There are many learning platforms available online. It may not be easy to determine which one is worth your time. 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 is important to determine which features are appropriate for your skill set and which 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.
Teachable vs. Thinkific
Let’s start with the comparison to Teachable. Teachable is similar to Thinkific, where you have complete control over how the site looks, managing the curriculum, and pricing for your courses.
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)
Both sites have a UI that allows you to drag and drop tasks throughout the course. It’s easy to navigate the site by editing pages. You don’t need any advanced knowledge of coding for it. Teachable uses HTML and CSS coding for building your website while Thinkific has its own page editor.
By using this drag-and-drop interface, organizing through sections for the pages will be effortless for you. Because there are now more themes and options available in Teachable, Thinkific’s customization tools are more prominent than Teachable.
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.
Thinkific offers live streaming of your content in addition to the multimedia lessons. 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 communicate with their instructors during 1-on-1 classes by posting comments and questions.
While Teachable has the ‘Coaching’ feature, Thinkific’s counterpart is its community builder for the students and instructors. Here you can hold discussion boards and have your students openly help each other understand the lessons better.
It is similar to a social networking site, where you can comment and post about different topics. As an admin, you can facilitate how the discussions go, and the students can take note of 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.
You’ll be able to advertise to your students and others who might be interested in attending your courses via email campaigns. To grab their attention, you can show them your discounts and bundles.
Teachable is a cheaper option between the two. These plans and prices are available through Teachable:
- Basic plan – $29/month
- Pro Plan – $99 per month
- Business plan – $249/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 per month
Thinkific vs. Kajabi
Building a website through either Thinkific or Kajabi can be done in a matter of a few clicks in the same manner. However, the differences between them are their features, such as certifications and marketing campaigns.
No coding is required because Thinkific and Kajabi both use their own site editor. It follows the drag and drop mechanic, which makes anyone’s job easier.
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. Kajabi designs work best on a desktop and are mobile-friendly.
Your site can be customized to reflect your vision. At the same time, showcase the learning materials you’ll have for your courses with Thinkific! The themes are simple yet elegant, so that your website design is visually pleasing. Your students won’t be overwhelmed by the functions.
When it comes to live streaming, while they both have it, Kajabi uses a different source called Wistia. Wistia is a premier video hosting service that specializes in business. The video streaming is limited only to the Pro plan, which is the most expensive plan on the list.
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. You can also join the discussion as an administrator/instructor and provide information to students in comments or posts.
Kajabi specializes in marketing and selling any owner’s courses online. You can advertise your products using their email marketing tools. 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 billed annually, and listed below are the standard prices for each plan:
- 14-day free trial
- Basic plan – $149 per month
- Growth plan – $199/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. The prices for Thinkific will be stated here again for comparison reasons:
- Free plan
- Basic plan – $39 per month
- Pro Plan – $79 per month
- Premier plan – $399 per month
Podia vs. Thinkific
Next on the list is Podia. Podia is an LMS site that has similar functions to Thinkific as well. 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. Its site editor reflects this charming nature and simplifies all the functions like Thinkific.
Hosting your own domain can happen quickly when you purchase Podia or Thinkific’s basic plan. You’ll be able to have your own custom domain name and organize webinar sessions 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 editors are simple and allow you to upload resources that your students can download and combine.
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.
A distinct difference between the two is that Podia has its own email service installed. At the same time, Thinkific depends on a 3rd party integration (Zapier) to assist 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.’
You can save money by getting it at annual prices. For all intents and purposes, though, the list only shows its prices:
- Basic Mover – $39 per month
- Shaker (pro) – $79/month
- Earthquaker – $179 per month
LearnDash vs. Thinkific
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. If you want to control your website completely, Thinkific is the best option. LearnDash works best if you have a WordPress business account.
In order to use the LearnDash plug-in, you must create a WordPress account first, then buy and install the plug-in. Since it’s a plug-in feature, it has limitations compared to Thinkific. There are fewer features you can do to edit your course flow.
Being a 3rd party app limits what you can do, like you aren’t able to send emails or show reviews made by your students to show the credibility of your course. 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.
Fortunately, both LMS platforms enable most of the same functions for managing your students and their progress. The only possible issue you might come across when using LearnDash is that you’ll have to resort to other third-party apps for communication.
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 has similar issues you might come across with its student management system. 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. These applications will not allow you to create an affiliate program or integrate with advanced markets. However, Thinkific has Zapier integrations in its plans.
Although LearnDash is a plug-in, there are still plans you can purchase to avail of its advanced features. Here are the prices at their standard rate:
- Basic Plan – $199 per month
- Plus Package – $299 per month
- Pro Package – $329/month.
Udemy vs. Thinkific
I will end by comparing Thinkific with Udemy. Udemy has grown to be a popular LMS platform for future instructors. Udemy is a course marketplace and offers a diverse selection of niche courses for students. You will see many other differences between the two platforms when you compare them 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.
One of the downsides of Udemy compared to Thinkific is that you won’t be able to remove the courses you posted. The only thing you can do is update your course with new lessons. Courses can’t be exported to your own independent platform in Udemy, unlike Thinkific, which allows course migration if you choose to more sites.
Udemy places student satisfaction first and offers sales on some courses. When you put the two side by side, it can be said that Thinkific is user-friendly and intuitive with customization features for both the instructors and students.
Udemy doesn’t allow you to control the student list. It can be difficult for instructors to maintain consistent communication with students. Students can leave feedback during the course and then create a review after they’re 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 specializes in marketing multiple courses to its students via email based on what they purchased before.
Suppose you want to handle the marketing yourself. Thinkific is the best choice for you, as you can control how your email campaigns are run. On the other hand, if you have too much on your plate, you could always leave it to Udemy as they can handle it all for you.
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.
These platforms can all be used by any instructor, even if they don’t have coding knowledge. 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.
Communication between you and the students is essential to make sure you can answer any of their inquiries about the lesson. One of Thinkific’s highlights is the community discussion board fashioned in a social media aesthetic. The interface is simple to use and resembles the social media apps you may be familiar with.
These features allow you to easily create, edit, and manage the site using Thinkific.