eLearning Strategies

Top 11 Online Learning Platforms for Individuals & Businesses

15 min
These are the best online learning platforms: LearnWorlds, Coursera, Uedemy, Kajabi, Moodle, Docebo, Thinkific, Teachable, LearnDash.

Online learning platforms democratize education by offering access to elearning courses for everyone, anywhere, and at their own pace.

This is great news for educators selling online courses, trainers, and coaches, as it allows them to expand their in-person offerings and reach billions of people.

On the other hand, learners from all walks of life can learn a skill, access professional development programs, get certified, or even learn as a hobby.

We have reviewed dozens of platforms over the years. Here is a short list of the best online learning platforms for each case.

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What is an Online Learning Platform?

An online learning platform is an information system with a learning environment where learners can access educational content. Modern learning platforms support a variety of interactive learning and offer tools for educators to promote their courses.

Course Marketplaces

Most learning platforms are often called ‘online course marketplaces’ because they give learners the opportunity to search for and pay for online courses directly.

While some of these course marketplaces are used to feature online courses, the majority are more educational-based and strictly offer university-level education.

Why is it Different than LMS?

A typical Learning Management System (LMS) is used for corporate training, serving the requirements of a company’s compliance, certification, user management, and, often, cybersecurity.

While online learning platforms are more flexible systems suitable for a wider audience of learners.

How to Choose an Online Learning Platform

Choosing the right platform to use for online education is a very important decision. As a learner, it will define the education you are getting, and for businesses, it’s a big decision that will stick with you for at least 2-3 years.

Consider your options, and make a checklist (or RFP) of requirements before you start looking.

For Learners (Buying a Course)

Purchasing educational products is very different from physical goods. Learning is a deeply personal process, and you need to consider what will work best for you or your goals.

Instructors: It’s important to choose an instructor you feel comfortable with and trust. Consider whether they are subject matter experts, have the credentials to teach, and if there are examples of their teachings (e.g., an intro video).

Content: Check the level of the content and whether it covers your requirements. Review the course material and course subjects before signing up for a plan.

Certification: Review the compliance for professional certificates and find out whether they are given by credible educational institutions, organizations, or individuals.

Trust: When choosing a learning platform, you need to trust its process, support, refund policy, and delivery of the material. A well-established platform is more likely to offer high-quality content than a lesser-known platform.

Pricing: Consider whether the price works for you. Is it a one-off payment, subscription, pay-as-you-go? And think about the value you will get for the price you pay. Sometimes, it’s worth paying a bit more for higher-quality education.

For Educators & Instructors (Selling a Course)

When you are selling an online course, your considerations are different. You are the instructor selling the course and looking for a learning platform to host and deliver it.

Features: You are looking for the learning tools to deliver the course but also for marketing and sales features. Also, consider whether the platform is suitable for the type of course you have or want to build. Different platforms specialize in different courses, e.g., Video, Certification, Structured/Unstructured, etc.

Support: It’s important to have good technical support. Some marketplaces may barely respond to your questions, while other platforms might be challenging to use. Support can help you solve all your issues and make your life easier.

Reliability: You want to offer a high standard of quality to your students, and using a reliable platform to deliver your course is essential for that.

Pricing: Consider the pricing tiers or other associated costs. You want to ensure your business is profitable as you grow, and want to avoid any platforms that cost too much or take a steep cut of your profits as you grow.

#1 LearnWorlds: Our Top Choice for Creating & Selling Online Courses


LearnWorlds is a modern LMS with built-in course authoring, e-commerce, community, and user management features.

It offers a true all-in-one elearning solution for companies, being the best online course platform for offering great e-learning experiences.

With LearnWorlds, you can create your own academy, launch a mobile app, and own the user data.

Pros & Cons

Pros

Cons

  • No marketplace for courses
  • Does not support TinCan and xAPI
  • Limited gamification options

Who is it for?

Instructors: It’s ideal for professional trainers, e-learning companies, and SMEs for training employees or educating their customers.

Learners: Learners in LearnWorlds schools enjoy great user experience, a community of peers, and control over their accounts. While it’s not always visible if you are learning under a LearnWorlds school, we recommend preferring instructors using LearnWorlds for their courses.

Pricing:

It offers a 30-day free trial and then 4 subscription pricing plans:

*Pricing information retrieved from LearnWorlds in April 2024.

LearnWorlds is a standalone course platform for any size of business looking to create a professionally looking academy and sell online courses. Try LearnWorlds with a 30-day trial today.

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Find out more about LearnWorlds’ alternatives.

#2 Udemy: The Best Course Marketplace

A screenshot from Udemy's website showing the markeplace for courses' thousands of options.

Udemy is one of the most popular online course marketplaces on the web, featuring more than 210,000 online video courses. This educational platform has over 60 million students, 65 thousand instructors, and subject matter experts creating online courses.

