5 Best Online Course Platforms of 2022 [Ranks & Reviews] Revealed!

Choosing the best online course platform that’s right for you can be crucial in determining your online sales. Starting with creating the actual course, engaging with the students, uploading videos and collecting payments – everything you need could be within a grasp of your reality if you know where to look. I think you’ve come to the right place :). In this post, I hope to be your guide in helping you become the ultimate teacher and creator you can possibly be, by using the best tools available. I’ve reviewed and ranked the top 5 course platforms in much detail, so you can choose the best route for you to take. Enjoy the journey my friend!

teachable course platform Logo

Teachable

Best for starting your first course platform. Easy to use, intuitive and cost effective to get your course up and running in no time!

Read Review →

thinkific course platform Logo

Thinkific

Well Rounded Course Platform that helps you to market, sell, and host your content all in one platform.

Read Review →

kajabi course platform logo

Kajabi

For creating courses that are premium value. Great for small businesses and corporate environments.

Read Review →

learnworlds course platform logo

LearnWorlds

Engage with Users with interactive lessons, videos, assessments, quizzes, certificates and much more!

Read Review →

LearnDash course platform logo

LearnDash

For Wordpress users, you can integrate your course platform right into your site, so users don't need another login.

Read Review →

I’m speaking from experience here because I have created several online courses.

These weren’t light courses at all.

One course had approximately 30+ hours of video lessons with over a dozen worksheets and written lessons as well.

My biggest course had 40+ hours of video lessons with many worksheets, tools, checklists, and everything the student needed to make sure they got results.

I have tried many of the top online course platforms and have ACTUALLY tested them in real-life and I know what is good, and what may not be worth your money.

And you definitely want to start with the best online course platform right off the bat, because migrating from one platform to another might takes several hours to do!

So if you’re gonna create your own online course, might as well pick the one best suited for you.

Out of the 5 that I’m listing, I have tried 3 (Teachable, Thinkific, Kajabi)

So the other 2 I’m going off of other people’s recommendations.

But here you’re getting the truth and I love to preach honesty.

Because don’t you hate it when you read a review or comparison and the author hasn’t even used the products and services they are recommending?

I absolutely hate that, so I’m giving you information from the perspective of actually using the services for my own business and putting my experience where my mouth is 🙂

Hope you enjoy!

Learning Management System

What are online course platforms?

These are usually all-in-one browser solutions that provides you with everything you need to host your classroom of course on the internet:

  • Creating a website for your online course to live
  • Landing pages so you can sell your courses
  • Ability to set your own prices and collect payments (one-time, monthly, or installments)
  • Hosting for your video lessons
  • Assignments, quizzes, interaction with students, and some include live sessions.
  • Ability to create communities like forums or like subreddits of Reddit
  • Some give you the power to host live webinars as well.

Another word for these all-in-one online learning solutions are called Learning Management Systems or LMS for short.

I’ll be referring to either Learning Management System, LMS, e-learning, or online course platform when referring to these.

They all mean the same thing 🙂

Best Online Course Platforms to Host Your Course?

Again, coming from first-hand experience here.

There are some pros and con of each which I’ll go over with you throughout this post.

My top picks for the best online course platforms.

Teachable.
Thinkific.
Kajabi.
Learnworlds.
LearnDash.

#1 - Teachable

Best Well-Rounded Online Course Platform
(Free or starting at $39/month if paid yearly)

Again, coming from first-hand experience here.

There are some pros and con of each which I’ll go over with you throughout this post.

My top picks for the best online course platforms.

Teachable.
Thinkific.
Kajabi.
Learnworlds.
LearnDash.

teachable logo

David's Take

My go to platform when I’m building a basic and minimalist course. In fact it’s the one I’m currently using to host one of my online courses. This is perfect if you are a beginner or if this is your first course you are creating because they make it super easy to setup and everything is very intuitive. Not much technical features, but super beginner friendly. I recommend this if you are just starting in your information business.

1
out of 10

Best For

First Time Course Creators and Startups

Price

$0 – $299 a Month

Annual Discount?

