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Building, launching, and selling an online course is a formidable task.
Thankfully, there are several good options when it comes to designing an online course and delivering it to your users.
Two of the most popular providers in this category are Thinkific and Teachable.
Both Teachable and Thinkific offer everything you need to create, manage, and sell an online course, all in one place, for a single monthly fee.
Unlike some other platforms, both Thinkific and Teachable will fully host your website and integrate e-commerce support.
That way, all of your content, branding, and sales tools remain entirely under your control.
Since both online course suites are quite similar and provide many of the same services.
Deciding which online course suite will best fit your needs ultimately boils down to the pricing, course design, course management, site design, sales tools, and customer support offered.
Let’s take an objective look at how Thinkific and Teachable stack up against one another.
Thinkific offers four different plans, each billed monthly: Free, Basic, Pro, and Premier.
If you pay for your subscription on an annual basis, you’ll receive a 20% discount off of the monthly rate.
The Free subscription is, well, free. It entitles you to Thinkific’s core features, and you’ll be able to create up to three courses to serve an unlimited number of students.
To generate more than three courses, you'll need to upgrade to Thinkific Basic, which costs $49 per month.
Use this level for additional features like affiliate reporting and custom domains.
To collaborate between two site admins and five different course admin, offer hidden and private courses, and use advanced pricing, list memberships, and bundles, you’ll need to upgrade to Thinkific Pro.
Pro is Thinkific’s most popular plan, and it runs $99 a month. The Growth Package can be added to this level and above.
To reach Thinkific’s highest subscription tier, Premier, you'll have to pay $499 a month.
With Premier, you have access to all of the Pro features, five admin accounts, 50 course administrators, a single sign-in option, an onboarding package to make setup a breeze.
Teachable also offers four pricing plans with similar levels of service as Thinkific’s subscriptions: Free, Basic, Professional, and Business at similar price points--$0, $39, $99 and $499 per month, respectively.
Teachable’s free option allows you to create an unlimited number of courses, but you can only have ten students.
You’ll also need to pay a transaction fee of $1 + 10% on each sale. This level includes a good list of essential features, however.
The Basic subscription costs $39 per month in addition to a 5% transaction fees on your sales.
You’ll need at least a Basic subscription to support two admins and have access to integrated affiliate marketing, email marketing, and third-party integration tools.
The Professional plan—which, like Thinkific’s Pro level, costs $99 per month—is the first tier that doesn’t assess transaction fees on your sales.
Teachable's high-volume Business-level plan runs $499 per month.
With Teachable Business, you get all of the features of the Professional plan for up to 100 admins, manual student importing, and custom user roles.
Also, this plan unlocks bulk enrolments. Like the Professional plan, you receive instant payouts,and there are no transaction fees.
Although Teachable and Thinkific offer plans at similar price points, it’s difficult to judge which platform offers the better deal.
Because of the different features and additional fees that are associated with each plan, you’re often comparing apples to oranges.
These services offer diverse pricing structures that can vary pretty significantly depending on the features that you need and the size of your operation.
With Teachable, for example, you won’t receive instant payouts on the Free or Basic subscription, but Thinkific pays out instantly on all levels.
Also, while the Free option on Teachable allows you to create an unlimited number of courses, you can only have ten students.
In contrast, Thinkific lets you produce and host three courses for an unlimited number of participants.
With Teachable, you’re also responsible for any transaction fees on the Free and Basic plan.
Depending on the dynamics of your sales, those transactions fees can make a dent in your margin.
Overall, though, Thinkific’s pricing is lower and more straightforward than Teachable’s unless you need to add on certain features, like bulk-emailing, custom branding, and Zapier integration.
All of which are part of Thinkific’s Growth Plan designed to get you more students.
This add-on costs an extra $0.01 per student every month and tops out at $499 in addition to your monthly fee.
Most of those same features are already included in Teachable plans without an additional charge.
Both Teachable and Thinkific offer accessible course creation tools that make it easy to design a course.
Each platform allows you to piece together audio, video (hosted by Wistia), text, pdf, interactive quizzes, and a variety of other media content quickly and with relative ease.
They both also include setups to help you drip feed your content, send certificates of completion, and track student progress within a course.
There are, however, a few significant differences in terms of features available on each one that may make you prefer one option to the other:
Who has the most effective course design tools?
Overall, Teachable offers a more flexible course design experience.
Both platforms are simple enough to use, but the ability to employ multiple media within the lesson gives Teachable a slight advantage here.
The tools allow you to customize the course experience and maximize student engagement within the platform.
Here are some thoughts on each:
Again, it’s hard to call a winner here.
Both platforms offer great course management solutions.
Thinkific provides additional opportunities like smart feedback and quizzing tools to maximize student engagement within a course.
Course compliance flexibility, custom pages, and a community area allow for more personalization within a course.
Teachable earns points, though, for having a dedicated iOS app that students can even use offline and powerful, comprehensive course reporting functions for you to tweak your course for better engagement.
Teachable and Thinkific also include many options to successfully market your course online.
They both include free hosting and an SSL certificate and a free subdomain or the ability to use your custom domain in your subscription.
You can design your website and customize sales tools for maximum impact using either platform.
Standout features include:
Thinkific allows you to have more control of your content with an intuitive site design platform.
This flexibility and ease of use make it the better choice of the two as far as site design is concerned.
Thinkific and Teachable both offer fully supported marketing and sales features.
You can manage affiliates and third-party integrations, and students can check out and pay within both suites, but there are pretty striking differences in either approach.
Both the Thinkific and Teachable platforms incorporate Zapier integration so that you can use other third-party apps.
If you also sell on Clickfunnels, for example, you can add users to either platform through Zapier.
Teachable’s one-step checkout process, expanded payment types, and flexibility, as well as more functional affiliate marketing tools, give it an edge over Thinkific in the sales tools department.
Thinkific’s subscription pricing options, upsell support, and instant payouts manage to make it a impressive contender, though.
Both companies offer quality support, but Thinkific can only be reached by email.
For Professional plans on up, Teachable users get live, real-time support, which can make all the difference.
Both platforms have strong support communities and offer plenty of teaching resources.
Paid subscribers get free access to TeachableU on Teachable and the Online Business Masterclass on Thinkific to guide you through content creation and help you maximize your experience.
The field of platforms that allow you to create, engage, and sell your product continues to evolve rapidly and consistently. Ultimately, your needs will dictate the better choice.
Pricing will depend on how you plan to use either platform, with transaction fees and add-on options making it difficult to declare an outright winner.
Teachable has a slight advantage in course creation because of the ability to incorporate different types of media into a single lesson.
Thinkific ekes out a win for student engagement tools thanks to built-in quizzing, testing, and feedback support, but Teachable’s app and commenting features are still formidable.
On the sales and marketing end, Thinkific’s website design features offer much more flexibility than Teachable’s default template.
While an outdated two-step system hampers Thinkific’s checkout capabilities, Teachable’s payment flexibility (including VAT collection) and powerful affiliate support give it a slight advantage.
As you consider where to build your course and how to sell it, explore the range of new, up-and-coming platforms that continue to pioneer online course delivery alongside other powerfully developed marketing tools, like systeme.io.