Udemy makes course creation possible for everyone with the possibility of acquiring new skills. In doing so, it offers a range of online learning materials including PDF documents, PowerPoint, text, and video content, among many others.

Instructors can join Udemy and start teaching online, but Udemy takes a huge piece of the revenue and has control over pricing and discounting the course.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No setup cost (for instructors)
  • Geared towards self-paced learning and video courses
  • No need for highly technical knowledge
  • A Udemy app available for iOS and Android

Cons

  • Limited interaction with students
  • High competition between instructors
  • No personal branding option
  • No data ownership or control over branding – it keeps emails and user data and does not share this information with instructors
  • Visibility depends on your own marketing – the platform only promotes courses that are already popular

Who is it for?

Learners: Udemy has a course for almost every discipline, but potential students should always read the reviews before buying one. The quality is not consistent.

Instructors: It’s great for teachers, instructors, educators, and freelancers who are just starting out.

Pricing/Revenue Share (for instructors):

To start charging students a fee for courses on Udemy, you will need to become a premium instructor. In such a case, the following conditions apply:

*Pricing adjusted on a global price tier matrix developed by Udemy.

*Pricing information retrieved from Udemy Support in April 2024.

Learner Pricing: Most Udemy courses end up selling between $10-$20 with very few exceptions where instructors have set a higher price.

#3 Coursera: The Academic Learning Platform

A screenshot from Coursera's website showing a woman on the right and a call to Join for free.

Coursera is an online learning platform with over 100 million users dedicated to offering high-quality online training courses worldwide. Partnering with top universities and businesses, it offers students the opportunity to receive certifications from renowned institutions upon enrolling in its paid courses.

Coursera offers individual courses, specializations, certifications, and degree programs (for bachelor’s and master’s degrees) that support on-demand video lectures, homework exercises, peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums.

With Coursera Plus, students can get unlimited access to 90 percent of the learning programs in the Coursera catalog via a yearly or monthly subscription option.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers a variety of learning options and activities
  • Offers certifications from accredited institutions
  • Provides high-quality educational tools
  • Courses are free if you are not looking for a certification

Cons

  • Limited to educators in partner institutions
  • Less flexible course creation options compared to other platforms
  • Does not offer instructor feedback, only peer-reviewed assignments as a feedback mechanism

Who is it for?

Learners: Anyone who wants to learn from prestigious institutions, whether they are looking for a one-off course, certification, or an online degree.

Instructors: It is aimed at professors who are based at a HE partner institution or business.

Pricing:

Coursera offers free courses, subscriptions, and one-off payments depending on the course or program.

#4 Thinkific: An All-in-one Learning Platform for SMEs

A screenshot from Thinkific's website with a black woman on the right, some logos of training academies, and a tag line for Turning your expertise into revenue just got a lot easier.

Thinkific is a standalone course platform that helps you build and sell online courses. It provides everything you need to create your online education business, including an easy-to-use interface for building courses and rich multimedia to add right to your course content.

Thinkific is a popular option for course creators launching their business, but support is lacking.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Has a freemium plan
  • Full-featured platform
  • Integrates with popular software
  • Lots of (paid) experts can help you build your website/courses
  • Includes mobile app & community features

Cons

  • Limited website templates & design options
  • Basic learning features
  • Does not support SCORM, TinCan, or AICC
  • Bad support

Who is it for?

Learners: Thinkific academies usually offer decent video courses with a certification, but usually top-tier educators choose more professional platforms to deliver their training.

Instructors: Thinkific is ideal for solopreneurs, small/medium businesses – SMEs, and coaches who want to generate more income.

Pricing:

Free to join with limited functionality. It offers a 30-day free trial on the Pro plan. Higher tiers exist with hidden functionality.

Subscription plans include:

*Pricing information retrieved from Thinkific in April 2024.

View a list of Thinkific Alternatives

Compare Thinkific to LearnWorlds.

Compare Thinkific Pricing to Teachable & LearnWorlds.

#5 edX: The Marketplace & Open Source LMSt

An image from Edx's homepage featuring an instructor.

EdX.org (course marketplace) and Open-edX are two sides of the same coin. EdX is the learning platform where students find online courses from various universities, and Open-edX is an open-source content management system.

Both were created by a team of scientists from Harvard University and MIT with the goal of providing online university-level education across the globe.

EdX.org offers over 4,000 online courses from 250 prestigious businesses and universities offering higher education in many disciplines. These mainly specialize in the sciences–engineering, computer science, data science, math, humanities, business, and management.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free and open-source (for instructors)
  • Provides in-depth knowledge and added value (for students)
  • Comes with a mobile app on iOS and Android
  • Interactive online classes – allowing students to chip in

Cons

  • Discussion forums seem to be outdated and difficult to navigate
  • Requires technical knowledge or hiring a developer/web designer to implement (for instructors)
  • Comes with the additional costs of a self-hosted server and its maintenance (for instructors)

Who is it for?

