How To Find The Right Learning Platform For Your Online Course
Whether you’re creating an online course because you’re working hard on a passive income strategy for your business, or because you’re a teacher looking to move your classes online; it can be difficult to know which learning platform to opt for.
There are many options to consider when choosing an online course platform for your business, so in this blog, I will be sharing the key considerations you should be aware of and the kinds of skills and expertise you need (or will need to outsource) to get things started.
What is a learning platform?
A learning platform is a piece of software that enables you to create, launch and deliver a course online. The software might be a plugin you install on your website (such as LearnDash) or a third-party system you can embed in your website or link to.
Sometimes referred to as ‘Learning Management Systems’, learning platforms come with a varying range of features for you and your students, such as:
- Text-based classes
- Video/audio-based lessons
- Progress bars
- Discussion boards
- Collaborative options for group projects
- Real-time learning or learn as you go
It can be tricky to know which features you’ll need for your online course, so here are a few of the top considerations to ponder before choosing an online learning platform.
1 – Plan your course outline in advance
If you don’t know what your course will look like, how can you choose the right learning platform? A rough skeleton of your course is all you need here, breaking down the course content into modules, then into individual lessons and then considering the best way to deliver those lessons – are you better presenting on video or using text? Some learners acquire knowledge better visually than with the written form, so will you be offering both options in your course?
How will you consolidate the learning for your students? Will you be using worksheets, quizzes, discussion boards, etc? Think about the online courses you’ve signed up for and learned from – which format was better for you? What did you like (or not like!) about the different course structures and layouts you’ve experienced so far?
2 – How tech-savvy are you?
Another aspect to consider when creating online courses is the technology, you’ll need to be using to get things up and running. If you’re naturally tech savvy (i.e. have built your own website or similar) then you’ll probably be fine but if you’re more of a copy-and-paste kind of individual, you’re either going to have to learn how to use the learning platform or outsource to an experienced online business manager or VA to get things set up for you.
If the outsourcing option is better for you (either due to lack of skill or lack of time and energy to devote to this project), have a look at the learning management systems and online learning platforms freelancers are commonly using and skilled in. If you opt for a platform your preferred OBM has little experience in, you might end up paying more than one they’re familiar with due to the extra time needed for them to learn and use it.
3 – Choose the right plan for your needs
Most learning platforms have different plans available at varying cost levels according to the features provided. Teachable, for example, has a free plan allowing you to have one course with an associate community and unlimited students using their branding through to a £350+ per month option with your own branding, unlimited courses and communities and additional features such as live lessons and affiliate selling.
So, whichever platform you’re leaning toward, do your research on the plans and only pay for what you really need. If you’re not sure, ask your colleagues and freelancing friends who have created their own courses what they’re using for some guidance.
Now I’ve discussed the three key aspects to consider when choosing a learning platform, let’s take a look at the three most common platforms people are opting for at the moment.
Kajabi is very popular as it allows you to quickly get a course up and running with basic templates, the versatility to be able to sell eBooks and other products through the platform, the ability to clone pages and products (to save you time and effort) and it’s a hosted platform so the Kajabi team keep things up and running for you.
However, Kajabi is pretty expensive starting from $119 per month for their basic option. It’s also pretty limited in terms of design options with many users buying third-party templates to be able to get the look and feel they want for their online course.
With a free plan available (with fees payable on transactions), Teachable is a great option if you’re dipping your toe into online course creation. With built-in email marketing, an iOS app, monthly payments for students and recurring subscription plans, it’s versatile enough for most online course types.
Negatives of using Teachable are that you’re unable to create a sales funnel on the platform itself, you have to pay transaction fees for course payments (unless you pay for a higher tier) and the only way to contact the support team is via email.
If you prefer to host your course on your own WordPress website rather than using a third party, LearnDash is probably the option for you. You have much greater control over the look and feel of your course with a drag-and-drop builder, you can take payments yourself through your website and you have the ability to send email notifications to your students too.
However, as a WordPress plugin, you will have to maintain things yourself and be aware that WordPress updates may affect performance. It’s a paid-for option at around £200 per year for one WordPress website and if you’re not particularly tech-savvy you might find using the plugin to be overwhelming.
There are hundreds of different online learning platforms and management systems out there, too many for me to cover in this blog, so do dig deep online and have a look at the many different options available to you. And, if you need help setting up an online platform and course, why not get in touch with me today to discover how I can help?