Best Online Teaching Platforms To Teach Online Classes

Where should you teach online

Table of Contents

Looking for the best online teaching platforms to teach online classes?

I'm a course creation junkie and I'm absolutely fascinated by the fact that I can teach online classes–taking what I know and turning it into a digital product!

More importantly, I love that I can share my knowledge to make an impact on the lives and businesses of multiple people at once.

Read on to discover the best places to teach online courses.

Best Online Teaching Platforms: Where Should You Teach Online Classes? Skillshare, Udemy, Teachable or Thinkific

[toc]

Every month I get questions from writers and bloggers who are interested in launching their own online courses (which I think is absolutely awesome).

One of the biggest questions I get asked is about my opinion on the different teaching platforms.

In particular, the following platforms are asked about the most:

These are the most well-known, best online teaching platforms.

So, in this post, I'm sharing my overall thoughts on these teaching platforms because I have experience with each one.

Yes, there are MANY other platforms for selling online courses out there, but since these are some of the more well-known platforms we will just start here.

Best Online Teaching Platforms to Earn Income from Teaching Online Classes

Best online teaching platforms, Where Should You Teach Online

Teach Online Classes on Thrivecart

Thrivecart recently launched a fabulous new feature: online course hosting!

That's right, Thrivecart is now an LMS platform, in addition to being an incredible cart software.

And the best part is that you can get it as a lifetime deal, meaning that you only pay once and get the software for life. No monthly fees, ever!

==> Learn more about Thrivecart

Teach Online Classes on Skillshare

What I love about Skillshare is its mission to provide affordable online classes that virtually anyone can take.

Here are a few key things to note about Skillshare:

  • Skillshare runs on the membership model. Students pay $19 per month for access to unlimited premium classes on the platform. This means you have no control over your course pricing. It's kind of an a la carte situation for students.
  • Instructors were previously paid approximately $1.60 (or so) per premium student enrollment in a class. As of January 1, 2017, teachers are being paid per minute watched. My rate for May 2020 was $.027 per premium minute watched.
  • You do not get access to your student's email addresses, however, the system does allow you to post internal announcements which can be automatically sent by email to all of your students.
  • You get a $10 referral bonus for any first-time Skillshare students that sign-up for a premium Skillshare membership through your referral link.
  • Skillshare is an online course marketplace. This means that your course will be searchable via their directory of courses. By promoting your course, getting new sign-ups, and reviews you can boost your course and get it “trending” on Skillshare. This means more visibility and more sign-ups.

The biggest problem I have with Skillshare is that unless you are getting thousands upon thousands of minutes viewed each month, you are now getting paid much less for the hours of hard work you likely put into creating a class.

For me to make at least $500 per month using this platform, I need 18,500 premium minutes of class time watched by paying Skillshare students each month based on the numbers mentioned above.

This is certainly a goal that can be accomplished and exceeded by instructors, but it will take some work to build up your student base.

Best online teaching platforms, skillshare free trial

Still, for newbie course creators, the platform offers a good way to get your feet wet with the online course world.

I also love that Skillshare continues to host a monthly challenge for new teachers that will guide you through the process of creating your first course in 30 days.

Read more: How to Teach a Class on Skillshare

Teach Online Classes on Udemy

I currently have one course available on Udemy, but to be perfectly honest, I'm completely unengaged with this platform and haven't updated my profile in FOREVER.

Still, it's worth mentioning because they are a platform with tons of students who purchase courses. There is still an opportunity to instructors to earn good money from this platform.

Like Skillshare, Udemy is also an online course marketplace.

Here are a few insights about the platform:

  • Students pay individually for each course they decide to enroll in.
  • You have some level of control over your course price. However, there are maximum and minimum base prices that must be adhered to depending on which country you live in.
  • One of my biggest issues with Udemy in the past was that they frequently discounted courses at outrageously low prices if you opted into their ‘Udemy Deals Program'. For instance, I once set my course price at $99. They ran a 75% off discount, which meant the course sold for around $25-ish dollars. I received about $12 payment on a $99 course because you split commission 50/50 with Udemy.
  • In general, instructor pay is broken down like so: Instructors receive 97% of the revenue share for sales made using their own course referral link (less a 3% fee). If a student is browsing the Udemy Marketplace and makes a purchase, the instructor will receive 50% revenue share. Udemy also partners with affiliates to promote courses, and a sale from this avenue typically yields a 25% revenue share for instructors.
  • You also do not have access to the email addresses of your students. Udemy owns the email list they accumulate. However, Udemy does have several built-in communication tools that allow you to connect with your students from the inside of your Udemy platform.