Yes – Save 17%

Promotions?

Free Plan!

Teachable IMHO is the best online training platform for beginners and startups.

That’s why it’s my number 1 pick because most people looking for an LMS are beginners.

Perfect option to get your feet wet in course creation because they also have a free option so you get take a test run before committing.

And although some of their plans are very affordable at $29/month it comes with a 5% transaction fee compared to their $99/month option which has zero transaction fees.

So depending on how many students you get into the course, it might make more economical sense if you go with their Pro Plan.

Of course, you can upgrade or downgrade at any time.

Teachable​ Pros

  • Super easy to setup and get going right away
  • Many Customizable themes to choose from
  • Unlimited students and courses
  • Customizable storefront and sales pages
  • On their pro plan you get Live Zoom courses
  • Certificates that you can give to students after completion
  • 5 user accounts in their pro plan
  • Graded quizzes
  • Payment plan includes 130+ currencies

Teachable​ Cons

  • Doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other course platforms.
  • Very minimalistic and may not be as feature-rich as others.

Teachable Pricing

  • Free ($0 /month) – Unlimited Students & Unlimited Courses. $1 + 10% per transaction
  • Basic ($29 /month) – Member only community, 2 admins, 5% transaction fees, drip content, course builder.
  • Pro ($99 /month): All Basic features + no transaction fees, 5 admins, advanced reports, and course certificates.
  • Business ($249 /month): All Pro features + 20 admins, coding customizations, group coaching calls, priority support.

Get started with Teachable Pro Plan as it’s the best bang for your buck and start creating your awesome course today!

#2 - Thinkific

Best Beginner Online Course Platform
(Free or starting at $39/month if paid yearly)

thinkific logo 1

David's Take

The Mario of LMS platforms. (Mario is well-rounded in video games 🙂 ).
Thinkific is a great platform to host your own course on because of the easy to use backend, payment integrations (Stripe), monetization tools, and makes it an awesome experience for the students going through your course. Their tools make it easy to collect payments and you can easily reach out to their amazing support team when you need some help. This is an easy rec from me for selling online courses whether you are a beginner or a veteran in creating online courses.

1
out of 10

Best For

All – Beginners, Experts and all in Between

Price

Free – $399 /month

Annual Discount?

Yup – Save 20%

Promotions?

Free Plan!

Overall, Thinkific is affordable yet provides many features on some of the more expensive course platforms.

Here are some of the great features of Thinkific:

  • From the students perspective, the dashboard looks stunning and highly customizable (videos, text, and files can all fit on the same page.)
  • Ability to drip feed your content over a certain period of time. Ex Drip 1 Module a week.
  • Wistia Video Hosting (a standard nowadays for LMS platforms).
  • The course sites are very customizable and from an outsider looking in, it looks as if it’s hosted on your very own website and not Thinkific.

Best for all the features it provides, it’s affordable, plus it’s very customizable.

It’s not the cheapest one to start because their plans start at $49/month if you pay monthly and $39 a month if you opt to pay for the entire year upfront, but there are huge sites and brands that use the Thinkific platform for their courses.

One of the biggest users:

Fiverr

Did you know that Fiverr courses are all built on top of the Thinkific LMS?

Pretty crazy huh?

So you know when it comes to size and scale, Thinkific can deliver.

fiverr courses

I think one of their best features is that you can fully customize your course with their drag and drop editor.

It really reminds me of some of the better website builders like Elementor.

I would recommend users to go for their Pro plan feature (their most popular, and for a good reason).

With this plan, you get to create unlimited courses (look how Fiverr took advantage of this) and also includes advanced pricing options, landing pages, customizable certificates, bundles and membership and many of their sales and marketing automation.

A little sneak peak of the Thinkific experience:

thinkific experience

A look at many of their website templates

thinkific themes

Thinkific​ Pros

  • You get instant access to funds when you make a sale – no waiting necessary
  • All the sales and marketing automation you need.
  • All their plans come with no transaction fees, compared to competitors where they have a 5% transaction fee for their lowest tiered plans.
  • One of the best online classroom platforms for both beginners and experts.
  • Best overall in terms of price, features, easy of use and support – A great Balance.
  • Customizable certificates for course completion and custom domains
  • Have full control over the code of your entire site.

