CREATED: 07.02.2024UPDATED: 20.03.2024

Alternative Platforms for Online Teaching and Learning

Alternative Platforms for Online Teaching and Learning

Ask the average online teacher what platforms they use and you’ll get a few standards. Zoom and Skype are the go-to choices for video conferencing – ideal for live lessons – while YouTube and social media are often the platforms of choice for video teaching. Some even build their own websites, absorbing substantial upfront costs in the process.

None of those options sound appealing to you.

Well, the good news is that they’re not the only options around. You can find alternative platforms for online teaching and learning, with the below being a handful of the best.

Platform 1 – BlurBay

blurbay logo and text

BlurBay is ideal for any teacher who records videos as lessons that they want to make available to a huge potential audience.

In that respect, it’s similar to YouTube. You create videos and upload them to the platform. The difference lies in monetization – BlurBay makes it much easier for you to monetize your lessons than an ad-supported platform like YouTube.

All of your videos are pay-to-view, with the “Blur” part of the name coming from the fact that you can apply a blur to your videos at any point you want. Students can only see through the blur if they pay to watch the rest of the lesson. This is great for marketing. You can use the first part of your video to tease the lesson and add cliffhangers, resulting in students wanting to pay to watch so they can see more.

It’s simple, too, for you and your students. You don’t need to sign any documents or do any sort of special setup – just upload your videos and you’re good to go. Better yet, you receive 95% of the money your videos generate, with BlurBay taking just a 5% commission. On the student side of things, they don’t have to worry about subscriptions (they only pay for the videos they want to watch) and they can checkout using a credit card, Apply Pay, or Google Pay. No account is required. That simplicity is a huge boon for any online teacher who wants to get their lessons online without overcoming a ton of hurdles first.

Platform 2 – WizIQ

wiziq text

Claiming to be an “all-in-one” platform, WizIQ stands out for teachers in the corporate domain, as well as those who prefer to follow the traditional classroom structure. It allows you to create several virtual classrooms for each session – essentially acting as teleconferencing software – so you can teach several people at the same time. This feature is also useful for conducting exams as it allows you to oversee students as they work.

On the online learning side of things, WizIQ also provides tools for creating interactive course content, which you can sell via the platform to self-paced learners. Granted, those tools aren’t as powerful as the ones you might see from Coursera or Skillshare. But they’re good enough to allow you to create lesson plans and provide students with reference material in preparation for their live sessions.

There is a caveat to the platform though – students are entirely reliant on WizIQ’s software to access your lessons. If that software goes down, they’re left with no access and you’re essentially paying for a service that you can’t log in to.

Platform 3 – Google Meet

Google meet logo and text

Setting itself up as an alternative to Skype and ZoomGoogle Meet has uses outside of holding meetings. And it comes with a notable benefit for budget-conscious online teachers – it’s free, or at least free to an extent.

Everybody who has a Google account has access to Google Meets, with the platform allowing you to host lessons with up to 100 participants (including yourself) for 60 minutes at a time. If those constraints are too restrictive, there’s also a paid version if you’re willing to commit to a subscription.

It’s also good for scheduling lessons thanks to its integration with Google Calendar, and its screen-share feature lets you present documents and other learning materials to your students as you teach. You can even record lessons within Google Meets to use as training for students who aren’t active participants in your sessions. Though how useful this is will depend on whether your non-session students are happy watching a screen that’s filled with dozens of other participants.

Platform 4 – Classgap

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While occasionally referred to as an alternative to Zoom, it’s more accurate to call Classgap a solution for teachers who prefer the one-on-one tutoring model. You can set yourself up as a tutor on the platform, with students engaging you for solo sessions based on their needs. And as a teacher, you get access to video conferencing and whiteboarding tools. Ideal for holding lessons.

But there are some downsides.

For one, you’re in competition with every teacher who focuses on your subject area. For instance, an online math student has dozens of tutor options within Classgap, which can make it difficult for you to book sessions if you don’t stand out as much as other teachers. The commission structure is also a potential downside. As a new tutor, you pay 20% of your earnings to the platform. Once you have over 50 hours of lessons, that commission drops to 15%, with a further drop to 13% once you reach over 250 hours of lessons. While this tiered approach works well for rewarding popular teachers, you’re still paying a hefty commission even when you become a “Star” tutor.

