Many learning platforms have surfaced online, and it may be a bit difficult to pin down which one is worth your money. Whether you’re a teacher or a student, you would want the lessons to go smoothly and be a part of a productive community.
Thinkific is a popular educational site builder. It offers many features that can be compared with others. It’s essential to identify what features are suitable for your skillset and what can do the job.
In this list, Thinkific will be compared to five other popular learning management system (LMS) brands in detail so you can determine which one to spend on.
Thinkific vs. Teachable
Let’s start with the comparison to Teachable. Teachable is similar in design to Thinkific. You have full control over the site’s appearance, pricing, and curriculum.
One of these platforms is ideal for those who want to control how their programs work. Through these functions, you have free reign over the features and how you customize the site (depending on your plan).
User Interface (UI)
The UI of both sites lets you easily drag and drop the tasks you want to happen throughout the course. Editing pages make it easy to navigate through the setup. You don’t need any advanced knowledge of coding for it. Thinkific has its own editor, while Teachable utilizes HTML and CSS coding to build your site.
This drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to organize sections of pages. The customization features are more prominent in Thinkific than Teachable because, as of now, there are more themes and options to choose from.
Both provide the options to utilize the standard lecture format and multimedia functions. Multimedia lessons let you add audio, video and PDF files to provide visual aids for your students.
In addition to the multimedia lessons, Thinkific has an additional option of live streaming your content. You can also answer questions live, thanks to Zoom, Youtube and other live streaming websites.
Teachable offers a product known as ‘Coaching,’ a system where students can interact with the instructors via comments. Students can discuss with their instructor during 1-on-1 courses as they can post comments or questions.
Teachable offers the ‘Coaching’ option, but Thinkific has its own community-building tool for students and instructors. You can host discussion boards here and allow your students to openly assist each other in understanding the lessons.
It is similar to a social networking site, where you can comment and post about different topics. You can be an administrator and facilitate discussions. Students can also take notes on how the topic is explained.
Zapier integrations are available for both platforms, depending on what plan you buy. This can be achieved through any paid plan. Zapier integrations allows you to connect to multiple apps that can help with your marketing campaign.
Your students and other interested parties will be able to receive information via email about your courses. To grab their attention, you can show them your discounts and bundles.
Teachable is the cheaper option of both. These plans and prices are available through Teachable:
- Basic plan – $29/month
- Pro plan – $99/month
- Business plan – $249 per month
Thinkific may be a bit pricier, but the Pro plan is cheaper compared to Teachable. Below are the pricing details for each plan.
- Free plan
- Basic plan – $39/month
- Pro plan – $79/month
- Premier plan – $399/month.
Kajabi vs. Thinkific
In just a few clicks, you can build a website using either Kajabi or Thinkific. The difference, though, are the features they offer, such as marketing campaigns and certifications.
Because Thinkific and Kajabi each have their own website editors, no coding is necessary. It uses drag-and-drop technology, making it easy for anyone to use.
You can either use Kajabi’s themes to create your website or start from scratch. To give you an idea of what your website could look like, the theme library features a variety of modern and sleek designs. Designs under Kajabi work best with a desktop, and it’s mobile-friendly as well!
Your site can be customized to reflect your vision. You can also showcase the learning materials that you will have for your Thinkific courses. Its themes keep it all simplistic yet chic, so your website’s design can look aesthetically pleasing. The functions won’t overcomplicate the lessons for your students.
While they both have live streaming, Kajabi uses Wistia. Wistia, a leading video hosting company that specializes in business, is the best. Only the Pro plan offers video streaming, which is the most costly plan.
Any student would want to make sure they engage in the lessons and be able to interact with their teachers via the community discussion boards. The only one who utilizes this feature to the maximum is Thinkific.
Students can discuss with other people taking the course in these discussion boards to clarify or expand any comments they may have. As an admin/instructor, you can join the discussion and explain to them in a post or comments about the information they might need.
Kajabi specializes in marketing and selling any owner’s courses online. Use their email marketing campaign tools and advertise your products to potential customers. Because they don’t use third-party applications like Thinkific, their email system allows you to customize the messages you send to clients.
Kajabi offers a 14-day trial that allows you to test it before purchasing a plan. If you plan on purchasing a subscription, Kajabi is one of the most costly LMS platforms.
It is charged annually and the prices are listed below for each plan.
- 14-day free trial
- Basic plan – $149/month
- Growth plan – $199 per month
- Pro Plan – $399 per month
If you want to use a course for a long time, Thinkific gives you a free plan when you sign up. The free plan gives only one course for you to use, though, so you can get a good feel on how it works. For comparison purposes, the prices for Thinkific will also be listed here:
- Free plan
- Basic plan – $39/month
- Pro plan – $79/month
- Premier plan – $399/month.
Podia vs. Thinkific
Next on the list is Podia. Podia, an LMS site with similar functions to Thinkific, is next. It is definitely beginner-friendly, but Podia has limited options to choose from even with the subscription plans compared to Thinkific.
