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The State of Online Courses [INFOGRAPHIC]

  • Selene BenjaminSelene Benjamin

Editor’s Note: The State of Online Courses is now The State of Online Learning. Read the 2018 report here.

On Thursday, we shared with everyone the results of our online course creation survey, The State of Online Course Creation [Industry Survey of 1,128 Entrepreneurs]. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, yet, here’s a link to it so you can get all the juicy details.

However, for all you “All we want are the facts, ma’am” Joe Fridays out there (Dragnet anyone?), we had this snazzy infographic made up just for you.

The State of Online Courses

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What about you? Are you part of the 90.2% of entrepreneurs interested in creating a course? Or have you created a course but don’t feel it was much of a success like 69.2% of our respondents? Let us know in the comments below!

13 thoughts on The State of Online Courses [INFOGRAPHIC]


Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work. I am currently in development phase for a relationship course for couples. The course is 70% complete with the book and additional resources in progress. As a life- and relationship coach I hope to expand my reach with the offering

I have been the instructor of (and consultant on creating) an online course through a university for several years, and I tried to create an online university course that never got off the ground for lack of initial students. I am thus aware of a host of challenges.

One problem that may not bother many people is that online courses are nowhere near as gratifying as teaching or presenting to a live audience. I felt like a mere caretaker of my online students, needing to respond to every little thing they did to encourage them and add a personal touch as they attended to the installed teaching “machine,” instead of commanding the room and inspiring the group. It is like the difference between being the chef in your own restaurant and being the waiter at a cafeteria that serves up pre-packaged food. Some people love to do this, but I couldn’t stand it.

Anyway, I am curious to learn how to surmount the challenges that others have brought up, especially Judy.


Thank you for this info graphic Selene. It pretty much sums up my experience.
I have two online courses, both published on Udemy.
I have experienced exactly what your infographic shows, I have trouble marketing the courses as I do not have an existing email list and it takes time to make courses. Many of the successful people on Udemy pump out a course every month or two. It takes my husband and I up to 6 months to build and publish a course as we do mostly talking head. It can be very frustrating when after all that time the course doesn’t sell.
We will soldier on though. I work full time on course building, he works after hours from his regular job. We have a 4 year plan to make this our full time job.

Eugene Mota

Hey Selene,

These are amazing insights into “the state of online courses”. I’m planning to develop a number of online courses in the near future, so I highly value the fact that you shared such golden nuggets.

I’m positively surprised to see that money is not the highest ranked motivating factor for creating a course. It’s really awesome that people are mainly driven by helping their audience solving a pressing problem.

Thanks guys, you rock!

Tom Raabe

Hi Danny, Hi Selene 🙂

I finished my first online training for german customers
and launching it at jvzoo. In a week a second launch on
another platform especially for german customers will following.
(It´s a bit tricky tech things to do, I´m a “One Man Show”)
I´m a german Marketing guy, and after 5 Years of Learning,
testing(bad results if i following the gurus), study new ways in the
US + UK Marketplace, my first Complete Online Course will
be finished soon. It´s a Online Course for Bumping Up Conversions,
and there´s only 2 or 3 Competitors, but no one using the ways I use.
It´s right, the Hard Part is the Marketing to the audience, but using a
Different Hook and a Promise that will not offer 600% and more on Sales
will be helpful. The really Hard Part is for someone (like myself) to Start, without a targeted Mailinglist and without Connections to other Marketer.
The Point is here in Germany: All Top marketers using the “Guru-System”, Frank Kern explained it very well, and they have nothing New on Products, didn´t realize that these System is long time dead. The Curious thing is: Audiences follow theses Systems… with bad results. Many Thanks to You and a few Real Top Shot Marketer that I can learn from you.

Selene Benjamin

Thanks so much Tom! That’s an interesting course topic. Keep us updated on your progress.

Theodore Nwangene

This is a very lovely infographic,
Indeed, we all need online courses in order to succeed in our various niches. A lot of people out there are really confused and do not know which way else to go with their life and business and offering online courses that is really helpful in your own niche can really help lots of people.

I’m already planning on how I’m going to create mine.

Thanks for sharing

Selene Benjamin

Thanks Theodore! Good luck with planning and launching your course. 🙂


Thank you for the good work! I’m happy to see someone is actually fact checking some results from the hyper-excitement crowd of online course marketers.

If I do the simple math however, it seems like this survey is too small a sample size to really draw any inferences. You surveyed an impressive 1,128 people but only 14.6% of them created courses. Leaving you a sample size of 165 people. Ouch!

A quick glance at Lynda or Udemy, et all, give counts orders of magnitude larger. Where are those crowd surveys? Also, I see no numbers for how many of the actual/trying creators have had any training from the overwhelming array of training opportunities. Now that would be an interesting statistic given the price of those courses.

Thank you again for all your hard work on this. It’s definitely a much needed first step. Just be sure not to rock the boat too much and survey all the course takers 😉


I’ve nearly completed my free giveaway online mini-course intended to offer high value to Christian women, to expose me and my specific expertise to as wide an audience as possible, and to expand my list.
Since I have been teaching the subject successfully offline for 25 years, I have always been confident about the content.
Nevertheless, my experience has been that at a certain stage I definitely needed expert help from high-level ‘online’ professional teachers in order to make sure that the 3-step course engages but does not overwhelm students, and also offers them simple ways to ‘test’ their progress regularly.
I have also made very sure that they know that I am available to answer questions by email.
I am now looking at the best way to create an online community of like-minded women. I shan’t consider my teaching a success until I do this!

Selene Benjamin

That’s awesome that your free mini-course is almost done. It sounds like you’ve made some great progress and your end goal is in sight. Good luck and keep us updated!

Wow, That word wasn’t even in my vocabulary , ” Shan’t ” does anyone else even use that word ?


love the shan’t…conveys full commitment and a known direction…
(and, yes, rarely used, therefore powerful message)

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