When you’re looking for information on the best online learning platforms, you’re likely to find reviews on both Thinkific and Teachable — as well as comparisons of the two.
And they can be confusing. As an author or other successful writer, you’ve probably learned something about creating multiple streams of income and building your brand.
And online courses can certainly help with both of those.
But the goal of this article isn’t to decide who wins the Thinkific vs. Teachable contest.
It’s not that simple, anyway.
The goal here is to help you choose the online course platform that will serve you best.
Thinkific Vs. Teachable
If you’re thinking of creating an online course, you need to know what features you’ll actually need and how those needs factor into your Teachable vs. Thinkific decision.
We can share what other successful course creators use, but ultimately that won’t help you if you don’t need or value the same details or services they do.
Once you become acquainted with both, you’ll likely decide based on the features that mean the most to you, which may include pricing, service, ease of use, and design.
So, let’s start with the detail most of us are curious about within a few seconds of landing on either platform’s home page: “How much is this gonna cost me?”
Both Thinkific and Teachable have a free option as well as their professional packages. So, if you’re looking to sample their basic features, it can’t hurt to set up a course page and explore their course creation tools.
Thinkific’s free package allows you to have an unlimited number of students sign up for your course.
Add that to their lack of transactional fees, and you see why it’s more appealing to many new course creators hoping to earn as much as possible without spending a lot.
And while Thinkific’s Basic package costs more than Teachable’s, their course creation features often tip the balance in its favor, especially for those just wanting to offer a course or two to create a modest passive income stream.
Once you get to “Pro” level, though — especially if you add the Growth package — the cost difference sways in favor of its competitor.
At $39, Teachable’s lowest-price package (other than free) is $10 cheaper than the lowest paid option for Thinkific. But the prices for the next two levels of membership — at $99 and $499 — match those of Thinkific’s comparable packages.
The $10 a month you save on the Basic package with Teachable might be a hard deal to pass up. But don’t make the decision until you know Teachable has everything you need to create, brand, and market your online courses.
At the very least, you’ll want to make sure the course creation tools make it as easy and enjoyable as you want the process to be.
Both platforms take care of the technical side, but Teachable is known for being more intuitive and user-friendly.
Thinkific, on the other hand, is known for providing more options for customization.
For which of those qualities would you be willing to pay more?
Once you upgrade to Teachable’s “Professional” membership, though, the features under that $99 a month umbrella match many of those in Thinkific’s Growth package.
This add-on feature bundle can cost Thinkific “Pro” members up to an extra $499 a month, depending on the number of students signed up.
Meanwhile, Teachable doesn’t charge anything over the Professional membership fee of $99 a month for many of the same features, regardless of how many students you have.
It does, however, charge a transaction fee for each enrollment (while Thinkific does not).
Do both offer the same exact features and flexibility? Nope.
So, even after considering the different pricing options, you’ll still have to decide based on the platform that has everything you need — plus some things you know you want.
Now let’s consider the advantages Thinkific offers over Teachable with its course creator and course delivery.
Unlike Teachable, Thinkific doesn’t let you import content directly from Google Drive or Dropbox.
But, unlike Teachable, it does have a handy video library, allowing you to upload a video once and use it in multiple lessons and courses.
Thinkific also allows for greater customization with your course creation, making it easier for you to design something that matches your branding.
Thinkific’s course player has come a long way. A recent makeover has not only enabled it to compete with Teachable for aesthetic appeal; it’s even given Thinkific some new advantages.
For one, students can now search through the course by lesson titles (which they can’t do on Teachable).
It also has a full-screen mode, which hides the menu bar to minimize distractions.
When it comes to your site — the hub for your Thinkific courses — you also get to choose from a selection of beautifully-designed themes, as well as styles belonging to each theme.
Ultimately, if you care more about branding and customization than design-in-your-sleep simplicity, Thinkific will probably be your platform of choice.
Teachable users love that its course builder is so easy to use. They also love its flexibility with content types (PDFs, videos, quizzes, embedded comments, etc).
Teachable also allows you to upload course content directly from Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive — while Thinkific does not.
This platform also scores points for its well-designed course player, which for some time gave it a distinct visual advantage over Thinkific’s (before the latter’s makeover).
