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Best Coursera And Udemy Alternatives For Your Online Courses

Looking for Coursera and Udemy alternatives for your online course? For people looking to host educational courses online, Udemy and Coursera are two extremely popular options. These two online learning sites are among the biggest platforms in the market, with huge memberships and all manner of different subjects covered by their instructors. 

However, despite their popularity, they’re not always the best options. For starters, the fact that each platform is so big means that you automatically face heavy competition in their online course marketplaces. There’s also the fact that entrusting your courses to a third party means you relinquish a certain degree of control over their contents and how you market them.

As such, many online course creators have begun to move away from these elearning marketplaces and looking for Coursera and Udemy alternatives. The solution for many of these creators is to host their courses on their own site using a learning management system (LMS).

But which learning management systems work the best as Coursera and Udemy alternatives? This guide will explore your options to help you find an LMS that works for you.

The Drawbacks Of Udemy & Coursera

As discussed above, there are a number of reasons why online course creators may choose to steer clear of Udemy, Coursera, and other major online learning platforms. The biggest reasons for this are usually that they want more control over their courses and that they don’t want to compete in a crowded marketplace.

However, there are also a number of other unique drawbacks associated with each platform.

Udemy’s Drawbacks

Udemy’s premise is simple: just about anyone can sign up as an instructor and pretty much immediately start adding online courses to the platform. While this might sound quick and easy, in reality, it means that Udemy’s online course marketplace is crowded with thousands of courses from different instructors, which means yours will face stiff competition.

As well as having to face off against other instructors who cover the same subjects as you, Udemy can quickly begin to eat into your profits from selling courses. Udemy charges a high commission rate – 63% of every sale goes to Udemy, not into your own pockets.

Udemy also caps its course prices at $199.99, so if you want to charge more for your courses, you’re out of luck. What’s more, most of Udemy’s courses are far cheaper than this limit, so even if your course is worth $200 you might have to drop its price to compete with cheaper options on the platform. 

Finally, Udemy doesn’t give you access to much data regarding your customers. It also places limitations on how you can market your Udemy courses. These two factors combine to make it difficult to effectively market your courses and build a loyal following of students.

Coursera’s Drawbacks

Coursera works slightly differently to Udemy – while pretty much anyone can become a Udemy instructor, Coursera only allows instructors to sign up if they;re already employed by one of the platform’s partner institutions. This obviously creates a high entry barrier for anyone wanting to sell courses on the platform. 

If you do manage to get approved by Coursera, things still aren’t ideal. The platform takes 40% of your sales as commission, which can quickly eat into your profits. There are also a lot of different requirements that Coursera imposes on your courses, which can limit your flexibility in terms of how long you want a course to be or what you want to cover in it.

Advantages Of Using Udemy Or Coursera

Of course, despite these drawbacks, there are plenty of good reasons that online course creators may choose to host their courses on Udemy or Coursera. For starters, it can take a lot of work out of managing your online courses – rather than having to create and manage your own site, you can simply upload your courses to Udemy or Coursera and leave the rest to your platform of choice.

In addition, while Udemy and Coursera do limit your ability to market your courses, they do also reduce the need to market your courses. Your course can easily be found by Udemy or Coursera’s many users within the platform’s course library, meaning you don;t need to put in as much work promoting your courses yourself.

Finally, there’s the price to consider. Udemy and Coursera are both free to use for instructors, so aside from paying the commission on any course you sell, you won’t have to worry about any other expenses. This makes them an attractive option for course creators working on a limited budget.

Udemy Alternatives – Advantages Of Using A Self-Owned e-Learning Platform

As you can see, there are a number of drawbacks to using big platforms like Udemy and Coursera to host your online courses. Instead, many online course creators choose to go it alone and create their own e-learning platforms that they can run and own themselves. Self-owned e-learning platforms offer a number of benefits when used as Coursera or Udemy alternatives.

Freedom & Flexibility

Perhaps the biggest advantage of a self-owned e-learning platform is that it offers you complete freedom in how you create, sell, market, and manage your online courses. Rather than having to stick to the guidelines set by Udemy or Coursera, you’re free to do as you please and create online courses that are truly yours.

A self-owned eLearning platform also provides you with the flexibility to add in additional features and customizations to make your courses even more effective. Even if you’re not sure how to personalize and tailor your eLearning site yourself, our LMS experts can provide you with  LMS customization services for your self-hosted e-learning site.

Keep What You Earn

When you sell courses on Udemy and Coursera, the platform takes a sizeable cut of your earnings with every single sale. As such, you’re severely limited in how much money you can actually make through these platforms.

However, when you sell courses through your own eLearning platform, you get to keep everything you make. There are certain running costs like hosting fees and marketing costs that you’ll need to account for, but aside from these costs, you can keep everything you earn via your self-owned platform. As such, you can potentially make much more money from your courses.

Better Marketing Capabilities

As well as limiting your profits, platforms like Udemy and Coursera limit your access to valuable user data from the customers who buy your courses. This data can be a powerful tool for marketing, so collecting user data via a self-owned eLearning platform can help you to create better marketing strategies that sell more courses.