There are plenty of course creators who enjoy publishing on Udemy and make an awesome living doing so.

It's a platform that I may revisit in the future. I encourage you to explore it for yourself and see what you think.

Best online teaching platforms, teachable free

Teach Online Classes on Teachable vs. Thinkific

Both Teachable and Thinkific are online platforms for building your own course brand–basically with your own rules.

Your courses are hosted on their platform (both of which have a user-friendly interface), but you are in full control of the design aspects in terms of color schemes, images, link placements, etc.

Related Content: 11+ Platforms to Create and Sell Online Courses

Here are a few tidbits you should know about these platforms:

Teachable and Thinkific are NOT a course marketplace like Udemy and Skillshare.

This means that people don't find your course in a digital catalog like they would on the other platforms.  This means that self-promotion is ABSOLUTELY integral when using either of these platforms.

When you create your courses on Teachable or Thinkific, you are given a business URL that looks something like this:

YourBusiness.Teachable.com or YourBusiness.Thinkific.com. It's up to you whether or not you choose to use a custom domain (which falls under the paid plans for both platforms).

Just know that using the URL with “.teachable.com” or “.thinkific.com” attached to it is perfectly fine as well! Plenty of people do it!

You don't need a separate website to launch a course.

You can actually use your Teachable or Thinkific website as your main website. I did this for a few months until I created my main website in WordPress.

Pricing

With both platforms, you set your own pricing and it can pretty much be as much or as little as you want it to be.

This is unlike Udemy which has a minimum and maximum base prices or Skillshare in which your premium courses have no option for setting a price because they are included a la carte in the monthly membership fee that students pay.

Payouts On Teachable

You get paid for revenue earned in the previous month at the end of the next month. F

or instructors in the US and Canada, you may be eligible to enroll in Teachable Payments which allow you to receive payments on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule.

Payouts On Thinkific

Once you integrate your payment processor, you receive your funds directly from the payment processor by withdrawing your funds manually.

Paypal or Stripe?

Both Teachable and Thinkific now allow Paypal or Stripe payments starting with the free plan.

Customer Service

On the free plan for Teachable, you have limited access to customer service. When Teachable first launched, it was able to better serve clients simply because the client list was smaller.

But as the platform grew, it seems that they have scaled back on access to trouble-shooting. They do, however, have a library of helpful questions/answers/tutorial videos that you can access.

Most times when I have questions, I find the answers there. For Thinkific, I'm still new to the platform, so I haven't had to engage customer service yet…will get back to you on my experience at a later time.

Teacher Community

Both platforms offer a Private Facebook Group for Teachers that allow us to connect with each other.

Most people are very helpful inside the groups and are very encouraging towards new course creators.

Access to your student's email addresses

Another huge plus on these two platforms is that you get access to all your students' email addresses (not just a message system like on the course marketplaces.)

This means that even if you leave the platform, you have the personal contact information for your students.

You can take a closer look at Teachable's pricing plans and Thinkific's pricing plans. Both offer a $0 starter plan which is helpful.

Premium plans with more features start at $29 a month on the Teachable platform.

Thinkific's lowest premium option is $49 per month (it's less for both platforms if you pay the fee annually rather than monthly).

But again, you can start on the free plan and move up from there.

Related Content: How to Create a Money-Making Course on a Budget of $50

I'm currently using Teachable to host several of my self-paced courses. I have also used Thinkific's platform and love it.

Honestly, I go back and forth between which one I think is best–both offer a ton of resources and helpful tools to instructors.

For the purposes of this particular post, just know that either one is a good option when you are looking to create a course where you have the freedom to set your own price and have control over your email list.

