Finding software can be overwhelming. Software Advice has helped hundreds of institutions choose the right online course platform to help them provide online classes to a variety of different learners.

Showing 1-20 of 261 products

Tovuti

Tovuti is an all-in-one, cloud-based solution designed to activate the potential of organizations through creating, delivering and tracking online training and education. The end-to-end solution gives users everything they need to... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 187 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

SAP Litmos

SAP Litmos is a cloud-based continuous learning platform that unifies learning management, the extended enterprise, prepackaged content and a content management system to meet organizations’ training needs. SAP Litmos is SSAE 16... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 141 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Bridge

Bridge is an employee development platform built specifically for employees and managers. It provides peer-to-peer practice, live in-person training, external learning, online courses, mentorship, manager 1:1s, goal tracking and peer... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 87 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Docebo LMS

Docebo is a cloud-based LMS solution to provide training programs for employees, partners and customers.  Docebo serves various industries including IT, technology, retail, consulting, healthcare, manufacturing, energy, oil and gas. Docebo... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 75 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Moodle

Moodle is a cloud-based learning management solution that provides businesses and educational institutions with tools to design customizable training courses. It comes with a centralized dashboard, which enables users to track course... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 64 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

CoreAchieve

CoreAchieve is a cloud-based learning management solution that enables businesses to streamline processes related to content creation, compliance, audio/video employee training and more. Professionals can utilize the platform to develop... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 58 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

SkyPrep

SkyPrep LMS is a cloud-based learning management solution that offers a platform to training administrators for creating, managing and selling training courses. Key features include custom branding, automated learner enrollment and... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 53 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Inquisiq

Inquisiq is an adaptable LMS solution that provides eLearning, instructor-led and on-the-job training on a single platform for effective employee development programs. Inquisiq is used by businesses of varying size in a variety of... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 53 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Coassemble

Coassemble is a cloud based learning management solution (LMS) that allows training administrators to create, manage and deliver online education. The solution is compatible with Android and iOS devices and enables users to access... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 44 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

BizLibrary

BizLibrary is a leading provider of online learning for growing organizations. Their award-winning microlearning video library engages employees of all levels, and their learning management system is a progressive catalyst for achievement.... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 40 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Mindflash

Skip the classroom, train anywhere. Mindflash's cloud-based e-learning platform provides a simple, training solution for employees working from home, in the office, or in the field. We make it easier for business leaders to enable... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Auzmor Learn

Auzmor Learn is a cloud-based learning management (LMS) system that helps businesses and organizations manage, track and deliver training to employees or affiliates. Auzmor Learn offers course-authoring capabilities and centralized... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Intertek Alchemy

Intertek Alchemy is a cloud-based and on-premise solution designed for food manufacturers, packagers and distributors of all sizes. It helps companies engage with their frontline employees to drive safety, quality and productivity... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 26 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
Business Size:
Learn More

Absorb LMS

Absorb LMS is a powerful cloud-based learning management system (LMS) designed to boost engagement and learning outcomes, while still being incredibly scalable and usable. Clients marvel at how quickly they can get up and running,... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 22 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

KMI LMS

The KMI LMS is a cloud-based learning management solution used in a wide range of industries including health care, distribution, oil & gas and finance. While adaptable to many workflows and business models, the KMI LMS is best suited... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 18 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

eLearning Cloud

eLearning Cloud is a cloud-based learning management solution (LMS) from VAIRKKO that enables organizations to provide training to their employees. The solution allows users to distribute learning content to company employees, create... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 17 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Accord LMS

Accord LMS supports online courses, instructor-led training, certification and compliance management, gamification, and more. HTML5 content authoring, webinars, eCommerce and HRIS synchronization are fully integrated. Drag-and-drop... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
Business Size:
Learn More

Prosperity LMS

Ziiva's suite of Prosperity software systems is designed to help businesses manage their employee training programs. It is suitable for businesses of all size and kind to deliver an end-to-end learning management solution. Prosperity... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 13 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: CloudOn premise
Business Size:
Learn More

OpenSesame

OpenSesame is a learning management system (LMS) that offers more than 20,000 courses covering business skills, safety, compliance, technology, industry-specific and certifications, and it is suitable for the training needs of organizations... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 12 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Lessonly

Lessonly is a cloud-based learning management system that allows users to build, share and track training materials and activity from a singular interface. It is primarily used by customer service teams, sales teams, and human resources.... Read more

Price:

Recent recommendations: 11 recommendations

Platforms: MacWinLinux
Deployments: Cloud
Business Size:
Learn More

Buyers guide


Last Updated: May 30, 2020

Let's be honest—a lot of us hated going to class when we were young. But now that we're out of the traditional school system, we recognize just how much we still have to learn. We may want to develop our career skills, take up a hobby or even delve deep into a scientific topic we've become interested in thanks to a late-night Wikipedia binge.

