Thinkific vs Teachable: Which is the best?

Thinkific vs Teachable

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.

1. Pricing

1.1. Thinkific pricing

Thinkific pricing

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.

1.2. Teachable Pricing

Teachable Pricing

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.

1.3. How does Thinkific’s pricing compare with Teachable’s?

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.

2. Course design tools

Course design tools

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:

  • Thinkific
  • Thinkific lets you import both Captivate and Storyline files. Teachable does not support either format.
  • Thinkific provides a video library so that you can easily reuse video content in other lessons and courses without uploading them again. To achieve this functionality in Teachable, you’ll need to save your videos in the cloud and upload them.
  • Teachable
  • Teachable’s course builder is user-friendlier and easier to navigate than Thikific’s. Its course creation dashboard lets you change the preview and publish and download settings for some or all of the course lessons at one time. In Thinkific, you have to do this for each lesson.
  • Teachable courses can include several different content types within the same lecture and in any order. Thinkific is not as flexible, so you couldn't, for example, add videos, text, pdfs, and quizzes within the same lecture on that platform.
  • Teachable allows for faster cloud imports, including bulk uploading, directly from Dropbox or Google Drive. Thinkific only supports video uploads from Dropbox or Google Drive.

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.

3. Course management

Course management

The tools allow you to customize the course experience and maximize student engagement within the platform. 


Here are some thoughts on each:

  • Thinkific
  • Embedded course player enables you to search the course by lesson title, making it easy to navigate.
  • Its full-screen mode provides less distraction for your students by removing the navigation bars while learning.
  • Supports custom pages and lets you tailor your student’s experience with additional separate content.
  • Includes a community area for student discussion on your website. You can manage who gets access to these communities based on bundles and courses and offer continued support and outside discussion for all of your students.
  • Native commenting features are a bit clumsy, especially on mobile devices, where it can be hard to find. It isn’t possible to embed comments in individual lectures.
  • Supports advanced quizzing options, like randomized question banks, the opportunity to add an explanation of the answer, and the ability to import questions. Add images or video to your questions, too.
  • Includes native integration with Brillium to include complete exams.
  • The included assignment tool lets you add assignments to your lessons and have your students submit.
  • A built-in survey tool collects feedback from your students.
  • Fully-integrated with Accredible to provide certificates of completion to your students. Automatic certificate creation is included for Pro or Business level plans for no additional charge, but manual generation for specific students will cost you.
  • Course compliance can be enforced at the lesson level. If a quiz is included, for example, all content within the lesson is accessible before the student can continue. You can set video compliance to a certain percentage before the student can progress.
  • Track student engagement and completion statistics, but generating meaningful reports can be tedious. Thinkific offers statistics for each video and progress reports by student, not a comprehensive report.
  • Teachable
  • It provides a native iOS app that makes it easy for students to watch courses on mobile devices (and offline).
  • Embedded comments that group automatically, making it simple for instructors to engage with students within the course.
  • Includes basic quiz function that limits you to plain text features.
  • Integration to ProProfs to include complete exams that may require coding and add expense.
  • Accept assignments using Dropbox’s File request, but there is no assignment feature on the current platform, and this is awkward.
  • Collect feedback from your students using an alternative source, like Google Forms.
  • Includes easy to use, native certificate creation capability. Choose from three templates or build your own, and it will be sent to students upon course completion.
  • Easily and automatically drip new content to your students via the included automated email features.
  • Course compliance can be set and enforced on a course level. Video completion enforcement makes sure that students watch at least 90% of the video content.
  • Extensive course reporting features and analytics that include lecture, course, and video completion rates and quiz scores. Easily access several convenient reporting functions.

3.1. Which platform provides better course management tools?

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.

4. Site design

Site design

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
  • Three “site themes” and several styles of those themes for you to build from help you get started quickly. Advanced users can modify the theme code in the backend and import custom themes.
  • Drag-and-drop page builder with live editors with 20+ types of “sections” that can be added to your page with one-click. Quickly tailor these pre-built sections with a few clicks.
  • To remove Thinkific branding, you must add the Growth package to Pro-level and higher plans for $0.01 per student.
  • Teachable
  • One default website template lets you upload thematic elements like a logo and a color scheme. Change fonts and other design elements. Fundamentally, this is fairly limited, but it is well designed and produces a sleek and modern looking page. Using the “power editor” will let you modify the code of the default template, but it still lacks the ability to import custom themes.
  • It allows you to build multiples sales pages for the same course.
  • Blog functionality is available, but limited and difficult to alter.
  • White-labeling is included on the Pro-level and above plans. But Teachable login, signup, and checkout pages are all on Teachable subdomains.

4.1. Who has better site design capabilities?

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.

5. Sales tools

Sales tools

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.

  • Thinkific
  • Has an outdated two-step checkout process that requires students to create an account before payment. This significantly hampers conversion rates.
  • Clumsy checkout page design, but you can customize elements within the page.
  • After-purchase flows let you maximize one-click upsells.
  • Flexible pricing and bundling options at the Pro level and above. You can offer a free trial or charge a setup fee, too.
  • Only supports a single currency.
  • Accept payments via Stripe and PayPal; instant payouts to those accounts require manual distribution to authors and affiliates.
  • Basic dashboard to manage affiliates and easily set commission percentage. Each affiliate can access his or her own dashboard, too.
  • Integrates with MailChimp, ConvertKit, Aweber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, and Infusionsoft, Shopify, EarlyParrot, and Stunning.
  • Teachable
  • Simple one-step checkout process, so the customer enters info and payment info on the same page. After payment, the user creates an account for future login
  • Incorporates custom elements, like Testimonial or a Money-Back Guarantee as well as simple one-click upsells.
  • Supports multiple currencies and offers flexible pricing and bundling options on all plans.
  • To offer a custom first payment, a coupon is necessary.
  • Integrates with Stripe and PayPal, Google Pay, and Apple Pay—custom payment gateway and instant payouts for Pro-level and higher plans. For Free and Basic accounts, money earned is collected and paid out by Teachable on the first business day for transactions that took place within the previous 30 days. It may take between 30-60 days to get your payout on those plans.
  • Backoffice suite helps to facilitate payouts to and keep tax records for authors and affiliates. This requires a 2% fee, but it can save you significant hassle if multiple authors or affiliates are involved.
  • Seamlessly handles EU VAT in addition to course pricing; if you use Teachable’s gateway, it will automatically disburse collected taxes.
  • A powerful affiliate dashboard allows for a fair degree of customization. Set an affiliate cookie period, for example.
  • Direct integration with ConvertKit and MailChimp.

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.

6. Customer support

Customer support

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.

7. Conclusion

Conclusion

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.

8. Teachable and Thinkific's alternatives

Teachable and Thinkific's alternatives

Teachable and Thinkific exist alongside other options like Kajabi and systeme.io that are all working to improve how online courses can be efficiently constructed, delivered, and sold


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.

These articles may also be of interest to you:  


-    8 Best Kajabi Alternatives: Get Everything In One Place

-    8 Things That Only Systeme.io Can Do