Best Online Teaching Platforms To Teach Online Classes – Conclusion

There are definitely advantages of publishing to course marketplaces like Skillshare and Udemy.

It's possible to get extra exposure to an audience of students that you may not have reached otherwise.

Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of not building your own email list of students. It also means you do not fully control the pricing for your course.

That's why I love the money-making potential and user-friendly interface of Teachable and Thinkific.

I would say the best online teaching platform is Teachable!

The biggest issue with using these platforms is that you are entirely responsible for marketing your classes and attracting students.

However, these options also allow you to build your own email list which you have control over.

The best part of all of these platforms is that there is no exclusivity to any one platform.

You can create your course once, add your lessons to Teachable or Thinkific to sell directly, and also then post it on Skillshare and Udemy if you like!

Doing this puts your work in front of various audiences of students. The more exposure, the better!

Your classes become available through multiple different access points! That's called leveraging your work and turning it into a multi-sourced income stream!

This is exactly what I did when I created my very first course.

I posted it in multiple locations and brought in income from various sources using the same content. I encourage you to do the same if it makes sense for your business.

Which online course platform are you thinking of trying first? Do you teach online using other platforms now mentioned above?

Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Keep Learning:

 

Best online teaching platforms, There are tons of places to teach online classes. How do you choose which platform is best for you? Click through to see 4 popular places to teach online.

Best online teaching platforms, Best Online Course Platforms

Where to teach online | Skillshare vs. Udemy vs. Teachable vs. Thinkific

Categories

Categories
Online Courses

Recent Posts

Are you ready to discover how to make money on Skillshare? This article has it all! When you think of creating an online class,
How to Teach On Skillshare
Are you ready to discover how to make money on Skillshare? This article has it all! When you think of creating an online class,

30 thoughts on “Best Online Teaching Platforms To Teach Online Classes”

  1. Oh wow thank you for this very clear explanation! I have been going in circles trying to find the best platform for my first course. Very much appreciate this info saved me a lot of time money and propbably expection of more money from certain sites.✨?

  2. Thanks for the informative, well formed and pretty dang comprehensive article re “Where Should You Teach Online Classes? Skillshare, Udemy, Teachable or Thinkific” and beyond. There are more and more players in the online course platforms and finding the right match for each individual is getting easier, thanks to folks who are willing to do the research/ leg work and share so generously there findings. Thanks! I’ve done a lot of research myself but have held off choosing till now. Sometimes it just doesn’t matter so much which first step you take as long as you take that step! Gracias for your info 🙂

    1. Hi Sabrina! You are absolutely right–just get started with that first step and make adjustments and pivots as needed! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  3. Hi Kari,
    Thanks for your helpful article. I’ve tried to work with YesCourse but so far haven’t been able to get a course set up with PayPal (and I don’t want to use Stripe).

    So I’ve decided to check out the other options, and right now I’m just about to get started with CourseCraft! Here’s why:
    * They let me use PayPal (even on the free level)
    * Instant pay
    * Great advanced features even at the free level
    * Outstanding LIVE chat support!
    Plus all the other positive features you mention.
    I’ll report back to let you know how it worked out.

    1. Hi Elisabeth, this is Susan in Hawai’i.

      Thank you for checking out CourseCraft too. I haven’t started yet, but it looks like the easiest for me to work with and the best platform for the courses I have planned so far.

      I’m looking forward to hearing about your experiences with CourseCraft!

      Aloha, Susan

  4. Thank you so much, Kari!
    This is really helpful for a newbie to online teaching! I’m trying to decide on a platform when this one came up: CourseCraft. Have you any experience with? If so, would you recommend it?
    Mahalo, Susan

    1. Hi Susan! I’m so glad you find this helpful! I’ve never heard of CourseCraft before. But I took a quick look at their website and the showcase of examples they offer and I like. They layout is easy on the eyes, they offer a level with no upfront charges (although they take 9% of each sale you make which is a little high in my opinion), and their basic level is pretty affordably priced. So, while I haven’t used the tool myself, at first glance it does look like a pretty good option to give a try. Let me know how it goes! xo

