There’s nothing more satisfying than taking your ideas and knowledge and sharing it with the world. You can do that with a podcast, a blog, or on social media, of course.
But one of the most profitable ways to do it is with an online course. Creating an online course is a great way to grow or expand your profile, your impact, and your business!
Online learning has practically become the norm thanks to the pandemic and advances in technology. With a plethora of online course apps, learning is at everyone’s fingertips, whether they want to obtain a degree, to upskill, or just to master something they’re passionate about.
That’s where you come in. You have something important to share, and luckily, building an online course has never been easier.
However, creating a course isn’t just piecing something together, putting it out there and forgetting about it. One of the best parts about creating an online course is bringing together a thriving community that wants to master something. This is where choosing the right app to create your course with is so vital to your success.
If you’re thinking about creating an online course, you’re in the right place. We’re going to present you with the top online courses app. We’ll give you a quick overview of what these apps offer and go into detail about their features so that you can choose the right one that suits your needs!
If you want more support in building your online course and community, come join OUR Mighty Community for free and meet other new and established community owners! We’d love to meet you. Join for free!
In this article...
What is an online course app?
Let's start with the basics of what exactly an online course app is. An online course, as it sounds, is a course that you can create and host online… so far, no mobile app is required. But since most people want, no… expect, to be able to take your online course on their phones, an online course app delivers up your course material through a native smartphone app.
Many people hesitate to design online courses because they think it requires a lot of technical knowledge. And building an app sounds like a next-level challenge.
Not anymore! Modern online course apps allow creators to build anything they can imagine without the headache of learning how to code. The best course creators even allow you to add in your custom branding and give you the ability to monetize.
And the best course platforms give you instant app access with a click of a button, serving up your web content to students on their phones.
Ultimately though, the best online course app not only helps you create courses, but also to bring people together around your course content — this is what will keep them engaged and coming back for more.
What to look for in an online course app
Now that you know what an online course app is, let’s get into the features you should be looking for to help you choose the best one.
We should say from the start that the best platform will be accessible, meaning your course and community should be available on a mobile app for both iOS and Android. Students want to be able to learn and interact from anywhere.
If you’re looking to attract an international audience, this will also broaden your reach in countries where the majority of users only have a mobile device.
Here are some other functions to think about:
You could build the best course, but if you don’t have a community surrounding it, your members won’t be all that interested. Think about it: when you’ve taken online courses, they can feel lonely because you don’t have anyone in your immediate surroundings who is as passionate about what you’re learning as you are.
Being able to build a community gives you a way to connect your students to one another while completing the course. It’s important not only that you can interact with your students, but that they interact with one another.
The conversations between members will inspire learning and growth, and when you have a thriving community, they’ll be more likely to purchase future courses you create. It’s a win-win for everyone.
The best online courses are interactive and easy to use, and they don’t limit you to the basics like slideshows and video content. Look for an online course app that lets you create and organize complex lessons, including polls and Q&As, images, PDFs, videos, and live streaming.
Make sure that conversations can happen as well (like a conversation thread), so that members can interact with you and one another. Courses should also support live instruction and webinar events. And you should also be able to customize your course to your liking and add your brand into it.
You’re building an online course to bring together a group of people who are interested in learning and growing together, but you also want to be compensated for your efforts. The top online course app will take care of the point of sale and allow you to offer bundles, discounts, free trials and so much more.
Now that you know what features to look for, let’s get into some options for the best online course app!
4 Top online course apps
1. Mighty Networks
Mighty Networks is a powerful cultural software platform that lets you mix courses, community, content, and commerce. And Mighty's flexible Spaces let you add in features to help your community thrive, features like live streaming, live events, messaging and chat, discussion forums, member profiles, Q&As, and more! It's the ultimate solution to bring together a strong community of members passionate about learning something interesting,
With a Mighty Network, you’ve got a ton of options to customize your course too. The course platform is engaging and interactive, with lesson templates that can be tailored to fit your brand. You also get clear analytics (detailed member data) to help you tweak your content along the way as you continue to offer courses.
With a Mighty Network you not only have the opportunity to monetize through online courses and events, but you also have the option to monetize the community itself! The options are endless.
For example, you could choose to offer a free membership to the community and then charge for events and courses, or you could charge admission to the general community, then upsell into a specific course.
