The 5 Best Online Learning Platform Types

online courses platforms Jan 30, 2022

One thing I can assure you, nothing will burn up your time, money, and sanity more than discovering that you are not on the right online learning platform when it is already too late.


I've built 15 of my online courses on different platforms. And my experience consulting at courseCREEK has given me an opportunity to help clients with all kinds of special needs. This means there has been a LOT of discussions about LMS platforms.


I'm going to share with you the 5 best types of online learning management platforms and their general application.


To be transparent, know that I'm including affiliate links in this post. This occasionally means you get a discounted deal or a longer trial period, so there is a benefit to you. But I do make about $20 to $30 if you decide to purchase a platform from my links below. It will help pay for my latte habit. Thanks ahead of time.


Marketplace Platforms

Marketplace platforms are websites that have thousands of courses on them, under many different topics. 


Generally, you create and upload your course content to their templated online course delivery system. In return, they will market your course with paid advertising, emails, and promotions. You will share a % of your sales with the marketplace platform partner. 


There are many different LMS marketplace options. Some seem to offer any topic, while others tend to focus on key industry segments such as IT or marketing courses only. Many are obscure, and frankly a waste of time.


However, a few can be quite essential to your strategy and can be quite lucrative. These must be discussed.


The most popular and essential marketplace options are:

  1. Udemy
  2. Udemy for Business
  3. Skillshare

I have noticed many consultants tend to dismiss these marketplaces. I believe it's because they are put-off by the flash sales and low pricing these platforms typically promote. I have to admit; when I first tried these platforms, I was concerned about that as well. 


However, I had an awakening of the best kind. They typically sell your course at a low price, but they have a huge captured community and a lot of paid traffic hitting their websites. This means you are going to get a lot of eyes on your course and a lot of free traffic viewing your course.


Dismissing these online learning marketplaces is a huge mistake. There are many reasons that you should be using these platforms to host some or all of your courses. 


It is all about funnel strategy and capitalizing on all that traffic.


You have to know HOW to use these platforms to your advantage. I do and I can show you the tactics.



Udemy has a massive user base of over 50 million users. That makes it the biggest of the third party marketplaces.


Udemy can be a great side income and a way to generate traffic for your Business.


Udemy for Business (UFB)

Udemy for Business is a select portfolio of business courses offered to the enterprise for a license. Company employees have access to all the courses inside the portfolio that their company licenses. 


As a creator, you get paid on the amount of run-time your course accrues. The more employees choose your course and view the videos, the more you get paid. It can add an additional 30% profit to your overall sales at Udemy. courseCREEK will help you to fill out the application for UFB if you are interested.


Skillshare is another popular online learning marketplace. 


Like UFB, Skillshare pays you a percentage of their total subscription earnings based on how many total minutes people viewed your courses.


Note, it is a clever strategy to make content designed to be consumed regularly, day after day. Such as practice content for musicians or "repeat after me" language tutorials. Any skill that requires repetition is an excellent strategic choice to help game Skillshare's payment plan. Not everyone can pull that off, but if you can, it's worth doing. 


There's no exclusivity for either site, so you can repurpose your course and put it on both.


Self-Hosted Platforms (all-in-one) 

A self-hosted, all-in-one platform is a course platform that you build and implement (our courseCREEK builds and implements 😉), and operate at your domain. You will advertise and sell online courses on your own platform. These typically come with more challenges to market compared to marketplaces, but the profit margins are all yours. 


I like to differentiate between self-hosted platforms that are "all-in-one" and those that only offer an LMS (Learning Management System) interface. 


The All-In-One has three critical capabilities: 

  1. It gives you static pages - Ex; the "about us", "bio", etc,. 
  1. It gives you the LMS ( Learning Management System ). Where course lessons are hosted and students engage in a course. 
  1. It has ALL of the required marketing features you must have to capture and nurture your online traffic. Such as; email, lead magnets, funnels, segmentation, automation, cart abandonment, live chat system, etc.


Platforms that can give you all of this in one software can save you vast amounts of money and headaches. 


This is the way to go if;


  • You do not have a website yet and you are starting from scratch. 
  • It is also the best option if your existing website is in need of an upgrade. 
  • It is the best option if you do not want to integrate 3rd party marketing software to your website. 


Here are two great all-in-one options I regularly recommend.



The most popular all-in-one self-hosted platform is Kajabi

In my opinion, Kajabi is the best all-in-one-solution. If you want one platform that can handle everything, Kajabi is probably your best bet.  

You can take a look at it by clicking this link to qualify for the 28-Day Challenge. This Challenge gives you an extra week on top of their standard 14 days trial. They also take you through Kajabi's own "how-to" training course. The challenge is to make your first $1000 following their tutorial. It's really a great promotion! 


The list of features Kajabi has is right on point: 


  • Kajabi has a fully functional, built-in email system that prevents you from having to purchase and integrate a 3rd party email software solution. 
  • You can create landing pages in Kajabi that you can route potential customers into funnel sequences. 
  • The built-in CRM gives you the tools you need to manage your leads and customers' list. 
  • You're able to build dynamic websites with all the static, "brochure" pages that everyone needs in addition to the LMS. 
  • The LMS offers numerous engagement elements like quizzes, assessments, pdf downloads, and video hosting. 
  • Kajabi gives you a built-in membership/subscription service. 
  • Kajabi offers a Facebook-like community. Course creators MUST build a community!
  • Kajabi offers an app. solution for free with your package. This means students can find you inside IOS, Android, etc.


That's only a few of the features that they offer. 


If you want your platform to do everything from course creation to website hosting and marketing, Kajabi is your best bet


And I will just tell you right now; this is my top recommendation of about 90% of the time. It is also the platform I use for all of my courses as well.



