I’m Paul Jarvis, author and designer, been teaching online courses for about 6years. Chimp Essentials teaches people how to use Mailchimp for their online business through pre-recorded videos (~50 total, each ~5 minutes long). It takes about 200 hours to record all the videos (I do this every time there’s a significant change in Mailchimp features or interface design), it’s screencasts + my floating head on every video, in 4k. The course opens publicly 2x a year for one week, but opens for 1 day to individuals, once they’re in the wait-list automation sequence (on day 5).
"No code levels the playing field"
WordPress, wordpress.org - the CMS. Restrict Content Pro, restrictcontentpro.com - this takes payments, manages users and manages access to the course. RCP Mailchimp Pro, restrictcontentpro.com - this puts paid users from WP into Mailchimp for me, including ecommerce details (how much they paid and if their subscription is active). Mailchimp, mailchimp.com - for sending all emails. MC4WP, mc4wp.com - for collecting “waiting list” emails when the course is closed. WPComplete, wpcomplete.co - to let students track their progress. WPHelpful, wphelpful.com - to allow students to provide feedback on the course and lessons. Stripe & Paypal, stripe.com and paypal.com - to collect money. Slack, slack.com - for the community.
I use a custom WP theme I created, but all the above software works with any/every WP theme there is. RCP takes payment, manages users, and gives access to the lessons. RCP MC PRO, syncs payment data with MC. MC has 3 automation sequences: wait list (the course opens for each person for 1 day a few days into it), launch (coming soon, details, launch day discount), and post-purchase (education emails on how to get the most out of the course). Stats: this course makes around $200k/year. Costs: A bit less than $1000/year to run all of this, as well as 2.9% + 30c on each transaction... so my margins are quite high, but it is time-consuming. Note: Since everything is automated, my time is really just spent answering questions from people who are curious about the course or already in the course.
No code levels the playing field, anyone can create courses like this and teach what they no, without being forced to use a platform and without having to do anything in terms of tech skills. It’s really just connecting services to each other. The limitations are what can you design with existing templates or page builders, but really the sky is the limit with things like Gutenberg and plugins like Semplice. What I’d do differently: if I was starting over, I’d put all my courses on pjrvs.com to keep things simple, connected and in the same freakin’ place :)