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’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 begin with Teachable. Teachable is similar in design to Thinkific. You have full control over the site’s appearance, pricing, and curriculum.
If you’re the type who wants to manage how your programs flow, then either of the two would be an ideal platform for you to use. These functions allow you to customize your site and have full control over its features, depending on which plan you choose.
User Interface (UI)
The UI of both sites lets you easily drag and drop the tasks you want to happen 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.
This drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to organize sections of pages. Because there are now more themes and options available in Teachable, Thinkific’s customization tools are more prominent than Teachable.
Both allow you to use the standard lecture format or the 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. This way, you can answer questions in real-time, and it is supported by Zoom, Youtube, and other live streaming sites.
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.
While Teachable has the ‘Coaching’ feature, Thinkific’s counterpart is its community builder for the students and instructors. You can host discussion boards here and allow your students to openly assist each other in understanding the lessons.
Its setup is similar to a social media site where you can post and comment about various topics related to the course. As an admin, you can facilitate how the discussions go, and the students can take note of how the topic is explained.
Zapier integrations can be used on both platforms depending on which plan you choose. You can attain this through any of the paid plans. When your account is tied with Zapier integrations, it connects to multiple applications that will aid in 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. You can showcase your bundles and discounts to catch their attention.
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 per month
Although Thinkific is a bit more expensive than Teachable, the Pro plan under Thinkific is cheaper than Teachable. Below are the pricing details for each plan.
- Free plan
- Basic plan – $39 per month
- Pro Plan – $79 per 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. 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. The theme library showcases an array of sleek and modern designs to give you an idea how your site can look like. Kajabi designs work best on a desktop and are mobile-friendly.
Customize your site to how you envision it. 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. Your students won’t be overwhelmed by the functions.
While they both have live streaming, Kajabi uses Wistia. Wistia, a leading video hosting company that specializes in business, is the best. 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.
These discussion boards allow students to share their thoughts with others taking the course. You can also join the discussion as an administrator/instructor and provide information to students in comments or posts.
Kajabi is a specialist in selling and marketing any owner’s course online. You can advertise your products using their email marketing tools. They don’t use a third-party application like Thinkific, as they have their own email system that lets you customize what you send to your clients.
A 14-day trial is available for Kajabi if you want to quickly try it out before you decide whether or not you want to purchase a plan. Kajabi can be considered one of the most expensive LMS platforms, though, if you plan to buy its subscription.
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
Thinkific offers a free plan if you are interested in using a course for a longer time. 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 per month
- Premier plan – $399 per month
Thinkific vs. Podia
Podia is next on the list. 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. Its site editor reflects this charming nature and simplifies all the functions like Thinkific.
You can host your domain quickly if you buy Thinkific’s basic plan or Podia. You’ll be able to have your own custom domain name and organize webinar sessions for both LMS platforms.
Admin or instructors can see drip content in both their editor settings, so they can unlock more content throughout 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. Unlike Thinkific’s social media-like community board, Podia has an exclusive feature by having a live chat where students can immediately communicate with you directly.
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. It has unique names like ‘Shaker’ and ‘Earthquaker’ instead of the standard ‘Basic’ and ‘Pro’.
You can save money by getting it at annual prices. For all intents and purposes, though, the list only shows its prices:
- Mover (basic) – $39/month
- Shaker (pro), $79 per month
- Earthquaker – $179/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. You have fewer options to modify 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 isn’t as user-friendly as Thinkific because you can’t simply drag and drop the features you want. If you don’t have any programming experience, it might be necessary to hire an expert developer.
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. It’ll take time for you to find a third-party app that can help you chat with your students and enable peer-to-peer communication as well.
Marketing for LearnDash may have similar problems to student management software. It doesn’t have complete functions installed in its system like Thinkific, so you’ll need to download third-party applications to utilize the marketing function.
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.
LearnDash can be used as a plug-in but you still have the option to purchase plans that allow you to take advantage of its advanced features. These are the standard rates:
- Basic Plan – $199/month
- Plus Package – $299 per month
- Pro Package – $329/month.
Thinkific vs. Udemy
I will end by comparing Thinkific with Udemy. Udemy has grown to be a popular LMS platform for future instructors. Udemy, a course marketplace, offers students a wide range of niche courses. You will see many other differences between the two platforms when you compare them side-by side.
Like LearnDash, you won’t have complete control over your created programs because the ownership will be shared with Udemy. Udemy is a platform that allows you to customize your course almost completely.
Udemy is not as user-friendly as Thinkific. You can’t delete courses that you have 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 prioritizes student satisfaction as they offer sales on their courses every now and then. 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.
In Udemy, you won’t have control over the student list. It can be difficult for instructors to maintain consistent communication with students. They make it up for this by allowing students to leave comments during the course and create a review when they are done. Your course’s pros and cons will be better understood by other students who leave reviews.
Udemy is a market leader in marketing due to its ability to scale up among 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. 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.
Thinkific and Udemy are very different in terms of pricing. Udemy allows instructors to create courses for free. However, the revenue share model is used. 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 platform is ideal for beginners who want to build their own educational site.
Thinkific, though, is excellent for any new instructor looking for a simple setup and total control over their website. After comparing it to the others, it shows that you have more freedom in the customization settings and rearranging your courses according to your taste.
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.
With these features, you can construct, edit, and control the site with ease by using Thinkific when you start out as an instructor.