Note: 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

b2b = business to business / b2c = business to consumer

Online Instructor Platform Guide

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

Up to date as of 08th Jun 2016

Shout out to Phil Ebiner, Paula Guilfoyle, Rob 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.


3rd Party Marketplaces - They Host - They Sell:


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 $20 to $50
Barrier To Entry: High production quality required


 

Thoughts: 

The landscape of Udemy is rapidly changing and as of June 2016 the dust is yet to settle after all the price changes.  

It is still the largest of the learning platforms and is worth trying to sell courses on and is a great place to learn how to create high quality courses as they have very high quality standards.


Skillshare.com

Course Type Preference: All both b2c and b2b, however b2c performs better
Revenue Potential: Medium / smaller payments $1.40 to $2.00 per enrollment
Age Of Platform: April 2011
Size (Number Of Students): 1.1 Million
Marketplace: Subscription costs $10 per month
Barrier To Entry: Low - short courses recommended

Thoughts:

Several instructors have reported success on Skillshare earning up to $6k per month so depending upon number of courses and type of courses Skillshare could become a good earner for some instructors.

Suitable for project based courses / hobby courses do particularly well.


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 $7.50 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.


Stackskills (Stack Commerce)

Course Type Preference: All both b2b and b2c
Revenue Potential: Medium - very good if you can get a course in their stack 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.  However at the time of writing (June 2016) they are just about to launch their new Elearning Academy which will be open up to instructors to sell all their courses - so it will be a platform and a hosting site (relying on Teachable as a platform).
Barrier To Entry: Possible course approval process

Thoughts:

The Elearning Academy launch will be an interesting develop.

If it takes off this platform could become serious platform to place courses on as they have very strong marketing experience selling digital product.

One to watch and back early.

 


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’ AVD has several different revenue models.  
Revenue Potential: Unknown / around $0.06 to $0.15 per hour viewed
Age Of Platform: Launched AVD in May 2016
Size (Number Of Students): Approximately 46 Million Prime Members and 244 Million shoppers on Amazon
Marketplace: Is a 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!


Lynda.com

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): Serves more than 10000 organisations - the grandmother of online learning
Marketplace: Is a closed marketplace - Subscription model.
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:

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!


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: None/unknown

Thoughts:

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


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: Individual course sales model
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown

Thoughts:

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.


Ulearning

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

Thoughts:

Very new platform, worth keeping an eye on - if it takes off could become a good place to sell.

 


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.


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.


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

Thoughts:

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

Revenue potential would need to be confirmed though.


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 - $49 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.


CyberU

Course Type Preference: All b2c and b2b
Revenue Potential: Low/unknown
Age Of Platform: New platform
Size (Number Of Students): Unknown
Marketplace: Individual course sale model
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown

Thoughts:

Looks a fairly new platform so little known


Skill Success

Course Type Preference: All b2c and b2b
Revenue Potential: Low/unknown
Age Of Platform: Unknown
Size (Number Of Students): 100k
Marketplace: Individual course sale model
Barrier To Entry: None/unknown

Thoughts:

As of June 2016 only has about 137 courses.

Has 100k students which could be a good selling base.  

They have an email sign up for their ‘Flash Sales’ which is a popular marketing model that people like.


 

Additional Platforms

All of these platforms are very new or we have little information and are mentioned here for reference.

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


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, they are the only site that has the EU VAT issue sorted and you won't pay anything extra for it.

Best free option for the new online entrepreneur / trainer.


Teachable

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

Thoughts:

Well established and recently secured $6 million in funding.

Poor functionality roll out - 18 months of promises and still have not resolved the EU VAT issue satisfactorily - this is from personal experience.

Also not easy to create stand alone pages, coding experience required.

Needs to do some catching up.