Learning Tools

The Best Online Course Platform 2024

Discover the best online course platforms. Experience interactive learning tools and turn your knowledge into sales.
The Shiken Team
7 Mins
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Ready to take your wealth of knowledge and turn it into a source of passive income? Whether you are an experienced educator or just someone who knows a lot about what you do, creating courses is a great way to share your skills with the world.

But where do you start? Finding the best platform for online courses is essential in creating courses that you can be proud to upload to the internet and they can make it easy to turn your passion into money with just a little effort from the outset.

What exactly are online course platforms?

These websites offer all the tools you need to create and share the courses you make. Whether you want to create a one-page PDF on a subject or a six-month course on a more in-depth topic, you should be able to put all your information together in a way that encourages people to learn.

Of course, you could record videos and share them on your social networks, but these platforms offer something more sophisticated and professional, making your courses more appealing and ensuring students are more likely to complete the entire thing. Plus, they help you monetize your courses, so you can earn additional income from them for many years to come.

What should you look for?

There are a few things that make the most useful course tools stand out from the rest, but ultimately, the best online course platforms for you will depend on your needs. Look for things like:

• Variety of course features available.

• Price, including free trials or free versions so you can get a taster of the platform.

• How easy the platform is to use.

• How flexible the platform is.

• What tools are available for creating courses and then getting them out into the world.

• What other people have said about the platform.

• Stand-out features of the platform.

Because everyone’s needs are so different, there’s no platform out there that offers a one-size-fits-all option. But lots offer free versions or free trials so you can test a few out and see what works for you.

What are the top online course platforms?

There are so many websites out there that claim to be the best platform for online courses, but there are a few that stand out amongst the rest. Our favourites are:

• Shiken

• Kajabi

• Teachable

• Skillshare

• Thinkific

They all have slightly different offerings, so if you’ve tried one of these before, don’t be afraid to try any of the others. You might find an online course platform you can really fall in love with!

To try and help you in your course-creating endeavours, we’ve taken a look at some of Shiken’s competitors.

Shiken AI

Shiken AI Homepage

Here are some of the key features of Shiken to consider as you read through:

• A variety of active and passive learning options: Combine on-demand video and live courses with live and asynchronous quizzes that will engage your students. There are leaderboards and visible skill progression to bring a competitive edge to learning.

• Your friendly AI coach: If you’ve never created a course before, or even if you have, our AI tools will save you time and give you the skills you need to make something more professional than you could ever have dreamed of.

• Comprehensive marketing suite: Make blogs, contact groups, landing pages and so much more with the knowledgeable AI assistant.

• Sell on the Shiken store: Shiken users can follow your account so they know when you’ve uploaded new content and purchase your courses through the store. You can also upload to your own landing pages for additional marketing options.

• Repurpose your content: Our AI writing tool can take your courses and create downloadable PDFs, learning goals, wiki pages, databases and project management boards that will help cement the knowledge of your customers.

So how does Shiken compare to other online course platforms?

There are lots of providers out there claiming to be the best platform for online courses. Let’s look at some of the market leaders and see how Shiken compares to them. If you’ve ever used or considered any of the following tools for your courses, you’ll want to read on!

Kajabi

Kajabi Homepage

Kajabi claims to be the best place for creators to make money and seems to focus more on this than the learning side of course creation. Its aim is to remove the technology barriers that come from sharing information online, whether that’s via courses, memberships, podcasts or coaching and it targets what it calls ‘knowledge entrepreneurs’.

Its platform has lots of course features, including:

• Website builder: Not got a website yet? Kajabi can build you a simple course platform that keeps all your products in one place. While Shiken doesn’t yet offer this functionality, it does allow you to keep all your courses in an easy to access dashboard within the Shiken community and offer easy sharing to your own website – perfect it you want to add to your existing business rather than starting a new one from scratch.