Thinkific​ Cons

  • Limited to 2GB of file uploads (esp. videos)
  • May be more pricey when compared to beginner course platforms like Teachable.

Thinkific Pricing

  • Free ($0 /month) – Limited Courses but unlimited students, drag and drop builder, limited functionality (no drip content).
  • Basic ($39 /month) – Everything in Free Plus Unlimited courses and students, drip (scheduled) content, custom domain, live support, 1 on 1 student email.
  • Pro ($79 /month) –  Everything in Basic plus private & hidden courses, certificates, subscription & flexible pricing, memberships and bundles, advanced HTML and CSS editing, assignments, live lessons via Zoom & priority support.
  • Premier ($399 /month) – Everything in Pro plus 5 admins, groups, Unlimited communities, 15 group admins, onboarding package, and unlimited growth package (great for big teams).

Get started with Teachable Pro Plan as it’s the best bang for your buck and start creating your awesome course today!

#3 - Kajabi

Best High-End Online Course Platform for Businesses & Professionals
($119 /month)

David's Take

IMHO, Kajabi is the best LMS for small business and professionals that really want to scale their business to the next level. Their platform is filled with so many features that you probably won’t use them all! You can also customize and create your online training to fit your business needs because it is highly flexible. Whether you’re in the need for a LMS for corporate training or want to scale your e learning business, then Kajabi is the perfect solution for you.

1
out of 10

Best For

Professionals & Small Businesses

Price

$119 – $319 /month

Annual Discount?

Yup – Save 20%

Promotions?

When I hosted my first online course I didn’t know what I was doing.

And back then, there weren’t sophisticated LMS systems for a course creator to use, so I hosted my education program on my own host through Wordpress.

Long-story, short, it was a total mess and chaotic to handle the students.

That’s when I learned about Learning Management Systems and it changed my e learning world.

The first platform that I used was Kajabi and it was fantastic! But the reason I switched was because I started dabbling around with other platforms like Teachable, Thinkific and LearnWorlds to name a few.

The main reason was that Kajabi was super powerful.

Almost…too powerful.

Like I didn’t need all the extra bells and whistles that it came with because I have a customized way of generating traffic and create my own funnels with my own payment system.

So that was the reason why I switched.
I just wanted a simple learning management system.

But not everyone is as minimalistic as me.

So if you want the grandaddy of all-in-ones and need all the top of the line landing page builders, funnels and payment systems, then Kajabi is the best choice for you.

I would easily recommend this for any type of business training or corporate training.

I would also recommend Kajabi for small businesses that have longer video lengths.

Most LMS platforms don’t tell you this, but there is a file size limit when uploading your content to these platforms.

And usual file size limit is 2GB.

But with Kajabi you get double that, so 4GB!

Which is perfect if you want an enterprise learning management system.

So overall, Kajabi is best suited for entrepreneurs, professionals, and in a corporate training setting and not quite for the small course creator.

What it does best?

Kajabi is top notch when it comes to email marketing automation and sales funnels.

It has everything in the form of automation such as:

  • Dripping content
  • Pre-sales
  • Pre-webinars
  • Upsell emails

All automated!

They have a flagship “Pipelines” feature which lets you customize your entire marketing campaign and fully automate it.

They also have many lovely Themes for their sites which you can also customize so it looks super clean.

They also include payment integrations such as stripe, customizable checkout systems, and many blogging functions.

Like I said, it gives you everything and then some, truly living up to its name of all-in-one.

Awesome Templates!

Source: Kajabi

Kajabi Pros

  • Best all in one LMS software especially for small businesses.
  • Big focus on automated sales and marketing tools
  • Has more features than all the other course platforms
  • Integrations with Paypal and Stripe
  • Wistia video hosting with 4GB file size limit (double compared with other LMS platforms)

Kajabi Cons

  • Not for beginners.
  • Many features which is why it’s a premium price.

