Online Instructor Platform Guide

Want To Teach Online? This is a directory of the latest online platforms for Online Instructors to list their courses on, or use as a hosting platform*

Last Updated - 08th March 2018

 

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3rd Party Marketplaces - They Host - They Sell:


The Top 5 - In Order Of Monthly Earnings:

Udemy.com

Course Type Preference: Both b2b and b2c
Revenue Potential: Low to high (very competitive) 
Age Of Platform: Launched: 2009
Size (Number Of Students): 11 Million
Marketplace: Individual course sale model - Courses priced $10 to $200
Barrier To Entry: High production quality required


 

Thoughts: 

Still the largest of the learning platforms with over 55,000 courses and millions of students. It worth trying to sell courses here and is a great place to learn how to create high quality courses as they have very high quality standards.

The current review system is very harsh on new instructors and very unbalanced, which is a key issue to adapt to when you start out on the platform.

Huge earning potential if you can hit a home run, but very competive so bring your A+ game here!

Still our top earner in 2018...


CyberU

Course Type Preference: All b2c and b2b
Revenue Potential: Low/too early to tell/quarterly payments
Age Of Platform: New platform
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Individual course sale model/plus CyberU Enterprise for corporate clients
Barrier To Entry: Upload your course and they will review it after a few days.

Thoughts:

These guys are really starting to warm up and have jumped up the earnings ranks for us, shooting into 2nd place for the last quarter, but it is very early to tell as we don't have data for a consistent number of months..
 


Skillwise / Stackskills / Stacksocial (Stack Commerce)

Course Type Preference: All both b2b and b2c
Revenue Potential: Medium to High - very good if you can get a course in their skills packages where they "auction" a package over a period of several months - bringing in daily revenue.
Age Of Platform: Started 2011
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace & Self Hosting: Currently places courses in bundles and runs auction type sales where an instructor takes a cut - these courses are also available on their platform.  They also have the new Skillwise platform where they sell individual courses.
Barrier To Entry: Course approval process

Thoughts:

Bundle deals and individual courses tend to sell quite well via Stack Social.

Skillwise (launched mid 2016 we believe) is a full blown platform that is part of the Stack Commerce group. Not so many sales via the Skillwise side yet but is still quite new.

Potentially good 'group' to sell your courses on.

Very hard to join as they operate on an invitational process.

 


Skill Success

Course Type Preference: All b2c and b2b
Revenue Potential: Medium to High - Instructors are earning on the platform
Age Of Platform: Unknown
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Individual course sale model
Barrier To Entry: They will ask for access to your current course so that they can check the quality, so you will need your course hosted on your own site or another site etc.

Thoughts:

Up and coming potential heavyweight - these guys know how to sell courses..  

They advised they redesigned their website early 2017 to optimize for better conversions. Now their focus is on more marketing to which end they have added more staff to their Paid Ads team - so they are hoping for increase traffic and sales.

Income wise apart from a couple of fluctuations we have seen growth since the beginning of 2017.  They now out perform Skillshare on a regular basis. 

So worth checking this platform out!


Skillshare.com

Course Type Preference: All both b2c and b2b, however b2c performs better - short courses work better
Revenue Potential: Currently they pay out $0.04 to $0.06 per minute watched
Age Of Platform: April 2011
Size (Number Of Students): 3 Million
Marketplace: Subscription costs $12 per month or $96 per year
Barrier To Entry: Low - ranking is based on a meritocracy

Thoughts:

Skillshare is failing miserably for us, with buggy site issues where we cannot upload courses, a dodgy post review system with a 3 strikes and your out attitude and a war from Skillshare against entrepreneurial courses where you make money online, they are even banning courses like Amazon FBA which is a legitimate business model (from a business that makes money online - so very hypocritical).

Because they have post rather than pre-approval for the courses, they have very low quality standards, so courses on their have very low video quality and audio (even the courses they often promote as top courses) and you get swamped in lots of low quality courses.

Trying to get traction on there is nearly impossible unless you are one of the favoured few that Skillshare promote (usually in the hobby / arts category), doesn't do well for business courses for obvious reasons.

Upload and forget platform that once once in 2nd place for us, but is now in 5th place, dropping to the back of the pack.


The Rest Where We Currently Have Little Presence Or Zero:

Curious.com

Course Type Preference: All - but seems more suitable for b2c
Revenue Potential: Unknown
Age Of Platform: Started 2012
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown student number, however it is a large platform with over 20000 lessons
Marketplace: Student subscription costs $9.99 a month
Barrier To Entry: Application required - but appears to be an auto-accept

Thoughts:

Worth trying out some courses and see how they perform.

Uploading of courses is a slow process as they like each lesson to be broken into segments with at least one quiz per lesson - each segment to be about 1-5 mins long.

