Online Course Creators Reference Guide

Online Course Creators Reference Guide

I’ve been in the training course industry for over two decades (and counting) and the surge in online course creation has shown there’s huge demand for online courses and for those who create online courses.

I thought I’d put together a handy reference guide of curated online course creation resources.

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list but it’s meant to help you narrow your focus on resources I’ve found to be good and useful. The problem most creators face is too much choice and not knowing what tools to focus on.

You might notice, I have purposely excluded some names on here if I don’t feel they are a good choice.

I have also purposely left out Online Course Marketplaces because I don’t condone the way they commoditize online courses. (Yes, they have their purpose, but I’m not a huge fan).

If you think I should check out or list something on here, feel free to submit them to me to check out. (Doesn’t guarantee I will include it in this list).

I hope you find this useful (if you do, please share this with anyone else you think would find this useful).

NOTE: Items with (*) next to them are my preferred selections.

Disclaimer: Some links may be affiliate links where I receive a commission if you make a purchase. While this has no bearing on what is listed here, do your own due diligence for which tool is right for you.

Online Course Design Tools

Designing and planning out your online course is like planning & designing a house, there’s a lot of moving parts, you need to look at what to include, what to remove, move things around and most importantly capture your ideas & notes.

These are some of my favourite tools for designing a course:

  • (*)
  • Trello
  • Whimsical – my favourite cloud-based mind mapping app for collecting ideas & organizing course content

Course Content Production Tools

Video Content

  • Camtasia by Techsmith (*) – the choice for professional course creators, screen recording and video editing (but expensive).
  • DemoCreator by Wondershare (*) – screen recording and video editing software for course creators. (More budget friendly and does the job well, it’s what I’m using now.)
  • Handbrake (Free) – video processing & encoding
  • Prezi – make slide presentations more interesting. Just don’t go overboard, or your viewers will literally feel dizzy.
  • Doodly – easily create doodle videos
  • Zoom – I’ve tried most of the big webinar players in the market and Zoom always comes out on top for quality, stability, and value.

Audio Production

Audio Tools

  • Audacity (Free) – audio recording & editing app

Text & Words

Text Tools

  • HappyScribe (*) – my preferred automated transcription service. Highly accurate (even for technical terms), sometimes even better than the human transcriptions!
  • – automatically transcribe your Zoom calls or video & audio files.
  • Hemmingway App (free)

Graphics & Visuals

Graphics & Visual Tools

  • Canva (*)- online graphics creation & editing
  • Photopea (*)- feature-rich and FREE Photoshop alternative
  • Clip Studio Paint (*) – my favourite digital drawing & illustration app (if you can wait, get it when it’s on sale, usually 40%-50% off, around 3-4 times per year)

Online Course Platforms

  • Thinkific (exclusive free Pro Trial link)
  • Podia
  • Teachable
  • See below for DIY / Build your own WordPress course platform

Online Course Payments & Carts

  • Stripe
  • Paypal
  • Paddy
  • WooCommerce (Free)
  • CartFlows (Free) & CartFlows Pro (Paid)
  • Fluent Forms Pro (using their Payment module)

DIY & Self-Hosted WordPress Sites

Web Hosting

WordPress Themes & Page Builders

  • Kadence & Kadence Pro (*)
  • Astra (Free) & Astra Pro (Paid) (*)
  • I have purposely left out most page builders (e.g. Elementor, Thrive, etc) as I’m moving away from relying any any page builder tool. The Kadence and Astra Gutenberg blocks are good enough for most objectives and doesn’t lock you in if you decide to move from a particular page builder.

WordPress Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Additional WordPress Plugins

  • Presto Player (video player) (*)
  • WPFusion (*) – for access management (e.g. membership control) and synchronizing your WordPress backend with your chosen CRM/Marketing Automation System

Content Delivery Networks (CDN’S), File & Video Hosting

  • – Content Delivery Network, file & video hosting (*)
  • Vimeo – video hosting (*)
  • Wistia – video hosting
  • Amazon S3 – file hosting

Online Course Community Engagement

Online Course Marketing Automation & CRM’s

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