LearnWorlds is Kajabi's top competitor in the all-in-one, self-hosted space. LearnWorlds will offer most of the same things as Kajabi. 


However, there are two interesting differences I want to point out. 


  • LearnWorlds has a VERY cool set of engagement elements that are not available on other platforms. For example:  
  • LearnWorlds offers different kinds of test options. 
  • A note-taking interface for students to highlight text inside the course 
  • Branded digital certificates 
  • An outstanding, interactive video player allows you to put quizzes and engagement elements directly into the video player. 
  • Badging or gamification of students progresses, which helps to create positive peer pressure. 
  • LearnWorlds does not have a built-in email system like Kajabi. This means you will still need to integrate a 3rd party email software system to accommodate your inbound marketing needs.


LearnWorlds is super cool. If Kajabi were not available, I would likely put my courses on LearnWorlds.


For clients that are attracted to the dynamic media player that allows you to add assessment engagement features inside the media player, ( a lot of people think that is valuable ), and want a strong gamification element with badges, it may tip the scales away from Kajabi.


Still, having a built-in email system with your platform, Kajabi, is hard to beat. Email is THAT important. 

Self-Hosted Platforms (LMS Only) 

These platforms are strong with 1 of the key elements you need in a course platform, the LMS.

Some can give you static pages and blogs, but the themes and templates tend to be limited, and designing on them can be wonky.  And, they do not give you the built-in email software and inbound marketing features you need.


The reason a client would use a self-hosted LMS platform would be because their current website cannot be migrated for any number of reasons. In other words, if you already have the static page website and inbound marketing features, but only need the LMS, you might choose  Thinkific.



Thinkific is an excellent example of a self-hosted LMS, as I just discussed above. It works well for people who already have a website with their static web pages and content in place. You'll just need to link to your course that's hosted on Thinkific. If you try to use their site builder system that helps you build the static website pages, be ready for limited design capabilities.

OTT (Over The Top) and VOD (Video On Demand) Platforms

Simply stated, OTT/VOD platforms are used for the delivery of video and TV-quality content via the internet, without requiring users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite TV service. 



The OTT/VOD platform I recommend when we have clients that need this kind of system is USCREEN.TV.

The user experience of is similar to Netflix or YouTube Channel. There's a collection of videos in category groups that can be played on-demand, from any device (TVs, desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones). 


Uscreen.TV gives you a typical desktop/laptop user experience but it also can easily be converted to the following apps. 


  • ROKU 
  • AppleTV 
  • FireTV 
  • IOS 
  • Android 
  • AndroidTV 


The fact that Uscreen.TV can be converted to apps. is arguably the most significant selling point. 


This means your content is now available across 5x as many devices and accessed by more viewers. scores high on aesthetic beauty in presentation and definition of content delivery, consistent with their fundamental use. is well suited for: 


  • Content that does not require a lot of academic engagement features like quizzes and assessments. 
  • Teaching that requires a lot of physical demonstration such as; fitness instructors, chefs, dance instructors, visual artists, or pure entertainment content like music videos or episodic content. 
  • Content that needs to be offered on devices other than only computers. 
  • Content that needs to be consumed by people that don't have access to smartphones, desktops, and laptops or are "tech-less" such as older people who can click and play on their TV. 
  • Building a Uscreen.TV platform is easier than all the other self-hosted platforms because it is a templated system. This basically means you build less, and simply add graphic and aesthetic elements to a pre-existing layout. This means that getting a up and running is HUGELY easier than other platforms. I think this is the #1 best thing about uscreen from an implementation perspective. 


Keep in mind that self-hosted, all-in-one platforms are also available on mobile devices, but not typically on-demand TV systems like ROKU. And even then, they are not quite as cool and user-friendly as Uscreen, and developing an app. is a huge challenge compared to just asking to turn it on for you.

Enterprise LMS Platforms 

The Enterprise LMS Platform is a platform that is only used for the large enterprise and B2B business models. They typically require customization.


LMS systems that require B2B seat provisioning, health care, large educational institutions, government, and organizations that have a lot of compliance requirements will be suited more for Enterprise/Custom systems. Or otherwise, NOT "off-the-shelf". 


courseCREEK can help clients that have these platform needs. It requires a deeper consultation and needs analysis. 

Which Online Learning Platform Should You Use & Why? 

If you have never built an online course before and have no website? - Kajabi 


Suppose you have built a website, but it is obsolete. In that case, you are ok with migrating the content to a new platform, want the convenience of an all-in-one platform, and you are going to offer courses? Again, Kajabi.


Suppose you have built a website, but it is obsolete. In that case, you are ok with migrating the content to a new platform, want the convenience of all-in-one. Do you want the high engagement assessment elements on an interactive video player? Do you want a strong gamification element to your course? - LearnWorlds 


If you have a website that cannot be migrated and does not need an update, but you need an LMS to offer online courses? - Thinkific 


If you are not interested in scoring your student's progress, offering quizzes, assessments, and you feel your customers need to be able to access your content from any device, via apps. and your lessons deal a lot with students being able to see you demonstrate, and you like the idea of an easier implementation? -  


If you do not want to build a self-hosted website at all, have you never made an online course before and cannot afford to build a self-hosted system? If you just want to do a mini-course and crawl, walk, run into the online course world? - Udemy & Skillshare 


I hope this helps... 


If you have any questions about which platforms will work best for your unique idea and business, then click the button below to schedule a consultation call. 


Schedule a Free Strategy Session


Good luck with choosing your platform.

That's all for today.


Robert Lunte

Founder of courseCREEK

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