Online Learning Platforms

What Are Online Learning Platforms? Why We Added the Online Learning Platform Category to G2 Crowd

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Online learning platform

Students and professionals looking to enhance and/or market their skills make up two sides of the same coin. They either need to expand their skill sets or have knowledge to sell. Online learning platforms, or online course platforms, provide an architecture to create online courses and other educational products. These education-as-a-service platforms are used by individual subject matter entrepreneurs, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) or academic institutions to assemble, create and/or self-publish educational material.

According to Global Market Insights, the e-learning market was valued at over $165 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow over 5 percent through 2024, surpassing $240 billion. As the demand for virtual classrooms and online academies flourishes among educators and students alike, the accompanying technology solutions will continue to expand as well.

Online learning tools provide an array of solutions depending on the users’ needs. Solopreneurs and educators are most likely looking to create, brand and/or market their self-published courses. Meanwhile, companies and educational institutions often need to sell educational content that is either self-created or pre-built. Most online learning solutions tend to focus on one sector or the other.

As an educational institution, for example, it is important to choose a tool that focuses on schools and/or universities. Ideally, the vendor should be able to sponsor the institution’s self-published content or sell pre-made content for assembling. Meanwhile, a solopreneur looking for help in creating their own branded site to sell online courses from will want to look for a product tailored to fit that niche.


Education software

Yes, education software is impacting the world. And as the e-learning market expands, so too will our education category offerings. Learning management systems serve as a central hub for teachers and professors, student information systems help store and track student information, classroom management software tracks student behavior — and now we’re adding the online learning platform category to the mix.

All of these education solutions work in tandem. Online learning solutions are often integrated with learning managements systems (LMS) to help users administer their overall eLearning programs. The online learning platform allows users to create the category while the LMS delivers, schedules and tracks course material.


Features

Online learning platforms provide a variety of tools to create and market customizable study materials. Some platforms allow instructors to integrate adaptive learning technology into their courses, offering a consistent experience across products.

Features include, but are not limited to:

  • Customizable course site design and layout
  • Ready-made content available for purchase and assembly
  • Content creation, editing and upload tools
  • Media-rich presentations, embedded assessments and more
  • Online communication tools where teachers can connect with students
  • Assessment tools with data and analytics to monitor student progress
  • Flexible learning environment optimized for all devices
  • Product marketplace and targeted campaign creation
  • Marketing assistance to improve sales
  • Reports and dashboards to help visualize/view data on students’ progress
  • Multilingual options
  • Advanced editing: CSS, Javascript, etc.
  • Secure cloud hosting with regular backups
  • Automatic updates
  • Built-in SSL
  • Integrations with Blackboard, Canvas Gradebook, Mailchimp, PayPal and more

Players

Players range from McGraw-Hill Education (MHE), a “big three” educational publisher, to Academy of Mine, an all-in-one online course platform.


Product highlight: McGraw-Hill Create
McGraw-Hill Create Online Learning Platform

Product Name: McGraw-Hill Create
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A
Total Reviews: N/A


McGraw-Hill is an educational publisher providing customized educational content, software and services for pre-K through postgraduate education. McGraw-Hill Create is a self-service website that helps users create custom course materials by utilizing McGraw-Hill Education’s content. Users choose, arrange and personalize content to be published into a “book.”


Product highlight: Thinkific
Thinkific Online Learning Platform

Product Name: Thinkific
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 5


Previously only categorized as a Corporate LMS tool, Thinkific qualified for addition to the Online Learning Platform category. An all-in-one online course platform, Thinkific helps users create and deliver courses on their own branded sites. It provides users with course creation, marketing and sales solutions. Features include full support for video, audio, PDF, text, HTML, voice-over, surveys and quizzes, marketing campaigns, secure cloud hosting and more.

“Thinkific brings beautifully simple course creation,” according to a Thinkific review by Maria V. “Its easy-to-use drag and drop building makes it a breeze to put together an online course in such a short period of time. The customer service is outstanding — they are very responsive to answering questions and provide tons of webinars to get you started … It helps create online course content in a simple and effective way without knowing code. It is a great platform to use and promote your online courses.”


Product highlight: WileyPLUS
WileyPLUS Online Learning Platform

Product Name: WileyPLUS
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 1


WileyPLUS is an online teaching and learning platform that helps instructors create and improve courses, automate grading and identify student learning trends. Features include personalized support for course set-up, training and onboarding students, instructor academy, training webinars and more.

“I love it when we have assignments online and there is a link to the textbook that is associated with the problem,” wrote one WileyPLUS user who works in higher education. “I find that there are also multiple other tools, such as a video example, that helps the students who learn with visual tools.There is also an option called Orion that has additional questions that students can use to reinforce and practice what they have learned.”


Product highlight: Mastering
Mastering Online Learning Platform

Product Name: Mastering
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 1.0 out of 5 stars
Total Reviews: 1


Pearson Mastering provides educators with customizable pre-built courses and assignments. Features include wrong-answer feedback, gradebook, diagnostics and insights, adaptive learning technology and more. LMS integration services provides Mastering users access to Blackboard Learn, Brightspace by D2L, Canvas and Moodle.

“Pearson integrates its learning system with its textbooks,” according to a Mastering review by Seth J. “I like that there are a variety of different question types (multiple choice, matching, labeling, interactive widgets). The videos have great production values and the animations are clear and well-made.”


Product highlight: Academy of Mine
Academy of Mine Online Learning Platform

Product Name: Academy of Mine
G2 Crowd Star Rating: N/A
Total Reviews: N/A


Academy of Mine is an all-in-one platform that helps “edupreneurs” create, sell and market online courses. Features include drag and drop website building templates, fully integrated LMS, quizzes and assignments, e-commerce support, marketing tools, gamification, course analytics, gradebook, multi languages, external integrations and more.


These online learning platforms are just a few of the many options available when designing, branding, marketing and selling online education. For additional help in choosing the right education solution, check out the education software categories where you can compare categories, learn about their benefits and consider all the available products.

Beyond online learning platforms

If you are a student or teacher looking for more information on free study tools, check out our list of 7 Best Study Tools.

* Please note: Reviews have been edited for spelling and grammar.