Ultimately, you’re giving up control over your sessions in return for a highly structured platform that comes with a steady supply of potential students. Ideal for those who like the traditional tutoring setup, but perhaps less so for online teachers who want to build a large audience.

Platform 5 – LinkedIn Learning

Linkedin learning text and logo

LinkedIn Learning – formerly Lynda.com – certainly has solid numbers going for it. The social media platform has over 950 million users, so anybody who sets up as a teacher on its online platform immediately has the potential to get plenty of students. And given the nature of those users, LinkedIn Learning is ideal for teachers focusing on corporate and professional classes. Think language lessons, web development courses, and business guidance and you’re in the right area in terms of subject matter.

Your students do have to pay for access to the service, though you can offer certifications through your courses that they can share on their LinkedIn profiles. The only challenge is that you have to apply to LinkedIn to be a teacher. Granted, this application isn’t particularly difficult – especially if you have good credentials – but it does mean you can’t simply start sharing lessons to build your audience. You need to be accredited by LinkedIn first before your courses become part of the 16,000 on the platform.

And therein lies another challenge – competition. There are already thousands of courses on LinkedIn Learning, which can make it hard to differentiate yourself. So, it’s perhaps best to see this alternative as a supplemental course creation platform that you use alongside more direct methods of getting to students, such as BlurBay.

Platform 6 – EdApp

edapp by safetyculture text

Are you unsure about how to create an online course?

If so, EdApp may be the alternative teaching platform for you because of its course templates. You get over 80 in total, each offering different ways to deliver your content. Hence, it’s as much a learning platform for you as it is for your students. For instance, you could use EdApp to learn how to put a course together before taking your newfound knowledge and applying it to other platforms.

It has a free plan, too, as well as “white labeling” options, which is basically a fancy way of telling you that you can brand your courses.

Just be aware that it’s not the most streamlined platform when it comes to monetization. While you can charge for your courses, the amount of money you pay to provide those courses varies. EdApp operates on a user-based subscription model – the more people you have taking your course, the bigger the chunk of your income you pay to EdApp. As a result, this may be a better choice for large teaching organizations – which can absorb the additional costs associated with the platform – than solo teachers who want to maximize income while keeping outgoings low.

Platform 7 – GoStudent

GoStudent text and logo

A lot of what makes Classgap attractive to online tutors is present in GoStudent. It’s essentially the same service, at least on the student’s side – an online marketplace of tutors that they can choose between. As a teacher, that means you face the obvious competition issues. GoStudent boasts over 23,000 tutors across over 20 subjects, so it can be tough to secure lessons if students don’t immediately take to how you present yourself on the platform.

But looking past those downsides, GoStudent offers structure for online teaching in the one-on-one model. Once you’re signed up, it will help you with scheduling lessons and provides tools that allow you to video conference and offer materials to your students.

Credibility – both in the platform and for you as a teacher – is also a big positive. You go through a full interview process to register as a tutor on the platform. While inconvenient, and a potential barrier to teachers who just want to get their lessons out there, negotiating that interview process shows that you know your stuff.

Platform 8 – Podia

Podia text

Let’s assume you want to go down the traditional online course creation route. That involves building a website, creating membership tiers, and delivering your lessons to students based on the tier to which they subscribe.

That’s usually a lot of hard work. You have to pay to get a website built. Plus, you need to ensure that the website is user-friendly enough to make it easy for students to access your content without jumping over too many hurdles. The idea behind Podia is to make that process simpler.

Right off the bat, it’s important to point out that this platform fills a specific niche. It’s best used by online coaches because it’s focused as much on you building a community around your lessons as it is on the actual lesson delivery. But if that’s the route for you, Podia offers website-building tools – your site is hosted via the platform – and an easy way to structure membership tiers.

Find Your Online Teaching Platform

These eight platforms give you choices, with your method of teaching online being your best guide as to which of the platforms to try. Online coaches may lean toward Podia for its course creation and website-building tools, whereas those who simply want to create video content for which they charge may appreciate the simplicity of a platform like BlurBay.

Make your choice based on two factors – what’s best for you and what works best for your students. It’s about finding a balance, starting with how you believe your students want to learn and ending with you finding the platform that lets you deliver lessons in ways that suit them.

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