Pricing strategies for online training providers (3 examples) – Elucidat Blog

Pricing strategies for online training providers (3 examples)

How do you price online training courses? It’s a difficult question for many online training providers. In this article, we’ll look at three pricing strategies and examine how a number of successful organizations price their training products.

pricing strategies online training

Simply ‘winging’ your pricing strategy is risky. While you may be able to estimate what your online training is worth to customers, it can be helpful to learn about the different pricing strategies (and theory) available.

Before getting into strategy, let’s look at a number of elements you need to understand about your product before you can price it correctly.

Calculate the cost

What does it cost to create your online training? You should have an understanding of how much it costs you to create a course. Factor in additional fixed and variable costs and you’ll quickly learn what you need to be charging to break even. Any revenue above the break-even line will be your profit margin.

Understand external factors

What are your competitors doing? You must consider what moves your competitors are making. For example, if you set your price too low, you may trigger a price war. If you set your price too high—and can’t communicate the value—you may lose customers to lower priced courses from competitors.

Estimate the demand for your product

It’s important to understand the demand curve for your online training. As you sell more courses, you’ll be able to better estimate future demand based on current sales.

Now let’s look at three pricing strategies used by online training providers: pay per course, membership, and free.

1. Pay per course pricing model

Pay per course pricing involves setting a price for each individual course. Customers buy each course for a set price.

Why I like it:

  • It offers simplicity—customers only pay for what they want. They aren’t locked into month-to-month billing contracts, and they only have to pay once to get unlimited access to the course.
  • Provides online training organizations with immediate revenue—this is great for cash flow!
  • It is easier to measure and forecast. You can clearly see which courses are selling the best, and in turn you can invest resources in creating (or improving) more courses on that topic.

Here are three online training providers that use this pricing strategy well:

Franklin Covey

Franklin Covey is a provider of leadership and time management training and assessment services for organizations and individuals.


BSI Group

BSI Group is a global leader in ISO standards. The company equips businesses with the necessary solutions to turn standards of best practice into habits of excellence.



ADMA IQ offers the most comprehensive marketing education program in Australia.


2. Membership (unlimited access) pricing model

Membership pricing gives customers all-in-one, unlimited access to the entire library of online training. It’s popular with because it offers them a low cost entry to get started. It’s popular with online training providers because it offers ongoing, predictable revenue.

Why I like it:

  • Low financial barriers to entry for customers.
  • Provides reliable, ongoing revenue for the training organization.
  • Customers feel like they are getting a great deal—access to lots of training for a simple monthly (or annual) fee.
  • Good point of difference for training organizations (if competitors only offer pay per course).

Here are five online training providers that use this pricing strategy well:


Pluralsight offers unlimited online developer, IT, and creative courses starting at $29.99 per month.


BMJ Learning

BMJ Learning is an online learning resource that helps doctors and healthcare professionals enhance their knowledge and progress in their careers. It is one of the world’s largest and most trusted independent online learning providers for medical professionals.

bmj-pricing is an online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills.


Market Motive

Market Motive offers marketing courses designed to hone skills and broaden expertise with self-paced training.



Treehouse has a library of lessons that goes far beyond the surface, touching nearly every aspect of how to design and develop for the web and iOS.


3. Free pricing model

The free pricing model is usually reserved for nonprofit organizations. Since there is no profit incentive, these organizations focus on teaching students for free.

Why I like it:

  • The free pricing model uses the internet to spread information. Through education, these training providers are helping people learn and develop new skills.
  • It is suitable for all skill levels. Most of these organizations help people with a range of skill levels, from beginners to experts.

Here are three online training providers that use this pricing strategy well:


Duolingo provides courses to help people learn languages completely free, without ads or hidden charges. It’s fun, easy, and scientifically proven.



Codecademy offers interactive courses on how to program. Courses are created by community users and cover CSS, Java, and HTML.


Khan Academy

Khan Academy offers free courses on math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more.


Related: Stay on top of the latest online training ideas, trends and technologies by subscribing to the Elucidat weekly newsletter.

Final thoughts

Your pricing strategy significantly impacts the profitability of your online training organization. If you price your courses too low, you risk not making enough money to cover your costs. If you price your courses too high, you risk competitors stealing your customers.

Make sure you understand your costs, competitors, and potential demand before you price your training courses.

Related articles on pricing strategies for online training providers:

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold

Steve Penfold is Customer Success Director at Elucidat. He helps large companies and training providers speed up and simplify their elearning authoring.
Steve Penfold
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