Online courses are by far the best digital products you can offer.
When you offer your hard-won knowledge and expertise in a convenient package, you can reach a global audience of students eager to learn. Courses are evergreen products, meaning there’s no regular maintenance required unless necessary (for example, if the material becomes outdated).
Online courses can incorporate a variety of content formats, such as video, audio, and student discussions facilitated by outside tools such as Facebook Groups. By catering for different learning styles, online courses make the learning experience more engaging and effective — ultimately leading to happier students.
But as the demand for online courses continues to soar, choosing the right platform to host and manage your courses becomes crucial: if you’re releasing an online course soon, which one is best for you?
In this article, we’ll compare the five most popular course creation platforms: Kajabi, Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, and ThriveCart Learn. We’ll delve into the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, so you’re equipped with the tools to make your online education business a success.
|TL:DR – we may be biased, but the best online course platform is ThriveCart Learn. Don’t take our word for it though, the research is solid: find out why by reading on!
1. Kajabi: an All-in-One Solution
Kajabi is a cloud-based hosting program that allows you to create online courses and memberships. They offer a range of course creation options, such as mini courses and coaching programs.
Kajabi also features useful email marketing tools, although some users note that it lacks options to create customized email sequences. However, it does give you the ability to segment students so you can remarket to them based on past interactions. You can tag contacts in the platform and send emails, as well as include discounts and upsells to help increase your average order value.
Kajabi has a built-in CRM with Stripe and PayPal integrations so you can manage payments and subscription memberships, and track orders. However, Kajabi’s pricing may be on the higher side for some, making it more suitable for established instructors or businesses.
2. Udemy: a Giant Marketplace
Udemy has earned its reputation as the go-to platform for both instructors and learners due to its vast marketplace. With millions of users, Udemy provides instructors with an extensive audience base, potentially resulting in higher course enrollments. The platform covers a broad range of topics, making it suitable for instructors teaching diverse subjects.
However, despite its gargantuan reach, Udemy has limitations. Instructors have less control over pricing, and the revenue-sharing model may not be as favorable compared to other platforms. Additionally, the platform’s emphasis on discounts and promotions might devalue courses in the eyes of some learners.
Besides – when you’re competing with everyone else in the world, it can be a bit more tricky to make your digital course stand out from the crowd.
3. Teachable: Empowering Instructors with Customization
Teachable allows you to host online courses and includes built-in affiliate marketing and payment processing features. The online course software presents itself as a no-code solution, but you will need to have some basic coding knowledge if you want to offer things like live webinars, which could be challenging for beginners or if you have limited experience of coding.
Teachable offers course creation tools that can enable quizzes and supplemental attachments, and it integrates with Mailchimp and Zapier as well as offering an API to automate your workflow with other software.
Teachable offers a straightforward and easy-to-use interface, making it accessible for instructors of all technical levels. However, the platform’s basic plan has transaction fees, which may impact the overall revenue for instructors.
4. Thinkific: Flexibility and Diverse Content Delivery
Thinkific distinguishes itself with very flexible course creation options and diverse content delivery methods. Instructors can design and structure their courses according to their preferences, whether it’s through video lessons, quizzes, or downloadable resources. This flexibility caters to a variety of learning styles, enhancing the overall learning experience for students.
With text, video, audio, presentations, worksheets, surveys, and assignments into an online storefront, there’s a ton of options to choose from – but users report this means there may be a significant learning curve for beginners when creating and building courses.
Also, Thinkific’s marketing features may not be as advanced as some of its competitors, requiring instructors to use third-party tools for comprehensive marketing strategies.
5. ThriveCart Learn: Sell Products, Courses and More
ThriveCart released its online course platform Learn only recently, but it’s quickly gained attention from thousands of happy customers who use it to build and promote their online courses.
By integrating with the ThriveCart shopping cart platform, you can build great-looking checkout pages to showcase your course while adding upsells, downsells, bump offers and more. This can be a game-changer for instructors looking to optimize their sales funnels and increase revenue.
With Learn and Learn Plus, you get the ability to segment and tag your students, drip-feed content, and even offer affiliate programs so that happy students can spread the word and earn commission for selling your digital courses for you.
Online Course Platforms Comparison:
1. Course Creation and Customization:
– Kajabi: Kajabi offers an all-in-one solution, covering course creation, website building, and marketing. Its customizable templates make it easy for instructors to establish their brand identity.
– Udemy: Udemy provides a massive marketplace for course creators but has limitations in terms of customization. Instructors have less control over pricing and branding.
– Teachable: Teachable stands out for its emphasis on customization, allowing instructors to create a unique learning experience with personalized branding.
– Thinkific: Thinkific offers flexibility in course creation, allowing instructors to choose from various content delivery methods. However, its marketing features may not be as advanced as some competitors.
– ThriveCart Learn: ThriveCart Learn integrates seamlessly with the ThriveCart shopping cart platform, offering a unique approach to course creation and marketing.
2. Marketing and Sales:
– Kajabi: Kajabi excels in marketing tools, including email automation and sales funnel creation. This enables instructors to effectively market their courses to a wider audience.
– Udemy: Udemy’s massive marketplace provides exposure to a broad audience. However, instructors have less control over pricing, and the platform’s discount-oriented approach may impact course value.
– Teachable: Teachable offers customizable sales pages and a domain linking option, enhancing branding. However, the basic plan has transaction fees, affecting overall revenue.
– Thinkific: Thinkific’s marketing features may not be as advanced, requiring instructors to use third-party tools for comprehensive strategies.
– ThriveCart Learn: ThriveCart Learn shines in marketing with tools for high-converting sales pages, one-click upsells, and A/B testing, optimizing the sales funnel.
3. Pricing and Fees:
– Kajabi: Kajabi’s pricing may be on the higher side for some, making it more suitable for established instructors or businesses.
– Udemy: Udemy’s revenue-sharing model may not be a great idea for instructors, and the emphasis on discounts and promotions can impact course value.
– Teachable: Teachable’s basic plan has transaction fees, potentially affecting overall revenue for instructors.
– Thinkific: Thinkific’s pricing plans are competitive, with the option to remove transaction fees on higher-tier plans.
– ThriveCart Learn: ThriveCart offers a lifetime license, which can save you thousands of dollars compared to other platforms.
Which course platform is the best for you?
It ultimately depends on what you want as an individual business owner: each contender has its strengths and weaknesses. Kajabi stands out for its all-in-one solution and robust marketing tools. Udemy’s massive marketplace provides exposure, albeit with limited control over pricing. Teachable emphasizes customization and branding but comes with transaction fees on the basic plan. Thinkific offers flexibility in course creation but may lack advanced marketing features.
However, ThriveCart Learn emerges as the ultimate winner, simply because it comes bundled with our industry-leading shopping cart platform: and, of course, because you can get a lifetime license for a fraction of the cost of other platforms’ monthly subscription fees.
Want to learn more? Check out ThriveCart today, and in just a couple of hours you could be welcoming your first students to your new online course.