Kajabi Pricing

All Priced Annually

  • Basic ($119 /month) – 3 products, 3 pipelines, 1 website, 1 admin, 10,000 contacts, and 1,000 active members.
  • Growth ($159 /month) – 15 products, 15 pipelines, 1 website, 10 admins, 25,000 contacts, 10,000 active members.
  • Pro ($319 /month) – 100 products, 100 pipelines, 3 websites, 25 admins, 100,000 contacts, and 20,000 active members.

Again best for businesses that really want to scale and want every feature the LMS world has to offer.

If you want the most advanced stuff, then Kajabi is perfect for you!

Start your free 14-day trial of Kajabi today.

#4 - LearnWorlds

Best Online Training Platform for Interactive-Based Learning
($24 -$249 /month)

LearnWorlds-logo

David's Take

LearnWorlds in my opinion is one of the best course platforms for engagement and interaction with students. If you want to go above and beyond for your students and give them interactive videos, surveys, quizzes, certificates and create Gamification for the entire education process, then LearnWorlds is for you! Although it may not be as easy to use as some of the others, it makes up for it in terms of engagement and activity which includes powerful student community features.

1
out of 10

Best For

Interaction, Engagement and Community

Price

$24 – $249 /month

Annual Discount?

Yup – Save 20%

Promotions?

LearnWorlds is for you if you want to put student interaction at the forefront of your education.

You can inject a lot of gamification to the student experience when you build your course on the Learnworlds platform.

It may not be as simple or as easy to build as some of the other LMS systems but it offers a ton of interactive elearning options.

You can totally customize your courses and make interactive content with just a few clicks and zero coding knowledge.
It provides the learner the ability to highlight text, add notes along with other powerful tools at their disposal.

LearnWorlds Interactive Features

Source: LearnWorlds

Learnworlds also comes with a drag and drop builder so you can design your course or your landing page without knowing any code.

You can choose from over 400+ templates and widgets for your website so you won’t need to worry about designers block!

And for the advanced users, LearnWorlds allows you to edit the HTML code of your website that comes with any of their plans.

Source: LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds Pros

  • Unlimited courses and pages
  • Interactive videos, live Zoom classes, interactive eBooks, gamification, and automatic video transcriptions!
  • Users can use highlights and take notes on the content
  • Comes with certificates, exams, grade books, and assignments – Total Gamification!
  • You can create a custom mobile app for both iOS and Android
  • Great analytics section to monitor sales
  • Social media integrations and can create discounts for students
Ability to white-label content
  • Can also create membership sites
  • 24/7 support team
  • 30 day free trial

LearnWorlds Cons

  • May not be the easiest to use.
  • Students may not have the best dashboard, but it is highly customizable.
  • Has a file size upload limit of 1GB per file, compared to 2GB of others.

LearnWorlds Pricing

LearnWorlds Pricing

All Priced Annually

  • Starter ($24/ month paid annually) – $5 fee per course sale, 1 admin, custom domain, Unlimited Paid courses, Site Builder (3 pages), 4 payment gateways, coupons, and drip feed courses.
  • Pro Trainer ($79 /month) – Everything in Starter plus No Transaction Fees, 5 admins, Unlimited courses & landing pages, subscriptions and memberships, unlimited popups, custom checkout pages, live classes via Zoom and Webex, assignments, custom certificates, and affiliate management.
  • Learning Center ($249 /month) – Everything in Pro Trainer plus full White Label Options, 20 predefined custom user roles, Interactive Video (video quizzes, pointers, watermarks, etc), Unlimited SCORMs / HTML5, premium 24/7 support, and Auto-Transcripts & Subtitles for your Videos

IMO, Learnworlds is the best course creation software if you want a lot of interaction and engagement with your students.

Also has tons of unique and interesting features such as the ability to create your own mobile app and automatic video transcriptions.

Click here to try LearnWorlds for 30 Days for Free!