• Stripe and PayPal integration: Using two of the biggest payment tools in the world means more people can sign up to your courses without having to overthink the process. Shiken also uses Stripe integration, and, of course, you can use whichever providers you like on your own site.

• Emails: Connect with your online audience through email to stay front of mind at all times. As one of the most important marketing channels, emails are a vital tool for anyone wanting to promote their courses. Shiken has a whole marketing suite that incorporates email functionality and helps you get in front of your students.

• Landing page templates: Creating a landing page for your courses is easy with Kajabi templates, taking all the guesswork out of building your internet presence. This is also something Shiken offers, making this a very comparable product.

• Analytics: Want to know how well your courses are selling? Or perhaps you’d like to see how your marketing efforts are paying off? The Kajabi analytics platform keeps all your data in one place so you can assess performance with a quick glance. Knowledge is power, so if you know how well you are doing, you can adjust your marketing activities to suit. Again, Shiken can also do this, helping you to identify any weaknesses in your platform so you can improve.

Despite its reputation as one of the best online course platforms, Kajabi does have some limitations. The free plan is very basic, meaning you’d have to pay for one of the other plans to make it a truly worthwhile platform, and these are expensive. Chat support is only available during business hours, which isn’t helpful if you are trying to build a side-hussle outside of your day-to-day job and the AI side of things isn’t very advanced, which is one of the things that really stands out at Shiken.

Teachable

Teachable Homepage

Like Kajabi, Teachable puts huge focus on the money-making side of course creation. Their mission is to help educators create courses, coaching platforms and digital downloads that will teach others something interesting while making money for the creator. And they do this without the creator needing to learn to code (unless that’s one of the courses they’ve signed up to).

Here are some of the features of the platform:

• Build mini courses or bigger online courses: Whether you want to create a short course to supplement your classroom learnings or a more in-depth style of teaching, Teachable can help you do this with templates and tools to make yours unique. Shiken can also do this, with dedicated tools for on-the-job training and employee on-boarding.

• Sales and marketing suite: Just like Shiken, you can attract new learners to your courses with the many marketing tools available. You get analytics data and even online affiliate tools that can really help expand your reach.

• Effortless payment: Teachable:pay is the platform’s own payment tool that streamlines the process for you. So however your learners choose to pay, you will get the full amount, less tax, making for a very easy process. This is something Shiken does not yet provide, but it is very easy to work with Stripe, who Shiken partner with.

• Site builder: You can build your own website through Teachable, which is another thing that Shiken cannot yet do. The platform is simple and gives you a basic website. If you want something more extravagant, you’d be better off outsourcing website creation and adding your courses, which is what Shiken promotes, with landing page templates to help.

• Create memberships: One way to ensure your customers keep coming back to learn from you is through a membership and this is something that Teachable can help you do. For some people, membership is a barrier to entry, which is why Shiken don’t currently offer this, but if it works for your business then you have the tools you need with Teachable.

• AI assistance: Like Shiken, Teachable offers AI help in planning and creating your courses, so you can customise to your needs. This takes out a lot of the hard work of course creation and helps to fill in any information you think is missing. Create quizzes, summaries, subtitles and longer blocks of copy with the clever AI tool.

One of the biggest drawbacks to Teachable is that some people found the functionality wasn’t flexible enough for their needs. Templates are quite generic, and quizzes could be unsophisticated. However, it’s a great platform to start on and competitively priced compared to many others. Is it the best platform for online courses? That’s for you to decide (of course, we think Shiken is better!)

Thinkific

Thinkific Homepage

Thinkific is probably Shiken’s closest competitor in terms of what the platform offers. Their focus is on creating high quality courses and improving engagement so that you have a higher uptake of students. While it is still possible to earn money through course creation, it seems right that the content should be the primary concern.

Some of the other features that make this one of the best online course platforms are:

• Low cost: This is one of the cheapest platforms on our list, with an excellent free product that provides a great base for your activities. You will have to upgrade to be able to create more than one course and access all the features.