We only have a few stand alone modules of a course on here which have had next to no take up.  Probably need to test with a full course to ascertain how well the platform does which we hope to do by year end.  


Amazon Video Direct (AVD)

Course Type Preference: Amazon Video Direct allows people to upload their video content onto the platform.  Hailed as ‘Amazon takes on YouTube’  
Revenue Potential: Unknown / around $0.06 to $0.15 per hour viewed -  AVD has several different revenue models
Age Of Platform: Launched AVD in May 2016
Size (Number Of Students): Approximately 46 Million Prime Members and 244 Million shoppers on Amazon
Marketplace: Marketplace - individual course sales, prime subscriptions and watched minutes.
Barrier To Entry:  All video content requires closed captions/subtitles.  There is also an approval process for each piece of content submitted which according to some is not always a quick or smooth process (not yet anyway!) - captioning is a laborious / expensive process at the moment

Thoughts:

It is rumored that Amazon Video Direct may be a precursor to them launching an Amazon e-learning platform.

AVD is not a true "course training platform" at this point.

If a large player like Amazon enters the e-learning arena however, then things will heat up fast.

Fasten those seatbelts folks!

Still no developments Aug 2017 - some people have said it is good, others have said not so good - so we are hanging back on this one.


Lynda.com / LinkedIn Learning

Course Type Preference: All b2b and b2c - particularly good for corporate (employees)
Revenue Potential: Unknown
Age Of Platform: Well established platform approximately 1996
Size (Number Of Students): 350 million members - the grandmother of online learning
Marketplace: Closed marketplace - Subscription model - they purchase your course rights and pay you based on subscription.
Barrier To Entry: Closed marketplace - application process via their website (they will only contact you back if your application matches their developing needs as they cannot respond to every application)

Thoughts:

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn and by default Lynda.com mid 2016.

LinkedIn launch LinkedIn Learning Sep 2016 so that they can compete for the corporate learning market.

It is rumored that Linkedin who purchased Lynda.com for 1.5 billion in 2015 may open up Lynda.com to independent publishers - which would be a huge development.  

Watch this space!

Nothing happening here at the moment, no signs of them opening up the platform Aug 2017.


Stone River Elearning

Course Type Preference: Appears more b2c -technology / programming / design courses
Revenue Potential: Low/unknown
Age Of Platform: Started 2011
Size (Number Of Students): 250k
Marketplace: Both individual course sales or subscription models
Barrier To Entry: All courses are listed under the Stone River brand name, so not sure what IP rights they expect, so tread carefully.

Thoughts:

 Suitable for technology type courses - this is their core market.

We have nothing here, so cannot share experiences, these are not our types of courses.


Of Course

Course Type Preferences: B2B & B2C
Revenue Potential: Low to medium
Age of platform: April 2015
Size (number of students): Unknown
Barrier To Entry: High production quality. Expertise background check. Prefer personal development / self improvement courses

Thoughts:

Relative newcomer to the market - UK based - focus on self development but accept all other types of courses.

Very low income potential for us at the moment, your mileage may vary if you sell courses that are more to do with coaching etc Aug 2017.

 


360Training.com

Course Type Preference: For corporations (employees)
Revenue Potential: Unknown
Age Of Platform: Well established has pre e-learning roots going back to 1997
Size (Number Of Students): 4 Million
Marketplace: Subscription model - switched 03rd Jul 2016
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown

Thoughts:

Switched to a subscription based model on the 03rd of July 2016

Found some complaints registered online by customers with BBB Directory - mainly over certification and delivery issues.

Some instructors also have reported dissatisfaction when dealing with this platform in terms of customer service. 

The large revenue split of 70/30 in their favor may be off putting for some instructors.

Everyone I have heard from have said this platform is not very good at all...


Ulearning

Course Types Preference: All b2b and b2c
Revenue Potential: Currently probably low but as it grows could become a medium opportunity
Age Of Platform: Started 2016
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Individual course sales model
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown

Thoughts:

This platform is now closed, but will leave it here as a reference for people.

 


Coursmos

Course Type Preference: All b2b and b2c
Revenue Potential: Low
Age Of Platform: Believe started in 2013
Size (Number Of Students): 1.7m
Marketplace: Individual course sale model
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown - as at the  time of writing (June 2016) Coursmos will upload your courses for you via porting over from Udemy or from a Google Drive folder

Thoughts:  

1.  Coursmos does not promote your courses so any sales are organic from customers browsing the site so anticipated sales would be low.  
2.  There is a possibility some courses can be included in ‘collections’ which they do promote.  
3.  They have a marketing programme instructors can join if they wish where Coursmos will match fund whatever the instructor wants to spend on promoting their course.  Obviously this requires a capital outlay so an instructor would need to feel quite confident on the return in investment should they use the marketing programme.  
4. Coursmos is hoping to incorporate joint instructor functionality in the near future.

