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Online Course Creation Tools

If your product requires specialized knowledge or if you’re trying to position yourself as a thought leader, creating an online course could be a great marketing strategy. Online courses can even be businesses in their own right. Many people are more comfortable taking courses online so they don’t have to leave home, but if you’re trying to create one, where do you start?

How to Create an Online Course

I worked in education technology for many years before I started Draft.dev, so while I’m not an expert course creator, I have supported a number of others in building online education solutions. I won’t go into details in this post, but the abbreviated process typically goes something like this:

  1. Pick your topic.
  2. Outline the course and modules.
  3. Write the text content for your course (could be a script if you’re doing videos)
  4. Record the content.
  5. Publish the content.
  6. Distribute the content.

A lot of course creators focus on the first four points and forget that they ultimately need a way to collect payments and distribute their courses too.

Online Course Creation Platforms

This list is meant to provide a jumping-off point. I’ve tried to highlight many of the best course creation platforms available and give you a little bit of information about each one. Some are free and open-source, while others are paid and full of time-saving features.

While you’ll still have to do the hard work of creating your online course, having the right platform can make publishing, distributing, and administering your course much easier.

  • Thinkific ($0) - Create, market, and sell courses online from your own website.

  • Teachable ($33.25) - Teachable lets you create courses that you can charge users for.

  • Adapt Learning ($0) - This free LMS (or “learning management system”) allows you to create video courses and distribute them on your own site using the open-source Adapt Framework.

  • Canvas ($0) - Canvas has several products that you can use for courses. Canvas Cloud is free or the code is open source if you want to host it yourself.

  • Eliademy ($0) - With course creation tools, quizzes, and a class management system, Eliademy is a great free option.

  • Forma LMS ($0) - While it’s primarily for corporate training, Forma has free and open source options that can be adapted to just about any course creation needs.

  • Google Open Classroom ($0) - Using Google Classroom, your students can sign up for your course with their Google account and have access to videos, assessments, and feedback.

  • Guides.co ($0) - Centered around building “guides” this course creation platform focuses on helpful, community-contributed posts.

  • ILIAS ($0) - ILIAS is another open-source course management platform with millions of users in large and small businesses.

  • Moodle ($0) - Open source and used by many colleges, Moodle also offers recommended hosting options if you’re not sure how to get started.

  • Opigno ($0) - A full-featured LMS built on the popular PHP framework, Drupal, Opigno can handle single courses and paid subscriptions.

  • Pluralsight ($0) - Pluralsight also requires an application in exchange for a wider, built-in reach. It’s especially popular with developers and technical topics.

  • Skillshare ($0) - Skillshare helps you create your course, distribute it, and make money with paid content.

  • Udemy ($0) - Once your course is live, students will be able to discover and buy it, earning you money every time.

  • eHow ($0) - While you must be accepted as a contributor, writing for eHow might be a good way to show others that you’re a leader in your industry or niche.


What other course creators have you tried? Email me to share your suggestions.

Karl Hughes

By Karl Hughes

Karl is a former startup CTO and the founder of Draft.dev. He writes about technical blogging and content management.