This is a biggie. I get messages and questions all the time about what’s the best platform to host an online course.
A lot of the answer to that question depends on what you need in a platform. What you want in an online course might be different from someone else. I see that all the time with our clients.
A great place to start is by identifying your deal breakers. What are your must-haves? Then rate them based on how important they are.
Distinguish between must-haves vs. nice to have. Then create a scorecard to determine which one is closest to what you’re looking for. Most of the time, it just comes down to personal preference and what works for your business.
Let’s discuss some of the differences between two of the most popular platforms to host online courses: Teachable and Thinkific.
Pricing and Features
Both Teachable and Thinkific offer several plans that are comparable in pricing, including a free option. The key difference comes in which features you have access to at each pricing level.
While both platforms offer similar features, Teachable opens up more of them at a lower price point. Thinkific keeps some features locked, even at their highest level, unless you buy their Growth Package.
Both platforms offer great value. For the free test-drive options, Thinkific brings a little more to the table in terms of features. If you’re looking to get the most features for your money when you upgrade, however, Teachable wins by a mild margin. Thinkific tends to get more expensive as you grow since it charges a monthly fee per student. Teachable does not charge extra beyond your monthly subscription and transaction fees.
Customer support is so crucial as you’re learning to use a new platform. And really, you can’t go wrong with either Teachable or Thinkific on this point. Both strive to reply to support tickets within one business day or less. And both platforms are engaged with their clients through their website as well as their official Facebook group where you can find answers to many of your questions.
Ease of Use
One of the things that make deciding between Teachable and Thinkific challenging is the fact that both platforms are easy to use. For that reason, it’s probably best to try out both of the platforms at their free levels to see which feels better to you. If you can navigate Wordpress, then either of these platforms will feel doable.
Course Delivery and Student Engagement
Teachable and Thinkific provide similar features when it comes to getting your course to your students. Some of the main differences are in the course creation process. Teachable allows for uploads from Dropbox and Google Drive. Thinkific does not have this integration, which can make course creation more time-consuming.
Thinkific also doesn’t allow for mixed media in the same lesson, which can be a drawback for student engagement. Teachable allows you to use video, PDFs, images, and more for an exciting and dynamic experience.
Thinkific does win when it comes to student feedback and quizzes, however. It allows you to create built-in surveys about the course. It also has greater quiz functionality that will enable you to be as simple or complex as you like.
Both platforms are also mobile-responsive, but only Teachable has an actual app. Even then, Android users will not be able to use the mobile version since they’ve only created an app for iOS at present.
Site Design and Customization
Both platforms offer a visual editor with drag-and-drop elements. This allows you to build a functional and attractive site with little to no coding skills, which is definitely a plus. If you want more in customization, however, Thinkific offers better features for theme customizations and appearance.
When it comes to blogging, Teachable has a built-in blogging platform, while Thinkific does not. This is something worth considering if you plan to attach a blog to your online school. For serious blogs, however, you should probably just integrate your own from a separate platform.
Sales & Marketing
Teachable offers better features than Thinkific when it comes to sales and marketing. It has seamless integration with many of the top marketing tools built-in, and the ability to integrate with virtually any other tool. It also includes bulk email marketing in its plans while Thinkfic requires you to purchase its Growth Package.
Teachable also offers a streamlined checkout page with the ability to add coupons and upsells. You can customize your checkout page easily. You can also offer payment plans at any pricing level. Thinkific requires you to purchase their $99/month plan before opening this feature.
Thinkific severely limits what you can do with your affiliate program. Teachable will allow you to control how you want your program to run, including where you want to run it.
Both of these are great platforms that I’ve used with many of my clients. Teachable has a slight edge based on the features available in its lower price tier. Keep in mind that if you’re relatively new to course creation, both will get the job done.
Want us to help you set up your online school? Book a free course strategy call to find out more.