We have courses on here since June 2016, has been completely dead in terms of sales Aug 2017.


Learning.ly

Course Type Preference: All however has a lot for corporations (employees)
Revenue Potential: Unknown
Age Of Platform: 2015
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Individual course sale model
Barrier To Entry:  Learning.ly is not an open platform - an application and interview process is involved 

Thoughts:  

Probably worth trying if you have courses that are particularly suitable for employees.

We have not uploaded anything here to date. They have recently approached us so when we get time we plan to upload some courses.

Aug 2017


Pluralsight

Course Type Preference: Seems to be focused on technical courses
Revenue Potential: Unknown
Age Of Platform: unknown
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Subscription model - $49 per month
Barrier To Entry:  Application Process - Require exclusive content and also require an audition video

Thoughts:

One to pursue if you want to create technical courses as the site looks professional.

Revenue potential would need to be confirmed though.

Exclusive branded Pluralsight content might be an issue for pro course creators.

We have not uploaded here as we like to retain full copyright.


Amazing.com

Course Type Preference: Both b2b and b&c
Revenue Potential: Low/unknown
Age Of Platform:  Unknown
Size (Number Of Students): 15.5k
Marketplace: Subscription model - $39 per month?
Barrier To Entry: Only accepting Amazon Marketplace FBA courses. 

Thoughts:

Amazing.com laid off 50% of their workforce in May 2016  and they are currently restricting courses to Amazon FBA courses, their future stability is questionable.

We have not uploaded anything here to date, some instructors report consistent earnings.



 

Additional Sites

All of these platforms are very new or we have little information and are mentioned here for reference. They are a mix of marketplaces and platforms in no particular order.

If you have information on them that is useful, please share it with us and we will give the platform a full listing.

 

 

The Naughty Corner - Instructor Beware:

Here are some claims and potential issues with online platforms.

This section is to report on any "naughty" behavior from platforms out there.

Once a report is received, or posted online, we will share the information here - we do not confirm or deny the veracity of any claims supplied here and offer it for your reference only.

 

Eazyskillz - reports of non-payment from Rob Cubbon - article here

Edurila - reports of ripping off instructor courses and selling them without permission - Rob Cubbon - article here


Hosting Platforms - They Host - You Sell


Thinkific

Course Hosting Platform: You Are Responsible For Marketing
Marketing Features: Comprehensive
Age Of Platform: Unknown
Support Reputation: High
Cost: Free/$39/$79/$219 per month

Thoughts:

Very versatile and highly regarded, but be aware you will have to pay an additional $30 a month to get EU VAT handling, which is provided by a third party supplier.

Probably the best functionality at the moment.


Zenler

Course Hosting Platform: You Are Responsible For Marketing
Marketing Features: Good - always updating their functionality
Age Of Platform: Unknown
Support Reputation: High
Cost: Free - 10% Sales Commission

Thoughts:

Versatile and free, EU VAT compliant.

Currently has built in webinars in the beta version, very powerful and unique.

Best free option (no monthly cost - just 10% + $1 flat fee commission to pay on sales plus Paypal fees) for the new online entrepreneur / trainer.

Gives you the option of adding a custom URL for your school.

Very prompt customer service.


Teachable

Course Hosting Platform: You Are Responsible For Marketing
Marketing Features: Good - always updating their functionality
Age Of Platform: Unknown
Support Reputation: Average
Cost: Free/$39/$99/$299 per month

Thoughts:

Well established and recently secured $6 million in funding.

Not easy to create stand alone pages, coding experience required.

Have a free option, but you need to upgrade to the $39 a month option if you want a custom URL for your training school.

Very suspect customer support - lots of complaints in their Facebook group.


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Uscreen

Course Hosting Platform: You Are Responsible For Marketing
Marketing Features: Good - always updating their functionality
Age Of Platform: 2014
Support Reputation: Unknown
Cost: Ranges from $99 (basic) - $399 (enterprise users) per month

Thoughts:

Highly focused on video offering 4k.  They also offer Mobile and TV Video apps.

Current user base of 1100 members and 1.1 million end users.

They are currently working on becoming EU VAT tax compliant.

Come across as approachable and helpful.


*This is our interpretation of the available data and is all represented as a personal opinion - sometimes we might lack information - please make sure you familiarise yourself with terms and conditions before joining any of these services - we in no way condone the practices of or endorse any of the above companies.

b2b = business to business / b2c = business to consumer

Shout out to Phil EbinerPaula GuilfoyleRob Cubbon and Dave Espino who have shared a lot of this information publicly and which we have drawn upon, in addition to our own research.