Choosing the best software for creating online courses can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur selling a product, a yoga instructor expanding into offering an online course, or an artist looking to create a network for fellow creatives. Choosing the best course creation software is your first major step toward success.
With that in mind, we’re going to define what online course creation software is, tackle the key features to look out for, and look at a few different companies that are providing the most powerful course creation tools today.
What is online course creation software?
Online course software gives you the framework to easily design, build, and deliver awesome content to your members, usually via dripped coursework or live lessons.
If you’ve been looking at online course creation software, you probably realize how expensive it is to do on your own. Typically, you’ll have to develop software to house your course content; design a website that is functional and easy to navigate; and create spaces for your course community to engage with one another. And on top of all that, you then have to find ways to monetize your work.
If that sounds like a lot of work, that’s because it is!
But with a robust piece of online course design software, building out a course becomes much easier.
The best online course software will do four things:
- Allow you to organize your content in an engaging and easily digestible way.
- Enable you to build and foster a thriving community around your online course where your participants can connect with each other.
- Give you a high level of customizability which will help you grow your overall business as the needs of your course community expand and change.
- And most importantly, do all the above easily.
Ideally, a piece of online course creation software will provide you a platform with built-in features so you can focus on what’s most important: providing a quality online course and experience for your course community.
Creating a space for your community to interact and form connections is the lifeblood of any online course. When people are excited about what you have to offer, they are going to tell the world about it and bring others to you. Finding online course software that helps you interact and excite your community will prove dividends.
The 4 key areas to look out for when choosing online course software to build your content
There are plenty of options available to you when choosing the best online course creation software for your content. And not all course creation software is made equal. Below are our top 4 areas to keep in mind when choosing the best online course creation platform for your business in 2021.
- Customization: You want an online course platform that offers you flexibility and customization. When you have the option to grow your course content as you learn more about your community, it will lead to more interaction and revenue.
- Community: The best online course software will allow you to host more than just a course. It will help you foster a community. Look for online course software that provides a wide variety of community-forward features (small groups, discussion boards, direct messaging, etc.) to help interact with your students, but more importantly, for your students to interact with each other.
- Monetization: People pay attention to what they pay for. You’ll want to be able to provide flexibility for payments (think monthly, annual, or one-time fees) and charge not only for your courses but potentially for access to the community itself. And you want to make those transactions seamless for your members.
- Availability: The best online course software will make your content available in as many ways as possible. If your members can access the community or course from a variety of places they will be more invested. Online course software that can be built for and across the web, iOS, and Android is a must.
The best online course creator software in 2021
All that said, here’s a list of what we consider the best software in 2021 for building online courses and communities that thrive and build revenue.
Teachable is an online course creation platform that sells itself as having “painless” customization and focuses on “easy-to-use features and fewer tech headaches.” They are one of the most popular online course platforms out there today and provide a solid feature set to complement most aspirations.
- Customization: Teachable boasts robust customization features on its platform. They have a “power editor” that allows creators to build engaging multimedia lectures, videos, and coaching sessions. In addition to live meeting and coaching features, you can post quizzes and third-party surveys to interact with your members.
- Monetization: Making it simple for your members to subscribe to your course and pay is important to the growth of your business. Teachable offers analytics for you to track your sales and members’ activity, and a variety of options for designing enticing sales pages. On top of that, if you’re looking for ways to pay members in leadership positions, Teachable has features for that too.
- Community: While Teachable has a number of great features to customize your course, they have less of an emphasis on building a community with their online course software. You can schedule live sessions with students, but as we said above, a huge component of a successful course is figuring out new and inventive ways for your members to interact with each other. You’re not always going to be around, so providing value through the network of members you’re building is important.
- Availability: While Teachable does have an app, they describe it as ”supplementary” to the website and it’s only available on iOS. That’s not great: Your members’ ability to access your online course anywhere they are is important. And choosing an online course creation software platform that offers a native app should be a top priority in your decision making.
Bottom line: Teachable has a great thing going with its website and course building features. Plus, they’ve built in a number of ways to build revenue for your brand. But without solid community engagement options and an app with limited functionality and availability (again, only available through iOS), keeping your online course alive will prove difficult.