Another major advantage, though, is Teachable’s own iOS app, which enables students to access their courses on their Apple devices (Here’s hoping they’ll create one for Android users, too).
Another feature Teachable fans haven’t failed to notice is the aesthetic of the platform’s own website.
After all, if you’re planning to pay someone to help you design a site with online courses, it makes sense to favor the one whose own website design appeals to you the most.
From the moment you decide (at least mentally) which website you prefer, you might find yourself more easily swayed in that platform’s favor — especially if you’re not sure yet which features to prioritize for your business.
Teachable also gives you the option of basic blogging on your site. So, while the site itself doesn’t have the customization options you’ll find with Thinkific, if you don’t already have a website of your own, this can help you add more value to your customer’s experience.
Teachable vs. Thinkific: Sales & Marketing
When it comes to sales and marketing, Teachable has the following advantages over Thinkific:
- A highly-optimized one-step checkout process
- The ability to track and even pay EU digital goods VAT tax
- BackOffice feature collects tax info from and generates automatic payouts to affiliates and authors
- Support for Google Pay and Apple Pay on native gateways
So, while Thinkific shines with course creation and site design, Teachable makes it easier for creative professionals to handle the business end of providing online courses.
And its checkout process gives it a powerful advantage over Thinkific’s two-step checkout.
Thinkific Support vs. Teachable Support
While Thinkific doesn’t offer any real-time support channels, its fans give it credit for responding more quickly to customer emails (particularly at lower membership levels) than Teachable.
On the other hand, Teachable’s live chat support gives it a huge advantage. And its support by email is reportedly more responsive at higher levels of membership.
Support from customer service and tech support isn’t the only recourse for users with questions, though. Thinkific users can set up a community page on their site to respond to user questions and concerns.
Teachable doesn’t have this option, but users can still seek help from fellow Teachable course builders on the company’s Facebook page.
Both platforms also invest in training materials for their customers. Teachable’s online training program — Teachable U — offers courses to help you at every step.
Thinkific offers its paid members premium training through its free Online Business Masterclass.
And both provide helpful tools to get you started with your first online course.
10 Reasons Thinkific Users Choose It Over Teachable
Read Thinkific reviews, and you’ll see what its diehard users prioritize in their course platform of choice.
For Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.com, for example, some of the major selling points include the lack of transaction fees and the more generous customization options for the course player.
If we gather up all the reasons Thinkific users choose it over Teachable, we get the following top ten:
- More customization options for your Thinkific courses
- Multiple themes and customization options for your site
- Zero transaction fees on all Thinkific plans
- Unlimited students for Thinkific’s free plan
- More advanced quiz features and customization options
- Built-in support for assignments and surveys
- Option for creating a standalone community area on your site
- Groups feature allows you to bulk sell a course to groups and organizations, track progress for each group, and generate reports
- Instant payouts for each sale on all Thinkific plans
- More direct integration options for email marketing
10 Reasons Teachable Users Choose It Over Thinkific
Take a look at Teachable reviews, and you’ll find plenty who are just as passionate in their defense of its features.
Pat Flynn and Jorden Makelle (fka Jorden Roper) both use the platform for their online courses. And if we ask them — along with other committed fans — why they choose Teachable over Thinkific, we get the following top ten reasons:
- More intuitive and user-friendly course builder
- More flexibility with content types (videos, PDFs, quizzes, testimonials, etc.)
- Option of uploading course content from Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive
- Better course reporting and analytics tools
- Highly optimized and customizable 1-step checkout process
- An iOS app for a better course delivery experience (for students)
- Live chat support for all levels
- Teachable’s commenting system, which allows comment blocks in individual lectures
- Superior sales and marketing tools
- Greater flexibility with affiliate marketing (onboarding, tracking, and payment)
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Time, Money, and Going with Your Gut
If you’re still unsure which platform to try first, it might help to ask which of the two you can spare more easily: time or money.
If you have more time than money to invest in your first course project, you might appreciate the more customizable (if less user-friendly) Thinkific platform.
If you’d rather save time, start with Teachable — which is easier to use but will require a paid membership for more than 10 students.
And if that doesn’t help you choose, check out both websites, and go with your gut. Then sign up and start creating your first course.
Whichever you choose, may you enjoy the process and find new ways to do your readers (and your writing business) good.