There are also all manner of different plugins and customizations you can add to your eLearning platform that can make marketing even easier and more effective. If you’re not sure where to start, our LMS consultants can help you select the best tools and strategies to enhance your site’s marketing capabilities.

Coursera Or Udemy Alternatives: Learning Management Systems To Consider 

Now that you’ve seen the benefits of using a learning management system to create your own eLearning platform as an alternative to Udemy or Coursera, you’re probably wondering where to start. The first and most important choice to make is which LMS to use.

At WooNinjas, our platforms of choice are LearnDash and LifterLMS (we’ll explain why below). However, there are plenty of great options to choose from.


LearnDash is one of the most popular LMS options available. It’s open-source, making it highly customizable, and it comes with an assortment of great features that make it both easy to use and extremely effective. 

Perhaps most importantly, LearnDash gives you a wide range of course creation and management tools that make it exceptionally easy to create effective, engaging courses. In addition, its student management tools can help you to monitor users’ progress, and there are loads of options for quizzes, assignments, and rewards to keep your users motivated as they learn.

Some of LearnDash’s key features include: 

  • Easy to use drag and drop course builder
  • Dynamic content delivery enabling you to set progression requirements and viewing orders for lessons and courses
  • Badges and certificates to motivate learners
  • Variety of marketing and eCommerce features, including integrated payments
  • Integrations with a whole host of big names including Stripe, PayPal, WooCommerce, Slack, MailChimp, and more

LearnDash is also highly affordable, with prices starting at $159 for a whole year (which works out at around $13.33 per month). Since LearnDash is so widely used, there’s a massive amount of support available online from the LearnDash community, as well as from expert LearnDash consultants

Finally, LearnDash is also very flexible platform. With a growing community of developers specializing in LearnDash customization services as well as a great variety of LearnDash add-ons, you can easily tailor the platform to meet your  specific needs.


LifterLMS is another extremely popular option for eLearning platforms and is one of our recommended Udemy alternatives. Like LearnDash, it’s an open-source platform, which makes it extensively customizable to meet your specific needs. What’s more, it’s ideal for your first self-owned eLearning platform as it has a simple, easy-to-use interface and a dedicated setup wizard to help you get everything configured to your needs.

Some of LifterLMS’ key features include:

  • Intuitive, multi-tier drag and drop course builder for easy content creation
  • Drip-fed content to keep users focused on their progression
  • Helpful student dashboard to make learning easier
  • Multi-instructor capability giving you room to expand your team as your site grows
  • Variety of integrations and highly customizable

One thing to note is that LifterLMS doesn’t include certain eCommerce and marketing add-ons with its basic plan – most notably, there’s no inbuilt payment gateway, unlike LearnDash. As such, you’ll have to sort out a payment gateway add-on for yourself if you go for the basic plan ($120 per year) instead of the Universe Bundle ($360 per year).

LifterLMS is a great option for your eLearning platform thanks to its ease of use and customizability. Its range of features makes it one of our favorites at WooNinjas – which is why we offer a variety of LifterLMS customization and LifterLMS configuration services to help you get the most out of your LifterLMS site.


If you’re looking for Coursera or Udemy alternatives, TutorLMS is another great option. It’s relatively new, having only been released in 2019, but it’s already making waves as an excellent LMS. What sets it apart from LearnDash and LifterLMS is that it sets out to enable users to mimic the online course marketplaces of Udemy and Coursera.

As well as the standard course creation tools you’d expect from an LMS, TutorLMS comes with the ability to manage multiple instructors, each of whom can create and sell courses on your platform. This gives you the option of not only creating and selling your own courses, but also providing a platform for other instructors to sell their courses.

This includes the ability to distribute earnings, set commission rates, and manage payments for your instructors, making it easy to manage your new course marketplace. Other important features included with TutorLMS are:

  • Multiple payment gateways and payment plan options
  • Reports and analytics to fuel your marketing and sell more courses
  • Learning path management tools to control how students progress through courses
  • Drag and drop course builder accessible by all instructors

All told, TutorLMS is one of the best Udemy alternatives, especially if you’re looking to start a rival online course marketplace rather than selling only your own courses. It’s also reasonably affordable – the basic plan for creating one site starts at $149 per year, a five-site plan costs $199.99 per year, and a plan for unlimited sites costs $299 per year.

TutorLMS is a new contender in the LMS marketplace, but it’s already proving itself to be an adaptable and effective option as a Coursera or Udemy alternative. The only stumbling block is that since it’s less established than competitors like LearnDash and LifterLMS, there may be less support available from user communities. However, if you do need support configuring or customizing your TutorLMS site, get in touch with our team of expert LMS developers.

Best Coursera and Udemy Alternatives

There are many good reasons to look for Coursera and Udemy alternatives for your online courses, such as the added freedom and flexibility of your own LMS and the fact that you can keep more of what you earn. LearnDash, LifterLMS, and TutorLMS all offer great features and plenty of advantages over Udemy and Coursera, meaning you can make your online courses a success while selling and managing them exactly how you want.

Setting up and managing an LMS isn’t always easy, though – so if you ever need some help getting started with your  e-learning site or need a custom-built add-on or integration, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our LMS consultants. We’re experts in LMS configuration and customization, meaning we can help you make your online courses a huge success.

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