Creating and selling your own online courses is now easier than ever before, thanks to the rise of online course platforms.
Two of the most popular platforms for creating and selling online courses are Thinkific and Teachable.
Difference Between LMS and Course Marketplaces
Both Thinkific and Teachable are considered Learning Management Systems (LMS). They are hosted platforms where you can create and sell your online courses, while also marketing them from your own website.
LMS are different from online course marketplaces. Marketplaces, like Udemy and Skillshare let you sell your online course, but the students remain the clients of Udemy and SkillShare. This means the following:
- The online course marketplace processes all payments and refunds.
- The online course marketplace does all the selling and marketing.
- You will not have the students’ contact details.
- You won’t be able to market products from outside the site.
For a Learning Management System like Thinkific and Teachable, you can do the following:
- Set your own prices.
- Access, collect, and use student data.
- Set your own policies, such as for discounting and refunds.
- Process all payments and refunds.
- You also need to market your course yourself.
Creating Online Courses on Thinkific or Teachable
The good thing about using these platforms is that you don’t need to have much technical skill, because each platform has their own tech team that takes care of hosting, updates, security, and maintenance.
This means that you can focus on creating your courses using a great variety of content. After you create your course, you will also be selling these courses. To help facilitate this, these sites allow you to:
- Accept payment on the platform
- Deliver content in a professional way
- Engage your students in various ways
But which one should you jump into? What are the benefits and challenges of each platform that you need to consider?
Benefits and Challenges of Thinkific and Teachable
Discover the pros and cons of Thinkific and Teachable so you can decide which is best for your needs.
1. Site Training
Both Thinkific and Teachable have invested a lot in training for first time members.
Personally, I liked Thinkific’s format of having a tutorial built into the site and being able to access the training video on a drop down list.
In contrast, Teachable offers a very comprehensive 1-hour webinar. However, I personally didn’t like not being able to pause the video and move the timestamp to specific points in the video webinar.
2. Course Creation
In terms of course creation, both Thinkific and Teachable have made it very easy to create online courses.
Personally, I prefer Thinkific’s easy dropdown menu on the left, which helps me see which steps I need to take next.
For Teachable, I found that the excessive use of icons made it difficult for a first-time user. If you’ve already been using it for a while, the icons would probably make the process faster. But for someone who’s not yet familiar with them, I found it a bit of a hassle trying to figure out what each icon means.
3. Course Content
Both Thinkific and Teachable let you upload different formats to make your course interesting and engaging. The types of content you can upload include:
- Video lectures
- PDFs or other text files
- Other multimedia content
One advantage that Thinkific has in this area is its ability to import Captivate and Storyline files. But since these files are not commonly used, it may not spell much of a difference for beginning course creators.
4. Customizing Lesson Settings
Although both Thinkific and Teachable let you update lesson settings, Teachable has one advantage: it lets you bulk select lessons and then change the settings for all the lessons in one go!
For example, you can go to the curriculum page and change the settings for publishing, preview, or downloads without having to go to the individual lessons.
5. Scheduling lessons and modules
Both Teachable and Thinkific allow you to organize your content into lessons. They also let you “drip feed” your content: this simply means being able to offer your content into bite-sized pieces delivered at set times for your students, instead of giving them everything in one go.
Teachable has the advantage of letting you send drip emails to students automatically.
6. Uploading files
Both Teachable and Thinkific let you upload files with an easy drag and drop system, but Teachable has the advantage of letting you import files directly from Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
Teachable’s cloud import ability works for all types of files, and also for bulk uploading. This is usually faster than uploading files from a computer.
In contrast, Thinkific allows you to add videos to the Video Library using cloud storage, but you can’t use the feature for bulk uploading or for uploading other types of files.
7. File Library
Thinkific has a Video Library where you can upload videos and use them in different courses and lessons.
Sadly, Teachable doesn’t have this option. Instead, you can store your videos in Google Drive or Dropbox, and use the cloud import function to import them easily as well.
8. Content Delivery
Teachable has a very modern-looking course player. Students can navigate easily between lessons while seeing their progress on the left. For students who have comments turned on, the comments section appears below the content.
For Thinkific, students can search through the course they’re taking by lesson titles. It also has a full-screen option: with the sidebar hidden, the content can be viewed on the whole screen, reducing the risk of distraction.
9. Course Compliance
Both sites let you restrict students’ progress, making sure they complete the lesson or get a passing grade on a quiz.
This also includes setting a standard for percentage of a video watched before they can proceed to the next lesson. Teachable sets this compliance level to 90%, whereas in Thinkific, you can set the completion percentage for video lessons.
10. Mobile app
Teachable has a native iOS app, which lets students learn even on their mobile phones. It also comes with offline viewing, making it easier to continue learning on the go.
11. Discussion and Community
Encouraging discussion is a great way to improve student engagement. Both Thinkific and Teachable encourage this, but they have different platforms for doing so.
Thinkific features a dedicated community area on your website. Students can click on “Create New Post” to start a new discussion. Although it’s still in its early stages, this encourages the creation of an ongoing community.
On the other hand, Teachable only has a comments area where students can ask questions or have discussions. The instructor then responds to these comments in the same section.
Fortunately, Teachable’s system embeds comments in individual lectures, making it easy to connect discussions with their related topics. This is not yet possible in Thinkific.
12. Quizzes and Assignments
Both Thinkific and Teachable allow you to create quizzes, but Thinkific includes randomized question banks, allowing you to import questions and add explanations. These features are not yet available on Teachable.
Thinkific also lets you add a video or an image to the questions and the choices for answers. Teachable only lets you use plain text for the quizzes.
Additionally, Thinkific offers an “Assignments” option, where you can give an assignment and accept your students’ submissions right on the platform. You can even opt to accept or reject their submissions!
13. Course Reporting
Both sites have reporting capabilities, but Teachable seems to offer a more comprehensive look: it lets you track students’ completion rates and quiz scores.
Thinkific also lets you see the individual progress report, but you will not be able to access an aggregate report for completion rates.
14. Offering Certificates of Completion
Both Thinkific and Teachable let you create certificates, but in different ways.
Teachable lets you create the certificates right on the platform, choosing from the three available templates or creating one from scratch.
In fact, every course already has a certificate linked to it by default so that your students will automatically receive a certificate as soon as they finish the course.
On the other hand, Thinkific offers an integration with Accredible for its Pro or Business Plan users, letting you access the popular certificate service for free.
Thinkific vs Teachable
Based on these comparisons, it appears that Thinkific and Teachable can each be a good choice for beginning course creators.
If you would prefer more detailed reporting and access to a mobile app, Teachable may work best for you.
But if you prefer other features, such as having a video library and more detailed quizzes and assignments, Thinkific is the way to go.
In the end, it depends on what your personal goals are for your online courses. Think through these goals and then go through the list again to see which ones are deal breakers for you.
Did you find this post helpful? Let us know in the comments below!
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.