These are two of the best online learning platforms.
They also double down as two of the most affordable online course platforms you can find right now.
Both are also easy to use online learning management systems, complete with several Student engagement tools.
You can also fully customize your course’s look and feel with these two. That’s crucial when building a recognizable image online.
Even though Teachable and Thinkific have numerous similarities, they are not equal.
There are over a dozen areas you’d need to compare to notice the differences.
But not to worry.
We looked deep for the comparison points that make all the difference so you won’t have to.
By the end of this Thinkific vs Teachable course platforms review, you’ll know which of the two is the best course creation software for your specific needs.
Here’s a quick breakdown to begin with:
|Transaction fee||None in all plans||5% in the free plan|
|Customization||It has a library of themes||Only default template is available|
|Coupons||Advanced options are available. Supports site-wide, single, or multi-course coupons||Don’t support multi-month coupons, only specific pricing single coupons are available|
|Import/Export themes||You can import/export themes along with fonts and images||You can’t import/export themes|
|Bulk editing features||You need to edit one-by-one||You can edit in bulk|
|Email marketing integrations||Integrates with upto 7 email marketing software||It has fewer integrations|
|Creating course bundles||Comes with advanced features, you can bundle any course||You can’t bundle a primary course of another bundle|
|Creating surveys||You can survey your students||No option|
|Live preview||Allows you to preview the changes without the need for publishing||You can’t preview without publishing the edits|
|Welcome and completion emails for courses||You can create custom emails on a course basisWelcome them and congratulate on completing the course.||Not present|
Right from start, notice something here.
Both are self-hosted course platforms. They are not mass online course marketplaces such as Udemy and Skillshare.
Why is that a big deal?
- Well, for starters, you’ll have more control over how your Teachable or Thinkific course looks and feels. That means you can do more on both to suit your target learners or your brand’s personality than on, say, Skillshare.
- Second, you’ll have the freedom to price your online course however you choose. You won’t wake up one morning to see your course priced at 90% off on Udemy, for example.
You don’t want potential students thinking your course is pure fluff because it is dirt-cheap now, do you?
Think that’s interesting?
There’s more, so you’ll want to sit down for this comparison.
Thinkific vs Teachable: An Overview
Here’s the TLDR.
With their free plans and low monthly subscriptions, Teachable and Thinkific are excellent budget course creation platforms. Or are they?
Thinkific had a lot going on for it these past few months.
Check these out:
- Over 50,000+ course creators.
- 63 million course enrollments in 2020 (1.5 million per week).
- Thinkific course creators earned $630 million in revenue in 2020.
- The e-learning platform just raised $22 million to fuel its growth.
- Thinkific has been profitable since 2018.
On the other hand, Teachable is a seasoned industry player since its Fedora days.
It has truckloads of extraordinary things going on for it, too.
- About 184,000 courses and 17,686 coaching products launched there in 2020.
- Teachable course creators made over $1 billion in course sales
- They earned $457 million in that year alone.
- Teachable was still making over $250 million in course and coaching product sales before the pandemic hit.
- E-learning giant, Hotmart, just acquired Teachable to power its future growth.
In short, you’ll not go wrong with picking the best of the two for your online courses business.
They both consistently pay good money to course creators like you and I.
They both have a robust future.
And, they are both incredibly popular with online learners.
People are already flocking to and browsing through these two platforms. So it can mean it will be easier for you to attract paying students to your course without doing too much marketing.
Here’s a quick summary for you.
What I Like About Thinkific Over Teachable?
- Unlike Teachable, which charges a 5% transaction fee on its free plan, Thinkific doesn’t charge the fee in any of its plans.
- Thinkific offers three different course creation templates. You can also design your course from scratch to make it look and feel however you envision.
- You can easily survey students to know what areas of your course to improve.
- It has unique lesson types such as narrated/voiceover presentations and assignment lessons.
- It offers true White Label features, so you can customize your Thinkific site better compared to a Teachable site.
- Thinkific lets course creators develop sophisticated exams with its Brillium integration at no extra cost.