      1. Hi Kari!
        Thanks for getting back to me! I have never done a course before, but my students are asking for a video. Since they pay me for in-person ongoing classes, the videos I put up will benefit all of us by keeping their skill level high before the next week’s class. Easier for me to go on without reviewing the previous week with them. That means I won’t charge for the videos. I’ll have to check with CourseCraft to see how I can post videos that are free for my students only.
        Aloha, Susan

        1. Hi Susan!

          You should totally be able to make your course free for your students. It looks like even the “free level” for CourseCraft allows you to create promo codes, so theoretically you should be able to create a promo code that you only share with your in-person students. Alternatively, you may be able to make your course “private” in which case only those who you give the link to the course will be able to find it.

          That’s great you already have an audience who wants your course. Good stuff 🙂

          xo, Kari

  5. This article is exactly what I needed. I got an email about making a class in Skillshare. I decided this month I would take chances on things and I’m really excited for my course however, when I was doing research on the payments I knew that I might not stick with Skillshare for the long haul. I think I’ll continue to move forward and publish my first course ever on there, but I’ll take the things you’ve said into consideration as to what I should do about my next course, because I have so many ideas.

    1. Hi Brittany! I’m glad you are considering it! At the very least, you will have some accountability to get your first “mini” class produced in 30 days or less. And like I said, you really do learn a lot by going through the Teach Challenge. Plus, who knows who you might meet and connect with on Skillshare. You will definitely be better prepared for when you create bigger courses for your website–by the way, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the mission of your website. I can only imagine you have a million course ideas that you’re thinking of because I started thinking of ideas just reading your content lol. Start with one good (validated) idea and go from there. Let me know if I can be of help.

      Thanks for commenting! xo, Kari

  6. Kari, Thanks for this. I’m in course creation mode and trying to determine whether to use an existing platform or to build my own (sigh). This information is great as I weigh and consider my options.

    1. Hi Ciara =) So glad you found this helpful! There are so many options out there, but knowing a little bit about your business, I would say that you should build on the momentum of your most recent challenge and build your first course using Teachable or Thinkific or another similar platform [rather than starting with a marketplace]. Just my two cents =)

  7. From one Kari to another, thanks for the extremely useful info. I have been wading through loads of comparison charts, and your post broke it down into simple terms that make sense to me. 5m Publishing will publish my book (CityFarmingBook.com) later this year, and I want to create complimentary courses both to market the book and to extend the content in the book. A side benefit will be a larger income base. I have tons of content ready to go, and I really like your idea of offering courses on multiple platforms to increase exposure. That really resonates with me. Kudos!

    1. Hi Kari! Did anyone ever tell you how great your name is? =) Congratulations on your upcoming book! That is awesome! I think that creating a complimentary course for your book is a great idea. In fact, my sister and I just did this as a way to promote our self-love journal. We created a 28-day video course that is a companion tool to the paperback journal (selflovemindset.com if you want to see what the layout looks like.) Creating courses is definitely an opportunity for more income and it adds a more personal touch to the learning process for those who desire it. I’m so glad you found this post helpful. Wishing you the best of luck with your course creation. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Take care!

  8. Hi Kari!
    Thanks for this post! Im a youtuber and I promote my courses on youtube and I use teachable but I was thinking to post one of my courses on Udemy to have more exposure. The thing is.. how do you deal the thing that you will offer your course in one price on your own page and Udemy change this on their side. I guess that customers that have previously purchased your course on your site at a higher price will get upset if they see your course cheaper on Udemy, right? How do you deal with that? do you have any advice? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mary! Thanks for reading this post. That is a legitimate concern that a lot of course creators have. My first advice would be this: If you decide to post a course to Udemy and also to Teachable at a higher price, you can make the version available on Udemy a “shortened version” of the course or you can post the same main content for both platforms, but on Teachable add some bonus lessons to give more value to your course since it is priced higher. The other thing to think about is that different platforms have different audiences. For instance, some people simply prefer to buy courses from Udemy, some prefer to buy them directly from your website, etc. It’s highly unlikely that they will visit another course platform trying to price compare. Yes, there will be some level of student crossover, but nothing to worry about. One other thing to keep in mind is that many of the platforms have one major rule: The class that you are offering cannot be offered for free elsewhere. So, if you have a class that you are offering for free on YouTube, then that class is not eligible to be offered on Skillshare (just to give an example). I hope that’s helpful!

