Online education growth is continuing—global online education sales were estimated at $29.87 billion in 2021, and are projected to reach $180 billion by 2030.
Whether you’re an established business owner or are looking to start a new path, you might want a slice of the online education pie—and any online course journey starts with the right online course platform. With many free (or almost free) options to choose from, there’s no need to break the bank.
What is an online course platform?
An online course platform, also known as an online course website builder, is a software application that allows you to create a website to sell your online courses online. Also known as LMS (Learning Management System), online course platforms are helpful to anyone looking to streamline their teaching process—from individuals and larger companies.
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Online course platforms are end-to-end applications, meaning they serve the creator and the learner. Creators can manage learning product inventory, sales, marketing, and customer service, while learners can discover, purchase and interact with courses.
Why use an online course platform?
Benefits of Using an Online Course Platform:
- Ease of use. Online course builders make it easy for any creator to create a website and start selling courses online—you don’t need to be a tech-savvy programmer to figure them out. They allow content owners to create a professional-looking elearning site easily, and many platforms come with built-in elearing tools for you to manage and edit your online course.
- Shopping cart and checkout. Most online course platforms include a shopping cart and checkout system that provide a straightforward way for customers to purchase items from your website. These systems also help protect your customers’ data and credit card information by encrypting and storing it securely.
- SEO. Online course platforms typically come with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features to help your course website appear prominently on search engine results pages. SEO can help attract more customers and increase traffic to your website.
- Customer support. Many online course platforms offer customer support, which can be helpful if you have any questions or need assistance setting up your teaching space.
There are also some downsides of using an online course platform, including:
- Platform Limitations and Control. When using an online course platform, you may encounter certain limitations in terms of customization and control. The platform's design templates and functionality may restrict your ability to create a unique user experience or incorporate specific features you desire. Additionally, you rely on the platform provider's policies and terms of service, which may affect how you can monetize your courses or interact with your students.
- Revenue Sharing and Fees. Many online course platforms operate on a revenue-sharing model, where a percentage of your course sales is retained by the platform provider. It is essential to carefully evaluate the platform's fee structure and understand how it aligns with your financial goals.
- Limited Branding and Marketing Opportunities. When using an online course platform, you may face limitations in terms of branding and marketing. While some platforms allow you to customize certain elements, your courses will still be presented within the platform's overall branding and user interface.
- Reduced Personalized Interaction. Unlike in a traditional classroom setting, online course platforms may limit the amount of personalized interaction you can have with your students. When choosing an onilne course platform, look for communication tools such as discussion boards or messaging systems, providing individualized attention to each learner. Personalized feedback and direct one-on-one interactions may require additional features in a platform.
Compare online course platforms
7 free online course platforms
- Mighty Networks
CreativeMindClass is the best online course platform for building video courses. With templates, easy-to-use-tools and 24/7 customer support you will be fully equipped to launch your online course website. Create an online course for free and pay only only when you earn. CreativeMindClass plans are free untill you make your first sale. There is no monthly fees, no subscription and no set up costs.
Teachable is an online course platform that allows creators to build their own online courses for free during 14-day free trail period. Teachable features include customizable landing pages, course creation tools, and student management.
Thinkific offers a free plan limited in features and a paid plan for $49 a minth. The online course platform enables creators to design, market, and sell their own online courses. It has a wide range of features like course hosting, quizzes, video hosting, and email integration.
Podia is n all-in-one platform online course platform that offers customizable templates for building websites, online courses, and digital downloads without coding. It provides an intuitive interface and a good user experience, although embedding custom codes is not possible. The platform offers a free plan, which is a significant advantage for beginners and the cheapest paid plan is $39 a month.
Kajabi is a platform that makes it easy for creators to build and sell their own online courses and membership sites. It allows users to create and sell digital or physical products, including online courses. Standard features include customizable checkout pages and an intuitive interface. Kajabi offers a free trail, however, reliance on the platform for various aspects of your business and relatively higher pricing compared to other options are some downsides to consider.
Gumroad is an e-commerce platform that allows creators, such as authors, musicians, and designers, to sell their products directly to customers. Similarly to CreativeMindClass, it allows users to easily sell digital goods with a 10% flat fee, therefore without any monthy fees.
7. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks a platform that makes it easy for creators to build and sell their own online courses and membership sites. Mighty Networks offers 14-day free trial with all features and paid plans starting at $39 a month.
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Free online course platform FAQ
Do you need an online course platform to sell courses online?
You don’t need an online course platform to sell your courses online. You could manually add features and plug-ins to a regular website to set up teaching space and start selling. An online course platform makes the process considerably cheaper, less time-consuming, and more user-friendly. Online course platforms also often include marketing features and secure payment processing tools.
Is it free to sell on CreativeMindClass?
No, selling on CreativeMindClass isn’t free however, creating online courses is free. There are three plans: Basic, Pro and Empire—ranging from 8% to 16% sales fee. All three plans are untill you make your first sale.
What is the cheapest CreativeMindClass plan?
The cheapest CreativeMindClass plan is the CreativeMindClass Basic plan, which starts at 8% sales fee. This plan is a free untill you make your first sale, so you can try it before you sale something.