- It also provides seamless integration with Accredible to provide several certificates of completion templates and tools. No extra cost, either.
- You can use customized Sales Widgets to sell your course on any website.
What I Like About Teachable Over Thinkific?
- You can use testimonials and course guarantee badges on your course checkout pages to help increase sales.
- Students can post comments right below a specific lecture, which can help boost student engagement. Thinkific doesn’t make it as easy to start a discussion.
- Teachable will let you import your course content from cloud-based storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
- You can make bulk-edits to your course content with Teachable.
- Teachable will let you convert your course content into downloadable files.
- If you want your students to access your course on the go, Teachable offers an IOS app.
- One-step checkouts and upsells makes Teachable better at conversion optimization than Thinkific.
- If you need built-in ability to handle EU VAT, Teachable does that without needing an integration like Thinkific would.
- You can create a blog right inside Teachable which you can’t do on Thinkific.
- Teachable will help you send automated email notifications when you unlock a lesson/drip content.
- It also provides a robust webhooks management system and more Zapier features.
And now here’s the full review.
A clean dashboard means you can get to creating the course faster.
But the best course platforms also include shortcuts to several key tools, so you can get to the right item in seconds instead of minutes.
So, it makes sense then that Thinkific provides a neat sidebar menu.
It also offers several shortcuts you can use to access an existing course or go create one for the first time.
Click the menu items on the sidebar to reveal what’s under each of them. It might not be what you expect with Thinkific.
For example, Thinkific decided to place its Integrations feature under Market & Sell.
If you’ve used any other course creation platform before you might remember that almost every one of them has Integrations under Settings. But it won’t take you too long to get its flow.
Compare that to the Teachable dashboard:
Here’s how it’ll look when you already have a course or more published:
Like Thinkific, Teachable provides a sidebar with quick-action menu items.
Again, the goal is to make it easy for you to find tools quickly. You might find its color scheme attractive as well. Your choice.
Beyond looks, the two platforms are mobile-friendly. Expect them to load fast on phones and tablets as well as be responsive to various screen sizes.
That’s crucial when you have students logging into your course portal with mobile devices.
Bottomline: You’ll get clean dashboards that don’t feel overly nested so you’ll find what you need fast. Yet if you prefer to tweak things on the go, Teachable offers an IOS mobile app. It doesn’t have an app for Android devices.
Is Teachable better than Thinkific when creating your course curriculum?
Or, is Thinkific’s course creation process better?
We’ll break the answer into eight sections as follows:
Course curriculum & structure
Suppose you want to gauge if there is enough demand for the kind of knowledge you want to package in a course.
In that case, Thinkific will let you create a landing page where you can:
- Collect potential students’ emails
- Pre-sell the course
- Publish your course creation progress for your waitlist
Teachable doesn’t offer that. Instead, it goes straight to presenting two types of online teaching opportunities: course and coaching.
Pick Course if you want to package your know-how into a short or elaborate curriculum. Otherwise, Coaching is ideal for course creators who want to offer one-on-one training on a schedule.
Now, if you’d like to speed up your course creation process by using course templates, Thinkific offers some.
Yet you can choose the Blank canvas if you want to have more control over your course curriculum design.
Where Teachable gets us is how it makes filling out course details, such as the course name, an easy, step-by-step process.
After the naming rites, Teachable will let you add two course layers: Sections and Lectures. You can also duplicate or make the course material downloadable.
Thinkific offers Chapters and Lessons, which is a similar concept:
Think of the layers as ways to introduce headers, subheadings, and content into your course curriculum.
The goal here is to help you structure the course in a way that looks and feels easy to follow. You do not want to overwhelm learners with content that feels all over the place now, do you?
In both cases, you can drag and drop sections around to organize them however you feel is best for your students.
Bottomline: Pick Thinkific if you prefer to use a ready course layout. Still, Teachable offers a smooth, four-step course creation process.
Course content formats
Remember, each student has a unique learning style. Some are visual. Others prefer to read text at their pace.