  9. Hi Kari,
    I found your article comparing Udemy, Thinkific and Teachable so helpful! Thank you so much! I’ve just launched my first Udemy course – I’m not at all experienced at marketing, so I’m on a very steep learning curve. You do get a lot of exposure on Udemy but the reality is that most of the marketing is left to the individual and the expectation is that you’ll be doing the bulk of the marketing yourself. After reading your article, I’m thinking about these other alternatives. I really appreciate your detailed coverage – thanks again – very inspiring!
    Paulette

    1. Hi Paulette! Congrats on launching your first Udemy course! You think at first that the course creation process will be the most difficult, but it’s the marketing and traffic generation that really provides the biggest challenge =) List-building activities and connecting with other online influencers who you can possibly collaborate with and even cross-promote products is a good start to get the word out about your course. And, of course, multiple platforms whenever it makes sense! Wishing you much success for your course enrollments! =)

  10. Thanks so much for this article! I’m leaning towards Teachable because I already have a following on social media and because I want more control over my course, and your thoughts are helping me feel like I’m on the right track. I think I’ll be sticking with Teachable!

    1. My pleasure! Glad you found it helpful! Teachable is a great platform so I’m sure you will love it! Having an existing audience for promotion purposes definitely comes in handy 😉

  11. Between Thinkific and Teachable, who has the fastest customer service? Thinkific is frustrating in that you don’t hear back from them until the next day.

    Skilljar is not on your list (I have an account, but they are generally for larger organizations), but their still-small team responds to questions and issues within one hour, sometimes sooner.

    Mark

    1. Hey Mark! I actually haven’t had to contact Thinkific for any troubleshooting with the platform, so I can’t yet comment on it from that perspective. With Teachable, I remember having to contact them about a payment that one of my affiliates never received and I believe I got a message back in just a few hours addressing the issue–which didn’t seem too bad in my book.

      I’ve never heard of Skilljar. I will have to look into that one and possibly add it to my other post about online platforms for courses. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Great information. I’m in the process of learning how to use WordPress and create an online course. It’s been a lot to take in, but I really like how you do a great job of explaining the pros and cons of the various LMS out there. Looking forward to delving into your blog. Thanks Kari!

    1. Hi Lisa! That’s awesome that you are already contemplating your first course! It can definitely be a lot to take in, but my advice is to start small…and start with a topic you really enjoy–it will make the teaching process so much easier!

  13. I’ve created 25 courses on Udemy with a total of 18,000+ students.

    I’ve tested Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, WordPress LMS Themes and Skillshare.

    Benefits
    Udemy – guidelines for production
    Thinkific – hosting your own courses and keeping 90%+
    Teachable – hosting your own courses and keeping 90%+
    Wordpress LMS – hosting your own courses and keeping 97%+
    Skillshare – ease of use and lack of restrictions

    Downsides
    Udemy – all the restrictions around contacting students
    Thinkific – limited templating
    Teachable – limited templating
    Wordpress – way longer to implement and you’re responsible for updating your site
    Skillshare – lower revenue and ambiguity on promotion to students of new courses

    It seems like Udemy is better for video courses between 1 hour and 5 hours where you want someone to promote the course for you. Thinkific, Teachable and WordPress are for people wanting to teach their own courses and do 100% of the promotion. These are also very useful platforms for text courses, course bundles and drip content courses. Skillshare is good for quick video courses of around 30 minutes with low barriers to entry.

    1. Hi Rich! Thanks so much for chiming in! You definitely fall into the category of “successful instructors” on Udemy so kudos to you 🙂 I love the exposure you can get as a part of a course marketplace like Skillshare or Udemy, but like you said there are limits to your revenue and contact with students. I haven’t used the drip content feature on Thinkific or Teachable yet but I plan to test it out soon. Very good breakdown in your comment. Thanks for sharing it!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts

Skip to content