• Community: Thinkific has worked hard to help create a community for your courses, increasing student engagement and making it easier for you to stay in touch with them. While other platforms do this to an extent, this is one of the stand-out features of this course creation tool.

• Active and passive learning options: Like Shiken, Thinkific understands that nobody learns in exactly the same way, so a variety of course media is important to help information sink in. Create quizzes, videos and text for your course and incorporate them with no technical knowledge. There’s no need for coding skills or extensive website experience – the drag and drop tool makes this bit easy.

• 24/7 chatbot: If you do get stuck at any point in the course-building process, Thinkific is there to help. The virtual AI assistant can answer almost any question that you have, so you don’t have to wait for a real person to become available. If the AI chatbot really can’t help, you can use the live chat option or email the team to speak to someone who knows the product inside-out.

• T-Commerce sales platform: Like Shiken, Thinkific deals with the sales side of things for you, so you don’t to worry about having your own sales system in place – unless you’d prefer that.

• Mobile app: The Thinkific app makes access to your courses easier than ever, as people can learn on-the-go through their mobile phone.

When it comes to marketing your courses, Thinkific does have some features, but they are weaker than other platforms, especially those tools provided by Shilken. This is perhaps the reason for the cheaper cost. And the free plan only allows for one course, so it works as a tester, rather than something that professional educators can use forever. Once you start upgrading, watch out for hidden costs. Despite all this, it is a great way to create online course platforms and easily comparable to Shiken in that respect.

Skillshare

Skillshare Homepage

There’s a template for every single part of the course creation process on Skillshare, making it very easy for anyone to make and upload a course on their chosen subject. And there are already over 8,000 people sharing courses on the platform, ensuring you are in good company.

Some of the best features of Skillshare are:

• Teacher approval process: A lot of platforms will let anyone create and upload a course, but Skillshare has an approval process that can take up to two weeks to complete. While this can be frustrating if you are keen to get started, it means that students know they can trust your content and will make them more likely to use it.

• Membership model: Worried you won’t have a captive audience for your course? Everyone using Skillshare is part of the membership, so they all want to learn. And if you pick the right subject, you’ll have no problem attracting students. There is a factsheet about marketing your course, but otherwise there is little help in getting your course out there. Meanwhile, Shiken has a whole marketing suite of tools.

• Creative focus: The video courses on Skillshare are mostly focused on creative pursuits, making it a great place for a like-minded community to congregate and meaning students are more likely to purchase more than one course. This does mean it is not the best place for non-creative topics. If you have a first aid course, for example, you might be better at Shiken.

• Incredible content base: One of the biggest perks of Skillshare is that whatever question you might have, they will already have answered it in one of their comprehensive blogs or articles. If you do have a question that isn’t in their archives, you can contact them via email – there's no 24/7 support.

• Timed payment system: The payment system at Skillshare means you’ll make a profit every time someone watches at least half an hour of your course. That means the onus really is on you to create courses that will keep people engaged. With no tools like quizzes or gamification, your videos will need to be fantastic.

While everything on Skillshare is very easy to navigate, the simplicity of it all means that all the courses have a very similar format, and you may struggle to stand out with your knowledge. That is especially true if you are covering a subject that has already been uploaded, which is quite possible given the size of the teaching community. So, if you want to create a unique course that is seen as an industry-preferred teaching tool, this might not be the platform for you. If, however, you are new to course creation, Skillshare could be a great way to learn.

So, when it comes to the best platform for online courses, which one best suits your needs? The choice of where to create is a personal one and will depend on many factors like whether or not you want to make money, whether you are hoping to host on your own site and whether you already have a waiting and willing audience. It will also depend on how much support you need and how much you are willing to spend to get the best possible courses.

We are biased, of course, but we believe Shiken has everything you could possibly need to create the courses you want, with the flexibility to do things your way.

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