Either way, Teachable will let you use content in the form of:
- Videos (limited at 720p (HD), 2GB, and .avi, .mp4, or .mov, file types)
- Audio (mp3 and AAC files)
- Downloadable files
- Embed content with custom code
But Thinkific takes things further.
On top of the file formats Teachable supports, Thinkific will let you upload the following course content types:
- Narrated presentations
- Elaborate quizzes
- Live streams
- Webinar content
- Brillium exams
- Disqus comments/discussions
However, Thinkific does not support SCORM files. But you can use Storyline and Captivate files with it.
And, perhaps more importantly, Thinkific will let you use more than one content type in the same lecture. For example, you can use text and multimedia files and videos in the same lesson.
That’s great for providing illustrations and getting your points across.
Bottomline: If you are not too keen on using multiple content files, Teachable will serve you just fine. But if you want to increase student engagement with various content formats, Thinkific offers a far superior platform.
Uploading course content
We like that you can upload content in bulk in both cases.
The Bulk Upload button is clear inside the Teachable course editor.
Hit that button and Teachable brings up a bunch of options with which you can upload course content.
- Upload from your computer
- Google Drive
- Web Images
- Embed Links
That’s handy if you have content ready in a separate storage option.
You can also bulk-upload content in Thinkific. Unlike Teachable, you can use almost any file type you can think of.
But unlike Thinkific, you can use Teachable’s power editor to make bulk edits instead of going to each individual section to make changes.
Teachable will let you make your course material downloadable and previewable with the click of a button. Sweet.
But Thinkific has a trick up its Video Library.
You can upload video files directly to the Library from your computer, FTP site, and cloud storage options such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.
The video files need to be less than 1GB in size.
Once you upload videos to it, you can reuse the clips in different courses or sections/lessons of the same course. So the library will become a sort of online storage for reusable course materials, too.
Both Teachable and Thinkific host videos with Wistia. Teachable no longer supports hosting content on Vizia.
Wistia is a great video hosting option for its high-quality visuals and insightful analytics. The feature comes free with any Thinkific or Teachable plan.
Some of you would prefer YouTube and Vimeo to be included. They are not, sadly.
Bottomline: Teachable will let you upload content directly from cloud-storage sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. Thinkific is a good option if you want to take advantage of its Video Library tricks.
Both platforms offer attractive course players.
You can change the course players’ look, feel, and functionality in easy steps.
Students can toggle the players to fullscreen, as well as play videos at a suitable speed and quality. The players can also automatically mark lessons as complete when they finish watching a video.
Unlike LearnWorlds, which offers interactive elements directly in the videos, such as interactive quizzes, Thinkific does not. Teachable used to let course creators use Vizia to add a poll, quiz, response, or call-to-action right in a video lesson.
That’s awesome when you want to boost student engagement. Unfortunately, Teachable is no longer supporting new Vizia integrations.
Commenting on a lecture will require that your students raise a discussion point (Thinkific) or comment (Teachable) in a separate tab/page.
Fortunately they only have to scroll to the bottom of the lecture to Post a Comment in Teachable.
In Thinkific, they’ll need to click the Discussion button on the side of the course player.
But, not so fast.
Thinkific offers seamless Live Lessons where you can train your learners in a live class using, say, Zoom.
That can give students a feeling of being in a real-world, real-time class session.
Perhaps that can help them concentrate more on what you are teaching, motivate them to attend the lessons in time, and overall, take your course more seriously.
That benefit is only available in the Coaching version of Teachable, not when doing courses.
Drip course content
If you do not want learners to binge on your content in a hurry, consider enabling the drip feature on both platforms.
In both, you can drip course content based on:
fter aspecific number of days after a student first enrolls in the course
- A specific date
Here’s the difference, though.
Teachable will send an automated email announcement to students when you unlock a new lecture. Thinkific won’t.
Oh, in case you are wondering:
While Thinkific pegs its mobile-friendly web application, Teachable offers an IOS mobile app for creators and students who want to teach and learn on the go.
Most of its functionality is a boon for students, not for course creators.