Students (EdX): it has a very diverse library of courses suitable for most ages looking to learn a subject or new skills.

Instructors (Open-edX): It’s great for businesses who can afford a team or outsource the development and maintenance of the platform on their own servers.

Pricing for Instructors:

It’s free to join, but there may be additional costs for procuring a server and system support and getting expert help from Open-edX’s service providers or freelancers, whose pricing varies according to your project’s requirements and budget.

For more information on Open-edX course creation expenses, check out this guide.

#6 Teachable: All-in-one Course Platform for Coaches

Creating online courses with Teachable.

Teachable is an online teaching platform that serves the everyday instructor, helping them transform their knowledge into a business. Teachable provides an easy and simple solution for uploading your learning content, customizing your online school, and communicating effectively with your students.

Teachable embodies simplicity. It’s easy to use and ideal for beginner course creators wanting to sell video courses, tutorials, or coaching. It also comes with the digital marketing tools you need to promote your courses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Has a free plan for your first course
  • Simple and easy-to-use learning platform
  • Good eCommerce features for selling courses

Cons

  • Limited learning/teaching and assessment capabilities
  • Does not support advanced learning features
  • No social or community-building features
  • Not very responsive customer support
  • Limited white-labeling options

Who is it for?

Instructors: It’s a great option for new course creators, solopreneurs, and coaches due to the free plan.

Learners: Teachable courses are more often video lessons with some quizzes. Teachable schools are great when they specialize in video tutorials, but you will not find many great certification courses there.

Pricing:

Teachable has the following pricing options:

*Pricing information retrieved from Teachable in April 2024.

Compare Teachable with LearnWorlds

Check out more Teachable Alternatives

Are you looking for a SCORM-compliant LMS?

#7 Kajabi: Best Course Platform with Marketing Feature

Showing Kajabi's course creation process showingg the options for course, podcast, community, and coaching.

Kajabi is an all-in-one online platform that offers the tools to sell digital products, including online courses, coaching programs, and podcasts. Kajabi specializes in building high-converting sales pages, landing pages, and webinar pages for your online business and launching your advertising campaigns.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Best-in-class marketing features
  • Many automations for course creation (AI) and funnels
  • Supports many digital products: courses, memberships, podcasts, etc

Cons

  • No free plan
  • No advanced learning features
  • Can be difficult to set up
  • Many limitations, and ends up being quite expensive quickly

Who is it for?

Instructors: It is for non-techy online course creators, digital entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers, creators, and individual instructors selling video courses and other digital products.

Learners: Kajabi is great at selling and less in the learning experience, you should expect simple video lessons, PDFs, quizzes, live sessions, and a community/membership where students can socialize.

Pricing:

Offers a 14-day trial with a credit card. Then it goes to a monthly payment of the subscription plan, which includes:

*Pricing information retrieved from Kajabi in April 2024.

Compare Kajabi with LearnWorlds

Check out other Kajabi Alternatives

#8 Docebo: Best Traditional LMS for Entreprises

How Docebo platform looks inside for a user, with a completion graph on the right, and top creators below. Also showing a course catalogue below.

Docebo comes with a top cloud-based LMS solution that meets most of every organization’s training needs and requirements.

The platform is learner-centric and offers L&D capabilities using learning-specific Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms to personalize the learning experience.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Supports SCORM, AICC, and Tin Can API
  • Has engaging gamification capabilities
  • Provides analytics on the effectiveness of learning programs
  • Supports more than 40 languages

Cons

  • Very expensive, only suitable for enterprises
  • Lacking reporting feature
  • Limited customization capabilities

Who is it for?

Docebo is targeted at corporate and enterprise users training their employees and partners. It is prohibitively expensive for most course creators or small businesses.

Pricing:

Docebo’s pricing is based on active users and has a steep lower cost of $25,000.

*Pricing information retrieved from Docebo in April 2024.

Best Docebo Alternatives

#9: Litmos: Easiest-to-Use Traditional LMS

A view inside Litmos LMS platform showing courses with various levels of progress.

Litmos (formerly known as SAP Litmos) is a popular platform that offers a variety of eLearning solutions for businesses, including corporate, customer, partner, services, support training, and compliance training.

One of its biggest strengths is the ability to create customized learning paths for the needs and styles of every company and its employees.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Intuitive course authoring
  • Supports SCORM, AICC, xAPI/Tin Can API
  • Great reporting & dashboards
  • Includes a content library with 2,000+ ready-made training courses

Cons

  • Has limited customization options
  • Expensive option for most businesses
  • Its assessment and feedback delivery process are slower than usual
  • Lacks a dedicated payment gateway connection
  • Bad support

Who is it for?

