make things better by making change happen.”
“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
“You can’t fool all the people, not even most of the time. People, once unfooled, talk about the experience.”
“People don’t want what you make. They want the way it will make them feel, and there aren’t that many feelings to choose from.”
“You’ll never be able to serve everyone, which is comforting since you’re less likely to be disappointed when it doesn’t happen.”
Just find your missing piece from Godin’s quote, and re-write your course.
However, do not focus on perfection because I have learned that no matter how GREAT & IMPORTANT a video is on YouTube it will still get DOWNVOTES – by some group of persons I can’t really describe.
So, edit what you need to then go ahead and set out the top considerations before composing your course in full.
Top Considerations & Questions for a Perfect Course
From the lines of Thinkific,
Take a really critical look at your proposed curriculum. Try and get rid of any extras or unnecessary steps. Ask yourself things like:
- Is this Step crucial to getting to this Milestone?
- Is my student actually learning anything here?
- Can these Steps be combined?
- Would my audience already know this going into the course?
- Is this Chapter too long? Too short? Can I combine it with another?
- Would I have taken this course when I was getting started?
At the end of this exercise, you should have a solid structure for your course.
Having done some or all of the above, go ahead and create a stunning course you would like to make money off it in the next 1 -2 years.
This is so important because a course creator like John Lee, since 2013, has been making money off the very one course he created 7 years ago…So, do it well as if you want to get paid forever.
Step 7. Choose a Platform to Host Your Online Course
After creating irresistible and unapologetic content, the next step of action is copying and pasting your content on your preferred course platforms.
We have talked extensively on it. Just go ahead and choose one that fits your needs.
As a reminder,
If you want to use your WordPress blog and create your course with total control, you need LearnDash,
If you need a standalone course platform with many integrations + recurring income via Upsells, you need Thinkific or Teachable,
If a platform for Course, Digital download, and Membership + instant customer support, you need Podia, and lastly,
If you want an independent course platform where everything is in one place + instant customer support, Kajabi is the answer.
Make Use of All Integrations
First of all, you want to make use of all available integrations each of the course platforms provides. Popular integrations include tools like GetReponse, Google Analytics, WordPress, and more.
If you are using your own WordPress Blog or course platform like LearnDash you have unlimited tools to use, however, there is no need as what you need is made available by LearnDash.
Step 8. Market your Course
Your course is as good as nothing except people find it.
Here are some places and avenues to share and market your course.
- Paid Traffic
- Guest Posting
- Facebook Ads
- Google Ads
- Facebook Page
- Banner Ads
- YouTube Ads, and etc.
Pin-pointing Facebook Ads
For Facebook Ads, you do not have to create a Facebook business account. You can make use of a simple Facebook page and run $20 ad to create the first awareness.
I like to give support to my audiences on anything paid, because paying for what you sell means they trust you.
If you want to stand out as a great digital marketer then you might want to provide support for challenging students.
That is it.
With this, the question of “how to create an online course” is answered.
You’ve just joined the rest of entrepreneurs to have a test of recurring income.
Final Notes on the Best Online Course Software
Devoid of the platform you use, the best tool is creating an incredible course for your students and audiences. And the good news is that we‘ve done a great job to enlist all you need to make this possible.
Considering the course platform or software to use,
Just as we have seen, all the best online course platforms have their Alphas and non-explorative features and benefits, which allows us to go for what fits our best interest.
While I can say, if you’re ready to start creating and selling online courses, I recommend you get started with Teachable, but yet, you might want to host or sell online courses from your own website, if yes, the best online course builder for this is LearnDash,
And if you want a platform for Course, Digital download, and Membership + instant customer support, you need Podia, and, of course,
If you want an independent course platform where everything is in one place + instant customer support, Kajabi is the best tool.