- Stream lectures
- View handouts/worksheets
- Pick up a lecture where they left off on another device,
- Take quizzes
- Sync progress across different devices
Still, we don’t get how Teachable thought it is a cool idea to lock Android app users out, seeing that international students likely make up the majority of the platform’s student population.
Bottomline: Both platforms offer handy course delivery options including drip-feeding and friendly course player options. Content scheduling is only available in paid plans.
Course compliance features
So you want to ensure your students are getting what you are teaching?
You can enforce specific requirements to help you with that.
Teachable will give you three options:
- Enforce lecture order where students need to follow the order in which you placed the lectures.
- Enforce video watching where they need to watch an entire video to proceed to the next lecture.
- Enforce graded quiz completion where they need to get a pass mark to proceed to the next step. In case a student fails to make the grade, Teachable sends a quiz reset request to you, the creator. Then you get to decide if the learner should retake the quiz.
With Thinkific, you can set:
- Prerequisite questions where students need to answer those accurately before they can proceed to the next lesson.
- Video completion (%) requirement where students need to watch a specific video length before they can continue to the next step
- Set a passing grade where learners need to get a minimum score to qualify for the next lessons.
Course compliance tools like those are extremely important for several reasons.
For example, if students skim through the course and fail to grasp your concepts, they are likely to report low course satisfaction.
Consequently, they could rate your course poorly, demand a refund, and bad-mouth you out there. So be sure to use the course compliance features, will you?
Bottomline: Both platforms offer awesome course compliance features if you want your students to take your course more seriously.
Still with us?
There’s another tool to help you avoid those issues while ensuring your students get the best from your course.
Assessments and quizzes
Thinkific brings out some big guns to this fight.
From start, Thinkific will let you create assessments/quizzes/exams in several effective ways:
- Add multiple-choice questions.
- Upload a video and image into a Thinkific quiz.
- A student can upload a video, PDF, or image to answer a question.
- Let students answer open-ended questions and explain their answers in paragraph form.
Now picture this:
That is Thinkific’s Randomized Quiz Bank.
It is a kind of repository for up to 100 questions.
You can use the Thinkific quiz questions template to create solid quizzes.
Then import the questions into the bank to proceed.
Thinkific will then automatically select up to 25 random questions to serve to a student and test his or her understanding of your course concepts.
That’s unheard of from even the best Thinkific alternatives, let alone Teachable.
But there’s more.
Thinkific has a direct integration with Brillium.
Why that matters?
Brillium is a brilliant exam solution that helps creators like you and me create sophisticated digital exams. It has excellent exam creation, administration, grading, and analysis tools.
So, you can add a bunch of filters to get a deep understand of your students’ performance–even at an individual level, such as:
- View what specific areas of your course they could be struggling with.
- Allow them to retake an exam.
- You can also hide correct answers so that a student can retake a quiz until they hit a passing mark (Teachable offers that, too).
- See whether they retook the assessment.
- Discover how many times they have retaken an exam and whether they are improving.
Quick Tip: If you want to offer more in-depth, individual student feedback, and at the same time require students to submit their homework before proceeding along the course, just create an Assignments Lesson like this:
Since the Thinkific-Brillium integration is a direct one, it comes included in your paid Thinkific plan.
So, unlike integrating Brillium with Teachable, you won’t need to pay extra to use Brillium with Thinkific.
Thinkific will go further and even lets you ask students how they are finding the course.
That way, you can get real feedback directly from the students.
Bottomline: If this section sounds as if it was all about Thinkific, that’s because what you can do with Teachable’s graded quizzes dims in comparison.
Certificate of completion
Teachable makes a comeback here with its solid course certification features.
Unlike Kajabi and Podia, Teachable provides three direct ways to create and award students with certificates immediately after they complete the course successfully.
- Choose from one of the three certificate templates
- Use HTML/Liquid to create a custom Teachable certificate
To create a Teachable certificate, click a course from the admin sidebar, and then click the Certificates sub-menu like this:
But we said there are three ways, right?
Teachable will also let you create certificates manually. No integrations required. No complicated back and forth like when trying to manually create certificates with Thinkific.