Podia’s layout is attractive and conveys a fun atmosphere with its color scheme, word choices and subscription plans. The site editor is a reflection of this charm and simplifies functions such as Thinkific.
Hosting your own domain can happen quickly when you purchase Podia or Thinkific’s basic plan. You can have your own domain name and host webinars for both LMS platforms.
Drip content can be seen in both their editor settings so students can unlock more content as they progress through the lesson. Both have simplistic editor styles, and you can upload resources for your students to download and bundle them all up together.
In Podia, you can customize your bundle’s overall appearance before setting it up on your site as a product. Podia offers a live chat, which allows students to communicate directly with you. This is a distinct feature from Thinkific’s social media-like community boards.
Podia uses its own email service, which is a distinct difference. Thinkific relies on Zapier to help it. Podia can send simple email alerts to students regarding their lessons and other drip campaigns.
With Zapier, you have other email accounts attached to your account rather than have a personal email for that site. One of the upsides of Thinkific is that you can still customize it more than you can in Podia.
Podia came up with creative names for their plans, which is a departure from other LMS brands. Instead of the usual ‘Basic’ and ‘Pro,’ it has unique names such as ‘Shaker’ and ‘Earthquaker.’
It offers annual prices that can help you save some cash. For all intents and purposes, though, the list only shows its prices:
- Mover (basic) – $39/month
- Shaker (pro), $79 per month
- Earthquaker – $179 per month
Thinkific vs. LearnDash
The major difference between Thinkific & LearnDash is the fact that the former has its own website builder, while the latter uses a plugin for WordPress. Thinkific is ideal if you want to have complete control of your own website, while LearnDash is best when you’ve invested in a WordPress business account.
To use the LearnDash plugin, first create a WordPress account. Then, purchase and install the plug in. It is a plug-in feature and has some limitations in comparison to Thinkific. You have fewer options to modify your course flow.
A third-party app restricts what you can do. For example, you can’t send emails or show student reviews to prove your course’s credibility. LearnDash is not as intuitive as Thinkific, as you cannot drag and drop the features that you need. You might need to ask an expert developer to handle it if you don’t have coding experience.
Both LMS platforms allow you to manage your students and track their progress. LearnDash will not allow you to communicate with your students using third-party apps.
Thinkific already has a setting in the program that lets you freely talk to your students and let them discuss with each other on the community board. You will need to search for a third-party app that allows you to chat with students and allow peer-to-peer communication.
Marketing for LearnDash may have similar problems to student management software. You will need to download third-party apps to use the marketing function. It does not have Thinkific’s complete functionality installed.
The third-party applications will help you in setting up coupons and course bundles on your site. Unfortunately, having these applications won’t be able to have an affiliate program or any advanced market integrations when Thinkific has Zapier integrations installed in its plans.
Although LearnDash is a plug-in, there are still plans you can purchase to avail of its advanced features. These are the standard rates:
- Basic Plan – $199 per month
- Plus Package – $299 per month
- Pro Package – $329/month.
Thinkific vs. Udemy
Finally, I’ll compare Thinkific to Udemy, which has become a growing LMS platform for upcoming instructors. Udemy is a course marketplace and offers a diverse selection of niche courses for students. There are many other evident differences when you compare the two side by side.
You won’t be able to control your programs like LearnDash. Udemy will own them. Following this line of thinking, there are almost no customization options for your course when using Udemy as a platform.
Udemy is not as user-friendly as Thinkific. You can’t delete courses that you have posted. You can only update your course with new lessons. Udemy doesn’t allow you to export courses to your own platform. Thinkific allows for course migration to other sites.
Udemy places student satisfaction first and offers sales on some courses. Both instructors and students will find Thinkific intuitive and user-friendly.
Udemy doesn’t allow you to control the student list. As an instructor, you might see it as challenging to find a way to have consistent communication with your students. They make it up for this by allowing students to leave comments during the course and create a review when they are done. These reviews will help other students understand the pros and cons of your course.
Udemy has an advantage in marketing because it has scaled up the ranks amongst LMS platforms. It is a marketing platform that focuses on multiple courses and sends out emails to students based on their previous purchases.
Let’s say you decide to manage your own marketing. In that case, Thinkific will be perfect for you because you have complete control over how the email campaigns go. Udemy can take care of everything if you’re overwhelmed.
Udemy and Thinkific are quite different in terms of price. Instructors can create a course on Udemy for free, but it follows a revenue share model. This means that you only gain income based on the sales from your courses. Thinkific will calculate your total income from all students who have paid for your learning program.
Between all of them, these platforms mentioned here can be considered feasible for any instructor, especially if they lack knowledge in coding. This is great for people who are beginners in building their own education site.
Though Thinkific is great for new instructors looking for an easy setup and complete control over their website, it’s also great for experienced ones. It is easier to customize your course layouts and arrange them according to your preferences than the other options.
It is vital to communicate with students in order to answer their questions about the lesson. Thinkific’s community discussion board is a highlight. It has a social media aesthetic. The UI is easy on the eyes and gives a familiar feel to the social media applications you might be used to seeing around.
These features allow you to easily create, edit, and manage the site using Thinkific.