While it might be nice to take time off from work and go back to college or graduate school for a first or second degree, this isn't always feasible, and it's certainly not easy financially speaking. That's where online course platforms come in.

Like other learning management systems (LMSs), online course platforms facilitate learning, teaching and training programs for large groups of people. They automate the administration, testing, tracking and reporting of student progress through online courses.

LMS software is commonly used by educational institutions for academic purposes, and by businesses for training and compliance purposes. But, online course platforms can serve larger audiences, and they are frequently open to anybody who is interested in taking the course.

This buyer's guide will discuss the unique properties of online course platforms and explain how they may best be utilized by you and your business.

Here's our syllabus:

What Are Online Course Platforms?
Common Features of Online Course Platforms
What Type of Buyer Are You?
Key Considerations

What Are Online Course Platforms?

Online course platforms are a specific form of LMSs that provide access to massive open online courses, commonly known as "MOOCs." A variety of institutions, from universities to foundations to even the Smithsonian, provide MOOCs through online course platforms. They provide courses in science, engineering, mathematics, writing, business, project management and so on.

These courses are similar to traditional classes in many ways—a teacher provides a syllabus, complete with readings and assignments, posts weekly material for discussion (which may include a live-feed of a lecture, a pre-recorded lecture and/or a discussion board) and makes sure that assignments receive some form of grading or feedback, whether that grade is assigned by a person or a computer algorithm.

Some of these courses offer specific types of certification upon satisfactory completion of materials, while others will open up access to more advanced courses. Many of these classes are provided for free, while others charge a fee. This fee may be charged per class, as a monthly subscription with access to all the classes on a particular platform or as a specific charge in order to receive certification for a class.

Common Features of Online Course Platforms

Learning management The core function of course platforms, manages creating, storing, organizing and administering learning materials.
Certification/compliance management Tracks student progress in order to manage and monitor certification and compliance training and provide certification upon completion of the course.
Virtual classrooms Facilitates live, remote training sessions, typically led via video.
Proficiency reporting/testing Administers tests to gauge users' learning of the course material. Allows for reporting of test scores to identify proficiencies or gaps in learning.
Discussion board Provides a space for students and teachers to interact, whether via text or through the uploading and sharing of video or audio responses.
Dynamic calendar Allows teachers to release materials at specified times during the life of a course, as well as track the submission of assignments by students.

An example of a course calendar in online learning platform Canvas

An example of a course calendar in Canvas

What Type of Buyer Are You?

A wide variety of different types of people and organizations may find online course platforms useful. As a software buyer, you're likely to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Individual. If you are an expert in a particular subject that you wish to teach, you may want to create and self-publish your own online course(s). If this is the case, rather than purchasing software yourself, you should find an online course platform that will allow you to host a class. You may have to pay a fee for this, which you can recoup by charging tuition. The platform may also offer a per-student tuition profit-sharing plan.
  •   
  • Educational institution. Colleges, universities and even high schools are going to be the primary users of online course platforms, since they are institutions that are naturally structured around the provision of educational courses. Online course platforms are especially useful for schools providing distance learning, whether it's for a particular program or for every course offered, in the case of online universities. Systems that mimic tried-and-true educational methods through online recreation of classes, assignments and teacher/student interaction will likely prove the most effective for these institutions.
  •   
  • Nonprofit organization. Charities, foundations, hospitals, religious organizations and other nonprofits may also have a need for online courses. Some nonprofits, such as the United Way, offer classes on topics such as financial management, parenting and other life skills.
  •   
  • For-profit business. Larger businesses may use online course platforms for purposes of employee training, but general LMS software is usually more suited for this task. Online course platforms may be more useful for ongoing career development programs that are structured more like a traditional class.

Key Considerations

Other factors to take into consideration when picking the best online course platform for you or your organization may include:

  • Integration with other systems. If you are going to be hosting classes that pulls a great deal of information from elsewhere—perhaps from a digital media library, or from a business' policy documents—you'll want to be sure that the platform you choose is able to integrate with those other systems. A poor technical experience for students will reflect poorly on you, so you want to make sure they can smoothly access all course materials and can upload their assignments in a variety of different acceptable formats.
  •   
  • Cloud-based software vs. on-premise software. When researching and consulting with potential vendors, make sure you check how their software is hosted. On-premise software will, as the name suggests, be hosted on the premises of your business. This will require space for the hardware as well as an IT department (or consultant) to help you get the software set up and running, as well as to maintain it over time. It is more common today, however, to find cloud-based software, which is hosted by the vendor and delivered to your business online. This will cost less up front and require fewer IT resources, making it a favorable option for most smaller businesses. For online course platforms, it is extremely rare that you will have any need to host your own hardware, since the entire industry is structured around cloud-based access.