But why create certificates manually in the first place?
It will help you choose specific students, time, and context to issue the award. It will also give you more control over activating, deactivating, editing and deleting certificates.
To create a certificate with Thinkific, click the Settings sub-menu.
Click Create Certificate. From there, choose a certificate template from a selection of seven.
Thinkific has direct integration with Accredible, the reputed digital certificates solution. That means you can issue automatic lessons immediately after a student completes the course successfully.
You won’t have to pay extra to use Accredible with Thinkific–unless you want to create certificates manually.
Bottomline: Both platforms offer native course certification tools. Yet, Teachable provides more and easy-to-use tools to help manage certificates.
Creating membership sites
Memberships offer plenty of benefits.
One: you can provide members-only content among other privileges.
Second, you can gate your membership site’s content. You can require anyone wanting to read your content on an ongoing basis to pay a monthly fee for it.
Thinkific provides a basic landing page, which you can customize to turn into your membership site.
Teachable puts in more effort. You can create different subscription levels for your paid content.
In both platforms, you can also use membership subscriptions to:
- Bundle different courses and offer them as a discounted offer.
- Manage who can access the paid content.
- Drip the content as a trial or freebie.
- Create different subscription levels with varying subscription fees.
- Use the different subscription levels to upsell members.
Bottomline: While both will let you create membership sites, Teachable offers more detailed membership tools.
Analytics and reporting
If you are a numbers person, both Teachable and Thinkific are sure to impress here.
They offer tons of both raw data and filtered information you can use to inform your decisions.
Thinkific will tell you who attempted what quizzes in which course, how many times, and whether they completed each attempt.
You’ll need to have a Pro or Growth plan to enjoy the most in-depth reports, complete with numerous filters and advanced details as in this image:
Now picture this:
What Thinkific can report Thinkific can do, too.
But can it do it better?
Teachable will add finer details such as whether the students who’ve completed your course are free or paying learners.
You can really filter details down to the individual student, course, or cohort levels with Teachable.
Bottomline: Both platforms offer plenty of actionable data although Teachable goes a bit deeper than Thinkific.
Selling digital products
Both platforms will let you offer video tutorials, case studies, and other digital products.
But, can you sell physical products with Teachable?
In fact, Teachable will also let you include a billing and shipping address form on the checkout page.
When course buyers fill in their account and payment details, you can use the details to make the delivery to their doorstep. Transportation is up to you to organize.
Trying to sell physical products on Thinkific is a complicated mess we won’t delve into for now.
Bottomline: Teachable is excellent for selling both digital and physical products from one place.
Design and customization options
You’ve probably heard it say a million times before.
We are visual beings.
So, it matters how your course looks and feels.
The social media channels your students use daily have spoilt them to expect vibrant apps, pages, and seamless transitions.
So, can you fully customize your course with Teachable?
Both platforms use a visual, drag-n-drop editor.
Making changes will feel simple and breezy. You’ll see the changes you make almost instantly, so you can revert any undesirable tweaks on the spot to save you time.
Teachable only offers a single theme.
But you can tweak it in several ways such as:
- Change the theme’s color scheme, including on-course page headers, subtitles, footers, and body text.
- Personalize its typography.
- Use custom text.
- Add a custom logo, favicon, and navigation.
If you want to do more and fully customize almost every aspect of your course pages, you can code it in with Teachable’s Power Editor 2.0.
It can get as technical as it may be exciting when you know your way around HTML, custom CSS, code snippets, and Teachable’s Liquid coding language.
Also, the changes you make to the Teachable theme apply on a website-wide level; not just on a specific page.
Compare that to Thinkific, where you can make page-level customizations without affecting the rest of the pages.
Thinkific offers several theme templates you can pick from to get started quickly. They may feel a tad gloomy if you prefer something a little more colorful.
So, once you pick your choicest theme, you can customize it further in as many ways as Teachable offers.
Thinkific’s drag-n-drop editor is also a good place to do your tweaks since it is smooth and responsive. Personalizing sales pages, checkout pages, and other landing pages feels easy with Thinkific.