To recap, you can monetize:
- Community access/membership
- Events and webinars
All this in 135 different currencies, or even with token-gating!
Mighty Networks has responsive mobile apps for all devices (iOS and Android) — even on the community plan, the app is accessible for hosts and members.
Creators can even upgrade to create and brand their own app.
Kajabi is an online platform that allows you to create and host courses, memberships, and communities. Kajabi is a popular platform for coaches and provides them with comprehensive marketing tools and funnels to sell their courses.
Kajabi lets you build out course modules with text, files, and videos (hosted on the third-party site Wistia). With their basic package you don’t have the ability to remove Kajabi branding, meaning you have to pay more to customize.
While there are limited community functions and the course platform isn’t as good as others, where this app excels is with the complex marketing system. You can market your online course with email campaigns, marketing funnels, and landing pages, all of which aren’t typically included in other platforms.
One of the drawbacks to Kajabi is that it has very limited community features. Since it’s more course-focused, the community is really just an add-on. As the administrator, you have the ability to create groups with specific topics and include members who have enrolled in your course. A community in Kajabi is not even as functional as a Facebook Group — which is why a lot of Kajabi creators try to launch Facebook groups to supplement.
Kajabi doesn’t take a percentage from creators’ revenue, which is great, but because of the marketing features they offer, this online course app is one of the most expensive.
Kajabi recently added a native mobile app specifically for course content. If you do want to create an app for your course content, they have a “ready-made mobile solution” meaning that you don’t need to pay for development or maintenance.
Udemy is a marketplace that lets creators build and list online courses — free and paid. Creators can use this platform for free to share their knowledge by creating an online course. For creators that want to sell their course, they simply need to write up a description and explain what it offers then submit it for review.
Udemy makes their marketplace accessible to their members with a mobile app. Students can download course content for offline use, and they have the ability to stream content from the app to a Chromecast or Apple TV.
Udemy’s course marketplace lists thousands upon thousands of courses. While this testifies to how well known its platform is, at the end of the day, it can be harder to make sure your course doesn’t get lost in the noise. Not only that but the branding for your course needs to fit with the Udemy marketplace — meaning there’s no room for customization and it’s harder to stand out.
Udemy’s community functions, unfortunately, are limited. But it does offer some simple community-building tools, like being able to send new students a welcome message.
When it comes to monetization, this is the biggest downside to using Udemy. When students use your coupon or referral link, you receive 97% of the revenue. However, if a user simply clicks on your course through their catalog, you only receive 37% of the revenue!
It can be frustrating to give away your hard-earned revenue.
Similar to Udemy, Skillshare is an online marketplace platform for creatives to host their courses. Skillshare offers courses on almost everything, but as the name suggests the courses teach skills, which can be anything from fine art to film. This platform is where a lot of teachers choose to build their brand and gain exposure.
With Skillshare’s mobile app, students can download your course content and view it offline, which makes it very accessible. Progress students make while using the app is automatically synced. The app overall, however, is more of a companion app to the web experience, so customization isn’t a possibility.
One of the good things about Skillshare is the option to share projects you’re working on with the class/instructor. And there’s a good rating system to help users understand what your course does and who it’s for. But other than this, there’s not really any option to build a community on Skillshare.
Unfortunately, all online courses on this app must be pre-recorded videos, so there’s little room for customization. Skillshare is great for students but not so great for course creators. If you want to even make a few dollars a month from this platform, you need a course that is ultra unique, stands out from the other courses, and one that is in-demand. This is because Skillshare takes 30% of its revenue every month and divides it up amongst course creators based on their watch time…yikes!
Your course could be penalized for not being one of the most popular, and if you’re going to spend time publicizing it to make it the most popular, it probably makes more sense to build it somewhere that you can keep all the revenue.
We’ve explored the top online course apps and important features you should consider before you invest your time and energy into one. Community features, customization, monetization, and the functionality of the mobile app are all essential elements to your course’s success.
If you’re looking for the best online course app where you can grow your online community, why not try Mighty?
Of all the options, Mighty offers the most possibilities, and it has amazing features: customized feeds and branding, multiple ways to engage with members, video uploading, and live streaming.
The best part is that you get to bring together people who don’t know each other but share the same interests, goals, or passions and see them thrive, making it the best app for online courses.