It’s suitable for businesses of all types and sizes, focusing mostly on corporate training.

Pricing:

Pricing for Litmos LMS is not publicly available on the site, but it is based on the number of active users. Various online sources mention a price range between $2 and $5 per user per month.

Access to the LMS, specific courses, and add-on features comes with a quote-based plan after making a pricing request to Litmos directly.

#10 Moodle: The Most Popular Open-Source LMS

A view of a course inside Moodle, an example from Fleetwood University. On the right is the course material, and left the course outline, above the menu.

Unlike the majority of LMSs, Moodle is a free, open-source learning management platform. You can also buy hosted versions of Moodle with technical support from many resellers.

Moodle is the usual LMS for higher education and is being used by many businesses as well. It requires a great deal of effort for setup, but may be the most customizable solution for elearning out there.

A large community of developers is still supporting it, and you can find or develop almost any feature you might require.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Open Source (free to use)
  • Most customizable solution
  • Compatible with SCORM, AICC, IMS LTI, and xAPI/Tin Can API
  • A big community of users, developers, and businesses offering services and support

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer support, but you can pay for it
  • Very old user interface
  • You need an expert or a team of experts to use it

Who is it for?

Instructors: Moodle is best suited for colleges, universities, public administration, and specialized businesses with the expert knowledge to use it.

Learners: While not the most user-friendly solution, it is relatively easy to use and could offer many functionalities for users including a community, forum, etc.

Pricing:

Moodle is open-source Moodle which is free to use but requires your own server to host.

The other is MoodleCloud or other providers, which offer a cloud-based solution and usually come with tech support.

Subscription plans include:

For off-the-shelf hosting:

For premium hosting: Customized pricing

*Pricing information retrieved from MoodleCloud in April 2024.

#11 LearnDash: Best WordPress Plugin for Learning

How you build a course on LearnDash by drag and dropping units.

LearnDash is the most popular premium WordPress LMS plugin in the market. With it, you can design, promote, and sell online courses. Some of the best features it offers are its speed and its drag-and-drop course builder, which make the process of course creation both easy and enjoyable.

LearnDash has the flexibility of WordPress, allowing it to be very customizable. You can add many more functionalities that are not natively built-in. The downside is that adding too many plugins may be detrimental and break the website, requiring a developer to do the setup or keep maintaining the site and offering support.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Cheaper than cloud-based LMS
  • Very flexible and customizable
  • Many add-ons that add functionality
  • Has an ecosystem of themes & developers building new functionalities

Cons

  • No free trial, but you can cancel within 15 days (if you don’t like the product)
  • The membership plugin costs extra
  • Every extension also comes at an additional cost
  • Self-hosting on your own server comes with additional hosting & developer costs
  • E-commerce features require a third-party plugin like WooCommerce

Who is it for?

Instructors: LearnDash is suited for individuals and smaller companies, as it’s a low-cost LMS based on WordPress. It does not support most requirements for bigger, more complex organizations.

Learners: LearnDash’s interface is pretty easy to use and straightforward for learners. You will probably not realize when a course you bought is hosted on LearnDash.

Pricing:

There are two ways to use LearnDash – either getting the plugin or launching a fully hosted course website.

LearnDash plugin’s pricing is based on the number of site licenses:

LearnDash Cloud (full-site) starts at $25 per month.

MemberDash (the membership plugin) starts at $199/year as a standalone plugin (does not require LearnDash).

*Pricing information retrieved from LearnDash in April 2024.

Compare LearnWorlds vs LearnDash

Compare LearnWorlds vs WooCommerce

Choosing an Online Course Platform

There are many options available when it comes to offering online learning, and each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some platforms are more suitable for individual learners, while others are more business-friendly.

Depending on your budget, type of course, and compliance requirements (for bigger companies), you may choose a different platform that fits your needs.

Our favorite option is hands-down LearnWorlds.

It’s the easiest all-in-one course platform offering a high-end learning experience to your learners, whether you are an individual creator or a business.

Want to try out LearnWorlds? You can get a 30-day free trial today and schedule your demo!

Your professional looking Academy in a few clicks

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Content Creator at LearnWorlds

Kyriaki is a Content Creator for the LearnWorlds team writing about marketing and e-learning, helping course creators on their journey to create, market, and sell their online courses. Equipped with a degree in Career Guidance, she has a strong background in education management and career success. In her free time, she gets crafty and musical.

Nick Malekos is a Senior Digital Marketer in LearnWorlds. He is a results based and well-rounded Digital Marketer with years of experience in the education industry, writer and digital literacy trainer.