#5 - LearnDash

Best Online Course Software for Wordpress
($13.25 /month - Or $159 Yearly)

David's Take

One of the Best LMS software if you’re already using Wordpress. You can easily integrate all your favorite plugins of Wordpress with LearnDash. In the perspective of the student – it’ll seem like you are hosting your very own course all on your very own site! Looking very professional to your students. Easy to use and includes certificates, monetization tools, payment systems and more.

1
out of 10

Best For

Wordpress Site Owners

Price

$159 – $329 Yearly

Annual Discount?

Yes. Yearly Pricing Only

Promotions?

This LMS is the most unique of the bunch.

It’s because this is actually a Wordpress plugin that you sync Wordpress with and host your course on.

If you are a Wordpress user and are used to the Wordpress backend, then this is a perfect learning management system for you!

One of the best parts of using a Wordpress integrated LMS is that you get to choose your own hosting so you’re not tied down to the hosting service of the course platform.

You also get to choose your own themes and of course utilize the huge popularity of Wordpress and its widespread market of 3rd party plugins.

LearnDash is also a very popular plugin used by many Fortune 500 companies and Universities because it’s built on top of the Wordpress ecosystem.

Some noteworthy names that use LearnDash:

  • University of Michigan
  • Infusionsoft
  • Yoast
  • WP Elevation
learndash yoast
Yoast uses LearnDash!

Source: LearnDash

One of their flagship technologies is their Gradebook system.

It gives the student an overall grade that is algorithmically based on the students homework scores, quizzes and creates a weighted average of the students performance.

You can assign course points for certain actions taken, grade students and you can give out badges and certificates to award students for milestones achieved.

In this way, it’s very synonymous with a grading systems used in college curriculums so these features are best suited for teachers and professors or for those who want a very sophisticated grading system.

They also have a helpful featured called “Focus Mode”
Which blocks out all distractions when the student is going through the course.

learndash focus mode

Source: LearnDash

LearnDash Pros

  • Leverages the uber popular Wordpress Platform
  • Best for those who already use Wordpress
  • Very sophisticated grading systems comparable to ones used in Universities
  • Dynamic forums built into LearnDash
  • Includes certificates, badges and grading system so you can have a birds-eye view of students’ performance.
  • The usual automated tools such as subscriptions, shopping carts, bundles and other monetization tools
  • Support for popular media types like Google Docs and Adobe Captivate files

LearnDash Cons

  • If you’re not familiar with Wordpress, could have a learning curve
  • Have to pay for separate hosting costs (although you’re free to choose your own hosting)

LearnDash Pricing

All Priced Annually

  • Basic ($159 /year) – 1 site, Unlimited courses & users, drip feed lessons, certificates & badges, advanced quizzing, course forums, 1 year support & updates.
  • Plus ($189 /year) – Everything in Basic but up to 10 Site Licenses and includes ProPanel.
  • Pro ($329 /year) – Everything in Plus but up to 25 Site Licenses for big teams and businesses.

LearnDash who is it for?

If you are deeply interwoven into the Wordpress ecosystem, then this is one of the best virtual training platforms for you!

Because you get all the power of Wordpress, including all the third party plugins and flexibility of Wordpress while still being able to host a course on your very own site!

Try LearnDash with their 15 Day Money Back Guarantee Today!

 

How to select the best online course platform

Quick secret:

You want to use an online course platform that is SO GOOD, the student doesn’t even notice that it’s not your own hosted course.

Ultimately, you want to host your course that provides the smoothest experience for the student, so there are no barriers between the information you are teaching to the students brain.

That’s how a good e-learning platform should be like:

Information dripped straight to the students brain and to get them to internalize the information.

Why Online Learning Management Systems?

Let’s be honest – it’s 2022.

We’ve gone through a global pandemic and it made us a lot more digital because of social distancing.

Not only that, but people just don’t want to go back to work in their offices because they can do their work digitally!

Without a doubt, we live in the digital world.

So it’s natural that even education and training can move to the digital world as well.