Kajabi is a well-known online course creation platform with a focus on the marketing and business side of things. Their goal is to “transform your expertise into polished, profitable digital products.” So, let’s see how they do.
- Customization: Choosing an online course creation platform that lets you build your content easily is important. Kajabi has a powerful website builder for you to create a central hub for your online course and community. You can build landing pages and product pages for your courses with no-code software.
- Monetization: Kajabi has excelled at designing a platform where you can monetize your online course. They offer payment options through Stripe and Paypal. They also don’t take a cut of your revenues (a trade-off for higher monthly membership prices).
- Community: At the end of the day, people are what make an online course possible. And Kajabi has limited features when it comes to actually building an online community around your course. Most of their options are around automating your responses and delayed posting. If anything, this makes you more detached from your members, and your members more detached from each other.
- Availability: Recently Kajabi has released a mobile app for creators and members to use the platform on the go. However, they do not offer creators a white label mobile app. In short, users will have to navigate through other services Kajabi offers every time they want to interact with yours.
Bottom line: Kajabi advertises their platform as a place where “if you can dream it, you can monetize it.” That’s a yikes from us, dawg. Of course, making money for your hard work is important. But we believe providing your community with a transformative, results-based experience is the name of the game.
Mighty Networks is a website builder and white label community platform that lets you bring your community, online courses, and content together in one place, under your own brand and domain name, instantly available on web, iOS and Android.
Not only does a Mighty Network let you publish a variety of content to help jumpstart conversations within your community, but it also lets you divide your Network into groups and subgroups, plus charge for memberships and online courses.
- Customization: Creating content on Mighty Network is not only easy, it’s robust. The best online course creation software should give you a variety of options to experiment with and grow your course over time. Mighty Networks provides tools to create articles, posts, groups, polls, quizzes and surveys, and of course, online courses. The “activity feed” feature makes it easy for members to keep track of all the awesome content you’re providing.
- Community: If there’s one thing that Mighty Networks does better than any other platform, it’s providing you with the tools you need to build an online community. You can make public and private groups, allow for discussion boards, and direct messaging between members. On top of that, Mighty Networks has the same interaction tools you’d find on social media platforms. Users can post, comment, cheer each other on.
- Availability: When you use a Mighty Network your users will be able to access your branded community wherever they are across the web and native the Mighty Network app available on Android and iOS. When you upgrade to Mighty Pro, you can even have your own branded app in the app store!
- Monetization: Mighty Networks offers plenty of options for you to monetize your online course and community through subscriptions and membership pages that can be charged annually and monthly.
- It’s new: Mighty Networks is a relatively new entrant, which means it’s a new platform for your course community to learn. Some of your people might be hesitant to jump aboard with a piece of software that lacks the familiarity of something they’re used to using every day. But the good news is that creators who build their courses on Mighty Networks see super high engagement. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the member reviews of the Mighty Networks app are positive.
Bottom line: Mighty Networks is changing the way creators build their online courses and communities. It’s important to provide quality content, and Mighty Networks has the tools for you to deliver on that front. But it’s even more important for online course creation software to provide you the features to foster your course community. You’ll have to bring your own traffic to your course, but this is true whether you’re using Mighty Networks, Teachable, or Kajabi.
Remember: The most successful online courses are more than a series of content modules. They give users a transformative experience that provides results. Part of achieving those results is connecting with other people and sharing our knowledge with each other. That’s why you got into this in the first place, right?
The best online course software gives you customization and control
That might seem like A LOT (we understand!) but choosing the best online course software is an important part of making your dreams come true. Finding a platform that provides you with a lot of customization and control over your online course and brand is going to save you a lot of headaches and make you more money.
We think what we’ve built at Mighty Networks provides the best of the bunch thanks to our powerful course and community-building features that allow you to build the online course of your dreams.
Better yet, all of our features work across the web, iOS, and Android which gives your members more flexibility and availability to how they interact with each other and your content.
Sounds pretty awesome, right? Check us out!