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Best online course platforms [2022]

We’ve canvassed the market for the best online course platforms (aka learning management systems) for training providers, based on functionality and price. 

We’ve compared monthly costs (on an annual billing cycle) at a top level plan as they have the most comparison points. Some offer much cheaper plans but are often not fit for purpose or come with higher registration costs. One more thing to note on pricing is that the price is still variable for many of the software providers – meaning you’re still paying per registration on top of those prices. The exception here is Coassemble and Thinkific who are fixed price, with all-you-can-eat registrations. ​

For Arlo customers, we’ve also taken into consideration what online course platforms have a native integration with the Arlo training management system or a Zapier integration. Without an integration your two systems won’t talk to each other, and you’ll end up with a long list of manual tasks and a disjointed customer experience. For this purpose, we recommend that an integration with your Arlo training management system is an essential requirement when choosing your LMS software. 

To find out more about the Arlo training management system, check out this short overview. Or, find out more about how Arlo connects to your LMS to create the ultimate solution for your training business.

Best online course platforms:

1. Moodle

Moodle is the most widely used and most powerful open-source learning management system in the world. The system provides all of the functionality you need to create and deliver eLearning for online courses, and allows users to extend functionality and integrate additional third-party solutions using plugins. One of those plugins is the Arlo for Moodle plugin. The plugin is completely free and well-documented, making the task an easy one for developers when it comes to integrating Arlo and Moodle.

Cost: ​Moodle is complicated because the platform is open-source and free to download, but you need to host it somewhere. The cost here is extremely variable.
Integration: Native with the Arlo for Moodle plugin
Trial: No

2. Coassemble

Coasemble is an easy to use LMS that enables you to create online courses in minutes with its existing templates and drag and drop functionality. Arlo and Coassemble integrate via Zapier, with existing Zap templates that cover everything from enrolling an Arlo eLearning registrant in a Coassemble course, to adding Coassemble learner grades to an Arlo registration. To see how Coassemble and Arlo integrate seamlessly to deliver blended learning for your customers, check out this short video.

Cost: $299
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes

3. LearnDash

LearnDash is a WordPress LMS plugin meaning that it requires you to have a WordPress website to use the software. Reviews mention that it does require a developer, or experienced WordPress user, to set it up. We recommended working with Candle Digital who work with WordPress-based solutions, and can ensure your LearnDash LMS integrates seamlessly with Arlo.

Cost: $369
Integration: Native with Candle Digital & Zapier
Trial: No

4. Learnbook

Learnbook is a clean and simple LMS that pitches themselves as “the world’s friendliest learning management system”. The LMS is supported by eCreators; global leaders in Moodle hosting and instructional design, and powered by Moodle, the market leading learning management system. This LMS is for you if you want an intuitive interface, with all the customization and reporting functionality of a more comprehensive LMS. Check out the recent webinar we did with Learnbook’s Liam Liddicoat on blended learning. 

Cost: $475
Integration: Native
Trial: Yes. Free for 30 days.

5. Open LMS

Open LMS is a Moodle-based eLearning solution, which allows you to create, personalize and track instruction for students with simple online tools. However, technical support is limited. They’ve recently joined forces with eCreators, under the Learning Technologies umbrella group. We’re expecting to see some big changes in the near future as a result of this merger.

Cost: Custom quotes only.
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes. Free for 30 days.

6. LearnWorlds

LearnWorlds is a fully customizable, white-label LMS solution with all of the content creation features that come with most LMS to create an engaging eLearning experience, including advanced group discussion features. It has robust back-end functionality including advanced data, reporting and certification. Easily one of the best online course platforms for professional education providers.

Cost: $249
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes. Free for 30 days.

7. Talentlms

Talent LMS is an easy to use and easy to understand LMS that is perfect for creating basic eLearning content. You can start with a “forever-free” account, but once you add on additional features the cost is at the higher end when compared to other LMS in this list. Certification and reporting features get a bad wrap in Capterra reviews.

Cost: $429
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes. Free basic account with paid upgrades.

8. Thinkific

Thinkific is a Canada-based LMS that has been around longer than some of the others in this list. Like others, it has easy-to-use templates, no development required, and supports the usual content formats. They support 30 languages and 135 currencies, however, the interface isn’t as modern as some of the newer LMS players. Thinkific has a free version with core features only, with the option to upgrade to one of three paid subscription plans.

Cost: $399
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes. Free basic account with paid upgrades.

9. Teachable

Teachable is a learning management system that encourages everyone to create and sell online courses, with many customers being solopreneurs who are looking to make money online with courses. The LMS offers limited functionality compared to some of the others in the list, and does not support live, interactive videos or HTML5 and SCORM files.

Cost: $249
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes.

10. Podia

Podia is a purposefully simple learning management system that isn’t overrun with features, making it super easy to use. It’s best suited to individual creators, consultants, entrepreneurs, and more who want to build an online business selling courses, memberships, webinars, and digital downloads. Note the shorter trial period than some other LMS platforms in the list, and note that Podia doesn’t have built in course authoring, or SCORM compliance. While it’s cheaper from the out-set, it may cost you more in the long run with the need for additional software and plugins.

Cost: $179
Integration: Zapier
Trial: Yes. Free for 14 days.

Purchasing new software is one of the most costly decisions a business can make. For advice on how to get it right, check out the Guide to evaluating software for your training business, which includes a downloadable worksheet. The worksheet includes pre-filled assessment criteria that you can customize to your own needs. As well as in-built formulas to weight your priorities and score each system.

Disclaimer: The information and pricing in this blog post is based on information from publicly available websites and research and reviews on Capterra. Written in April 2021. 

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