It honestly makes perfect sense to do so, plus there are many benefits of hosting your classes online such as scalability for example, which you couldn’t do in a real-life classroom (unless you had a huge auditorium to fit 1,000s of people, which in that case would cost a lot of money 🙂 ).

With the power of leverage, you can teach 200 students for the same price as teaching 5 students.

And with recorded material – you can quite literally teach people while you sleep 🙂

FAQS about LMS & Online Course Platforms

Which one do I use?

I personally use teachable.

The reason being is because I love the simplicity and minimalistic style of its platform.

Which one is the best for small businesses?

Honestly, Kajabi.

If you have the bucks and can afford the premium prices, Kajabi has some of the best features that is all-inclusive to run a successful small business.

The best LMS for beginners?

Either Teachable or Thinkific.

I usually direct beginners to the Teachable option, because it is a little bit cheaper than Thinkific and just as easy to use.

I also watched some interviews with their CEO and think he’s awesome:

Watch an interview with CEO here.

Video file size limit on Course Platforms Issue

I ran into this issue when I started my first online course.

I recorded some massive video lessons (some 3+ hours long!) and I found out that there was a file size limit to the video lessons…

I could have split the video into multiple parts, but I really didn’t want to do that.

Plus, I was paying for the LMS so why should I split it, when I’m paying for the video hosting?

So here’s why I like Kajabi.

They have a video file size limit of 4 GB!
(Which is double than most of the other LMS platforms, which is 2GB)

Thinkific and Teachable also have a file size upload limit of 2GB as well.

So I thought the final verdict was to stick with Kajabi…

But I found an easy solution.

A handy-dandy file FREE file compressor software called Handbrake.

It was a godsend, because I didn’t have to split the video lessons into multiple parts!

It helped shrink a 5GB file into about 200-300 MB!

Talk about saving some space!

So don’t fret, because you can use handbrake for all your file compression needs (it’s free!)

 

Best Course Platforms Summary

(The TL;DR Version)

When deciding between the best online course platforms, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Student experience
  • Price
  • Features
  • Ease-of-Use
  • Design

For me, the top priority is ease of use, ability to quickly upload content and have everything else get out of my way so I can deliver results to my students.

You also want the platform to offer a payment system so that you can generate sales from selling your knowledge.

But like with most things in life, how successful your course becomes and how much information your students received all depends on YOU.

A platform is just a tool.

You still got to put in the marketing effort, produce the content and help your students.

So once again, here are my top picks:

Teachable – Best Beginner Online Course Platform
Thinkific – Best Well-Rounded Online Course Platform
Kajabi – Best High-End Online Course Platform for Businesses & Professionals ($119/month)
LearnWorlds – Best Online Training Platform for Interactive-Based Learning
LearnDash – Best Online Course Software for Wordpress

If it’s hard for you to decide, I’ll help you out:

First timer course creators should go with Teachable as it’s the cheapest and will help you get your foot in the door.

Your first course isn’t going to be a masterpiece, no ones is!

You just need to get started.

So take massive action and give your gift to the world.

Give us what you got and be a creator my friend:

If you’re ready to start being a creator and selling your online courses click here to get started with Teachable.

-David

For more reading, check out these posts:

You can always return home.

Disclosure: I may receive affiliate compensation for some of the links in this post at zero cost to you if you decide to purchase a paid plan. These are products that I personally stand behind.
This site is not intending to provide financial advice. This is for education only.
You can read our affiliate disclosure in our privacy policy and terms.

 

David Chun

I love to write, teach and try to add as much value to other people as I can. With 20+ years experience in blogging, online entrepreneurship and digital software, I hope I can provide some light for you & my wish is to inspire. I hope I can help forge your own path to a life of freedom – using all the amazing tools along the way.
The “Rebels” journey is about your journey of trailblazing away from the normal path. It’s about you finding freedom, whatever that means to you.
My mission is always to serve. I hope these posts can provide some kind of service to you – no matter how small it is, I hope to add value to you, my friend. With love & much appreciation.

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